The latest report on Uwa Omozuwa, the lady murdered at a Redeemed Christian Church of God in Edo State has again brought to the fore the devastating effect of sexual molestation of vulnerable young people.
The Edo State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof Yinka Omorogbe had on Friday, June 18 said the slain 22-year-old student of the University of Benin was a virgin before she was raped and murdered.
She was reacting to reports on social media that the suspect arrested in connection with Uwa’s murder confessed that he was sent on the assignment by a church pastor who she was pregnant for. But the lattest report has vindicated the pastor.
Uwa was raped and murdered in the RCCG Church where she went to study on May 27, 2020.
For a long time however, the Church, in general, may have to contend with issues of rape and sexual assault.
In this report, Kehinde Eniayejuni chronicles the stories of some church girls who were raped, those who had near-rape experiences and those who were sexually molested. The surnames of these ladies are withheld for obvious reasons.
My mother trusted him
Funmi (surname withheld) finds it difficult to ward off the thought of her experience in the hands a fellow church brother several years ago. She was 13. The brother could pass for her father. Though he was not married he had a reputation of being chaste.
But then the unexpected happened. “I did not know what came over him. This particular day he was seized by the spirit of lust because I could not imagine that he would want to do a quickie with me in the dark, at a spot not too far from our house. He could not hold his sexual urge. He came to our house that evening for the usual visitation. My mother trusted him so much. It was a Saturday evening. By the time he was through with the usual niceties and pleasantries he set out to go. But it was dark already.
“Before then on this fateful day, he was having this amorous look and was tactically getting unusually close to me. My mum was completely oblivious of his moves. I could not understand what he was aiming either. But it became obvious when my mum asked my elder brother and me to see him off. We live in a community kind of environment. But the houses are far apart.”
Immediately they stepped out this brother kept on getting close in the usual way of showing affection. “We were seeing him off and he decided to buy drinks for us. So we reclined at a nearby uncompleted building just around our house. He asked my brother to buy the drinks. I was excited about the drink because I had longed for one. It was a long time we had a drink in our house. My parents were not too comfortable for such luxuries.
“My brother would have to trek for about 5 minutes to get the drink. While we waited he just pounced on me like a monster. I was shocked. I was taken aback. I had no slightest understanding of what he was up to. But he was already unusually close to me. I could not resist him at that point. I was naive. He was unzipping his trousers and was planning to do the unthinkable. I was wondering as a small girl. He was all over me and was almost having his way when my brother returned from where he went to buy drinks. He quickly allowed me to be.”
Sexual abuse: He had his way
In the case of Iniola who also shared her experience, she was not that lucky. She has since been devastated by that experience making it difficult for her to trust men.
She reveals, ‘The brother who first had carnal knowledge of me albeit forcefully was married but had no child. My parents knew him. Church members were quite aware of his status and his spiritual standing. Many people didn’t know this brother had a capacity for what he did.
“Some of these brothers appear clean and prayerful but sincerely they are battling with lust. They have not been able to deal with their lustful desires. The brother in question invited me to his house to see his wife and that he wanted to give me some tracts for evangelism.
“Then I was just about 15 years. I was reluctant to go to his house not because I suspected anything but because of the distance of his house to ours. The way I responded was not encouraging when he called me on phone. Then he decided to meet me midway with his car. I jumped at the offer
“So we met at a particular spot. He insisted I should enter the car. I had no choice, I trusted him.
As soon as I entered he told me he forgot the materials at home, He then told to come in to see his wife since the place was not far from his house. He drove back to his house and I stepped out of the car with him to his house. All I could remember was that he grabbed me from behind, saying lustful words to me,
“His wife was not at home. he had lied to me. I tried to scream but before I could mutter more words he sealed my mouth and pulled me on the sofa in his sitting-room like a man that had been starved of sex for years. I just found myself shouting, what are you doing! What are you doing!”
“That was all I kept saying. I begged him to stop. He said he had always wanted to have me. He said every time he saw me he kept breathing heavily. That day he had his way, but I left the place devastated. I had never had sex in my life. That was the first time. It was disgusting. I left there hating him but shame would not allow me to share this story with my parents. Even now that I am telling you I don’t feel comfortable. But I hope other young girls can be more careful.”
Incidentally, her parents did not suspect anything. “The brother kept coming to me to plead and ask for forgiveness. He said he did not know what came over him that day. I was still seeing him for many years before we moved out of that environment. I could not summon the courage to tell anybody because nobody would believe my story”
Neighbours came to the rescue
25-year-old Folakemi was in part three in the university when a fellowship brother almost had carnal knowledge of her forcefully. “He would pray with me, send me bible passages to read and tell me to always stay committed to God’s word. Can I say it’s the Devil that used him, or do I say he was the devil himself? He told me God was leading him to me in the area of marriage.
“I prayed too and told him I was still waiting on God’s response. He kept begging me and told me God doesn’t only speak through visions and impression of the holy spirit. He said God could talk through natural affection for one another. But I insisted we should stay as friends. He continued his evangelism and good deeds to everyone in the church.
“This went on until one day when he visited me in my room in the hostel. It was an outside campus hostel. I offered him water and we kept talking. Midway into our conversation, he started touching me. I got irritated and ordered him out of the room. He just laughed and said so you think you can harass me like that. Rather than leave he became bolder and said to me, so you think you can deny me my right? I said what right, are we married?
“He became adamant insisting that he was not going to leave until he had his way. He said to me: Why are you acting tough? Other sisters in the church do it and no one knows about it, even the prayer leader!”
“I kept shouting, almost crying, “Please, just stop, I’m begging you” as we struggled a pack of condom fell out from his pocket. I kept shouting at the top of my voice… “ help” as God would have it people came rushing towards the door and forced the door open. He left my room in shame. Till today I never heard from him again.”
A fellow lady molested me
Rachel a youth corps member, however, said she has never been raped by a man but has been sexually molested by a fellow female who was a leader in the church “It’s a shame I could not say anything until my third year when I realized she would be graduating soon.
“I was beautiful, innocent and intelligent. As soon as I got admitted to the university, she took me as her school daughter. This was the beginning of my woes. She touched me every day. She told me not to ever mention it to anyone or else she would hurt me.
“I came from a poor family. I knew what it took me to get the admission. It was a struggle. I had I lost my mum before then too. So I couldn’t get support for my education. So she came in to fill that vacuum. She provided me with all I needed and used me to satisfy all her sexual demands. At a point, I also became addicted.
“That lady was a monster. My grades were going down. My life was shattered and nothing was clear to me again. It was like I was bewitched. It took a pastor who prayed for me in my third year to deliver me from that spirit. That was what led to my salvation. It became clear that I was never a Christian but was just a churchgoer.”
A professor’s counsel
Prof Adegboyega Aduradola while addressing a conference on sexual assault recently said parents have a huge role to play in safeguarding their children from the hands of sexual predators. He said they should not leave the training of their children to teachers and the church alone.
“There is a need to step up sexual education for young people and create continuous awareness to stem the tide sexual assault. The rate of sexual molestation is becoming embarrassing. The earlier the church tackle this the better.”