We’ve known each other way back. Edward was a neighbor and also a family friend. He did come visiting or to mingle with my elder brother; Pisto though he was a bit older than Pisto.
We use to call him uncle Eddy. I was only fourteen years when I began to notice his masculine biceps, deep voice and beards. At this point he was already in the university and in his early twenties.
I got fond of uncle Eddy that I anticipate when he will show up. We may not necessarily talk, but there was this joy getting to see him. Sometimes I will shy away from where ever he was and hide. I will stare at him unnoticed from the kitchen; I really didn’t know what was happening to me.
I will think of him before I sleep and the first thing in the morning when I wake up. He was quite smart and intelligent. He has helped me with my mathematics homework a couple of times. He also had this great sense of humor, but that might have been because I was just into him.
On my fifteenth birthday, he came around as usual. Fortunately, the heavens smiled at me. He seemed to noticed how beautiful I am. In his words “wow, you have grown into a big girl now, see your fine shape.” This was the highlight of the day for me.
The next day he came over and I was the only one at home: I had just returned back from school. My parents were still at work and I didn’t know where my elder brother went to. His visit seemed to be calculated.
I welcomed him in: we sat in the living room. I felt so uncomfortable especially with the way he was looking at me. We sat at opposite ends and both pretended to be watching the television. Honestly, I was lost in thought. I watched him approach me to where I was sitting. At this point I already had goose pimples.
He sat close to me and wrapped his right hand around my shoulder. I turned mute, I was stuttering, couldn’t say “no nor yes.” He noticed how tensed I was and laughed hysterically in a bid to lighten up the atmosphere.
The smell of his perfume was disarming; his gimlet stare to and fro my face and middle body raked my bone marrow. His eyes were like furnace arousing deep affection: I was already palpitating. He placed his right hand on my chest and told me not to fear. He assured me that he was not going to hurt me.
At this point, my guards became loose. His static telling look was occasionally interrupted by the sound of the television. He told me how he had noticed me for a while now and how he had tried to act normal but couldn’t help it and that he has fallen in love with me. He said he knows the feeling is mutual and I have grown enough to be able to take my own decisions.
This ushered us into a new era; the beginning of the end. He promised to keep this a secret. I will sneak out of the house to visit him and other times abscond from school.
I actually looked at him with mixed admiration especially that I was becoming deviant at home, absent minded and losing interest in school. My conscience was jabbing me in the neck but I rested in his promises that he loved me and will never leave me nor forsake me… “hahaha!”
On this day, I watched him unclothe me while I grinned sheepishly. I only became sober upon the spill of blood. At this point I realized I have been disvirgined by my very own Uncle Eddy. I cried and watched him with disgust. Sagely, he talked me into believing that, that was the consolidation of our love and that everyone is doing it.
My mum noticed the behavioral change I was exhibiting; talked to be but off course, she doesn’t have the facts so I will give her a confuse stare as though she was speaking a language I do not understand and shrug away. I did same to my class teacher who attempted talking to me. Only Anita my friend was in the light of what was happening to me. She will sometimes cover up or assist me sneak out of school.
Weeks later… I started having this feelings of being sick. I was obsessed with Eddy that I didn’t realized I had missed my monthly flow for over two months. I became sullen: The body changes were becoming evident. I took ill and was taken to the hospital. Upon diagnosis and test, It was discovered with rude shock and dismay by my parents that I was pregnant.
This introduced me into the university of reality; especially that Eddy was nowhere to be found. This was the first time I saw my Dad shedding tears. He was speechless the whole time. He is actually not a man of many words. I could not read the uncertain expression on my mother’s face. Seems I was mightily deceived or maybe Eddy is not man enough to take responsibility or that he was afraid and flee. But he left without a hint of apology or respect…hmmm!
I was on a dignified road to depression, not to talk about the shame I have brought to my family. My school had hit the snooze button. I could only trust God to take the helm. I fell into a good grief and a mess in a world of promise. I am now a teenage mother and also a secondary school drop out.
With the little wit left, I kept hope alive. Though panned out but we move.
Such a hazy recollection my premature love experience!
AGE OF CONSENT
There is such a thing as age of consent for carnal knowledge. Recently, conversations and activism against rape has been intense especially due to recent events and occurrences. However, the emphasis seemed to be on forceful penetration and the absence of consent.
WHAT IS THE POSITION OF THE LAW ON CONSENT GIVEN BY A MINOR?
The age of consent under the Nigerian Law is 18. Suffice is to say that sexual consent from a person below 18 is null and void.
Section 31(3)(a) of the Child’s Rights Act 2003 states as follows “where a person is charged with an offence of (unlawful sexual relations with a child) under this section, it is immaterial that the offender believed the person to be of or above the age of eighteen years.”
Whilst this provision doesn’t expressly mention this fact, an implied reading of section 31 outlines 18 years as the bench mark for determining an adult and a minor. In essence, if the law is unconcerned about the consent granted by the minor or the wrong perception of the victim’s age, it therefore upholds the 18 years as the age of consent.
The Matrimonial Causes Act is silent about the age of marriage or consent but simply mentioned marriageable age. Section 3(1)(e) simply states that a marriage is void if any of the party is bellow a marriageable age.
In like vain, section 18 of the Marriage Act stipulates the minimum age for consent for marriage to be 21. Conversely, section 18 of the Child’s Rights Act stipulates the minimum age to contract a valid marriage as 18.
The differences in the provisions of these laws is an academic exercise especially because the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is silent about it. However, it is pertinent to know that the age of sexual consent under the Nigerian jurisprudence is 18 years.
A collective reading of these provisions pari pasu the provisions The Sexual Offences Bill passed in 2015 by the National Assembly gives us a safe landing. Section 7 stipulates life imprisonment to any person convicted of having sexual intercourse with a minor.
All being said, a person should not seize the vulnerability, ignorance or exuberance of these teenagers and strike. It is simply put; unfair, opportunistic and inconsiderate. With your untamed emotions and lust you visit these young ones with untold grief.
Huncle, allow that young girl in your neighborhood to grow. If you can’t help her at least don’t harm her!
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