Tuesday, July 9, 2019 3:30 pm
Last week, I decided to share parts of my truth on my wall, especially for many unsuspecting parents to learn to protect their kids. After that, Mr Azuka Jebose and I talked at length and said many more parents and kids could learn something from it. He took time to put in words what we had talked about. Thank you sir for taking time to do this and putting it on your blog. May almighty God continue to protect you and yours. Above all, I thank God in his mercies for all the guardian angels placed around me to protect me all through. This is my testimony. I am more than a conqueror.
“Social media ornate dainty beauty and fashion designer, Tolu Meduna, boldly steps out from her past pains to tell her hidden story of sexual molestation and assault by “a man of God my family trusted”.
It’s powerfully engaging.”
Below is her narrative
I Was Sexually Assaulted At Age Eleven
By Tolu Meduna
The healing process for a traumatized, sexually assaulted and physically abused girl-child is not a happy walk along wedding aisles. No daughter should experience the upheavals of distress at childhood or any age. It takes years to unleash the pain within and letting it travel through the breeze and time of existence. Time is painful. Time is the truth. Time also heals. The deep scars remain as reminders of a bridge not too far, yet an agony at crossings. I needed to find peace and everlasting consolation within me. I have finally found the strength to begin healing from the trauma of my childhood years. I was just 11 years old. Perhaps some may not believe my story. Others would empathize and move on. But you would not understand until it happened to you. However, there is healing of letting go and starting life anew when we learn to share our unforgotten pain.
My name is Tolu Meduna. I was sexually assaulted and physically abused by the Pastor of a new Pentecostal church we joined, after my dad died and mom had to resign her job from Papermill Clinic in Jebba.
This Is My Story
A few years after my father’s death, his clinic and other businesses closed down. The paper mill company my mother worked for started to have financial challenges. It was the only paper mill that sustained our livelihood. She carried the burden of caring for our family when my father passed away. Mother comforted us with the words of God and the church became our safe sanctuary those years of “widowhood”. So when the Paper mill closed down finally, my mother moved us out of that town to seek a better life and employment opportunity. We relocated to Lagos State. We settled into a new life at a suburb of Lagos city with almost nothing: life was different from where we were coming from. Mother was eager to introduce us to the church she found in our new town: she said its teachings and traditions were structured in the ways of the Bible. She thought she found one when she picked this very popular Pentecostal church (then regarded as one of the top three Pentecostal churches in the country) as our church and spiritual temple.
The church and the Pastor became our extended family. Mother had no reason not to trust the pastor and other ‘righteous members’ of the church. So every Sunday and midweek, we religiously attended services. My family was also involved in activities of the church as set forth by the church’s administration. We had no reason not to trust any member, especially the Pastor. He was the “oracle” and regarded so by the congregation.
One of the highlights of the week’s services of the church was its “Deliverance services”, scheduled a few days of the week and conducted by the Pastor. There were also special and private deliverance sessions. Deliverance services were when believers came into the church, conducted loud prayer sessions, then withdrew within themselves, speaking in tongues, supposedly went into trance or what in modern religion is known as “Deliverance”.
One early morning, mom suddenly woke my older sister and me from our sleep. She persuaded us to get ready because she would like to take us to see Pastor for prayers. Her reason was that our new pastor’s prayer was better than the old neighborhood church “Jelenge prayer” we used to offer at my birth church: that his prayer was capable of even making me pass my common entrance exams. Oh! I was so eager to follow her. I hurriedly dressed and we went to church. I later realized that mother actually brought me because she had complained to the Pastor that I was very stubborn, so he asked her to bring me to see him for prayers.
So that morning, we arrived at the Church premises and went to the Pastor’s office. Mom knocked at the door and he came and opened the door. As the door opened, it revealed two men standing in the room; an elder of the church and the pastor. He ushered us into his office and asked my mother which one of her daughters was a stubborn child. She quickly handed me over to him as she affirmed it was me. Meanwhile, the elder left and the pastor told my mom to remain outside with my sister the ‘gentle one’. I felt betrayed when mom identified me to him as the stubborn daughter. He was a stranger. He then took only me inside his main office . He shut the door behind those I trusted most in my life at that time. I wasn’t stubborn, I just wished she could travel through my young mind then. I was mourning the death of my father, I missed my dad. I was in pains. I was in a torture of losing my father at such a young age, I was confused. I hid my pains and acted them out with my attitudes when I felt misunderstood.
After he shut the door behind my family, we were alone: just the two of us: an 11-year-old innocent baby girl and a sick nasty and fraudulent Pastor, abusing and assaulting his church members in the name of deliverance. He asked me to kneel down; he removed his trouser’s belt as I bent my knees to the floor: the satanic Pastor asked if I was a virgin, during his Deliverance session with me, an 11 -year old child. I said yes. Suddenly, his dark face turned cloudy, ugly and angry. I thought to myself: that as a father, as a man of God that could do no wrong (that was how brainwashed we were about Pastors, then). I thought he should be happy for me for being a Virgin.
He approached me closer and instructed me to raise my blouse above my chest, that it revealed my breast. I did and exposed my young breasts. I was 11 and about to experience a significant hormone change: My puberty period was within the distance of my human dignity. But as a man of God and a father figure, I did not think of what he was about to do to me when he asked me to pull my clothes up, exposing my breasts. He grabbed my breasts with his wickedly filthy hands. He began to caress them so painfully and ferociously. He was wild. I was immediately consumed by fear. The pains of him squeezing pathetically and painfully made me scream ; (thank God he didn’t cover my mouth) my innocent mother, had probably thought it was deliverance that was happening to me. Suddenly one angel (the elder that saw us arrive) rushed into the Deliverance room and that was how I was rescued from his sexual assault of my body. He desecrated my young temple; a gift privileged me by my creator.
