Three year olds are supposed to be innocent. But the one I met two weeks ago wasn’t. She was lying in the hospital bed fast asleep, one hand tightly clutching that of her sixteen years old auntie and her legs tightly pressed together. I remember standing by the bed and staring at the tiny little thing for a while. The moment my hand touched her face, her eyes shot open and she immediately sat on the bed and buried her face into the bosom of her auntie. All children hate men and women in white coats, but this one was a little too afraid.
I remember sitting at the edge of her bed and taking her hand as gently as possible into mine. It took lots of coaxing, tickling and exchange of sweet little edibles before she finally warmed up to me. I took her to the examining room immediately without giving her time to change her mind. But she wouldn’t let us remove her trousers that easily! She kicked and held on to it. We were able to remove it just because there were three of us against her. Soon as it was out she pressed her legs together so tight that a sigh escaped my mouth. She slapped her auntie when she tried to pry open her legs (yeah you read it right, slapped!). It was apparent we couldn’t see anything. We had to take her to theatre and examine her under anesthesia.
With her under the anesthetic slumber, and totally relaxed, we saw it all. Saw the multiple lacerations along the wall of her small vagina. The ragged torn hymen, the reddening around the anus. I struggled with my tears as various scenes flashed through my mind. I saw this little girl walk willingly into the hands of her cousin. Saw her hand holding tightly onto the bigger hand of the cousin as they walked towards the shop so he could buy her a lollipop. saw as he scooped her up and rushed her to his room instead. Saw him collapse on top of him and drive a monster of a penis into the vagina of a three years old, saw as he flipped her over so he could have anal. All this long, the tiny girl kicking and pushing and screaming.
Any grown woman can willingly tell you that first time sex is not a mixture of pain and pleasure in equal measure. First time sex is majorly pain with a tinge of pleasure. It must have been excruciatingly painful for a three years old of course, because, try and imagine a grown ass man on top of a tiny girl, moving his pelvis back and forth like a possessed antelope, with the child struggling to breathe and cry from all that pain at the same time!
You know I started talking about the unfairness of it all but one of the nurses told me that this particular three years old was hurt physically, but not like a three months old they had seen one year ago. It was claimed that she was raped by the father so violently that she developed a recto-vagina fistula (a communication between the rectum and the vagina). That baby had to undergo corrective surgeries and even though she got well, she was physically so hurt that you wouldn’t want to imagine how hard she had cried as his father closed his eyes to savour the moment (yuck)
Most of us teach our children to never trust strangers but most people are being raped by people they have no reason not to trust. It is fathers who are raping their sons and daughters, cousins raping their cousins, favorite uncles raping their nieces, house helps asking the little boys and girls they take care of to lick them down there.
What do we do then? We cannot afford to not talk about sex to our young ones. We need to teach them to run if they can. We need to check them, create time, undress them, bathe them. We need to know them, know how to read their body language. We need to be close enough to them so that they can trust us and tell us if it ever happens to them. We need to install CCTVs in our houses. We need to stop protecting relatives who rape our children. Let us stop this madness of ‘talking’ where rape has happened.
Before you open your mouth to protect a rapist, think about the three- year- old who has to walk with legs far apart to avoid irritating the soreness left between her legs by a rapist. Think about the three -month-old baby forced to live with a colostomy so her rectum can heal or else leak shit for life. Think about that little boy holding his breath as a fat woman makes him lick her. Think about all those living with sexually transmitted illnesses that they got out of rape.
Rape can never be justified no matter what. Even animals know when the mating season is over!