Featured photo credit: Caribbean 360
Tolani has been running fever, coughing and vomiting for past few days, so her mother got her from school and took her to see a physician.
Doctor: You may need to expose your chest a little so I can listen to it.
Tolani: ( Turning an anxious look to her mum) Is that really necessary, mama?
Doctor: Oh my dear, there isn’t anything to worry about. This doesn’t hurt, just watch me, I will only place this tiny stuff on your chest, that’s all.
As the doctor drew his stethoscope closer to Tolani, she swung her tiny hands across and flung the doctor’s tool away. She didn’t know what took over her at that moment.
Mom: What is the problem with you, Tola? Are you a kid? At 13 you are behaving like a toddler.
Tolani: I’m 14, mom. I’m not scared of anything, not even injection. I just don’t want him touching my body.
Tolani angrily stood and ran out of the clinic, her colourful school bag dangling on one arm as she hopped away. She turned fourteen just last month and whole lot has changed about her since she left primary school; she now has two bud like swellings around her tiny nipples, the swellings keep increasing and she is well aware of it. Although she had anticipated seeing her menses long before she ever started menstruating, the pain she now senses with it every month is a curse she carries ruefully.
Mum: Doctor, I’m sorry o. I do not understand what is wrong with these children nowadays.
Doctor: Does she always get angry like this without provocation?
Mom: Nooo! Tolani is a very quiet child…, well, I mean not until recent times, I think she is more irritable towards the father.
Doctor: Oh pardon me, madam, do you think that is consequential?
Mom: Sorry? Well, two days ago, she mentioned something like she was seeing her period. Usually she feels terrible menstrual pains. I believe all these could make her irritable.
Doctor: of course, ma, but do you know how long she has been running this current period?
Mom: Wait, Doctor, I think she said the same thing two weeks ago, or could it mean that I’m mixing memories up. Excuse me, doctor, I must find her and speak with her. I must bring her back.
As she opened the office door, it was the agonising look on nurse Shalewa’s face that gripped her throat and she almost immediately aspirated her own saliva.
Nurse Shalewa: Excuse me doctor, the young girl that left your office few minutes ago has just been rushed unconscious into the emergency. They said she collapsed outside the hospital.
Mom: Mogbe!!! It can’t be my Tolani.
They all rushed out of the doctor’s office.
Tolani was now lying conscious on the emergency couch after about 1 litre of clotted blood and tissues have been aspirated from her private parts. She still had the tiny oxygen prongs in her nostrils and a pink cannula dripping some intravenous fluid into her cephalic vein. Her mom squatted few feet away sobbing profusely and shaking her head.
Tolani: I’m sorry for the other time, sir. I didn’t want any man to touch me.
Doctor: But why don’t you want any man to touch you, Tolani?
Tolani: I don’t know, sir. The pictures keep coming on my head. I can’t help it, they won’t go.
Doctor: What pictures, dear. Did somebody touch you?
Tolani: No! (She yelled at the Doctor) Please go… doctor.
Doctor: I want to help you, but only if you would let me.
Tolani: You can’t help me. You don’t understand, doctor.
Doctor: You know you can’t hide it from us! Your mother already knows you are pregnant. Another thing you can’t hide from us is the fact that you took some medications to abort the pregnancy. That is what is making you bleed for the past two weeks, it is what we call Incomplete abortion.
Tolani: I’m scared doctor ( she was struggling to let out tears in her feeble state), will I die?
Doctor: Well, first you need blood transfusion urgently. Please, Let me help you. I have a daughter as pretty as you. Imagine she is also 14.
Tolani: Is she pregnant like me?
Doctor: Oh come on, Tolani.
Tolani: You see, you cannot help me.
Doctor: Okay, my dear. I know I can’t help with all you are going through. But at least I will do the best in my capacity so you don’t die. We have sent for your father, may be he would be fit to donate some blood for you.
The doctor turned and started walking away.
Tolani: Doctor! Don’t let him come hear, please. I beg you.
Tolani: All these were his fault.
Doctor: How do you mean?
Tolani: It was his friend that did this to me. He is mama’s boss.
I once had a patient who narrated to me how she was sexually abused by an uncle that was always buying her things. She had kept this to herself for eleven years. She said she can now tell the world what happened to her as a girl because she no longer feel unsafe. While her story, like many other stories of sexual violence and abuse, went under radar for years untold, her criminal uncle probably still walks a free man on the street.
According to Ben Grubbs in his article, ‘Child Abuse Most Often Perpetrated by Immediate Family’ published in Sunday Morning Herald, he quoted, ‘new research shows that the majority of adults who were abused as children were harmed by those in their immediate family rather than by those in religious, educational or health institutions.’
Do you think Tolani’s mother can speak about her rapist boss without losing her job and damaging his relationship with her husband?
How best do you think she should go about the situation without much collateral damages?
Kindly leave your comments in the comment box. Thanks for reading today’s post.