By Yvonne E Mwende
Beatrice Oyombe, 28 years has attempted suicide twice unsuccessfully. The first attempt in the house of her abuser. She now knows very well the pattern that sexual abusers follow. The seduction that nearly took her life. She is not alone.
Leaving Neverland documentary by Dan Reed begins with a score where two boys are led by a pixie deep into a beautiful magical forest. As the boys enchantment with the forest grows, they are unaware that the forest has become distorted, darker, the limbs of the trees becoming more twisted and sinister. The shimmering pixie turns into an engulfing monster. This picture best depicts Michael Jackson’s shape-shifting from a benevolent idol, best friend into a manipulative rapist.
Same script, different cast. Enter stage right. Beatrice’s father passed on when she was just a toddler, and with six siblings her widowed mother struggled to make ends meet. Eventually, some of her siblings had to go live with relatives, while she and her two younger brothers remained with her mum. She recalls quite vividly joining high school with old hand-me-down uniforms and barely a shilling with which to pay school fees. Lucky for her the principal somewhat agreed to have her embark on her studies before her tuition was complete. And this is when she encountered her pixie, in the form of a male teacher who took an interest in helping her out financially. “The first time he bought me a pair of shoes, as mine were old and torn. I was surprised but thankful.” Beatrice’s mother seemed okay with the beneficent teacher. After that, the gifts came tumbling over each other, a book, pocket money, sanitary towels, each she thought given by a kind man.
In appreciation her mother sent her to the teacher with vegetables, an apt choice since she was a groceries vendor at the local market, and that was all she could afford. “He tried to kiss me that time…I was too shocked, so I ran.” Notwithstanding, the groceries sent to him by her mother, Beatrice also offered to clean his house. “He seemed such a good person. Once when mum took ill and was admitted, he gave me money for the hospital bill”. Soon the pixie would have his way. He tried to kiss her a second time when she was sent, and she gave in. “We had sex then and that began a series of sexual encounters. The man was quite good to me, I felt I couldn’t say No.”
When she told him she was pregnant, he accused her of sleeping around, “he told me he had sex with many girls and none of them had told him they were pregnant.” A visit to the doctor confirmed the pregnancy, and then came the verdict, “he forced me to have an abortion, telling me that my mum would be so disappointed in me”. On the day of the abortion, the teacher gave money and had his niece accompany her to the clinic. “The pain was beyond anything I had felt before. It was excruciating.” After, she went back to his house following the abortion, he forced her to have sex with him. Feeling pain and with tears blinding her vision she walked the hour long journey to her home, where her mother not understanding attempted to beat her. She went back to the teacher and he forced himself on her again.
“I pleaded to be moved to another school, but the guilt ate me up to the point I couldn’t even concentrate in my new school.” That’s when she attempted suicide, the first time she broke into the teacher’s house, took poison and waited to die. “I wanted to die, so that he could explain to everyone why I was dead in his house.” She woke up in hospital. The second time, the pain from the double dose of Agrovet poisonous substance, caused her to sound an alarm and her mother rushed her to hospital.
There are a number of techniques that sexual predators use to groom their prey, the top most being earning the trust of the prey and their families through benevolent gifts, emotional manipulation, victimization, control and reinforcement among other ploys. At most times, manipulative seduction is never identified until it is too late for the victim.
Beatrice now uses her experience to ensure that no child or woman is forced to endure the abuse she experienced. Having reclaimed her purpose and re-envisioned her dreams, she is no longer a victim, but a survivor. Working as a fitness instructor and one of I Am My Bodyguard’s instructors, she is keen to impart vital life skills to children and women. Your valuable support will help prevent sexual violence among girls and women by ensuring safe, holistic support for these groups through I Am My Bodyguard’s workshops. Pick a cause and make your stand today.