Labake’s Story

Hello everyone! How have you been? How did the weekend go? Mine was a bit slow, as I came down with mild malaria. Today, I’m grateful for good health.

I introduced this category (Beauty For Ashes) as a platform for victims of abuse to share their story. I wasn’t expecting so much response, so you can imagine my surprise when my mailbox started getting flooded with mails. I thank everyone who has responded. You make this cause worthwhile. Special thanks to Mrs Funso Adegbola, who encouraged me to do this. God bless you all.

We start off with Labake. Her entry came first. Her story…her story…Just read first…

I’m the youngest of four children and I was always ‘Daddy’s special girl’. There’s a six-year gap between me and my brother, who is number three, so I really was the baby. My late father was a police. He was a drinker who didn’t contribute to the housekeeping, a very angry man who beat me for misdemeanours and he regularly hit my mum. But I loved him in spite of everything. He was the only one who ever bought me sweets. My father could be very caring and loving, but he was unpredictable.

I felt isolated and lonely as a child. My eldest sister was meant to look after me when mum was working, but she often went out and left me alone. One morning, I went for a walk and got lost. My sisters found me and brought me home and, knowing Dad would beat me, they dressed me up in lots of thick knickers and trousers so I wouldn’t feel the blows. I was only five. Sometimes I had to stay off school because of the bruises.

I was six when it happened for the first time. I’d gone out on my own. As I walked around strange streets, I heard the sound of an Indian movie coming from one of the houses. I stopped in the hope that I’d catch a glimpse of it (our television was out of order and I missed watching Indian movies on Saturdays), and as I went over to the window that faced the street, a man appeared and asked me if I’d like to watch. I said yes. I’d never seen him before but he asked me where my dad was. His message was clear: ‘I know you.’ He said I couldn’t tell anyone I’d been inside his house, and then he started tickling and touching me. Eventually he took me upstairs and lay on top of me.

I was so frightened because I couldn’t breathe. Afterwards he kept saying, ‘Don’t tell anyone – it’s only fun.’ Then he cuddled me and said, ‘We’re friends now,’ and I promised to return to watch the movies. I didn’t understand what had happened. I knew it was wrong, but I couldn’t tell anyone because I’d have been beaten for straying from my boundary again.

My parents separated after a few years. My mum left and as time went by, I became naughty at school because it was the only place I could express the burning anger inside me. I didn’t do any of my schoolwork, which I now regret because I was bright and a quick learner. I made a friend called Bola who was a year older than me and was also from a broken home.

A close friend of my father who worked around the school started walking home with us, and he used to put his arm round my waist. I was ten, skinny and not confident. He was about 40 and smelled of beer and cigarettes. Over the weeks, his hands gradually moved to my bottom, but it was so subtle, such a slow process, that by the time I realised what was happening, I felt awkward and couldn’t complain, even though I knew it wasn’t right. I remember he came to the places in the neighbourhood where we played, calling us his ‘favourite girls’. He touched our bottoms and Bola laughed. Bola kept saying, ‘Come on now, it’s funny,’ but I didn’t think it was funny. Things progressed from there. He encouraged us to sit on his lap when he came to visit, one girl on each knee, and his touching became more and more intimate. As my father’s close friend he was well protected and I think he knew we’d never tell. He had such power and I was very scared of him. There were usually others in the room, and whenever I got up to move away from him my knickers twanged where he’d had his hand inside them, and it sounded so loud I remember thinking, ‘Everyone heard that,’ but no one ever said anything. My father was too busy drinking or arguing with his new wife to notice where I was. This man asked me to wears skirts, and I begged my mother to buy me jeans to protect myself, but I couldn’t explain why I needed them so I never got any. I hated it, but I didn’t know how to make it stop.

A few weeks after the abuse began, I decided to broach the subject of men touching girls inappropriately with my stepmother to gauge her reaction. I told her that a man my father knew had touched my vagina when I was younger. She told me not to tell lies about my father’s friends, and then
told my dad. He got very angry, so I never told anyone again. The abuse by my father’s friend got worse. I was never raped, but I was seriously sexually assaulted, and he kept saying, ‘One day you’ll be mine.’ On one odd occasion, I said ‘no’ to this man and he stopped, but he’d got away with it for three years. I was so traumatised, I wet the bed until I was 18.
The awful thing about sexual abuse is that victims feel it is their fault. You ask, ‘Why me? I must have done something to encourage it, because it’s not happening to other girls.’

