HOW LOVE CHANGED HER

Written by: Ayokunle Olagoke

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INT. HOSPITAL ROOM. NOON

Hosanna (17) is looking weak on the hospital bed where she is seated. She has bruises on her forehead, lips and part of her hand that is exposed. She is dressed in a hospital gown. Beside her are the doctor and another woman.

DR ESIRI
I was asked if you will like to press charges

Hosanna shakes her head in disapproval but says nothing

DR ESIRI (CONTD)
I must really commend you for taking the right step. The ideal thing is that victims should be present at a government hospital immediately after the incidence because only a government hospital’s report is admissible in court. Also, victims should be given Post Exposure Prophylaxis to prevent HIV infection, this should be taken within 48 hours and emergency contraceptive should be given to prevent pregnancy from occurring, it is available at every government hospital.

Hosanna is still in shock, she is mute, staring at the doctor’s shoulder

DR ESIRI (CONTD)
This is Barr Ohakwe, we call her Mama Justice… her NGO partners with us in assisting with emotional support, counseling and helping you get justice, I will…

Suddenly, they hear a loud cry at the corridor. A loud sound of a woman wailing

WAILING SOUND (V.O)
Olorun ti mo un sin loju mejeeji (the God I serve fervently)! It is not my portion, Labake mi o ni ku (my dear Labake, will not die), Yeh!

DR ESIRI
I will be back. Please, excuse me

Dr. Esiri leaves the room hastily. She opens the door hurriedly and closes it again. Hosanna looks through the window to catch a glimpse of what is happening

EXT. CORRIDOR. NOON
A young lady is being wheeled on the stretcher with the wailing woman running after her alongside some nurses

INT. HOSPITAL ROOM NOON
Mama Justice moves her chair closer to Hosanna with a simple smile

MAMA JUSTICE
Again I ask, will you like to press charges?

Hosanna shakes her head rapidly in disapproval, her eyes getting misty

HOSANNA
No

By now, tears are flowing down her eyes

MAMA JUSTICE
Whatever the decision you make, I will surely respect it but, can I know why?

HOSANNA
I’m not sure if it was a rape… I don’t know if I can call it a rape… I think I caused it to happen

MAMA JUSTICE
Do you mind telling me the full story?

FLASHBACK

INT. JIMI’S APARTMENT. 3P.M
Hosanna, dressed in touches of red is constantly wiping the sweat off her face with her face towel and off her sweaty palms. Knocks at the door but there is no response. After a while, Jimi walks towards the door reluctantly to open. She gives him a hug but he expresses reluctance

HOSANNA
Happy Val

She is beaming with joy but Jimi seems unwelcoming

HOSANNA (CONTD)
You are not dressed? Are we not going out again? You said we were going to see a movie or have you forgotten? I have been calling you to remind you, you were not picking my calls

JIMI
Hmmm

HOSANNA
You didn’t even ask about my test result I said was pasted… Eco 104, it was fine , though, I had 72

JIMI
Hmmm… good

HOSANNA
What are you up to? Your project?

JIMI
Hmmmm

HOSANNA
How do I look in this dress? I deliberately got this dress because of you, I know you love me looking sexy. Say something now, you like it?

She turns around for him to see

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Dr Sprinte

JIMI
Hossy, do we have to keep going round the same cycle over and over again? I have told you time and time again, we can’t go on a major outing with you looking like an inflated balloon, I’ve said, for now, we can only have our relationship in the room till you lose some more weight and form a reasonable shape… I mean, I can’t go out with you looking like this

HOSANNA
But I’m trying, I go to the gym on Saturdays until you said you don’t like the trainer and I should stop going till I get another gym; despite that I still jog every morning, I am trying

By now she already has misty eyes with her voice shaking

JIMI
Look Hossy, he that is good at making excuses will only keep making more. You are fat, you sweat a lot, your palms, your face, nose, sole of feet… see, my girlfriend illuminates me, my girlfriend is meant to be a reflection of me, if you are like this then, I can’t show you off, BURN MORE FAT!

He yells out at her. By now she is not able to control her tears, the tears run down her cheeks uncontrollably. Her lips are trembling as she sobs

JIMI (CONTD)
A friend’s sister is coming around, I will be going out with her because I really need to cool off, have some fun this season that happens once in a year… just friends

He avoids making eye contact with Hosanna who by now is soaked in tears

JIMI (CONTD)
Look it’s okay…it’s okay. You know I love you hum? You can take this time to read up some of the classes you’ve missed, exams are coming soon and in 100 level trust me you need a good CGPA okay?

Hosanna nods in concordance with what he just said

JIMI
Oya give me a smile now my Hossy! Hossy!

She manages to smile

HOSANNA
Let me be on my way then so you can have some time to get set

She bends down to put on her shoes, her clothes are up her thighs, Jimi sights the exposed thighs, the tightly fitted top revealing her cleavage as she bends

JIMI
Ah! No now, won’t you cook for your Jim-Jim? Do you want me to carry empty
stomach around campus? Go and prepare something jor

He teases her. Hosanna is still sniffing, cleans the tears off her face. She bends down to carry the pot from the wooden cupboard close to the bed. She opens it and sees it is dirty, she carries it outside the room. Jimi heaves a sigh of relief as she leaves

                                                            THIRTY-EIGHT MINUTES LATER

INT. JIMI’S APARTMENT. EVENING
Jimi’s phone rings, he looks back to be sure Hosanna is not close by. The door is left open; it cannot be shut except when locked with a key.

