In a bid to encourage victims of rape not to commit suicide but to speak up, Nollywood actress, Iyabo Ojo, has revealed how she was raped by one of the armed robbers who invaded her husband’s house shortly after she got married in Lagos State and four other experiences she had with rapist before then.
Ojo added that the experience after marriage was the fifth encounter which started at the age of 14 and that she could not inform anyone considering the taboo attached to the act within her community.
According to her, I was silent over the issue at the time when it occurred because of the fear of being criticised by members of society particularly not to be considered a wayward girl.
The actress, who opened up on her experience as a victim of rape and survivor in a recent episode of her YouTube page, urged people who had a similar experience to summon courage in sharing their stories as such would help create more awareness about the scourge.
“I was raped by one of the armed robbers who came to our house to rob. It’s not easy to talk about rape. No matter how much you talk about it, you have to realise that it is painful, but you are not alone.
She said: “I know a lot of ladies who have been through what I have been through and I feel it is time for me to talk to them and make them understand that it is okay to talk about it. To let them know that it is not okay to be in the situation but when you find yourself in that situation.
“Like I said, yes I have been raped before. Not once but five times. And trust me when I say it was not easy. The first time I was raped, I was 14. It happened at my aunt’s house (not a family member). I didn’t want to talk about it because then it was a big taboo to talk about it (being raped).
“I felt I would be blamed for everything that happened. I opened the door and allowed the person to come in. But I didn’t know it was going to happen at the end of the day. But when it did, I was afraid because the person had threatened and begged me. And I felt it was going to cause a whole lot of drama so I kept it to myself”.
The actress, who is also an entrepreneur, narrated that the perpetrator kept visiting her and that his claim was the act was done to express his love for her.
“And the second one, that was another terrible one that happened. And I still could not tell anybody in my family. Along the line, when I began to talk about my mother, father, and a bit of thing, which happened in my family, you will see why I could not tell anyone in my family.
“But when I summoned a bit of courage to tell a friend of mine then and it was one of the reasons why I ran away at a particular time. The whole family was looking for me and when they eventually found me, I still didn’t talk about it.
“Now the third one, the guy was actually a neighbour. Like we are actually very close to each other. You know, my dad’s house, and his own house, was the second or third street away in the same neighbourhood.
“He was a friend to my first boyfriend, though he was much older than him. I never knew that he had such an intention. I grew up in Obanikoro area of Lagos, but I moved to Ikeja to stay with my aunty.
“However, I went to Obanikoro sometimes to check on my grandmother, dad, and my boyfriend at that time. On my way from Obanikoro going home I was at the bus stop waiting for a taxi then his car drove past me and he stopped.
“We exchanged pleasantries and he asked me where I was going, which I told him that I was going to Ikeja and he offered to drop me off and also said he had moved to Ikeja.
“When we got to Ikeja, he told me he lives in Toyin Street and I told him I know the street very well because I live in Balogun Bus Stop in Ikeja and he said he should show me his house so that I can come visiting whenever I feel like.
“I didn’t see any big deal in it because he was a friend to my first ex-boyfriend then. When we got to his house, he just had a rug, air-condition, and television in the parlour. So he suddenly said he was hungry and asked me if I was hungry too, but I told him that I wasn’t because I was late and my aunty would be waiting for me.
“So he offered me a drink, which I accepted. He then went into the kitchen to get me juice. I did not think of anything. I just sat down on the floor watching television.
“Then cooked noodles and offered me, but I refused and he tried to force it into my mouth, which I asked him to stop. Then he started saying that he has loved me for a very long time and he was in love with me and wanted me to be his girlfriend and I reminded him that I was his friend’s girlfriend.
Ojo stated that rather than stop, the perpetrator argued further that he had affection for her before Emmanuel, her first date, and that after realising she had started dating Emmanuel, he was heartbroken.
While noting that at that time, she was 18 years old, the actress narrated that efforts to leave the house proved abortive as he had locked every exit door and prevented all efforts she made to scream for help.
“So it dawned on me that it was about to happen again and I didn’t want it to so I really wrestled with him. Then I tried to push him and ran into one of the rooms to open the window to screen and then he pulled me back with my hair and then he held my neck to the wall.
“I continued struggling and wrestling with him so he dragged me out of the room because he didn’t want me to shout and gave me a dirty slap. I hit my head on the wall. I was a bit dizzy trying to find my feet and he went into the kitchen to get the knife. When he got the knife, his eyes went red and his face changed.
“He wasn’t the same person that I knew and it dawned on me that if I fight him, I would end up dead. Then he dragged me back into the room. I was just numb. He did whatever he wanted to do and when he was done, he went out and came back and started calling my name because I was still at the spot he raped me.
“Then he started calling me baby and that word baby was piercing my brain because I was mad. The way he was saying the baby was annoying me. So he kept saying Iyabo baby, I am sorry I didn’t mean it, it is because I love you. You made me do this. I have never done this in my life. Please forgive me. And in my head I was like I had to play along because he still had a knife in his hands.
“So people will definitely not hear my voice. So I told him that I understood but he said no and started crying. He asked me if I would tell Emmanuel but I said no and he said who would I tell, but I said I would not tell anyone.
“And I tried to convince him that I would not tell anyone so he asked me to kiss him and I did everything he wanted me to do so that I can get out of his house. I can talk about it now. The thing is you never get over it, but it gets to a stage in your life whereby it becomes a story to tell and there are no right words on how you can deal with it.