It Took Me Six Years To Accept That I Was A Victim of Rape.

July 9, 2019
Illustration by Celia Jacobs

To get a better understanding of Nigerian living, we started a series called ‘Compatriots’, detailing the everyday life of the average Nigerian. As a weekly column, a new installment will drop every Tuesday, exploring some other aspect of the Nigerian landscape.

This week, a Nigerian woman narrates her experience as a victim of sexual abuse in her early days of university, and why it took her so long to accept she was, in fact, a rape victim.

I am currently in my 20s ⁠— a decade that has been remarkable for my first minor car accident, first shared living space and the regrettable slowing of my metabolism.

It is also the decade that I finally accepted, without caveat, that I am a part of the Nigerian sexual violence statistic. A victim of sexual assault, a rape survivor. 

It has taken me six years to get here. In which time I believed the scaffolding to support classifying my experience as rape, a little too weak to hold any water. After all, I willingly journeyed to a man’s home past the hour of 11 pm. I willingly allowed conversation levitate from sofa to bedroom. I even participated in willing sex, after the fact. 

Forget crossing the rubicon, I made a beeline straight towards it. So where could I have come off divesting myself of complicity? Or ignoring the fact that I must have consented to rape, as a certain possessor of Twitter fingers so illogically posited?

Again, 6 years ⁠— dismantling, unlearning and piecing together again.

At 19, I was in my second year studying law at the University of Lagos and fresh off the throes of a breakup. 19 was also the year when I, like most people, fell prey to the Snapchat ghoul’s appeal. Chronicling my every waking moment and comatose hang-out, as the must-see events of the next twenty-four hours.

Unfortunately, I had an ex-boyfriend who didn’t subscribe to this credo. His silence on social media often relegated me to minutes spent staring at my phone, comically conjuring up scenarios he was reveling in, sans me. Which was why I was determined to have enough televised fun for two people. I made a show of attending everything from church service to dinner with friends to an envelope opening. In my opinion, I was winning the ‘Post-Breakup Fun Olympics.’ It was on one of such occasions that I met him.

I don’t know if I speak for many women or only slightly impressionable University students, when I say older (unmarried) men hold a largely unwarranted appeal. Almost as though this almighty formula —  greying hair + wonky hairline + weathered face — somehow coaxes us into believing they are free of the fuckboyery that plagues their younger counterparts. Their attention, mathematically converted into something worthy of allure.

It is why on the night that I met him, I was more than a little charmed. He had surreptitiously cleared the bill for my table of rowdy, Snapchatting girls at Double 4, using that as a precursor to make introductions with me.

This charm was in spite of the fact that he was sporting the most ridiculous afro ⁠— a final, laughable attempt to hold on to the vestiges of a hairline determined to revolt. My very first tell that this stranger was edging dangerously close to middle age. 

For some reason, I don’t remember the specifics of our first exchange. I vaguely recall his T-shirt being tucked into slightly flared jeans (my second tell!) and maybe a slight stammer I never quite picked again. But I’ll never forget him making the sign of the cross and releasing a faux gasp when I mentioned that I was still in university.

These weren’t in reaction to some tired trope about Unilag girls like I immediately assume. Instead, he was expressing shock that I still possessed a matric number, when he had hung up his convocation gown at least 10 years prior.

There was a 15-year gap between us. 

For all the uncertainty and self-doubt that my encounter with this man unleashed in me for years to come, our actual interaction lasted all of two-weeks. In which time, we spent some hours of the day exchanging calls and awkward texts, never being quite able to find a middle-ground for the messaging requirements of an ancient teen and those of a busy car-dealership owner. We fared better at in-person meetings, two of which were held in restaurants, the last and final of which took place in his home.

It’s important to note that, save the last meet up, all our exchanges were devoid of any sexual undertones. Openly admitting to being uncomfortable with our age difference, he deftly avoided the topic, choosing instead to play the role  of harmless friend and confidante.

In hindsight, the events that led up to permanently parting ways with him were so textbook assault, he might as well have written the revised standard of the book. 

Exactly two weeks to the day we met (a Friday), we were in the middle of an uncharacteristically long telephone conversation where we admitted to suffering bouts of Friday night FOMO. It was past 10 pm, and my hostel had all but emptied out following a cacophony of heels and excited voices coming down the stairway.