JIMI
Hey, guy! I just want to eat before I call you

He tries to reduce his voice, still sounding confident too.

JIMI (CONTD)
I told you it’s a small matter. At the moment she is in the kitchen making me dinner… mumu

He chuckles

JIMI (CONTD)
I don’t know what she wants me to do with a fat girl with sweaty palms and feet, me Olujimi Festus… abeg are the girls ready?… Yeh! I’m dead… if today is when I will have HIV I am ready… who?… she said the bleeding has ceased, she’s at home with her mama. We will discuss more when we see… I will join you soon

After making the call, he turns back still smiling broadly. To his amazement,  Hosanna walks in, she has a pot of rice in her hand, she stares at Jimi as tears start to fill her eyes

HOSANNA
I heard you… I heard everything

She pulls the hot pot of rice towards herself so she can throw it out with full force towards Jimi but he quickly blocks it with his hand and the rice spilled over the entire room. He hits her hard on her cheeks causing her to land on the floor. Jimi goes towards the door, locks it and draws out his belt

JIMI
Are you mad? Look at the whole room, is it my fault that you are a shapeless ameba? You will never repeat this again in your life, now pick every single grain

He whips her with the belt on her buttocks, she cries out loud. Jimi puts his finger across his lips telling her to keep quiet

JIMI (CONTD)
Quiet! If I hear your voice again, I will wound you badly.

She is nodding her head nonstop

JIMI (CONTD)
Today is your day, now, take off your dress.

HOSANNA
Ah! Please Jimi, you know I’m a virgin

JIMI
No, I don’t know, I’m just about to know. Off!

INT. HOSPITAL ROOM. NOON
By now she is sobbing profusely.

HOSANNA
I don’t know if that’s rape. I walked into his room myself, I seduced him, it’s my fault and I cannot press charges, my father is a Reverend, he will kill me

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Mama Justice has gone to her side to comfort her

MAMA JUSTICE
Hmmm! I am so sorry Hosanna but let me help you get some things clear. This is
not your fault, of course, I do not endorse your entire actions but this rape is not your fault and yes he did rape you, Section 357 of the Criminal Code Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria stipulates that anyone who is convicted of using violence to have carnal knowledge of a woman without her consent shall be guilty of rape. As long as your consent was not given, it’s rape. Keeping silent and not reporting will further endanger you, as you will be exposed to the possibility of him striking again. You cannot afford to live in the bondage of silence, which is the power rapists have over their victims.

Dr. Esiri walks in looking tired and unhappy. The voice of the wailing woman is heard from outside

WAILING SOUND (V.O)
Ha, Labake! Kin se base so niyi (this was not what we agreed)! Jimi Festus, wherever you are, your parents will mourn over you like you are making me mourn

DR ESIRI
She’s gone. She was actually brought in dead. We were told they found in her diary that she was raped by one Jimi Festus some months ago…

Hosanna is shocked, she cuts in trembling

HOSANNA
That’s Jimi, same guy who raped me

Dr. Esiri and Mama Justice express surprise

DR ESIRI
So she kept it to herself, did not visit the hospital after then, I guess she was ignorant. Few months after the rape, she found out she was pregnant. Jimi told her to get rid of it… took her to where she terminated the pregnancy. Days later she developed   complications, septic abortion. She went back there; in short, they could not control the hemorrhage. On her way down here she gave up the ghost

MAMA JUSTICE
Hmmm

HOSANNA
So I’m not the first Jimi will…

MAMA JUSTICE
But you can be the last if you choose to press charges. Every time we lock up a rapist, we’re preventing him or her from committing another attack. You can be saving an entire generation just by taking this up. For the love of others…

HOSANNA
I think I’ll do this. If this lady had taken the case up maybe he would not have done the same thing to me. If I don’t take it up, he might do it to another girl. I will… I will do this

She breaks down into tears. The other two women walk towards her to embrace her

                                                                 THE END

Appreciation: Seun Abimbola
Between March 2012 and March 2013, 678 rape cases were reported in Lagos state alone
95% of victims are raped by people they know, love and trust.

If every Nigerian knows what to do in the case of rape, we would have less rape  incidence, less unplanned pregnancies and a decrease in the number of people with HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

The Lagos State Government, through the State Domestic and Sexual Violence response Team (DSVRT), has approved the use of the 112 toll-free emergency line to report cases of rape,  domestic violence, defilement, child abuse, neglect and other
sexual assaults perpetrated in the state.

Rape victims should go to the hospital IMMEDIATELY after the experience so as to, among other things, get immediate treatment and evidence to prosecute the rapist because after 72 hours, evidence necessary to prosecute the perpetrator may be lost. For more information on how to handle a rape case click here

Some NonGovernmental Organizations (NGOs) that offer relief are:
1. Mirabel Center in Lagos State University Teaching Hospital
2. End Rape And Sex Abuse (ERSA)

 

The least we can do is share and comment on this post, you just might be saving a life.

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Question
Whose love changed Hosanna’s mind about seeking justice?

kindly place your answer in the comment thread.
Thank you!

 

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