ODUFA – A story about redeeming Love.
My name is Odufa Oba. People called me ‘Double O’. My mum was just a miserable woman. My dad… the devil’s incarnate.
I don’t like talking about my family because they were not very good people. Only my sister. She was also not a good person but later she started to love me.
I wanted to be a nurse because I loved the white uniform. It always looked clean and smart. I dreamt everyday of me wearing it and walking around in a big hospital and a white folder in one arm.
I often wondered how long I would have to be in school before that dream come true. I had told mum many times and she didn’t think someone as ugly as me was good enough to be a nurse. I was fat. Huge eyes. Full, thick unkempt hair. Nearly over-sized lips.
Till then, all I was supposed to do was to be attentive in class. That was one way to make good grades. I loved school because it was a safe place to escape to.
“Today we have a visitor,” I didn’t hear when the school administrator walked into the classroom. “She’s Paula Green and she is going to be giving you important information about rape and sexual abuse.” The administrator had a funny accent but no one dared smile for any reason in front of her. She was mean. She left us with Green.
Green roamed her eyes round the class without saying anything. We stared back. I wondered why they had to bring a teacher from outside school to come talk about sex.
In the last weeks it just seemed like everyone talked about sex in school. There was not a day sex was not discussed amongst small group of boys or girls.
There was a rumor that two senior girls were raped by four or five senior boys in school during the last session. It was after school hours, while they waited for their guardian to pick them. The girls never came back to the school and the boys were discovered and expelled. The rumors said that the boys were arrested and the girls were going to another school.
There were also rumor that boys were sneaking into the girls restroom to spy on them.
“I am happy to be with you today. I’m going to be talking to you about rape and sexual abuse. What do you do when someone wants to rape you? What do after you have been raped? What do you do if someone is sexually abusing you? First, let me explain to you what rape and sexual abuse is.”
She was a very pretty black woman with brown eyes. Her hair was very long and she smiled as she spoke. I couldn’t remember if I had heard of rape or sexual abuse before but I just guess it must be an issue relating to sex. Sex was a common topic in school.
“First, let me tell you a story… I was ten years old when my mother died from a car accident. She left me and my younger brother for my father. My father cried for a very long time and was never the same again. It was difficult to take care of us because he didn’t have a job before my mother died. We sold most of our stuff to buy food. My father started to drink and didn’t spend much time with my brother and I…”
The class was quiet. How can such a beautiful woman have such a mean father? I couldn’t think much bad about her father, my dad was a drunk too and maybe my dad was even worse than hers.
“My father came home one day late in the night as he usual, he was drunk. He got drunk all the time, but that day way different. He came to me where I laid on the bed and raped me…”
There were murmurings and it was because she said ‘rape’ most of us knew rape had to do with sex but we didn’t know more.
“He forcefully took off my pant, pushed me to the bed and had sex with me. That is what rape is. He didn’t stop there he abused me also for the next five year until I got pregnant for someone I didn’t know and I ran away from home.”
I saw Priscilla and two other girls had tears in their eyes. No one was moving or murmuring.
“During this time when I was fifteen years old, his truck driver friend also forced me to have sex with him too. Before he did it, whenever he visited he would touch me in my private areas. I was never able to tell my father because of fear of what he would do to me. With two men now sleeping with me and no one to save me, I began to look for what I could do to stop it. I went to a church and told the man I saw there to help me. He said I should not say such thing to anyone. “No one would believe such thing from a small girl like you”, he said to me. With no help I went back home to these men and stay with them for as long as they wanted me”.
This time there were sniffing from more than two people. I understood she was telling a sad story but I could not understand why some of the girls were crying.
“Boys and girls, I am telling you my story because I don’t want what happened to me to happen to you. There are many things I could have done to stop my father that I didn’t know about. I could have also stopped his friend from also abusing me but I didn’t know what to do…but I am going to share what you can do so you don’t become a victim like me…”
Much of what she said next, I wasn’t paying attention. Why would a father do such a wicked thing to his own daughter? Why didn’t she run away earlier? What did the younger brother do? Why couldn’t the man at the church do anything to help? I was asking myself many questions that I didn’t hear the rest of what she said. Or when the class ended…
To be continued