What would you do as a Pastor if armed robber invaded your December 31st Cross-Over Service and in the process raped your daughter?
The mystery involved in making children is beyond human comprehension. Man’s infinite dimensions cannot measure it, no matter how gifted you are. It has become a universal principle that every family yearns to have numeric increment via natural procreative process. Those not inclined to have children due to personal preferences opt for child adoption in line with approved processes.
While Science attempts to describe the egg fertilization through to eventual birthing processes, there are limitations in explaining HOW the mix of spermatozoon and egg co-join and how the liquid dropped for fertilization. Conversely, Science has not conclusively explained how infertility sets in and the true state of the internal system of the woman. I love how Dr. Randy J. Guliuzza’s submission in “Made in His Image: Human Reproduction” to Institute for Creation Research:
“Actually, the detail could go far beyond this simple description. As seen, the level of coordinated interaction to get any viable offspring exceeds the cellular level, extends past the reproductive system, pulls in the neurologic, hormonal, and circulatory systems, and demands substances that are produced independently by the male to modify the actions of the female body or the materials made by her–and vice versa. Evolutionary literature is rife with speculative stories about the origination of these processes, but devoid of any real scientific evidence to explain them. The only viable explanation is that GOD placed these processes in the first parents, Adam and Eve, fully functional right from the beginning.”
Truly, bringing forth a child into the world is indeed an awesome experience!
Within the last five years, two very challenging emotional conflicts situations revolved around “accidental procreation”. I want to operationally define accidental procreation circumstances as “birthing children as a result of forceful entry leading to pregnancy”. The need for this definition is because some women have had to deal with pregnancies resulting from birth control mechanisms failure.
What would you do as a Pastor if armed robber invaded your December 31st Cross-Over Service and in the process raped your daughter? What would you do if you find out two months on, that your daughter is pregnant? How can a Pastor’s daughter overcome the pain and shame of being violated, and, pregnant for an unknown criminal? How would she cope to full term? How would the Pastor and his wife explain their daughter’s pregnancy out of wedlock? Would the Pastor and his wife accept their first ‘grandchild’ as a blessing? What is the way out… Many unanswered questions!
Again, what would you do if after 19 years of ‘searching for the fruit of the womb’, hoodlums invaded your home, gang-raped you. Four months down the line, you realize that the gang rape experience resulted in multiple pregnancy – triplet? What would a loving husband do under this circumstance? Would this couple welcome these ‘innocent children’ as ‘Divine Intervention? How would the man react under this trying situation?
After over 10 years of working emotional cases, one lesson that reverberates is the fact that primary colours do not define emotional conflicts and entanglements. There are underlying and extenuating circumstances, enveloped by actions and reactions. These realities challenge the Emotional Counselor beyond rationality and simple logic. Incidents sometimes challenge fundamental beliefs and mores. Thus, the best counsel is offered from a painful impassioned pedestal, having identified variables holistically and individualistically.
Negative emotions must be extricated and flushed for the delivery of, sometimes, painful path towards emotional crisis resolution. These two unfortunate incidents, at some stage led to victims’ doubt of the Omnipotent, Omniscient and Eternal God Factor! However, the story of the Okes is very significant because of its emotional complexities.
Twenty-two year old Sandra was a Year 2 Bio-Medical Sciences student of a reputable institution. On December 23, she returned home for the Christmas holiday season full of expectations and plans. Her father, Pastor Oke is a well-known and respected preacher, who lives and walks the Word, bringing his children up in alignment with the Word of God. Pastor Oke’s children were love by neighbours and church members for their cultured manner. Mrs. Oke is a paragon of beauty and humility; she runs a foundation that caters for the girl child. In addition to supporting her husband, Mrs. Oke runs one of the cheapest Nursery/Primary Schools in the State.
The Okes look forward to December 31st every year with excitement and expectations – new resolutions, family plans and programs for the following year and a host of wish lists. The most important part of the period was the opportunity for January 1st Family Feedback Hour, when family members provide feedback Mom and Dad on parenting style. For Sandra, she always enjoyed the opportunity to tell her parents things she did not like and what her parents needed to refrain from doing ‘going forward’. So, coming home every December was not negotiable, because it was critical for family bonding.
The Okes had a great day – last minute year-end shopping and general preparation for the New Year. There was an air of spirituality amid sober reflection of the ending year. After dinner, they drove to the hired venue of the Cross-Over Service, an open area less than 10 minutes drive from their residence. A cheery congregation welcomed Pastor Oke and his family; as they step in, the environment electrified with praise and worship. It was an excited Minister that stepped up to the podium at precisely 2330hrs to commence the Crossover and Testimony Night program.
Thirty minutes into the Praise and Adoration, the “Happy New Year” was announced amid shouts of exultation and adoration. Fireworks outside the service environment added to the already electrified worship center as the congregation danced to ‘sow into the new year’. Then the unexpected happened, as armed men in masks, who ordered every worshipper to lie flat on their face, surrounded Pastor Oke at the podium. They made away with the collections, and dispossessed the congregation of their valuables. The gang also escorted some members identified as ‘wealthy’ out into their vehicles. At the protest of the Pastor, the four men descended on him, beating him to a stupor.
Sandra could no longer lie still. She got up to fight one of the hoodlums in defense of her father. Sandra’s martial arts training came handy as he rescued her dad from the villain. Unfortunately, two of the gang pinned her to the ground, beat her up really bad; it was under this tensed circumstance that the leader of the gang tore off her clothes and decided to ‘teach her the lesson of her life’. He violated her mercilessly to the point of losing consciousness. It was the longest nightmare of her life as Sandra floated between the pain of being raped and violently beaten.
Time stood still as Sandra and her father regained consciousness at the private hospital of a church member, her father’s bosom friend of many years, Dr. Umez, who had called for his hospital’s Ambulance. Pastor Oke was in pains when he came to, asked after his family, to which the doctor professionally responded: “everyone is fine”. Mrs. Oke did not leave her daughter’s side, and appealed to the doctor and key staff to maintain professional confidentiality by not telling her husband that Sandra was raped and severely beaten. Dr. Umez ordered several tests and treatments for Sandra; all members of the medical team worked frantically to ensure that all was well with Sandra and her father.
Mrs. Oke was treated for shock because witnessing her daughter violated and husband almost killed, was too much to bear. However, she managed to appeal for utmost confidentiality in matters regarding Sandra. After two weeks of hospitalization, father and daughter were discharged to the joy of the family and Pastor Oke’s congregation, many of whom were not very sure of ‘what really happened to Sandra’.
Through the efforts of a ‘protective mother’ who was guarding against stigmatization, there were conflicting stories concerning the incident. Some believed that Sandra was beaten to a pulp for “trying to be heroic”; others were sure that she was “attempting to call the Police” while another group said Sandra was “taking pictures of the invaders”. Yet, another group were convinced that Sandra “recognized some members of the gang” hence, the ