“Tolani Answer Me!” Mama Tolani ordered with concern in her voice.
“sis, what happened to you?” Tunde asked as he went closer to observe his sister.
“I…..I…I was….I….” Tolani stuttered as she began to flash back.
“I was involved in a fight!” Tolani shouted trembling.
“Fight? Again? What happened” Mama Tolani queried.
“They wouldn’t give me my money for oranges, tend had started drinking it and told me to come back tomorrow for my money” Tolani muttered in a rush.
“Who? I’m going there now…”
“It’s okay, no need…I’m fine mummy” Tolani blocked her mum.
“Look at you…” Mama Tolani held her daughter’s face up.
“I’m fine” Tolani said and entered the house.
Tunde helped his mum to pick up the tray.
Tolani stopped on her way to the toilet: she peeped and saw Tolu sleeping; she gave a weak smile, entered the bathroom and that was when she really saw all the blood, how come her mum didn’t see it? Thank God the trouser she wore was black, she cleaned up, tied everything she was putting in in a black nylon, as she recalled what happened, she was sobbing from the pains – she sobbed quietly.
A knock on the bathroom door jolted her back to life.
“Sis Tolani Are you there? ” Tunde called.
“Yes. What is it” Tolani managed
“Your food. I have put it in…”
“I’m not hungry you can have it”.
The silence that followed afterwards strangely comforted Tolani: she kept the tied nylon bag in a sack where she keeps her old books and shoes – she will find a better means to get rid of them later in the day:she was trying to avoid her mum.
Her little sister and her mum sleeps in the only room in the not so big house even after so much persuade from their mother: Tunde and Tolani refused to sleep on the bed; they would always say to their mum “you need it after so much day’s work”. They always sleep on a mat in their small living room.
Tunde stayed awake most of the night watching his sister struggle and mumble in her sleep.
Seun crashed on his couch and picked up his phone; he scrolled through some stuffs and laughed, then dialled Ben’s number.
“Guy you dey house?”.
“Yes. Wetin happen?”
“Abeg from work tomorrow I dey come your house come sleep, spend weekend”
“Guy wetin do your house”
Seun gave some flimsy excuses included that there is no light in his area and he is tired of staying in the apartment alone convincing Ben. He laughed some more as he resumed strolling, chatted some more then fell asleep.
THE FOLLOWING MORNING
Tolani prepared for school, she did her best to avoid her mum and stopped leaping when ever she was around her mum. And when she was about to leave for school…
“Tolani…” Her mother called as Tolani was passing by as she was arranging her wares on her counter.
Tolani paused in front of her mum; scared that her mum has noticed something.
“Maa” she answers and turned towards her mum slowly. She was holding her school bag and a nylon bag that had her lunch in it in the other hand.
“The money you brought home from selling the oranges yesterday is a N100 short” Mama Tolani said without looking at her she was busy arranging her wares.
“I..,” Tolani knows her mum is a wise a woman so she knew better than to lie to her mum:her mum had told them stories of how she always came first in class but she could not further her education to an higher institution because her parents had no money. Deborah hoped scholarships would be provided but gave up after 3 years of fruitless hope and little money in circulation. Tolani tried to never lie to her mother….
“Tolani…”. Her waited for her response.
“Maaa…I lost it in the fight”Tolani said and waited for her mother’s response but when she heard nothing, she left.
After school, on the way back home Chisom – Tolani’s classmate walked up to her.
“Are you okay Tolani, you seem a little off today”, Chisom asked peering into Tolani’s face.
“I am fine” Tolani replied abruptly.
“Yesterday when I saw you while you were hawking your oranges you barely said a word to me.”
“I am sorry, but I waved right..”
“Hope you sold plenty?”
“Did that man buy?”
“What man?” Tolani stopped walking.
“That corner who lives alone in that apartment close to my street”.
Tolani’s world spun. “No. I didn’t sell to him, I did not go there…I…I…don’t even know what you are talking about. ..” Tolani’s memories began to play flashbacks of what happened.
“…but I saw you go in there”
“He pushed me in!” Tolani shouted.
Tolani’s school is a government school, they pay not more than 3 thousand Naira per term, they have a lot of pupils who normally flood the streets during their closing hour and by this time, almost half the pupils on the street turned to look at Tolani.
Chisom quickly pulled Tolani to a corner-away from everyone’s eyes.
“Tolani…you need to calm down. Please…calm down”, Chisom hushed her.
“I was in my aunt’s shop on that street when I saw you dropped your tray to sell the oranges for him, then picked it up and headed for his door… Wait! He pushed you in? Don’t tell me he raped you too?”, Chisom asked as she made Tolani sit down.
“….Yes. Chisom…that man raped me”, Tolani replied with tears in her eyes. “I was a virgin till…wait…me too? What do you mean?” Tolani stopped sobbing and looked at Chisom.
“He raped me too…but I wasn’t a virgin…I was so…”
“So, I’m not the only one….did you tell anyone Chisom?”
“My mother and my aunty knows, they blamed me…”Chisom’s face went sad. “She said I was careless… I tried to explain… I told her I was only looking for change for a customer… He was sitting outside his house and when I got closer he pulled me in… I screamed but no one came to my aid… My mother told me not to tell anyone not even my dad.” Chisom was already in tears. Tolani made a little space from where she was sitting and made Chisom sit on it cuzs she was standing.
“Ssshh ssshhh! Chisom its okay…it’s okay” Golani said and pulled Chisom to her arms.
“Did you tell anyone?”, Chisom asked Tolani after she got hold of herself.
“No one knows… Only you now”, Tolani stared blankly.
“You have to, we have to… This is a second case. Who knows how many more? ” Chisom held Tolani’s shoulder.
“You have to speak up. They will believe us this time, my mum will see that it was not my fault and that man will finally get what he deserve for what he did to us…” Chisom sounded reassuring.
“He threatened me, my sister…he said he will bribe the law enforcers…Chisom they won’t listen to us…”They both felt quiet afterwards.
“Tolani” Chisom broke the silence. “You are in pain… How long do you think you can hide that, it could be serious. Just tell your mum. …Tolani yell your mum then anything she says… I’m here for you but just let her know.” Chisom was already holding Tolani’s hands in hers.
“Okay, I will.” Tolani said after heaving heavily.
THIS Story IS FICTION AND WRITTEN IN ORDER TO HELP TELL THE STORIES OF THE ONES WHO COULDN’T SAY, THE ONES WHO WERE SILENCED FOREVER. IT IS WRITTEN IN ORDER TO FIND SOLUTION TO RAPE CASES AND SHUN ALL THE RAPIST MINDS MAKING IT CLEAR THAT THEY SHOULDN’T THINK ABOUT IT AND IF THEY DO THEY WILL BE FOUND.
IT IS ALSO A WAY OF STATING SOME MAIN SOCIETAL PROBLEMS SO WE ALL AS A NATION CAN WORK AGAINST IT.
STORY BY: @GOOD_TOXIN
GOODNESS FELIX ADEBAYO says NO TO RAPE.
Please drop your opinions and contributions in the comment box, ideas are needed to finish the fight against RAPE in this story…let’s all contribute to justice.
#SAY NO TO RAPE #NOTORAPE #SAVETHEGIRL #SAVEME #STOPTHEVIOLENCE #STOPKILLINGUS #JUSTICEFORUWA #JUSTICEFORTINA #JUSTICEFORADA #JUSTICEFORJENNIFFER #SPEAKUP #CONTRIBUTETOJUSTICE