WARIF Survivor Stories
Welcome to the WARIF Survivor Stories Series, a monthly feature, where stories of survivors of rape and sexual violence are shared to motivate and encourage survivors to speak their truth without the fear of judgment or stigmatization and to educate the public on the sheer magnitude of this problem in our society. The Women at Risk International Foundation (WARIF) is a non-profit organization set up in response to the extremely high incidence of rape, sexual violence, and human trafficking of young girls and women in our society. WARIF is tackling this issue through a holistic approach that covers health, education, and community service initiatives.
WARIF aids survivors of rape and sexual violence through the WARIF Centre – a haven where trained professionals are present full time, 6 days a week including public holidays to offer immediate medical care, forensic medical examinations, psycho-social counseling, and welfare services which include shelter, legal aid, and vocational skills training. These services are provided FREE of charge to any survivor who walks into the Centre.
RAPED AND PREGNANT FOR MY DAD
From as far back as I can remember, my father has been a very violent man. He would hit my mother until relatives gathered to mediate peace, but they got fed up and eventually stopped coming. Sometimes, for no reason that I could tell, my father would return home screaming, scaring us into our rooms. He was always drunk and would gamble away his salary as soon as he received it leaving almost nothing to care for us in the family. My mother ran a roadside stall which she used to cater to the family’s needs. Whenever neighbors asked about the bruises that she got from my dad beating her up, she would fabricate all sorts of lies to cover it up all of these went on for over 10 years.
On a particular evening, my dad returned home drunk as usual, but this time, he came back with a harlot and had the audacity to tell my mum to leave the room for them. Of course, my mother refused, but this resulted in her receiving the beating of her life which landed her in the hospital for several days. Sadly, that ended the marriage for my mum never returned home. Family members tried to intervene, but she was resolute not to return to the abusive marriage. My mum was able to secure the custody of my younger siblings but not mine. As the oldest of his children, my father refused to release me to my mum. His decision left me heartbroken and traumatized because I was severed from my mum and siblings, the only stability I had in my life at the time. I was only 9 years old.
About two years after my parent’s separation, when I was still in JSS3, my father forced me to take an alcoholic drink. I found it strange that he would encourage me to drink alcohol when I was not yet old enough, but I had to force myself to finish the drink because my father was standing over me and threatening a hailstorm. Everything else became a blur whenever I took the drink, and the only thing I noticed in the morning as I went to have my bath was that there was a thick whitish substance on my underwear. This occurrence became frequent, especially during the weekends; though I tried to recall what happened on such nights, I never remembered a thing. This continued for about 2 years. I thought to confront my dad several times to find out what was going on but was paralyzed by fear because I knew the kind of violence that would result from questioning him. I decided to concentrate on passing my forthcoming WAEC exams instead so that I could gain admission to the university, and finally leave his house to live with my mum.
My father’s work required that he would be on night shifts sometimes and these were the opportunities I seized to go and visit my mum and siblings. On this fateful day, I went to visit my mum, as usual, unfortunately, my father returned earlier than usual from work and met my absence. On arriving home, he demanded to know where I went. After I revealed that I went to see my mum, he drove down to her shop, got into an argument with her, hit her, and left in anger, leaving me behind. My mother immediately went along with me to report the case at my father’s workplace, after which we went to my aunt’s house to report the matter as well.
On arrival at my aunt’s house to discuss the issue at hand, she called my mother aside to tell her that she suspected that I was pregnant. My mother dismissed this but was persuaded by my aunt to run a pregnancy test just to be sure. The result turned out positive. She took me to another medical laboratory, and they confirmed the initial test carried out. I was in shock from the news. Pregnant? How? My mum demanded to know the details of who was responsible for my pregnancy, but I had no answer to give her. Upon further probing, I began to explain what had been happening in the house with my dad. About the alcohol and the woozy feeling, pain in my vagina, and the substances on my panties whenever I woke up.
My mum immediately to me to the police station to report the case and my father was arrested. He confessed to drugging and rapping me on numerous occasions. According to him, it was ‘the devil’s handwork’ and he was sorry. No words could explain how I felt after his confession; I was shattered and heartbroken, to say the least.
At the station, I was referred to the WARIF CENTRE where I got medical attention and met with a counselor. I had several individual counselling sessions and joined the WARIF group therapy sessions too. There were days when I couldn’t sleep because I was scared of the impact of incest on my future and that of my baby; but the help I got from the counsellors at the WARIF Centre encouraged me and helps me to heal emotionally. I have since then progressed greatly on my journey to full emotional recovery, thanks to the counsellors at WARIF. Through the WARIF Centre I was able to get sponsorship for my antenatal care and other hospital bills, and my mum was also able to secure funds to pay the rent for proper accommodation for us. I am grateful for all the support received at the CENTRE and most importantly for my mother who has stood by me through all this ordeal.
I still have concerns about my unborn baby I am constantly reminded that what happened to me is not my fault. And though I would not join my mates in writing the WAEC exam, I am determined to keep reading and take my exams at the next opportunity I get, so that I can become the Marine Officer I have always dreamed to be.
* Real name of survivor changed for confidentiality
Dear survivor, please know that you are not alone, and it is not your fault. Help is available. If you have been raped or know someone who has, please visit us at:
The WARIF Centre
6, Turton Street, off Thorburn Avenue, Sabo, Yaba.
or call our 24-hour confidential helpline on
For questions or more information please contact: email@example.com