“I don’t remember much of him by the way,” She says as she tries to situate herself on the seat. “Except that, that day, the first day we met, he was well put together. He wore this sleeveless puffer jacket, a crisp long sleeved shirt, and khaki pants. Oh, and he wore nice shoes. I had to notice those. I love me a well groomed man.”

“He didn’t talk to me at first. Later when we started talking, he said that it was because I looked like one of the kids. He didn’t think I was in Campus.” She adds. To be fair to the guy, she doesn’t look anything older than 14.

She’s still trying to find her comfort spot on the chair as we start talking. She finally does. Legs up the seat, crossed in a way that would make you think that she is a contortionist. She reminds me of that story of ‘the girl with a twisted future.’ We read it in ‘Looking for a rain god and other stories’, one of the set-books we read in high school.

“So what do we call you?” I ask. She giggles, looks up, and then gives me a blank stare for a minute. “How about Mandy? It’s exotic. I like exotic.” I nod in agreement. “I can use Mandy, no objections.” I say.

“We can call him Eric, yeah, Eric is a wonted name.” She adds.

She’s now ready to start talking and I am ready to write: pen and notebook in hand. I am a bit old school. I prefer ink and the smell of paper is a turn on.

“What do you want to hear? Do you want everything or should I censor?” Mandy asks. I tell her I want to hear it all. She gazes aside, albeit a bit cringy and then she says “OK” with a stutter.

They met at a party, his nephew’s birthday party. His mother knew her mum and that’s how come she was there. Because she’s a sort of an introvert when she’s around many people she doesn’t know, she sat alone, on her phone mostly. He was with his friend all the time. She forgot his name. She’s tried to forget as much of him as possible.

They ended up talking. Not much of a conversation, just the usual thing that acquaintances do and then exchanged numbers. There wasn’t much to do or say then. They would start speaking much after the party.

She was 19. Eric was betwixt 23 and 24. She was in her 2nd year while he was in his last year in campus. Since they were both in Nairobi, they would meet up quite often.

She would go to see him at his campus at lunchtime. Her campus was on one side of the CBD while his was on the other, an East and West kind of orientation. Mandy would trek hastily, timing herself to keep within the lunch break. They’d hang out and he’d buy lunch at the students’ center. Then she would start the journey back to her campus. That was quite a trip now that she thinks of it.

“I didn’t mind it though. No, I didn’t even notice that it was a hustle. I liked him, I really liked him so it didn’t matter.” She tells me.

She would go to his place too. He didn’t live in campus; he had his own place. That was a plus for any guy in campus. Serious guys don’t do hostels. That made him a catch and that she loved.

Eric would always ask her to sleep over because his place was out of town and she always ended up leaving there late. But she’d always say no. She had never slept over at a guy’s place and even though she could now, she couldn’t wrap her head around it. It didn’t sit right with her still. He of course didn’t get it.

“One time it was time for me to go and I was getting up to leave but he pinned me to the seat and said I wasn’t going anywhere. I didn’t struggle with him because I knew that he would be too strong for me anyway. He let me go after seeing that I wasn’t budging.” Mandy tells me. She didn’t make much of it.

She had a 10 o’clock curfew because she stayed in a hostel facility. It was always a rush to beat the timeline because his place was about 20 minutes from town. Depending on the traffic, it could get to half an hour or more. Again, she liked this boy so she didn’t really mind it.

Wednesdays were free for both of them. She also had a lot of time on her hands then because she was on internal attachment. She would go to his place and they’d make lunch or something.

Eric was a good cook. Most boys his age can’t boil an egg to save their lives. So that was another plus. So far, he was faring on pretty well. Her ‘like levels’ for him were going up by the day.

“There’s a time he made me chicken, I remember. It was pretty good. We also did a lot of rice and spaghetti. Sometimes he’d cook. Other times I would cook.” She reminisces.

When they met in town they’d hang out at YOLO; this ice cream place in town that she had introduced him to.

Eric always asked for sex since they started dating. She always gave him a clear unequivocal ‘No!’

She had never had sex. She hadn’t thought of it either and she didn’t see the need to anyway never mind that everyone around her was having it. Having sex in campus is so normal these days that everyone dating will assume that it is part of the deal. “Guys have more sex than they actually attend classes.” She tells me with a sigh.

They’d make out a lot and watch movies even more. “We even watched ‘Money Heist’ together when it premiered.” She says. They were that current on movies. I guess that’s what a lot of free time and a boyfriend (who has his own place) can afford you.

No one knew about this relationship and they had agreed that they wouldn’t tell anyone. For some reason, she didn’t want her parents finding out. She didn’t think they should have known anyway. She was an adult and in campus now. She felt that she should be allowed a bit more freedom to make her choices. One day while she was at Eric’s, her dad called and said he was in town and that they could go home together. She told him that she was hanging out with friends and he could pick her a little off town. He never asked who the friends were and she never bothered to explain it. Her dad always believed her. She was still his princess she could do no wrong.

This particular day, Sunday 28th July, would remain etched in her mind years later.

