I know what it’s like to hurt so much you’re not sure you can stand it any longer. And there have been times when I didn’t understand how God could allow me to go through some of the things I’ve been through. I left home at 16 and lived under a bridge with prostitutes, and I remember praying many times for God to rescue me from that situation. I went without food for days because I refused to be a part of them. They scorned me and said, “ Use what you have to get what you want”. ( I did use what I have to get food. I will write about it in the next post.)
I had 5 near rape experiences on the street and one landed me in the hospital with a scar on my side. I have told a lot of lies about the scar on my right side just because I didn’t want anyone to judge me. But then, here’s what really happened!
One of my “street friends” collected money from a hoodlum and the deal was to bring me to him. She asked me to go with her down Keffi road in Obalende to buy a few things at 9pm. At a point, I noticed the girl wasn’t beside me and next thing I felt was a man’s hand holding my waist. I pushed him away and started running. He chased me to Dodan Army Barracks and I fell on the barbwire the Military men used to barricade the barracks from hoodlums. The wire caught my skin and I started bleeding. Same guy who wanted to hurt me, took me and ran towards the bridge and drop me there
I felt a sharp pain on my ride side and I opened my eyes in the clinic. My “street friends” as usual were half naked and on the clinic card, the nurse wrote my name in full, my age and then it struck me, my occupation on the card was “prostitute”.
I couldn’t believe it.
“When did I become I prostitute?”
“ How did I get here?”
“How do I explain to the nurse that I wasn’t a Prostitute but only living with them?”
I had so many unanswered questions and for hours I refused the meal the girls brought. I only had one request, “steal the clinic card and get me out of here”. They did get me out of there with the card they stole (Don’t ask me how they did it).
I have a lot of scars on my body from sleeping in very uncomfortable places and running from hoodlums. I was sad for a very long time and a few times; I questioned God’s existence. Great thing is, I can say now that God did a lot of good things in me through those hard times.
He didn’t leave me there alone. He kept me safe!
A few months after I left the street, I realized that I was afraid of men. I didn’t even know how bad it was until I went to shop at Yaba market in Lagos and a man grabbed my hands trying to cajole me to buy from him, (Girls who go to Idumota or Yaba Market will understand). I started screaming and shouting. It attracted a lot of people and I felt embarrassed.
How did I get here? I couldn’t sit alone in a house with a man; I was always looking over my shoulder. It changed me! I once asked myself “Raquel, what if you were raped? ”hmmnn! I might not have survived it. I only had near rape experiences and the after effect was ruining my life and my chance of ever letting any man with good intentions come close to me.
Looking back, I can say, “so many times we face difficulties that alter the itinerary of our lives, only to find the detour was actually God’s path”. It may be difficult to accept this now but soon, ‘every single thing will fall in place”. Until then, Praise Him In The Storm!
I hope someone out there finds solace in relating to my experiences.