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I tried to negotiate with a rapist with whom I did not know

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Karen Lina, 44, popularly known as Princess will forever remember vividly what happened in her life, two years ago. A matter she never envisaged will occur to her.

As she narrates moments in the hand of her tormenter, a feeling of pain and annoyance fills her heart. She was raped by a stranger – a man she never set her eyes on before.

Her tribulation began shortly after the collapse of her three-year marriage.

“By the time I went through the act of rape, I had lived for only three months after leaving my marriage. In short, my ex-husband had divorced and evicted me from the residence we lived in as a couple in Nairobi ”, she says.

Divorced

Her tribulation began shortly after the collapse of her three-year marriage.

In her lonely life, she decided to regularly take a long morning walk to the place of worship as part of getting some exercise.

“I had been living in the area for about three months. Every day between 6 and 6:30 am I used to exercise. I was never afraid since the area was safe, so, I did not have to worry about walking at that time”, she remembers.

She recollects one Sunday morning preparing and going towards the highway.

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“I was just starting to walk when I heard someone brisk walking behind me heading towards the same area I was going to. I turned around, saw that he was a man and asked him to pass.

But he insisted that I just go on. And suddenly before I knew what was going on I saw a sword around my neck and he ordered that I should not try to move “Princes recounts.

As the incident unfolded so quickly, she narrates, her purse fell down.

She remembers pleading with him to take whatever was inside her purse and leave her alone since she was going to a place of worship to pray.

Self-defense training

As opposed to her previous training on self-defense on similar attacks, Princess composed herself and concluded that all she needed at this moment was calm and not to fight back.

“My attacker warned me of any move and that if I cooperate with him there will be no harm to me”, she says adding that the attacker was ready to use his sword on her if she fails to collaborate.

“Moments later, he ordered me to a different route with no people and this is the time I panicked”, she states. All this while, she says, the man held her hand without uttering a word and directed her to a house with a red gate.

Anxiety taking a toll on her, the foe searched her purse and in no time, they were standing in front of the house. The surrounding was already dark charcoal.

“Moments later, he wanted me to take off my clothes and at this juncture, I was trembling and requested for a few minutes of prayer.

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I wanted to persuade him not to rape me and I remember telling him that I am still single and we can be lovers’.

No persuasion could work as the man was determined to rape her. Despite agreeing to give her number for courting purposes, the attacker was adamant about his ill motive.

Moment of prayer

Luckily, he gave her a few minutes to pray – the only plea he accepted.

“Since I was a little girl I have been praying to God that I never found myself in the hands of a rapist”.

After she finished praying the man committed the heinous act shamelessly leaving her with the pain of abuse.

Like many women out there, Karen couldn’t get the courage to inform anyone about the incident and couldn’t acknowledge that she went through sexual abuse.

She sought the help of a boda boda (a bicycle taxi) rider since the enemy robbed her money. She couldn’t envision sharing her distress with anyone.

Recovering from such a painful moment isn’t easy since the act of denial precedes recovering process.

Being assaulted by a stranger complicates the matter and Karen adds that the nightmare of the incident has been perturbing her for a long time.

Since the incident, Princess says that there are certain smells, clothing and hairstyles of men that she does not like to see. It reminds her of the day of the mistreatment.

Opening up

Ultimately, she courageously and openly decided to speak up and, on the same note, encourages women to bravely address the scars of sexual abuse.

Women shouldn’t hide or deny the reality of abuse because as Princess says daily resentment and pain could lead to illness, stress and depression.

The story was first published by BBC NEWS | SWAHILI