She remembers that it was a Sunday because she didn’t go to church. She wasn’t one to miss church for no good reason. She is a Christian brought up in a strict Christian family where church was part of the ritual.

“I remember thinking that I was a bit crazy. I was going to miss church to go to a boy’s place!” She tells me. She didn’t know that that eerie feeling was probably déjà vu or the ‘gods’ warning her. Against her better judgment, she chose to go to Eric’s.

On normal occasions he would pick her up at the stage. This particular day, he didn’t.

“I took myself there!” She says.

It’s how she says it that grips my attention: the tone of it, the sadness and blank expression that engulfs her face. It is almost an indictment of self. Like at that moment, she’d just become the judge, the jury and the executioner all in one to herself.

She remembers that she wore mum jeans. I didn’t even know that they are called ‘mum jeans.’ She said ‘I wore mum jeans’ and I said “Huh? You wore your mum’s jeans? How?” She laughed then went on to describe what ‘mum jeans’ are. She almost drew an illustration for me before I figured it out. I still don’t get why anyone would call jeans ‘mum’.

Anywho, she wore mum jeans, a white t-shirt and a jungle green jacket. When she got there he insisted that she was overdressed and that it was too hot. She’d be uncomfortable. So he asked her to change into a pair of shorts and t-shirt.

They made out. He tried to take off the shorts. She told him no, said it wasn’t a good idea because she wasn’t ready to have sex and she didn’t want to disappoint him. Still he convinced her to take off the shorts but she didn’t take off the t-shirt. She was way too self-conscious. She always was.

Then he threw in the all too familiar line, “trust me!” He said that all he wanted to do was ‘cement’ their relationship as though the relationship was a slab. That got me wondering why guys think that sex cements a boy-girl relationship. It is such a tired line to use on a girl. Girls should now know that there’s no cementing that happens when they give in. It’s more of erosion that happens. Most of these boys disappear faster than mist in the morning after sex. But I digress.

“He then said he wouldn’t do anything, so she needed to just relax.” She says. So she relaxed. Unbeknownst to her, that was her biggest mistake yet.

In a nanosecond, he pinned her to the bed. It was like something had possessed him. She couldn’t move because he was too strong for her. He wanted sex and he didn’t care whether she wanted it or not.

“It happened so fast that it gave me a brain freeze. I felt the sharpest pain that I had ever experienced. Like someone had driven a dagger into me. I was in shock, my eyes dimmed, everything around me went from 20/20 vision to a blur.” Mandy says.

When her brain finally processed the pain, her reflexes kicked in. She bit him as hard as she could. Then she started beating him and kicking him all at once trying to throw him off her. She finally succeeded.

She jumped off the bed. He tried to touch her, telling her that he was sorry. She told him she didn’t want to hear it. She ran to the bathroom. She didn’t even realize that she was now bleeding. Bleeding heavily. Now she was stained allover. She had never seen her own blood like that. It traumatized her, almost made her sick. For some reason she’d never thought that blood could ooze off someone like that. It didn’t look real to her. She was in a trance of sorts.

He came to the door knocking. She locked the door and stood against it. She told him she didn’t want to see him, ever! Trembling like a leaf in the storm, she tried to clean up. She was stained, so she couldn’t wear the same panty that she had. She had an extra pad in her purse, so she took it, stuck it on the jeans and wore them. The friction from the jeans now hurt her a lot but she didn’t care.

She got out of the bathroom ready to leave only for him to fall to his knees apologizing. He said he wasn’t thinking right. That he didn’t know what had gotten over him. She told him she didn’t care. She walked right past him and out of the house. He came after her, almost chasing her down. He offered her bus fare; she told him he could keep his money; she didn’t need it.

He insisted on seeing her off but she walked alone ahead of him a long distance ahead. He followed her behind. It looked like she was a pace maker in a marathon. She couldn’t believe that she could walk that fast. She didn’t care that she was hurting; she just wanted to get away from him.

She startles, turns and looks at me.

“I remember it was now 1:00 p.m. I remember because I looked at my phone and kept wondering how this could happen at 1? Do these things happen at this hour even? During the day, broad day-light.” She says.

She got to the stage and stood waiting for a Matatu to town to arrive. He was still behind her, trying to talk to her but she didn’t bother. She was now hearing him in a muffle. The ‘mat’ finally came, she boarded, no goodbyes.

He texted, she switched off her phone. “How could this idiot even text me.” She wondered to herself.

Her eyes were as red as crimson now but she didn’t want to start crying in the Mat. She engaged in a delicate balancing act of tears all the way to town. She was hurting from the pain. She felt a kind of pain that she had never felt before. A pain mixed with hate that left a bitter taste in her mouth.

She finally made it to her room. Her roomies were away. So she got into the bathroom and then the floodgates opened. She sat and cried. Stood and cried. Knelt down and still cried. Stood in the shower and cried as the water dripped down her body. She cried till she had no more tears to shed. Now she was crying but shedding zero tears. Her tear glands were as dry as the Sahara.

