19-yr-old, Who Tested Hiv-positive After She Was Gang-molested, Seeks Justice –

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Helen (surname withheld) will be 20 years on
October 10. But she now bears a burden that is
too heavy for her age. She was gang-Molested in
January this year and was diagnosed with HIV last
month. Due to the heart-rending experience and
the medical diagnosis that followed, the once
cheerful and vivacious Helen now wears a long
face as she carries with her the psychological
burden of the experience.
After secondary school in 2008, Helen wanted to
further her education, but being the fifth of 11
children comes with its own challenge. “Na the
condition of no money, na im prevent me from
going further,” said Helen when asked why she had
not bothered to continue her education.
Despite her background, Helen was unperturbed.
Determined that she would return to school some
day, she began working as a cleaner in a big firm
at Lekki, Lagos, from where she hoped to save for
school. She had worked there for almost a year
before the tragic episode that altered her life
dramatically took place. It was with a deep
emotion that she recounted her ordeal.
All was quiet and the street lonely early that
Tuesday morning when the unsuspecting lady set
out from her Bariga home to resume her morning
shift at work. It was at exactly 5:05am, the same
time she often left home everyday to board a bus
some streets away to Lagos Island. But that
morning, something was not right. She noticed five
young men lurking about as she got out of her
street’s gate. On seeing their fearsome
appearance, her heart skipped a beat.
Consumed by fear, her first instinct was to turn
and run back into the street, but it was too late.
She had been spotted. “They blocked and grabbed
me. They pointed a gun at me and told me to be
quiet and do everything they said I should do, or
else they would harm me,” Helen said before she
was overcome by emotion. After a short silence
that seemed ages, she added: “I tried to shout but
when I looked around and did not see anybody
except those guys, I was so afraid and did as they
said… They, then, carried me to one corner by the
side of the street… (She bowed her head). They
asked me to lie down.” Helen went silent again
with head still bowed, to hold back tears. She said:
“I begged them to release me, that I was on my
way to work and that I didn’t have anything to offer
them. They told me to shut up, saying they would
waste me, if I didn’t like my life. I begged them to
spare my life.” Her plea touched a member of the
gang; he said she should be freed. But his
statement fell on deaf ears, for Helen’s other
attackers were determined to carry out their task
to the letter. Fighting back tears, she said: “The
others said he could leave if he wanted to; they
then collected my handbag, my purse and the
N5,000 inside with my two phones – one was in
my hand. I used its torchlight; the other was in my
Jeans pocket. They removed the phone, pulled off
my trousers and started violating me (Silence)…
They asked me to pull off my clothes. I begged
Her face became contorted as the agony of the
incident swelled her being. Helen became silent
again. One could see she was fighting to hide
several conflicting emotions as she recounted.
“But was there no way you could have shouted for
help?” the reporter asked in an attempt to douse
the tension. “There was no way I could have
shouted because there were five of them against
only me… I was so scared. So, I just kept begging
them to release me.” As her attackers were
beginning to enjoy their violent act, they spotted
another young man and lady walking towards
them. Helen’s attackers also pounced on the
couple, robbing them of their valuables at
gunpoint. Two of them also Molested the second
lady. By that time, Helen’s eyes were already
swollen, from her trauma and obvious
helplessness in the hands of the crooks. The two
men Molested the girl while the other three
continued Molesting me,” she said in a subdued
voice. On how she felt when her violators had their
turns, Helen, in tears, said: “I swallowed my
scream, felt very bad and closed my eyes as each
of them…(Silence). For my mind e be like say
make I get knife take kill them, because it was a
very painful thing to experience. Before they
started, I had asked if they had condoms but they
said ‘No’. ‘’
After they finished, all I could think of was running
to the hospital and getting some drugs or
treatment that could wash everything away from
my whole being: my physical body, heart, soul and
all. (Again, she lapsed into another silence). I felt
very bad and, somehow, dirty.” After the incident
She ran back home to her sister. Both ladies cried
in silence; they felt ashamed to share with
neighbours what had happened. As if that was not
enough, while nursing the psychological trauma of
the assault she got, another shocker happened to
her on the same day. Helen discovered that her
violators were her neighbours. “I recognised them:
two of them live opposite my house. Before that
time, I did not notice them. I see them every day
and cringe; I’m always in fear each time I see
them,” she said. Three months after Besides the
traumatic molest, Helen has fallen into a
worrisome medical condition. Last month, she was
diagnosed with HIV at the General Hospital where
she was rushed to after she was Molested. Before
then, Helen said she had been “negative”, adding
that she knew through a test she did some time
back. “When I went there when it first happened,
they asked me some questions, gave me some
drugs and told me to come back after three
months for more tests.
The three-month period lapsed last month. The
hospital did the followup test and found that I have
become HIV-’positive’. ‘’I felt bad, very bad; and I
cried. In fact, the doctor tried to calm my mind;
but I kept on crying that ‘I’m finished’. I wanted to
take my life because I never expected this to
happen to me. They told me life still goes on and
that I can still live my life to the fullest. They say
people with HIV are can be healthier than those
who are negative with the help of drugs. Before I
left the hospital, I cried and begged them to help
me because I did not plan to live on drugs for rest
of my life,” she said. With tears dripping freely and
looking straight at the reporter as if to find answers
on her face, she continued: “What kind of life can
one live now? I feel so bad; I feel so weak and I
am asking myself: what did I do wrong in this life
to deserve this? What will happen to my dream of
going to school? I have not been able to save for
school, and I now am treating HIV.”
The news of her status has added more sadness
to her family who were still recovering from the
shock of her violation. “When my parents heard the
news, they were very sad and they all cried,” Helen
said amid tears. The 20-year-old has since turned
an advocate, seeking justice against her attackers.
After living in fear for months, the dread of the
rapists forced her and her sister to relocate last
weekend. The move has emboldened to seek for
justice, feeling she is beyond their reach. “I want
justice. I need help. I want those men to go to jail
for what they did to me and perhaps many other
ladies in the area. These people cannot be allowed
to go free. Everybody knows them as thieves in the
area; they do not go to work or school but just
hang around all day doing nothing. Still nobody
has done anything about it. It is almost as if they
are using charms. Their father is a very aggressive
landlord. I see them always and I’m always in fear;
that’s why we packed out of the house last
weekend. You won’t believe that till we packed, my
attackers are still using my phone,” she said.
Helen’s sister, Stella, who was also in her 20s,
said the whole incident has left the family heart-
broken. Stella, who learnt a comforting hand to her
sister, said: “We felt so weak and very unhappy,
but there is nothing else we can do but to support
her and pray that those crooks would be made to
pay and suffer for what they did to my sister.”

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3 Responses

  1. iykmora


  2. Joe Dejana

    there’s still hope….SYNAGOGUE

  3. Hi there, everything is going fine here and ofcourse every
    one is sharing data, that’s truly good, keep up writing.

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