We agreed to forgo a night of dancing and sipping fake Henny in smoke-filled rooms, for some time hanging alone at his home. It was my to be my first time over. Attempting to allay any fears of foul play, he pledged to have a spare bedroom cleaned out for me, even going so far as to suggest booking a room in a hotel fairly adjacent to his home if I felt the need.

There was the reel — a seemingly innocuous night spent with a friend, gorging on bad movies and even worse junk food. The innocence of the night supported by the promise of separate lodgings. But here’s the kicker — in spite of how things turned out that night, I went into his home, completely open to the possibility of the start of a physical relationship. It may sound contrarian to my claims, but at the time, I was roaring to go.

Only he shared the sentiment of our ages being a barrier. My reservation laid in immediately having sex; as I was completely swayed by the idiot notion that having sex early in a relationship, equated to a woman beingeasyor whatever rubbish term we had been sold since the female inception.

So when, shortly after arriving at his home and making a game out of picking a movie to watch, (eventually settling on An Education, ha!) ⁠— he leaned in for a kiss, and I gladly, wholeheartedly welcomed it. 

When we were done with the niceties and compliments that usually follow a first kiss, and that slow segue that usually marks the beginnings of sex began, I aired my reservations, making it clear that I wasn’t ready to get intimate so early in what I thought could possibly blossom into a relationship.

I could be wrong but, I’d bet anything this wasn’t his first time attempting a thing of this sort.

So easily did he placate my worries and assure me of his patience to wait for however long I needed, that there was no way this skill hadn’t been honed through at least a number of tries. It was why I couldn’t have suspected anything untoward when he suggested we move to his bedroom to get ‘more comfortable’.

A year ago, I would have told the rest of the events that played out in an entirely different way, completely discounting his actions as rape, narrating them instead, as a jolly one-night stand of sorts. An added knot to my achievements as a conservatively wild teen.

I would have explained how, getting into bed with him, things got more physical, with me disrobing entirely at some point. I would have narrated how eventually, he did the same, focusing on the fact that he took great care of his body for a man his age, and not the reality that I was completely unprepared and unaware of when he did so. And in telling the beginning, of when we actually engaged in sex — I would have skipped that part altogether. 

But here’s what happened.

It had gotten incredibly heated, and while I originally asked that he take things slower, he assured me that he got off more, giving pleasure as opposed to actual sex, so I allowed things proceed.

What I wasn’t prepared for was sometime during the rush of things, feeling the tip of what was most certainly not a finger at the entrance of my slit. Believing myself still to be in the presence of a trusted friend and potential partner, I laughingly asked if he was attempting to ‘just the tip’ me at his age.

Again, I was unprepared for the millisecond transformation in his eyes from the glassy, almost depraved look of the aroused, to an almost stricken thing, contorted into what I couldn’t believe was near rage.

“Why are you insisting on proving you’re a child?” 

“Why are you choosing to make me suffer?”

“Haven’t I done enough?”

He punctuated his last statement with an unexpected thrust inside me, reverting his eyes to that glossed over look that only seconds ago, seemed so far away.

In the moments that followed, he may as well have been ploughing into a freshly deceased corpse for all the response I was giving. My mind was moving at a thousand thoughts per minute. This man, this essential stranger whose sexual history I knew nothing about, had just, without a condom slipped inside me. He could be housing a harem of diseases for all I knew. Somehow  focusing all of my worries on my health as opposed to the fact that he had in addition, just completely violated me and my trust in him.

My disgust and embarrassment soon gave way to self-reprimand. You baited this, you dressed for it, your genitals were in his face. What did you expect? At my lowest moment, I resolved simply to go along with things, putting up no struggle the next morning when he initiated sex a second time. I even attempted to make up for my unresponsiveness the night before, somehow finding the space to be worried at the thought that he would tag me as shit in bed.

I actually attempted to impress my rapist. What a concept?

When I left his home later that day, I did so with the equivalent of my allowance in cash for ‘cab fare’ and the directive that I forward my account details so he would pay some more money in. I don’t know if this was out of guilt or a misdirected attempt at providing care. And I’ll never find out, because I blocked and cut off any chances of communicating with him on my solemn ride home. I based my reasons on being uninterested in a relationship, choosing to remain adamant that I was merely foolish and not the reality that I had just been raped.

I can imagine him and the majority of men who have no doubt pulled this maneuver to have sex with a girl, laughing and poking holes at its classification as rape. I’ve seen it on Twitter, where several named rapists pull out ‘receipts’ in the form of texts discussing the intercourse in question, as unimpeachable proof of innocence, making no reference to the allegations laid by the victim that she was essentially worn down, or coerced into having sex.