The Elder was shocked, ordered me to pull down my blouse, I didn’t understand why, he tried to explain things to me but wicked Pastor cut him off and threatened me after the escapade. He brainwashed me, cautioned me that anything that happened in Deliverance must not be told to anyone especially someone’s mother, otherwise, the mother would die. He then asked If I wanted my mother to die as my father died. I was very scared as I gasped heavily. My mother was the only person left for me and my siblings, so imagine how frozen I was when he threatened that my mother would die if I ever told her of the process of the deliverance. Mother was outside the door praying. I was extremely afraid , so I did not know when I shivered and coldly told him “No”, I would not tell anyone of the experience: Not even my mother. No one.
As he threatened me I actually thought it was a vision (i.e what God told him): even though I was confused about what he did, I didn’t know he wasn’t allowed to do that. Now I know He wasn’t truly a Man of God; he was just a person who used his place and knowledge of the Bible to sexually molest and assault me and perhaps some other church members. He was evil on the pulpit.
I was disturbed and afraid for a very long time. My life changed and became a hell of daily living. I kept wondering why my mother took me to that place. Burden that my mother’s live depends on me were too much to bear for me at 11 years old. I fell ill because I tried very hard to suppress my feelings and my thoughts, thinking if I forgot I was even at the pastor’s office I would not mistakenly tell my mother, I had been violated by my church’s Pastor. My childhood innocence had been compromised by a beast that claimed to preach. I became seriously ill and for two days I was unconscious. I almost could not write my common entrance examination. I was a bright and bubbling pupil before the Deliverance abuse by the Pastor. I became traumatized and depressed… My mother did not know how heavily laden I was. I did not tell her. The house we lived was a disgusting apartment and anxiety set in …I couldn’t concentrate. The sickness and trauma were glaring as I began to approach age 14.
I began to experience flashback moments as I grew into a 14-year-old teenager. I was distanced, alone and lonely. I couldn’t tell anyone of the baggage, heavy inside me. I was going to explode with guilt and pain. Who would listen to a 14-year-old girl accusing a respected Pastor of sexual assaults? Who would believe her? I would become an outcast and bring shame to my family and my mother’s death will be on my neck if I told her. These were the thoughts raging inside me. One day at 14, I reasoned that the Pastor had wanted to rape me that morning but immediately I began to blame myself for what happened. I went into denial, rebuking myself every time my mind wandered to that morning and asking for forgiveness that I’ve sinned forever thinking in that line of a ‘holy man of God’. I didn’t want my mother to die as he told me: The echoes of his voice rang in my head and ear thus: “ these are never to be shared if not it’s death for your mother or do you want her to die? Her life is in your hands”. The Pastor knew my mother was all I had.
The years went by fast but the anger and rage matured with each end year and as I grew out of my teenage years to a full-blossomed woman. At about 29, my mother had an accident on Ibadan express road and she died. I never told her that the man of God she trusted molested me. When I was in JSS 2, I almost mistakenly told a friend saying anything that happened in deliverance must not be told and she wanted to inquire more. I quickly shut it down, I felt dizzy throughout that day, didn’t even know how I got home…My mother died without knowing and feeling my trauma and pain, inflicted on me by our so-called Pastor.
Two years after he victimized me, I was in his house when I walked into their passage and saw him caressing his own daughter’s breasts. I was shocked. I found the evil man caressing his own daughter’s breasts! She was about 11years old… I was 13. I pushed the thought aside because I felt a pastor could do no wrong, I thought maybe that was the kind of play daddies do with their daughters (mine died early)…In his house, I escaped the second rape attempt by him, because I never told my mommy of what he did earlier. Mom’s job as a nurse on Victoria Island was far from where we lived. She could not take us to her work and because of school for the next few months, she left us (my sister and I) in care of the Pastor and his wife. I was left to live with him in those months.
But soon after mother left me in his care, he turned around and took me to church to this dark basement where he kept a nasty market mad woman. He claimed he was conducting deliverance for the lady at his church basement and said that’s where I would live saying I was like her and we are of same category, I shivered in fear. But same day, I was rescued by a Good Samaritan and taken away that same day from the basement and the elder took me back to his (the Pastor’s ) house and said he should tell my mother if he can’t keep me.
He grudgingly kept me in his house. After slaving to take care of his children and home I retired to my room and fell asleep. He would wake me up every midnight and in the name of deliverance he mercilessly beat me with his belts and shoes, curtain rods, pestle, men shoes and broom: ordered me to confess that I had a seductive spirit. The neighbors heard this commotion every night and my wailings. One day in the morning, I was going to buy something for him, one of the neighbors sneaked to ask me why I was always being beaten at nights. I told them that Pastor was conducting deliverance for me those hours because I had a seductive spirit (I had no idea what it meant). The neighbor was shocked in disbelief so she encouraged me to inform my mom when next she visited me at the Pastor’s home. Thank God that the same day she told me to tell mom, mom came and I told her “mommy please take me away from here they beat me every night and say I have seductive spirit”. Mom was shocked at my comment. She didn’t tell me the meaning but that day, she took me away from that house of horror.
I was 33 years old before I courageously shared my tales of tales of sexual and physical abuse with my trusted eldest sister. Those sad experiences were so fresh in my memories. I cried, so intensely while narrating the sexual assault and psychological abuse by the Pastor. It was an agonizing and horrible moment in our lives. I had matured and accepted what happened. I also decided and determined not to live in denial and with guilt. I had to tell my story, regardless of who believed or who didn’t.
I am almost 40 years old. Its time to come out and share my experiences with my friends, followers and other victims of sexual assaults, mo lestations and physically abused by the people they trusted, especially even if it is men of God.