I know, rationally, that none of it was my fault, but another voice inside me still says, ‘You should never have gone to that house to watch the movies,’ and, ‘You shouldn’t have sat on his lap,’ and, ‘How did you allow that to happen?’ There is a lot of shame and stigma attached to sexual abuse,
so I’ve never told anyone, apart from my mum a few years ago. She cried and said forcing me to live with my father after the separation was the biggest regret of her life. I haven’t told my two children. I don’t want anyone’s pity. I’ve been married twice, but I find it very hard to trust men. I am very needy and my self-esteem is low. I’m not good at opening up and confiding in people, and I know I try far too hard to please, not just men but at work and with friends.

I wish I could be stronger, different. I still feel dirty after all these years. I’ve tried to block the abuse out of my head, but with your book on abuse, it has come flooding back. I keep thinking about the thousands of young girls who are still being abused and who never speak out. And the ones who tried to tell people in authority what was happening but weren’t believed. I feel sick now that I allowed my abusers to get away with what they did. A large part of why I didn’t tell a teacher or someone else in authority was that I was from such a chaotic background and always wanted everyone to think I was from a normal, loving family.

I received little love as a child, and that’s a hard thing to acknowledge. It made it very easy for my abusers to move in on me. If someone says something vaguely critical, I take it to heart. I have never, ever felt safe or secure, and never felt needed by anyone apart from my children.

The sad and unfortunate truth, which I hate with all my heart to acknowledge, is that I felt needed by my second abuser. He gave me the attention I craved. His motives were abhorrent, but I didn’t know that at first and by the time I did, I was trapped. This is how sexual abuse happens.

By the way, I enjoyed your book, Dumebi.

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About Ezar

I'm in love with my dreams, married to success and having an affair with life ;) I live for the moments you can't put into words and I dont look back...unless there's a good view.

Posted on July 5, 2015, in Scars for Stars (Beauty for Ashes). Bookmark the permalink. 30 Comments.

  1. Really bad. If you are being abused don’t think that it is your fault because it isn’t. 

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  2. This is hearbreaking. May God comfort you, Labake.

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  3. It is so sad,it is paramount to teach young children how to recognise sensitive parts in their body and prevent ANYBODY from touching then in these parts.
    It is also expedient that we keep our family knitted together, cos marriage is the bedrock of society.
    I cant but remember the abuser, is it possible that he or she is a victim who has not been properly rehabilitated?
    Thanks for sharing your story

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  4. I hope that someday all this ends. STOP CHILD ABUSE NOW !!!!

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  5. Sometimes writing is the only way to say how your feeling. I understand. I hope that everyone going through abuse gets the help they deserve.

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  6. Horrific! After I completed reading the story, my concern is “What can I Do to help alleviate this horrendous treatment of our young?

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  7. Sadly, this story is the story of so many childrens lives. Help stop child abuse. If you suspect child abuse call your local police and report it. You can report it anonymously. Help the children. It is well with you, Labake.

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  8. Speechless. I sympathize with Labake.

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  9. I know this happens all over the world and no child deserves this treatment!!! I just wish it would stop!!! It REALLY HURTS me knowing that we can’t control what happens to our children at all times!! 😦

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  10. No words. This is very sad

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  11. I was just talking to my daughter. about my childhood, and the abuse I went through on a daily basis…the beatings, rapes, verbal abuse..being abandoned, all while trying to stay in school. I was telling her tonight, I wish I could go to the President and help get a law passed on incest and child abuse…and to make the world more aware of it…it hurts……. it scars for life….

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  12. Hi Labake.i don’t really know what to tell you because i know that even though you recieve many encouraging words it’s only your determination which will bring you to a brighter and above all secure future…I know what u have been through but i’ll tell you what i say to myself in order to get the strength to move on:The fact today is that i’m ALIVE after having been through my horrible past and now there’s no reason for me to not move on to my future!God’s knows all of it and he brought us through all of these and i’m thankful today to be just ALIVE. God protect you sister..

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  13. Psalms 41; 61: 71; 1st Corinthians 4. There are some very bad people in the world whom we have no control over, who can cause a thing to be that we never knew could exist. But the can not bring water from a rock without smiting it.

