Kenyan Turf. (read with caution, as content is intense, especially if your a rape victim or individual panic/anxiety)


We’ve all seen the posters or heard the catchphrases used to describe home. Some read home sweet home, or home is where the heart is, or a home is where hopes and dreams are built! In the past these phrases not only reflected my emotions towards my family home but they mirrored my feelings towards my motherland. Kenya was my cradle, my hope, safe place and my love. It was the place I’d learnt to walk, ride a bike, read and write, relate to nature and be whole. Kenya runs through my veins and is engraved in my heart! But in June 2009, it was the fountain of hell that my rapist ruled!

I arrived in my homeland at 7:30 pm on the 9th of June. Everything felt and looked different. There was a morose dusk that surrounded the Nairobi air. The morose dusk made my homeland foreign, the people seemed very friendly and happy, which made me very suspicious of them. I was certain these weren’t the same people I knew and loved, these were not my people, but my rapist’s people; this was a fact I had to digest and remember from now on. As I finished clearing immigration and walked out of the departure terminal, I saw all these bright faces staring at me. In reality they were there to meet their loved ones, but in my reality they were there to subdue me and complete my destruction. My heart started racing, my palms were sweating and my breaths were short and difficult to swallow. The panic attack was about to commence, if I couldn’t get my rationality in order. Oh Lord! Where is mum? Where is my protection? As my fears were raining terror on me, my mum was walking towards me. I spotted her and felt a sigh of relief. She hugged me and welcomed me home. There is something so precious and pure about a mother’s touch or rather any parent’s embrace. Her embrace felt like a soft touch over my heart, her voice was a calming force, my nerves were now as calm as a saint’s paradise. I was home! I was safe!

A few days had passed and home seemed to be a minor solace. On the forty winks frontier, home had added two extra hours, so rather than sleeping two hours a night, I was sleeping four hours. This was a grave improvement. Although, I still could not sleep without my laptop playing movies, and my night terrors were still severe, and I had very little bladder control; I still felt that my nights were better. In addition, rather than my nightmares being a replay of my rape, the nightmares were now about being attacked by my rapist in my childhood room, and this time my sister and mum were there to defend me and defeat him.

That said, I completely refused to leave the house and I had fits of tears. Most people believe and some therapists will tell you, that crying is healthy, as it acts as a form of release. I totally agree with this assertion, but for a patients suffering from untreated PTSD and depression, tears aren’t a form of release, but a smoldering branding of your anguish and torture. The harder you weep, the harder the pain beats you down! In all honestly, the only thing that could release me from my agony, was the death of my rapist. His death was not going to be short and painless; his demise was to be painful and very fulfilling. I imagined burning the hands he used to hold and stretch my legs apart with battery acid. Then I’d water board him until he explained to me why he raped me. I didn’t want an apology because I knew that wouldn’t mend my hymen, I wanted an explanation to prove to me that I wasn’t to blame. After getting my confession, I’d use a sharp and scorching tiny knife to cut off his boy parts, one ball at a time. As you can see, I wanted transference of my pain. Unfortunately, no matter how hard I wished evil thoughts on my rapist, the fact of the matter was he was living his life contentedly, and marinating in the affection of his EASOC followers. So for those of you who’ve been raped or experienced a traumatic event, your anger, pain, sorrow, and grieve are very justified. Anyone who tries to tell you any different has no right to define your emotions. However, VIOLENCE IS NOT THE ANSWER, VIOLENCE WILL NOT ERASE, NOR WILL IT ALLEVIATE YOUR PAIN! THE ONLY WAY TO BEAT YOUR TRAUMA IS TO WALK RIGHT THROUGH IT. ACKNOWLEDGE IT, FEEL IT AND BEAT IT! I really wish someone had reiterated this to me over and over again!

Anyway back to the story, like I said above, I completely refused to leave the house voluntarily. I was certain that anytime I tried to leave the house, my rapist would find me and rape me again. In Cape Town, I could walk out of my prison because I knew he had relocated to Nairobi, but in Nairobi, I could not risk such heroics. Unfortunately because my family did not know what was going on with me, I had to carry on like I was normal. Normal is a very subjective and expensive commodity, but rather than admit my shame, I chose to pay the price and sacrifice the little energy I had. This is how my mum and sister got me out of the house; and each time we went to the grocery store, or out for lunch, I was on high alert and my heart would thump like a repetitive alarm system. Going to church was the hardest thing because church was now a battlefield rather than I place where I found tranquility and truth. God’s presence was terrifying because I was convinced I would spontaneously combust. This irrational fear was supported by my catholic upbringing. Catholic’s, especially priests and nuns, have a very effective way of putting the fear of God in you, especially when you’re young. When I was catholic I thought God was angry and unforgiving, like he was in the Old Testament. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that the Old and New Testament form the entirety of the Christian doctrine, but God is not an angry divinity that delights in punishing his children, instead he is merciful and forgiving, and longs to know his children. Unfortunately in 2009 and a few years after, I was disinterested in his love or attention.  I was livid and ashamed, not to mention, positive God did not love me anymore. I mean how could he love me like he did before? I was soiled now.  I believed that God thought of me, the way I had been forced to think of myself. I hated myself and I was sure God did too. So without my spiritual father and a family in the dark, who was going to protect me from my rapists? Who was going to slay my monsters and unchain me from my suffering? These thoughts intensified my pain and tears. They kept me on my toes and took away any hope I had. So even though my family was near, I was still in the wilderness alone. This was emphasized the day that my uncle came to visit.

My Uncle has been one of my father figures since my dad died. Even though my mum excelled in being mum and dad, having my uncle and brothers around ensured I had brilliant male influences. My uncle was the first person to take me to Mombasa, he was the first Kenyan male to challenge and sharpen my political and social opinions. Basically he is not only a male figure in my life; he is also someone I can always lean on. So when I moved to the Cape it was agreed that I would meet him for lunch every time I was in Nairobi, which to be honest was most vacations; unfortunately June 2009 was going to be the hardest meet up with him. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was about 10 o’clock, I was in my room as usual watching a movie or TV series, when I started hearing voices. My first thought was that my mum was having a random guest, but the closer I listened, the more I recognized the voice. It was my beloved uncle. I was super excited for a few seconds, until my irrationality kicked in. Within 5- 15 seconds I had gone from happy to absolute fear. My first thoughts were:

“How I’m going to hide the truth from him? Can I trust him? Do I trust him enough to tell him the truth? What if I told him the true and he disowned me and blamed me?”

Before I had the chance to formulate an intelligent strategy I was being called to the living room. I hugged my uncle and tried my hardest to avoid eye contact. Eventually my nerves calmed down, my heart rate reduced and everything was fine. Unfortunately, mum needed to leave. My first question, was, is she seriously going to leave me alone with my him? Yes, I know what you’re thinking, of course she was, this was her brother who had done nothing but love and protect me since I was born. But believe me when fear rules your life, facts become friction and delusion becomes fact. Until today, I cannot remember if my uncle and I went out for lunch. All I remember is the utter trepidation I felt. The hammering that my heart did and the abundant stomach cramps I had. As I’m writing this, I can see how ridiculous my fears towards my uncle were but at that time no amount of fact could have overpower my fears. Looking back, I really wish I had, had the courage to tell my family sooner about my rape, as they’re support has been nothing but paramount to my recovery.

If you’ve been raped or experienced any form of trauma, I cannot emphasize the importance of support enough. You need to confide in someone. Leaning on the right people or person in your time of need, doesn’t make you weak; it only guarantees your recovery and lightens your load! Sometimes the only way to slay your darkness is by allow others to join your battlefield.

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