MY ONLY CRIME WAS THAT I WAS VULNERABLE

Raquel Daniel
Posted June 9, 2020 from Nigeria

I was homeless at the time, cleaning a brothel, cooking and washing for commercial sex workers. I wasn’t dressed in way that’s supposed to “attract” any man. The girls I worked for wore better clothes. I wore the same jean and T-shirt almost everyday. The best I did was brush the jeans once a month. My hair was shaved, no makeup, no earring, nothing. Yet, I was almost raped more than once. So the assumption that what a woman wears can provoke a man to rape her is false. I escaped rape miraculously, it still surprises me but I’m grateful.

The last attempt landed me in the hospital with a huge injury on my side (I still have the scar to show). It was about 10pm. I had finished cleaning and was heading to my corner to sleep. They showed up out of nowhere, three grown men. I was only 17. Immediately I figured what was about to happen, I started running. They chased me until I fell in front of the Army Cantonment in Obalende, Lagos. The barb wires caught my skin and I started to bleed. I was traumatized. Hated myself and thought I did something to call attention to myself. But I didn’t do anything wrong. I was just a girl, homeless at the time, living on the street. MY ONLY CRIME WAS THAT I WAS VULNERABLE. A nurse in the Military hospital in Ikoyi called me “the perfect rape target”. She told me I was lucky I wasn’t rape. That not so many girls on the street escape rape. I started to have horrible frightening nightmares, vivid replays of the traumatic experience. I couldn't handle it. Put that all together with what I went through living on the street, one day, almost 8 years after I left the street, I attempted suicide Never justify rape. Never!' We all need to speak out until we find #justiceforUwa #DontRapeUs #LeaveUsALONE

Comments 32

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Anne Penikis
Jun 09
Jun 09

Raquel...thank you for sharing your story. You must be so proud of yourself to be where you are now. You survived so much...yet are still strong and able to share. Stay strong and take care of yourself. Don't stop speaking up.

Raquel Daniel
Jun 10
Jun 10

Thank you Anne.
I sometimes just look back and pat myself in the back for fighting through and being resilient through the years. I am so proud of the woman I am becoming.

Chipo Malekano
Jun 10
Jun 10

Thank you for your strength and courage. No one should be in that situation. Because of their Gender! #youarespecial

Raquel Daniel
Jun 11
Jun 11

Yes. We go through so much because of our gender!

Hello, dear Rachel,

I am sorry your experience many rape attempts, and one too traumatic it confined you in a hospital. You are so brave to share this story and for making a stand to speak against sexual harassment and rape.

I had a similar experience when I was 10 years old. I was walking in the street at night when a huge man caught me and touched the sensitive parts of my body. I screamed so loud, he ran. But like you, I had series of nightmares and I felt ashamed of myself, too. Weird, right? When we know it was not our fault at all. I, too, imagine how worse could it be for women who experience rape. How many nightmares and tears do they have?

We stand with you, dear. Hugs to you. Please keep writing!

Raquel Daniel
Jun 11
Jun 11

Oh wow!!. I am so sorry to hear about this. Thankful you grew out of it.

Regina Afanwi Young
Jun 10
Jun 10

Raquel dear, thanks for sharing your story and for encouraging other women to speak up. Am sorry you had to go through all that. I must admit you are a strong woman. Keep up the good work dear, advocating against rape. Stay safe dear

Raquel Daniel
Jun 11
Jun 11

Thank you for your kind words. Yes, I will.

Evelyn Chioma Joseph

You are a strong woman my sister. Many hugs for you. Rape is never the victim's fault. Nothing justifies rape.
Rape is striving in our world is because of rape culture, victims blaming, and stigma.
Much love.

Raquel Daniel
Jun 11
Jun 11

Thank you for your kind words my sister.

prakriti sapkota
Jun 11
Jun 11

Hello!
Thank you for sharing your story and i am sorry to hear about your sad incident.
You are really strong woman. Every woman and girl needs to have same courage and braveness as you.
Regards,
Prakriti

Raquel Daniel
Jun 11
Jun 11

Thank you for your kind words. Yes, we all need to speak up for others.

Seka
Jun 12
Jun 12

Hello Raquel. thanks for sharing. May your voice be heard!