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  14. Labake, thank you for sharing!

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  15. Too often, parents do not really listen to what their child is trying to tell them. My mother once told an elderly neighbor that her husband had exposed himself to her charges while she was in the kitchen making their lunch. My sister told my mother, and she had no problem approaching the the woman with what was going on in her house. Believe it or not, the other 3 children there, had a mother who was outraged AT MY MOTHER! How sad.We have no trouble teaching our children about stranger danger, yet fail to provide them the tools needed to address family/neighbor danger

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  16. I am so sorry Labake that you went through this but good for you to be sharing such a hard story to help others through their healing!!! Very brave and honorable!!!

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  17. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm….

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  18. May God help us all. you are in my prayers, Labake.

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  19. I was abused and I know for certain that abuse doesn’t get better if you don’t do anything; it just keeps getting worse. You have to be your own friend. You have to have compassion for yourself.

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  20. All cultures minimize or deny sexual abuse and sexual assault. Its survivors are often accused of lying or told that the crime is in some way their own fault. People will often fault a victim instead of a perpetrator. If they choose to report the crime and charges are laid, survivors may sometimes discover they lack support from family or friends for doing so.

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  21. Labake, I think that you are a much stronger and wiser person because of the pain you suffered and I respect and admire you for it. You shouldn’t regret anything that happened in your life because everything that happens in life shapes the type of person one becomes. To me, you sound like an amazing mum and I know if you give it another chance, you will make an amazing wife too. Learn to love yourself inside and out.

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    • I agree with you, Vivian. It’s likely that our sister, Labake, has emotionally shut-off a portion of her emotional core as a way of coping with what happened. When we as people are significantly traumatized, it is our first reaction, to shut the pain down, and intellectualize our way around it. From your point of view that might be perceived in many ways, but it is important to keep in mind that none of us really knows how we will react in a traumatic situation until we actually are in that situation. All the things we might dream up in our head remain various forms of fiction. Actually living a traumatic experience is another matter.

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  22. The effects of sexual abuse can be far reaching and spread like a cancer, not only to the victim, but to the people in the victim’s circle, and this is what has happened to you. I am so sorry this happened to you. Don’t let It shape your future negatively.

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  23. this is so so sad Labake and I relate with your story. series of this happened to me, uncle @ home, teacher @ school, one male neighbor or the other and to top it up I was raped barely a month after marriage, its a miracle that I’m SANE. I owe it all to God, I learnt to forgive and keep forging ahead irrespective of wot happens. I’ll keep you in my prayers Labake. Stay strong

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  24. Abuse under any name(child abuse,girl-child abuse,gender abuse,marital abuse) is very traumatic,with d victim prefering she/he was dead.It hurts badly wen abuse is frm persons dat profess unfeigned love.Treachery!Treachery!!Treachery!!!

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  25. We can empathize with Labake b/c its now a storyline.When they are in d ‘very act’of abuse,people dont believe them…no empathy.They suffer their pain alone.After many years wen d wounds becomes a big scar,we see people coming up with ‘surgical solutions’dat might not work.Victims dont talk anymore b/c nobody believes them.Until we start believing them nd helping them at dat critical hour of need,we can as well keep our ‘belated’ counsel.At this point,we can only pray for the Potter to give them a ‘Beauty for ashes’testimony(jeremiah18:1-6).

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  26. @Amarachi,the father of my girlfriend is desperately trying to violate her.This father did not marry her mother,but is now married.His sexual harassment is usually wen d stepmum is out of d house,nd after she has finished bathing.How can I help her in this her hour of need.Take note,d father raised her nd still pays her fees in d university?For so long,he has attempted to violate her,nd i will hate to hear dat in all d attempts,he overpowered her.House,what do i do,nd what do i tell her b4 it is too late?

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  27. For some men to behave like animals,God should send them to d ‘Animal Farm’to chew grass like king Nebu.until they look up nd come to their senses.

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  28. Sexual perverts are on the increase.May Buhari accent dat law that will jail offenders.Lord,have mercy on Nigeria.Even so,come Lord Jesus!

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  29. Abuse becomes unbearable when relatives are so gullible to believe d sugar-coated lies of these hell-bound men who take advantage of vunerable girls,nd women,….very painful indeed.Lies dat suppress their weak voice.

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