By Ebukun Gbemisola Ogunyemi,
Growing up from adolescent stage to adulthood, I could remember reading stories that not only sounded bizarre and repulsive to me but also angered my bones – not because of the victims/villains in the stories but because I found it very unfair even though I couldn’t understand how a beautiful woman could be driven to a state of total collapse of mental balance and wellbeing that accentuated into taking her own life all because of sex but as I continued to grow, having my own share of life experiences, it became easy to understand how a thing hanging between a man’s leg could destroy a woman with a promising future.
Many months ago, I was privileged to be let in on the story of a young woman who had committed suicide because she had slept with her boss who wouldn’t stop body-shaming her everywhere and anywhere the spirit used him. The word ‘body-shaming’ is not limited to when a man/woman tells a woman how ridiculously big and fatty she is or how kwashiorkored/broom-sticked she looks. Body-shaming is also when a man humiliates a woman because he had beheld her nakedness. Apparently, this man had told everyone who could afford to listen about how he had seen Miss A’s breasts, how big her vjayjay was, how not so tight she was, how ridiculous/amazing how ringtone sounded – he didn’t think she needed to wear clothes after all, he had seen it all. Each time the woman passed by him, he looked at her in a way that made her lose her confidence; like she was practically naked before him all the time, so she couldn’t handle it no more to the point where she took her own life. She felt she had lost her respect in front of him and there’s no redeeming it; even her intellectual depth couldn’t make up for it. I cringed because many women had taken their lives because of this and no one is talking about it because no one thinks these things do happen.
Some of us had been unlucky to sleep with boys in their late 20s; males who are nothing but a collation of adrenaline, vigour, muscles and sexual conquests. They feed their ego on how many pants they’ve slid and get high on seeing their ‘conquests’ destabilized because they’ve had their body. You’ll hear things like ‘oh boy, how far na? Wey your babe na, e don tey wey I see her o abi una don scatter the thing?’ ‘wo, free that girl jare, her brain dey touch – me don free her o!’ ‘errm. . . hope say you mark register?’ ‘trust me na, I no dey dull.’ ‘My guy! I trust you. . . how many times?’ ‘Why you dey do like this na? Trust me I follow mark wella na. . . even my signature dey there!’ ‘Oshey! You sabi!’
See, this kind of conversation is what makes some women go from being very confident to distracted. Most times, the problem isn’t the sex per say, the problem is bad self-esteem. Some ‘men’ will take their time to study the psychological compositions of a woman and when they know that she has image issues and probably sex is not just sex to her, they make her comfortable, sleep with her and then break up on the silliest reasons there could be and then the guy starts giving her the cold shoulder, it begins to make her uncomfortable, wishing if she didn’t have sex with the guy at all, it might not have gotten to her. Maybe that’s true but girl, what makes you feel naked and unconfident in front of him all the time is not because he had your body but because your self-esteem is damaged. Even if he is not telling and giving the vibes, you’d still continue to feel that way each time you see him or remember because you feel if only you can take the sex back, you can call him an ass and treat him as one without being shaky. See, a man can only distract a woman who wants to be distracted. Some men think the moment they sleep with a woman and as many times they do, they have all of her – whoever raised these walking penises I don’t know but my dear, that’s a myopic mindset and mentality and just because you gave a man your body doesn’t mean you have to will give him your self-esteem too and then take your own life because the attitude is too much for you to handle. If you’ve given a man your body and he’s treating you like girl, I had it all, increase your self-esteem from 50% to 80% and gradually you’d get to a 100 and tell him boy, I couldn’t even remember.
Sometimes, the sacrifices some women had made in their relationships, whether by time, money, years etc. makes it tasking and traumatic for them to believe and handle the end of such relationships thereby leading to acute breakdown and sometimes suicide. Believe me; your life doesn’t have to end because a relationship ended.
Often times when all of the aforementioned isn’t the case, some men will forcefully take a woman’s body and still shame her over it and this is the worst one ever and it makes me wonder if women can take their lives because they were bullied by their partners over consensual sex, albeit rape.
Flashback one year ago, I had read about The Birth of A Nation actor, Nate Parker’s rape allegation story and how the victim, a fellow student at Penn State had taken her own life in 2012 after Parker had walked free due to lack of enough evidences to find him guilty and other recent development that says Parker and his friend had slept the lady claiming consensual. It’s such an ugly-ugly story detailing but as someone who had battled depression really hard at a time in life and had been suicidal at one point in time, I know what it feels like to be madly driven to depression and at the end of the day consider suicide as the end to whatever suffering, shame and stigma one is going through.
It is one thing to be sexually abused; it’s another thing to watch your abuser walk away while you struggle to be free in your mind, body and soul.
Finally, I know that one of the things that happen when you become suicidal is that nothing and no one matters at that point, not even yourself but one other thing I know is that an untreated depression escalates into the suicide realm. Whatever you are going through, you don’t have to go through it alone. If you are battling with depression emanated from sex, relationship or body shaming, please know that how long you dated him doesn’t matter, how many times he beheld your nakedness and penetrated you is ‘meaningless’, who he told and didn’t tell is not relevant – taking your life doesn’t diminish the pain or the anguish, it creates more – there are sisters, family members, friends who might not even survive that step you want to take. Girl, that you didn’t get the necessary justice for your offender is not immaterial but you matter more. Sometimes, justice is better served cold than hot you know. Let that pain push you to wanna live more and stick around, not die before time. The cliché No one cares is not always true. Somebody does care and always remember young woman, you are not always your body! You are your mind, heart, soul and brain.