8 Women Share How Long It Took Them To Speak About Their Sexual Abuse

July 1, 2019
Illustration by Lauren Mitchell, @curious_lauren

On Friday the 28th of June a video of Busola Dakolo, a celebrity photographer was released across all of YNaija’s platforms.

17 years after her, she was finally sharing the story of her sexual assault and calling out her assaulter. Reactions to the video were swift. While majority of people sympathised, the usual questions that follow reports of rape and sexual assault in Nigeria started to trickle in. 

Why is she just coming out now? How do we know she’s saying the truth? What was she wearing? It didn’t help that her alleged assaulter was Biodun Fatoyinbo the head pastor at COZA. His congregation and many Nigerians see him as a man of God, anointed. As far as they were concerned he could do no wrong. 

The most recurring question, however, was ‘Why did it take her so long to speak about it’. This question is often used to try and disparage women who finally find the strength to talk about their assault.

When people ask this question, they also imply that if the victim had spoken out sooner they’d believe her. To discount this, I spoke with eight women and asked them to share with me how long after their assault if ever, it took them to talk about it. And how the people they shared their stories with reacted.

6 years

I was eighteen when it happened, my first year in Uni. The first time I told anyone was 6 years later when I was 2 years into a very serious relationship. He was very big on openness and I confided in him. We broke up a couple of months after. I think he thought it was my fault.

1 year

It took a year. There was this story trending on the internet that day some vile man had been raping his daughter for years and they finally caught him. My friends were talking about it, and I just kind of broke down. They were very supportive.

7 months

7 months. It’s funny because I never thought I’d be able to talk about it. I never planned to, I had just filed it away in my head as something that never happened. Then I attended Ake festival in 2017 and there was a session about sexual violence and all these strong women were telling their stories. I couldn’t say mine in public but I confided in my friends that day. 

14 years

14 years. When I was ten our house help used to put her fingers in me and just touch me inappropriately she stayed with us for a couple of months and my mum let her go when she found out she was stealing. But I never told anyone about it. For the longest time, I felt guilty about it, I knew it was wrong I just didn’t realise I wasn’t the one at fault until I turned 24. I told my best friend after she shared that something similar had happened to her. 

8 years

8 years. I got raped by my Uncle when I was 15. He was my mother’s younger brother and they were very close. I didn’t think she’d believe me and even if she did I thought she’d blame me. He moved in with us again when my younger sister turned 13 and I noticed he was looking at her funny. I finally told my mum, even threatened to runaway with my sister if she didn’t do something. But she believed me immediately. She wanted him thrown in jail but family intervened. She hasn’t seen him or talked to him since he left. 

1 hour

An hour. It happened in my own room in school. This guy I had been talking to came to see me. We were fooling around and I asked him to stop when it started going too far. He didn’t. He casually let himself out when he was done, didn’t say a word to me. I stayed where he left me until my roommate came back. She wanted us to report to police or school authorities but I didn’t want to put myself through that I just wanted to move past it. 

A couple of hours

A couple of hours. I had gone to see this guy and we were making out. I had told him right from the jump that I didn’t want to have sex. Next thing I know he brings out his penis and I repeat myself. And he goes ‘oh yeah I know nothing is going to happen’. Next thing he’s trying to ease himself in and I tell him to stop and he goes ‘just the tip’, I still say no and he inserts himself regardless. I just lay there like a log of wood.

When I got back to hostel I was gisting my friend like ‘see what this stupid boy did o’. When I finished she was like ‘guy he raped you’. I was arguing that it wasn’t like that, I went with it after he entered, and she kept insisting I was raped. I remember getting upset at her and asking her what secret agenda she had and why she wanted me to be a victim by force. It took me 2 years after it happened to fully understand that she was right and he had raped me. It’s not always violent. 

2 weeks

Two weeks. I was 17 at home after JAMB and WAEC waiting for Uni to start. My brother’s friend came to see him and he wasn’t home. I was home alone but I let him in, because he was a familiar face. I started acting up after it happened, I wasn’t eating, wasn’t going out. I and my brother were close and he knew something was wrong. He kept pressing until I told him what happened.

After I told him, he went and beat the guy to a pulp. I appreciated it but then he had to explain to my parents why he was going around beating people up. I can never forget when he was telling my parents why he beat the guy he narrated it like I was somehow at fault. The only thing my mother had to say was why did I open the door for a stranger and she has warned me to stop wearing short skirts and provocative clothes. 

