I met her at a meeting in Nairobi in 2015, she is bubbly, we stayed in touch through Facebook. When I called out to elite women to share their stories of victory against abuse, she inboxed me admitting that she was not sure whether she had really overcome, I told her to share anyway. She had written something about her experience but never had the guts to share it really and all I needed to do was to review.
Fresh at the university, I met James in March 2011 through my cousin Denis. I was a virgin that knew neither trust nor love.
My trust was leaning on the fact that Denis and I were close. I held onto the old adage that “Show me your friends and I will tell you who you are” besides my physical eye, I could not see beyond the man that I was attracted to and that he was 29 and eight years my senior didn’t matter.
He visited me in Nakuru on a number of weekends but never ever suggested anything like sex or even romance. My trust increased. He told me that he wanted me to finish school and we would take the relationship to another level. He was simply perfect. We went out on a couple of dates- a few drinks here and there but never did we share a bed.
One day, during his visits he drunk a little too much and an argument ensued. He slapped me. He apologised profusely and even cried for forgiveness. I was in love so I forgave but I never forgot. I had started seeing skin deep. That was in August of the same year. In September, he slapped me again over a simple argument but still, I forgave him.
In December 2011, I went to my rural home in Kisii for my grandfather’s funeral. We agreed to meet because that was his home, where he lived in his house alone. We met at a local club and he had his few drinks before we departed. As we left the club, I was quite sober but he was tipsy. We got into the car and his driver was supposed to drop me home then drop him. He instructed the driver to take us to his house first then later I would be dropped. I tried to resist but his driver could only take his instruction.
The alarm in my mind went off when his driver left. He (James) locked the gate and all the doors and kept the key. From the time we arrived at about 7.30pm at 9.05pm, there was an uneasy silence. My phone didn’t have credit. We did not say a word to each other. (I will never forget this) at 9.06pm, I asked him to drop me home instead of us sitting quiet and staring in the air. For heaven’s sake, it was my grand father’s funeral.
I didn’t know that my question was fuel on flames. He gripped my head, pulled my hair and pressed my head to the floor. He stepped on my head thrice and hit me with a big stick. I have no idea where that stick came from.
I felt like I was bleeding from every part of my body. I cried and screamed but no one could hear me. It was the only house in the compound. He began to wipe my blood. At around 11 pm, he told me that it was time to sleep. He showed me the bedroom – I slept on the bed and him on the floor. This time, he was not sorry.
I kept crying. After over two hours, he suddenly stood up from the mattress he was sleeping on. He came towards the bed, he tied my hands to the bed and he raped me. This is stamped in my memory. I will never forget this day. I pinched myself to see if I wasn’t having a bad dream that I could somehow wake up from.
Morning came, he forced me into the bathroom to clear any evidence from the rape then told me to leave his house. I took a cab to attend my grand father’s funeral. I was embarrassed. After the funeral, I stayed indoors. I don’t know where he is, I don’t really want to know.
To cover up my hurt, I started to attend the gender meetings at campus, the leaders would tell give us messages to take to victims, I never opened up because I didn’t want to be the girl that wears the scarlet letter on her forehead. I started hard and graduated. I am a working woman woman but my trust was robbed. That dark day is engrained in my memory.
This is the first time in 6 years speaking out about this ordeal. I have never healed – I have never talked to anyone about this. It kills me every day. But I have dedicated my time to helping others heal and along the way I hope I can find my own healing.
Back then I did not know anything or any legal action. I would take but today am empowered and I encourage other women to not keep quiet about such issues But what is love again?