Aunty Bella is our advice segment on BN. It is an opportunity for readers to share their issues and commenters give advice.
We received this email yesterday and had some debate on what to do. We decided that it is important to discuss this sensitive issue to raise discourse on solutions, to show potential victims the warning signs and to let others know that they are not alone. It is unfortunate that in Nigeria, it is very difficult to report and prosecute sexual assault. Most incidents of sexual assault are by people known to the victim so often times it is very difficult for the victim to realize that it is indeed assault. Please give ‘Miss Should I Tell’ words of encouragement and if something similar has happened to you, you are not alone. Please seek counselling from a relative, pastor or counsellor.
Editors Note: We have communicated with Miss Should I Tell and are glad that she has undergone counselling. If you have been through similar, please talk to someone and do not hold guilt in! It is not your fault. It is sad that we have heard similar stories quite often especially from university and secondary students. Manipulative men attempting and in some cases succeeding in taking advantage. We are searching for the details of reputable assault crisis centres in Lagos. If you know any, please send details to bella @ bellanaija.com
Account below is unedited at request of sender
Dear Aunty Bella,
I have read most if not all the stories on your site, I loved the way people responded and were ready to help with their advice hence why I decided to share this pain that is eating me up. I have written the whole truth here which is why what you are about to read might contain some adult stuffs, so please feel free to edit it but I’ll rather you didn’t so that people can get the true picture of things.I really hope my story will be posted because I need to talk to someone but I just can’t, which is why I am here to get advice from people who don’t know me.
I hope I don’t bore you with my tale, please kindly notify me if you can when my story is posted so that I can follow what advice is given. I’ll follow up with updates.
Actually am in my very early 20’s, I have been in a relationship for the past three years with someone I respect & adore, notice I didn’t mention love, that’s because I don’t think I can love as is expected, (due to one thing or the other i have seen around me), so i can only say I love him in my own special way.
Due to my insecurity about men, refused to have full sex with him right from the start & I was a virgin when I met him. We sometimes play with each other, romance & stuff but there was never anything penetrative.
I noticed that I was mostly cold whenever we were fooling around. I was not sure if I was the one not relaxed enough or if he was not getting it right, so I was always wondering but I didn’t talk about it.
A few months ago I went for my industrial training in Lagos. On this particular day, when I went searching for a placement I received a call from a friend of mine, she said she gave someone my number & that he was going to call me soon; surprised I asked why and who but the line dropped, not quite 10 minutes later my phone beeped, it was a strange number, I picked the call & the caller introduced himself as “Arem”, he said my friend gave him my number, I told him she just called me now and that I am still surprised & was going to call her back because she knows I don’t like giving people I meet my number not to talk of someone I have not met. He apologized and said she was at his place once when I called her, he liked my voice on phone and has been pestering her to give him my number since that time. He asked if we could see, I said no because I was searching around for my industrial placement.
I finally resumed at a place two weeks later and all through that two weeks we spoke frequently, we later agreed to meet. We met at an eatery and discussed, we clicked or so i thought to myself, he continued calling me a lot.
He was nice, caring, matured & everything I actually admire in a man, I knew I should not have anything to do with him because I had a boyfriend and really I didn’t want to have anything to do with him, but I was in desperate need of someone to talk to. Both of my parents were battling with different sickness, my dad with diabetes, and my mum with partial stroke. My boyfriend and I were not on speaking terms and I don’t really have friends I open up to except my boyfriend. My own brothers were also living with their own fears mostly for my mum because it was so bad she could hardly do things for herself (Am not trying to justify myself because I know regardless of what I was going through I should not have taken that step, I know that now but then I was just overwhelmed & I just met someone who was ready to listen to me and share my pain, or so i thought).
We met again at his house, he made passes but I told him i just needed a friend. That was when I asked why he was staying alone, he then told me he was married with three kids and that his family is in England. We talked about his kids and even his wife because I didn’t have anything in mind. With time we saw each other more often, like once a week or twice in three weeks. I went to his house once and things got a bit heated, I found myself responding because am always at ease when with him, you know married men are mostly charmers, we fooled around for a while but I didn’t let it get too far, he asked why, i told him the story of how I have not slept with my boyfriend for over 3 years (though I did not expect him to believe my story of not sleeping with my boyfriend of three years , i mean who would? – this was why I could not share my feelings with my friends). I told him that if I was going to sleep with anyone then I think I’ll rather it be my boyfriend who waited 3yrs, to be the first. He (Arem) told me to rather let who I’ll not regret be the first.
We met at eateries at several more times then he will drop me at home. On one occasion, I went to see him at home, we started fooling around and it became too intense for me (situations like this have occurred like twice before but we didn’t go too far). I told him to let me up, but he refused he held me down saying – after all we agreed we could fool around without having penetrative sex. I told him this was becoming too intense, he wouldn’t listen, I tried standing but he sat astride and said he just put the head of him at the tip of me. I thought of a lot of things, but I knew I could not scream because I went there with my two legs.
He didn’t go in fully but well how would I know it was the first time a male sex organ would get there. I felt uncomfortable after, he spilled on me so I feared I could be with his child and I just didn’t know what to do or what to use.
Arem actually called me the next day and said he didn’t think I had not had sex before, imagine my shock, he said yes that I probably have lost my virginity while fooling around with my boyfriend and hence he doesn’t see why we can’t have full sex. I started crying because it dawned on me there and then what I had gotten myself into. I cheated and mailed one of these online agony aunts (more like shrinks) who actually helped me out, she told me not to see him again but I just could not because I felt I was kinda tied to him , I think of him like every time, without even considering my relationship again.
During this time, I and my boyfriend made up, but we have not seen each other for like 4 months, I decided to travel to see him in school, (we attend the same school, he is in his finals while i am in my semi finals). I didn’t see my period on time but it eventually came by which time “Arem” had traveled to England to see his family. I made up my mind not to have anything to him, but that I wont fight with him cos he might be useful in future because he is quite influential. He came back and expected us to pick up where he left off but I refused. He knew I was talking to someone but what he didn’t know was who, he knew I didn’t have friends I open up to.
I told Jean (the agony aunt) everything including the fact that he once studied psychology. Jean said I was being manipulated and that he telling me I was not a virgin is just a way of saying we can start having sex. Jean and I corresponded a lot and she helped me quite a lot. I started by deleting his numbers from my phone though I knew one of his numbers off heart so when he calls I knew who was calling, I stopped calling him all together and stopped sending messages also. I saw him once after he came back to the country, he was sick and he asked that I come visit, I went thinking what harm could a sick person do , but I was wrong, he made moves but I refused vehemently. He dropped me off at home and since then I spoke to him once when the friend who gave him my number initially came over to see me and asked to speak with him, since she didn’t have his number anymore I called him for her & they spoke. Since then I have not spoken to him.
Note:- I didn’t do this because I was in need or as an Aristo thing cos believe me the man did not give me things, maybe on two occasions he gave me transport fare back home , the once in a while food @ eateries, 4 clothes as gifts on his return from England ( fter the scene) & that was all and besides I was been paid where I was having my IT.
The thing is, its about three months now since I moved on and I feel so guilty I am thinking of ending my relationship so as not to cause him (my boyfriend) pain , my experience has made me appreciate him (my boyfriend) more and I don’t want to loose him but I cant live with this guilt anymore. Please should I tell him and watch what will happen or should I just let things be and keep quiet?
NB. I am not looking for sympathy, I was wrong, I know it & I accept it, I am only looking for a way forward. I need your advice.