But make no mistake, that is unequivocally rape.

For years, I asked myself the wrong questions, if really it was a rape, why didn’t you struggle? What stopped you from shouting out and drawing attention to the fact? After all, that measure of resistance would have put him in his place.

But the right question and the only question I should have asked, and one I finally asked this year was: “Why should it have gotten to that stage at all?”

It doesn’t always have to be the gore and struggle, sometimes it is simply continuing after an appeal to stop. Sometimes it is starting at all, after clear requests, please even, that it not begin. I would know.

Boyin Plumptre

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

Lagos state bike ban
February 3, 2020

As many of you know and as some of you can attest through the sweat that soaked through your baffs on the way to work, the Lagos State government has banned bikes/Okadas and Napeps/tricycles from plying major roads in the state. Now it might not feel like it, but bike men/keke napeps drivers should feel […]

October 6, 2020

The Ondo election will be happening this Saturday, October 10, 2020. A total of 28 Governorship and Deputy Governorship candidates have been approved to contest in the election. Here’s what you need to know: When Is The Election? The Ondo State Gubernatorial election will hold on October 10, 2020.  Who are the frontrunners? Rotimi Akeredolu […]


Now on Zikoko

April 10, 2021

With almost two years of being in existence, Sex Life has grown while staying true to its goal of exploring the sex lives of Nigerians. In the last one year and five months since Sex Life was created, we’ve spoken to about eighty Nigerians who are at different places in their lives, with different orintentations, […]

prayer house
April 10, 2021

As told to Mariam I travelled to Ilorin for an exam last week and on the bus, I rode in, I met Yoma*. Somehow the conversation of faith came up, and she told me she didn’t subscribe to the Christianity practised in churches. When I asked why, this is what she told me: I grew […]

April 9, 2021

You’re at a job interview, answering all the questions and feeling yourself when the one person that hasn’t spoken throughout the meeting suddenly asks, “Why should we hire you?” If you’ve ever been in this situation and you didn’t know what to say, we’re sorry we didn’t write this earlier. Here are some of the […]

April 9, 2021

If you have ever considered getting into spoken word poetry and you did not know how to go about it, we are here for you. Just remember us when you blow. 1) Use burial music There is no spoken word performance without proper burial music. You might try to switch it up and use church […]

Recommended Quizzes

April 3, 2020

While the rest of the world loves to treat our continent like a country, there are actually 54 African countries. So, in a bid to test your knowledge (and educate you), we’ve created a quiz to see how many of their capitals you can correctly name. Go ahead:

October 29, 2019

We are going to be attempting to guess when you’ll marry based on your favourite Nigerian foods. What does your fave swallow have to do with when you’ll tie the knot? Please, don’t ask complicated questions. This quiz is rigorous and accurate (don’t quote us), so just take it already. QUIZ: Why Do You Have […]

December 11, 2019

In the past month, we’ve made quizzes that guessed the last time you had sex, how many people you’ve slept with, and just how good you are in bed. For our latest attempt, we will use your taste in Nigerian music from the 2010s to ascertain what you’re like in bed. Take to find out:

March 24, 2020

While we know that a lot of the best Nigerian artists deservedly have fans across generations, that won’t stop us from attempting to guess how old you are based on your taste in Nigerian music. So, take this quiz to see if we got it right:

November 20, 2019

Last month, we thoughtfully made a quiz telling you guys exactly when you’ll marry, but some of you claimed that your spouse was nowhere to be found. Well, now we’ve created one that’ll tell you exactly who you’ll be dragging down that aisle. Take and start planning that wedding: 11 Quizzes For Nigerians Who Are […]

More from Citizen

April 2, 2021

Today’s subject on Abroad Life started her process to leave Nigeria for the USA for school in 2017 and didn’t leave until two months ago. She talks about how money, COVID and visa problems delayed her travel plans. She also talks about arriving in the USA in the middle of a polar vortex and having […]

March 22, 2021

Victor Emmanuel is a queer Nigerian YouTuber with simple demands: He wants the Nigerian Government to repeal the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act (SSMPA). On March 20, 2021, Victor published a video on Twitter, explaining the reason for his decision. He made it clear that he was going on a hunger strike until the SSMPA […]


Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.