So, I am here to talk on “Making Lemonades out Of Lemons”.
So who has tasted a lemon? How was it?
It has a shocking somehow taste and it’s bitter.
It’s not sweet. It slaps and it tastes like something that’s fermented. It’s only sweet when it’s used to make food, beverages, drinks, sweets, biscuits etc.
Shocking? Yeah I love this adjective.
What other adjective can we describe the taste of a lemon?
Sour, Shocking, Sour, Fermented.
So I’d begin with my story.
I am the first daughter in a family of two. I have a sister. And then I have two half siblings – a brother and a sister. My parents separated when I was about 5. And after a while, myself and my sister were sent to go live with my grandparents. While with my grandparents, I was sexually abused and raped by my Uncle – my father’s brother.
I couldn’t tell anyone.
I lost my Virginity to my uncle. Having sex with a relative is called incest, and it was and is a taboo in my village, and if it happens – there has to be a traditional cleansing. Towards the end of my secondary school, I told my step mother and she told my dad and my dad confronted the uncle and he didn’t deny.
So I was to go to the village for cleansing and I refused to go, because I hated traditional things… But true African families – they said if I don’t go with them to the village, that it was me that seduced him. So I went with them. They did what they did and called it cleansing and after that NO ONE ever asked me how I was faring. No one in my family ever mentioned it again.
I’ve always been a book worm and a writer, so I started talking to my books. I went through life with the knowledge of my defilement. I studied, read and got to discover myself. I got to know who I was made to be and I didn’t let my past stop me from living.
November 16th Last year, at about 2am, armed robbers broke into my room. Two boys broke in with their guns pointed at me and a friend. They robbed me of all I had – Phones, tabs, cash. Chargers, necklace and power bank.
Then I heard “strip”
I started crying. Begging and pleading with everything I could. I told the boys that I’ve been raped before and it won’t be nice that I would have to suffer rape two times in my life. But all my pleas and begging fell on deaf ears – that night, at about 2am, I was raped, AGAIN
My friend too was raped that night.
My world crumbled.
I couldn’t be consoled.
I cried like my world was coming to an end.
That night I was ovulating and my ovulation comes with pain. So I was in pains and was speaking with my fiancé about my pain when they came in. They collected my phone and put in their back pocket and they didn’t know I was making a phone call. The guy who raped me was the one with my phone and when they broke in, my fiancé thought that maybe something fell in my room and he stayed on the phone waiting for me to come back to continue talking…But instead he heard me being raped.
That night I couldn’t sleep.
In the morning, I went to hospital. Got tested for HIV, for pregnancy and for infection.
I tested positive to Staphylococcus. I was given various drugs and I started taking them. The drug for the prevention of HIV always came with nightmares and all the discomfort that is in this world.
Neighbours started to pour in, to say sorry. They started telling me not to tell people I had been raped.
I had been dealt wicked lemons. What was I to do with the lemons, I had two options.
- Be silent about my rape and nurse my pain. Alone
- Tell them world my story. Learn the lessons I can from the story and use it to impact my world and heal with every other victim
So I choose number 2.
I shared my rape story on my blog and shared it on Facebook. I told everyone what had happened to me and what I wanted to do with the experience. So I launched a campaign called “Demystify Abuse Campaign”.
With the campaign, I was to share my story everywhere I was called upon, so I can shame the devil and tell the world that though I had been raped, there is life after rape,
With the campaign, I get to speak to other victims who are feeling as though they had been damaged that their value and worth is not in their vagina. I get to tell them that though they may have been raped, that life doesn’t have to end. I get to visit secondary schools, neighborhood and ANYWHERE I can, and talk about rape, sexual abuse.
I speak on the effect on rape, the place of consent in every relationship, I get to speak with boys and men on the need to stop seeing females as just sex objects. I get to speak with females too to stop seeing men as sex object, because it was discovered that boys too get raped and sexually abused.
With the campaign, we teach about and against stigmatization. And the need to stop making a victim feel as though they are now worthless just because they’ve been raped.
I get to talk on the need for victims to speak up on their experiences as it has been discovered that speaking up on their experience helps a person heal faster.
While visiting these schools, neighborhood and anywhere we can, we get to donate books, clothes, shoes, bag, sanitary pads and food items. We also have other survivors who get to share their own story of healing all in a bid to make other see that life doesn’t have to end even after a painful experience.
So that’s how I burned my lemon into lemonade and them into orange juice.
Were you depressed at any point in time?
Depression is a state of the mind. I believe that depression happens if and when you keep dwelling on negative thoughts, and feelings for a Long time, then it sinks in and leads to depression. So I was never depressed.
Is he still alive?
He is alive and all I feel for him is pity. I forgave him and moved on with my life
How did you transform from the lady who was raped a night ago to the Lady who is everywhere sharing her story. As in how did you do it?
It was a decision. A decision I made. Now this transformation didn’t happen overnight…remember I have been building myself to become a person of purpose and impact, so when I saw the opportunity to maximize, all I did was decide to look away from the painful part and look upon the bright side. So I choose to be the lady on the winning side.
So you forgave him and forgot about it?
I forgave him and moved on. Forgetting is impossible, except I do a brainwashing surgery. Buy I forgave and let go. I see him once in a while. And I greet him and keep going. No hate. No bile.
How were you enable to find yourself in the midst of everything? Even after it happened the second time, you still kept your head high. How did you do it?
Well, self-development. Purpose, Impact, choice. Self-love, determination, quest to be different, decision. All of these helped me find myself in the midst of everything
What’s your advice to rape victims or those with similar case? As we know, not everyone is as “strong” as you are. People take things differently.
Everybody is strong. Just that we doubt our strength. We let fear and a couple of other things keep us from actually moving on. So I would always say to everyone, the greatest power you have as a person is the power to make a decision. Once you decide that you are good to go, trust me, with self-control and self-confidence, you are good to go. Don’t be quiet about your experience. Seek help. Speak out. Forgive.
What about your fiancé, does he still love you despite all odds
Yes, he still loves me and I can say he loves me stronger, better and deeper. And he supports me all the way in my campaign
People always say we should forgive and forget, but forgiving is possible but forgetting is Impossible
You can find me on Facebook as Maureen Alikor and you can find “Demystify Abuse Campaign” on Facebook, Instagram and twitter.
Maureen Alikor is a graduate of English Language and literature.
She is a writer, a poet and a human who loves love. She cares about purpose and it is her prayer that every human discovers their purpose and live to fulfill it.
Maureen Alikor was our guest at TOP teen girls whatsapp group