Toketemu Ohwovoriole

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

January 16, 2019

In the past week, despite the fact that Sanwoolu has continued to visually assault our senses and it’s 2019 and we don’t have 24/7 light. Nigerians have chosen to carry women and what they do with their bodies on their head. And it’s not just this past week, Nigerians (read as Nigerian men) have had […]

June 24, 2020

What qualities do you seek in a romantic partner? Good looks, loyalty, openness? And what qualities do you absolutely detest? Lies, dishonesty, disrespect? For the woman in this week’s ‘What She Said’, lies are her biggest relationship deal-breaker. Which is why she can’t seem to understand why she has only dated the biggest liars of […]

workplace horror stories
April 9, 2021

Working in Nigeria is the ghetto. No shade to my boss. Last week, I asked Nigerian women to tell me the worst things they have experienced working in Nigeria. Here’s what eight of them had to say.  Jumoke, 25  My former boss used to gaslight me, to the extent that I began to doubt my […]

Watch

Now on Zikoko

July 26, 2021

If making money on your own has proved futile, then maybe it’s time to find money other people are not using urgently. Please, pay attention, these are multi-billion dollars tips. 1. Go to Agent Fash Seek out Agent Fashola for special tutorials in the art of finding ‘The Unseen.’ 2. Pray and fast If flesh […]

July 26, 2021

Evil Nigerian women are like little devils, roaming around, looking for whom to devour. Thanks to Momsy’s prayers, you have managed not to fall into the grasp of evil Nigerian women. If you have, my condolences to you. May affliction not rise a second time. If it had already risen a second time, you need […]

July 26, 2021

It’s a myth that you have to eat light before going to the gym. Eat these 6 foods before hitting the gym, and see your body goals become a reality. 1. Eba and egusi If you need energy, this is the best thing to eat before you go to the gym. 2. Poundo yam Don’t […]

Recommended Quizzes

November 27, 2019

Do you have a face that could make angels jealous, or should you really be walking around with a nylon bag over your head so you don’t scare children? Well, this quiz is here to answer that by telling you exactly how good-looking you are. Take and find out: 11 Quizzes For People Who Aren’t […]

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:

January 2, 2020

Do you have even a single romantic bone in your body? Well, if you’re not sure about just how sweet and thoughtful you can be to someone you love, that’s what this quiz is here to answer. 11 Quizzes For Nigerians Who Are Ready To Marry  Are you ready to marry? Take these quizzes.

October 30, 2019

Kemi Adetiba’s King of Boys movie got a lot of things right, especially casting, so yes, it was a monster hit. Now, we know you may not have put much thought to this, but the personalities of some of the characters closely match yours, and we would like to help you find the perfect match. […]

More from Her

diagram of the female reproductive system
July 25, 2021

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is still largely unspoken about across Nigeria. Many people may have heard about it but a lot of them don’t know what’s true or false about the condition. Here are five myths and facts about Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Every woman with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome grows hair in unlikely places.  Though a […]

black woman in the gym
July 25, 2021

I spoke to four Nigerian women about what visiting the gym as a woman is like. Here’s what they had to say: Bibi, 22 I always have a pleasant experience at the gym but there was this day, my friends and I were on the mat and the instructor was helping us stretch our bodies. It […]

July 23, 2021

Romantic relationships bring different changes to our lives. Some welcome, some not. In this article, five Nigerian women talk about how their partners changed their lives.  Bisola, 23 I grew up in a conservative space but I always knew I wanted to explore certain things and with the help of my current partner, I am […]

black girl using her phone
July 22, 2021

There is a growing number of dating apps available to Nigerians living in Nigeria. In this article, three Nigerian women talk about using dating apps.  Dami, 27 I downloaded Bumble a few months ago. This is my first time using a dating app. I chose Bumble because my friend told me that the app is […]

July 22, 2021

Everyone has a story about their first time. In this article, eight Nigerian women talk about the first time they had penetrative sex. Nancy, 22 I didn’t bleed during my first time, probably because my boyfriend in secondary school used to finger me when we made out.  The first time a penis tried to go […]

what she said design with a woman in a hospital gown sitting down
July 21, 2021

The subject of today’s What She Said is a 23-year-old woman who had an ovarian drilling surgery. She talks about PCOS and how it affected her mental and physical health, how unhelpful the doctor who diagnosed her was, and needing an ovarian drilling.  Tell me something about your childhood. Okay, let’s talk about my first […]

Nigerian women celebrating Ileya.
July 20, 2021

Ileya, also called Eid-el Kabir or ram Sallah is a great time to connect with family and friends over juicy pieces of fried ram. As with other things, women have a specific experience of Ileya that is often missing from the conversation. In this article, eight Nigerian women talk about celebrating Ileya.  Farida, 26  I’ve […]

black girl sitting down and smiling
July 17, 2021

I was shocked to find out that after you turn 25, your body experiences a set of changes. They call it second puberty. Like the first one, it’s different for everyone. The changes could come at 30+ or there would be no changes at all. In my experience and that of those around me, here’s […]

Black bridesmaids in brown dresses surrounding a bride in white holding flowers
July 16, 2021

Everybody knows that Nigerian weddings are an experience. Aside from smoky jollof rice and the bride’s dress, one thing that keeps the wedding going is the bridesmaids — running from one corner to the other, making sure everyone is happy. In this article, three Nigerian women talk about being bridesmaids.  Labake, 30 My cousin asked […]

woman lying down holding her stomach
July 15, 2021

As told to Mariam Last month, in a conversation about womanhood, Bee told me she had her uterus taken out. Curious, I asked more questions and here’s what she told me: The doctor found the first cyst during a routine ultrasound. It was 2014, and I was 18 and pregnant. The doctors didn’t know what […]

Watch

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.
X