Jeniffer was eighteen years old and fresh from high school when she travelled from Nanyuki to her uncle’s place in Nairobi in pursuit of a college degree and a possible formal employment after that. When she arrived, she found that the uncle and his family had travelled for a day out of the city. Back then, cell phones were only reserved for the wealthy and neither Jeniffer nor the uncle had that luxury gadget.
A next door neighbour to the uncle, Joe, offered to help her since she did not know any other person in the city with whom she could lodge
with. She gratefully accepted the help otherwise she would have had to sleep outside somewhere in the city she did not know.
Later that night, she realized that Joe was not married and did not have any family staying with him. It was going to be just Joe and herself for the whole night. It was so late at night when she made the realization and there was so little she could have done.
Though he treated her well, fed her and allowed her to clean up and refresh after a long day’s journey, he forced himself on her that night. This was the worst thing that had happened to her in her short life on earth. She cried the whole night especially because the nice-Joe was not nice any more. He threatened to kill her if she ever talked to anyone about the incidence. He assured her that he knew so many people and so many places in the city that there would be no place for her to hide.
She was relieved when the uncle and his family arrived in their home the following morning. They were also so grateful to their neighbour for being a good Samaritan to their niece. Jeniffer started her journey staying at her uncle’s place – a nice family that got her into a secretarial college for a course that she really enjoyed.
Everything was going very well until three months later when she started getting so sick in the morning. She was taken to the local clinic and was treated for Malaria. After a few days, she was still so unwell. It took the discernment of her aunty to notice that her symptoms were for pregnancy and not due to any bacteria or virus.
It was such a disappointing moment for the whole family. Decisions needed to be made real quickly on whether to send her back to the village for her ungratefulness towards the family – getting pregnant when they were trying so hard to educate her for a better future.
At the thought of going back to the village, Jeniffer explained what had happened the first night she arrived in Nairobi. Joe was still living in the same house though they never interacted again. Jeniffer’s uncle was so furious and though he had wished to take the matter to his hands, the wife convinced her to use the law to punish Joe. They reported the case to the nearest police station and Joe was arrested and prosecuted accordingly.
Discovering that she was pregnant from a rape incidence errased any other ills that had befallen her. It was the worst thing that could happen to her. She was already struggling to move on from the incident but there was an assurance that she was going to remember the incident and the rapist for the rest of her life. That was a tragedy beyond her comprehension.
Moved by the weight of the pain this young teenager was experiencing, the uncle and his family promised to help her through the pregnancy journey. She continued with her college education and graduated before the baby was due. After she delivered her baby, she continued living with the uncle’s family until she got a job and was stable enough to move out on her own.
She worked twice as hard to ensure that the baby experienced the best of life despite the circumstances of his conception. The family continued to offer her physical, emotional and spiritual support for many years that followed. Though Jeniffer never got married, she had a lot of trust issues concerning men and needed a lot of therapy and counselling to manage life’s emotions.
One of the messages that Jeniffer has been pushing is that the incident was wrong but the baby was right. However, it requires a lot of therapy and healing for the rape victim to forgive themselves in order to love their baby. The tragedy of having to look at your baby and see the rapist all the time is so weighty and cannot be taken lightly. Only God can bring healing to the victim to be able to live a full and abundant life. God can and is willing to heal you and help you move on.