Things I want to say.

Teniola hardly got any sleep the night before. It was a mixture of nervousness and excitement. In a few minutes, she was going to be standing before the external supervisor and other lecturers, defending her dissertation. It was the most talked about topic in all of Sociology department and to a large extent, the school. Her research revolved around the post traumatic experiences of rape victims. She prepared questionnaires that would address questions or thoughts rape survivors had towards the perpetrator and distributed them among students in the university. At first, she was worried that no one would return the questionnaires but by the end of the collation period, she had a total of five hundred and fifty respondents from both genders.

Being a survivor herself, she had imagined moments where she’d confront the man who had committed the heinous crime against her when she was only eight and studying in her then best friend’s house. Uju’s father had joined them in the living room while they read a book and instructed Uju to get some chocolates from the mall that was four streets away, Teniola wanted to go with her but Uju’s father told her to stay back as he wanted to solve the mathematics question she had requested his help with the week before. After Uju left, he tore her dress and forced himself on her, and even though she left a scar on his forehead with a mug; she still had a mouthful to say to him. Therapy and support from her family had helped with getting over the hurt but she still wanted to know what he saw in her back then…so she thought about people such as herself who had lingering questions. Reading the responses from her respondents made her realize that majority of them bore the burden of ‘why’ but were probably never going to get an answer so they healed in their own way hoping the ghosts from the unfortunate incident would fade away.

The secretary opened the door and Teniola walked into the board room with her shoulders high. She was going to go in there and tell everyone why she thought the topic was valid and experiences should be spoken more about. ‘Good morning, sir,’ she said and stopped in her track as the ugly scar on the external supervisor’s forehead stared at her. She felt as though she was in Uju’s living room all over again. Her heart raced non-stop as she stared at her perpetrator who had a large smile on his face. He probably did not remember her as he replied, ‘Good morning, Miss Teni. Fantastic thesis I must say. Please sit, I look forward to listening to you.’

Every step Teni took forward was like a date with destiny. Her day with her perpetrator had come and it would be on record.

The End Rape Culture art exhibition aims to use visual storytelling to educate the Nigerian population on rape culture, its effects and how it is perpetuated in our society today.

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