Actress and comedian, Steph Isuma aka Calabar Chic, has narrated her rape experience, revealing how she had to battle depression after the terrible ordeal.
Speaking with Inside Nollywood, the Cross River State-born entertainer said she was moved to share her story so as to inspire other rape victims to open up. However, she rejected the insinuation that being a rape victim would scare men away from her.
In her words: “It was a burden I had carried for so many years. I was depressed for years of my life. But I survived it. At a point, I tried committing suicide but I survived it. I’m actually creating awareness for people to know the effect of this thing called rape. Another reason why I put it out there was to encourage victims that they are not alone, that indeed the people they look up to also go through stuff. We also encourage others to speak out because if we don’t speak out, these things would continue. We would have to change the rape culture in Nigeria; reduce rape apologies, stop shunning victims when they speak up for themselves so that rape issues can reduce.”
On whether being a rape victim would limit her chances of marriage, Isuma said: “I don’t believe being a rape victim would limit my chances of getting married. Although, the society we live in is one that sees rape victims who speak out about their experiences in bad light. They begin to bash, accuse and ask questions. That’s the rape culture we need to put an end to. People that view victims as stained, irritated are the ones that believe one won’t get married as a rape victim, but I don’t care. If I am going to get married I would when I want to and when I feel I have healed. But I don’t think I’m going to miss my chances of getting married because I had to speak the truth. The man that I would marry should know what I have been through. If I can’t open up and tell the person I am going to spend the rest of my life with, the things that had happened to me, then there is no need going into the marriage.”
Wondering if she habours any regret going public with her rape story, Steph Isuma said pouring her heart out on social media was her best decision ever. “No, not for one day. I felt it was one of the best things I have done in my life. After I went public with my story, I got lots of messages from people. I read about people’s stories and how they had been molested as children, how they had been raped and sexually assaulted by family members. Some were molested by people they trusted, even strangers. I came to understand that these people carry this burden in their heart, with no one to talk to. So, when I spoke about mine, they felt the connection. They talked to me about it, I encouraged them the way I could. I never regretted going public, never!”