She cleaned up and changed. She was still bleeding. She switched on her phone and found missed calls from her friend. She called back. Her friend asked her why she wasn’t picking up her boyfriend’s calls. He had called her and said that he was worried about her. She didn’t tell her friend what happened. She feigned illness and told her she would talk to her the following day.

She got into bed; she was still hurting when she lapsed into an afternoon slumber.

She woke up at around 7.30 p.m. She was still in pain and bleeding so she called her friend, an older friend. She knew she had to talk to someone. She narrated what had happened. The friend asked her a few questions, which she answered.

He then advised her to go get Postinor-2. He also wanted her to go see a doctor and report the case. He said she needed to get tested and be put on post-exposure prophylaxis. Her friend said that it would help in the event that there was any exposure to HIV. It would prevent possible infection.

He told her that she’d been raped. He called it date rape. “But I felt like calling it rape was accepting that I had been violated. I don’t think I was ready to accept that.” Mandy says. So she didn’t see the doctor and she refused to report the case.

Up and until then she had never seen herself taking an emergency contraceptive pill. She walked to town from her room to a chemist and asked for the pill. They didn’t even bother to ask her whether she was old enough to take it. They just dished it out.

That night she couldn’t sleep until 2 a.m. He kept calling and texting. She kept ignoring the texts. Her friend had insisted on her going to the Gynecologist the next day but she was afraid to go. She wanted to wait it out and see what would happen. She would bleed for three days before she finally saw the doc.

Thankfully, the damage wasn’t that bad. There was a tear but it wasn’t critical. She would be okay.

She had started liking this guy but now all she had for him was hate, a lot of hate. She was bitter. She deleted his number and blocked his contact.

I ask her how that experience had changed her life?

She tells me after that she wanted to have sex to just move on. She felt like going on a whoring spree. But she never got herself to do it. She wondered why she had held on to her virginity just to lose it like that. She wanted to keep it for her husband but now it had been snatched from her just like that. She hated it.

“Have you ever seen Eric again?” I ask her.

“Yes I did. He came to the hospital the day I went to see the doctor. He came with the same friend from the first day we met. He said he came to check up me. That he thought I had reported him to the police. He was afraid.” She tells me.

“I remember something his friend said. He said that I shouldn’t take what happened that seriously. That it was normal. It happens all the time in Campus.” She says with a grim face.

Mandy’s silver lining during this period was that she had older guys to talk to. She wouldn’t have known how to deal with it if she didn’t have them by her side. She always found that her older girlfriend was there to talk to when she needed to.

She’s healing. She’d think of it and get really upset but she’s healing. She stores away stuff and she was tempted to do the same with this incidence. But she chose to just deal with it.

“Just deal with it. Don’t run away from it or ignore it.” She says, “If you don’t deal with it, it’ll keep coming back and it’ll eventually destroy you. Don’t let your past infringe on your present.”

Mandy is okay now but what happened to her isn’t okay.

It isn’t right, it will never be right. We have to teach our boys that real men don’t abuse women. We have to teach them that when a woman says “No”, she means “NO!” and that it cannot be interpreted otherwise. But we also have to teach our girls to speak up and to confront sexual abuse. We have to teach them to learn to differentiate between consensual sex and rape. We have to teach them to know that sex without a woman’s consent is rape and nothing less.

Mandy is okay but what happened to her isn’t anywhere near okay.

  1. Oh no. This is sad. To imagine it ain’t some fiction am reading and that someone went through this. These are the stories that would make me never step into a guy’s place. I can imagine how she had trusted Eric only for him to do this. It is well Mandy.

  2. This is a nice read, very educative. Unfortunately that’s what boys n girls get themselves into. Very few ever tell out the story thereafter for others to learn out of it.

  3. Mandy represents thousands of girls out there who are good but whatever happened to them was not good at all. Non-consensual sex is rape. Eric and indeed all the boys need to know that if Mandy had reported that case, they would be quarantined from society for a long time.

  4. Wow it is heart breaking to have your heart broken like this. Thank God for healing and for speaking up. I hope others who have read this will speak out too. Thank you for such an article and the art in writing

  5. Mandy, thank you for being brave enough to share your story. I hope it encourages others to share their experiences and hopefully put their perpetrators behind bars.

  6. It’s interesting how this happens to many women and most don’t talk about it because they think it’s their fault. That they we’re not supposed to be at their boyfriend’s in the first place. Besides the need to educate men that a woman’s NO is a NO, I think the bigger questions here are;

    1. Why do men most of the time think that a woman’s NO is not plainly that. Is it a sign of miscommunication or misinterpretation of non-verbal gestures.
    2. Why do men find it weird, at least most of the time, if a woman/their gf resist them aside, are men and women socialized differently with regards to sex, does it contribute to these cases?
    3. Should unmarried people have their dates in “closed space”

  7. A good read full of lessons. Boys must learn to respect girls, rape can take you to jail for years. As well girls must learn to avoid insecure places like boy’s houses.

  8. Our boys also need to be taught that even a MAYBE means NO. You don’t want to have sex with a woman who is unsure either. There’s nothing casual about sex.

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