Raquel Daniel
Jun 12
Jun 12

Thank you!

soul on fire
Jun 12
Jun 12

Hi Raquel,
First of all let me tell you that you are a strong and brave woman. It breaks my heart to read this. Thank you so much for sharing this with us❤️ Stay awesome and looking forward to read more about you ❤️

Raquel Daniel
Jun 12
Jun 12

Thank you! I will write more...

Shirin Dalaki
Jun 12
Jun 12

Dear Raquel,

It was hard to read your story and it made me sad, you have gone throught so much and the courage you present is applaudable. You have power and the voice to express yourself and teach others to do the same.
Thank you for sharing.

Raquel Daniel
Jun 12
Jun 12

Thank you for your kind words....

Chi8629
Jun 12
Jun 12

Hello Love ,.
Thank you for sharing.
Please stay safe out there.
We value you so much.

Audrey Bake
Jun 12
Jun 12

Raquel. You merit happiness now. You courage and braveness took you above the sky. Indeed you are a role model. you are an amazing young woman. Keep it up.
The weapon you have can't be found anywhere easily.

DimpleM
Jun 13
Jun 13

Dear Raquel,
You are a brave girl and you have a great life ahead. I understand what you went through was traumatizing but at the same time with Gods Grace you were saved each time. You have great things to do in life, so thank God for he saved you and be strong, you are truly an inspiration.

Tamarack Verrall
Jun 13
Jun 13

Dear Raquel,
Your story is a call for action, the action we are here to do together. It enrages me to know what you went through, and that we are taught so deeply to blame ourselves first. We are always hearing the blame of women and girls, it gets under our skin, we know how society blames girls for being any where in public on our own, any act of freedom. Taught they have the right to hurt even kill any of us. I celebrate the powerful woman you are, with your message to the people of the world "Never justify rape. Never!" We are here to do this together.

Colleen Abdoulah
Jun 14
Jun 14

What courage and strength you have! Thank you for sharing your story. How are you doing now? My heart breaks for all the vulnerable young women in our world being taken advantage of and being lost in societies. It is so very wrong and evil. I wish I could stop it from happening! We have each other though and all women need to keep fighting for the rights of women and create a more equitable world. Blessings to you

Lavina Cardoza
Jun 15
Jun 15

Thank you for sharing Raquel. World is a very unjust place. Brave of you. Wondering how could we help millions that are vulnerable due to wars, internal conflicts, poverty etc. facing similar situations....

MUVUNYI FABIENNE
Jun 15
Jun 15

My Angel Raquel.
You story gives me hope and straight.
It teaches me to be strong in any complicated situation.
I really praise your courage and determination that to change your miserable life to a good one
I can see your beautiful face, you are so beautiful. Never give up.

Be the first to rescue many other girls who are hopeless.

Thank you.

Fabienne Muvunyi, from DRCongo

Busayo Obisakin
Jun 16
Jun 16

Thank you for sharing your story my Sister! You did nothing wrong, it is just a wicked world. Thank you for courage and strength, it is inspiring!
Love
Busayo

Jun 16
Jun 16
This comment has been removed by the commenter or a moderator.
nuria g. puigarnau
Jun 17
Jun 17

Sweet Raquel, I send you love & light. I really resonate with what you share.
I was abused at the age of 6... and always been fighting against abuse & cruelty ... up to the point I came with a groundbreaking solution... the idea began in 2007... and now willing to be able to share the model with many communities and start our first boot camp.
Lot’s of love & you are never alone

Amonge
Jun 19
Jun 19

Dearest sister ,
Its not your fault and remember your strong because your able to speak out.
It happens to many and it has become a tendency of women being blamed on their dress code,it leaves me wondering! ,was it my fault when I got sexually abused as a child when my mum dressed me properly
Let's not let our past deprive us from making the best of ourselves,but again let's not forget until raping ends,we will shout, ,condemn and bring to justice until rape stops.
Lots of love from Kenya.

macie_sherman
Jul 09
Jul 09

Raquel,
What an incredible story, thank you for sharing. I hope that in each time you share your journey you can inspire other women to be as brave and resilient as you are.

louise.isaac
Jul 22
Jul 22

Thank you for sharing your story, i hope life is so much better for you now. Take Care and keep thriving!

Louise

Isata Kabia
Aug 03
Aug 03

Thank you for sharing this deeply personal story Raquel. You are not alone, and we all know the statistics. Your story will help somebody else heal, or talk or find the strength to leave a dangerous situation. Know that you are creating impact with your words.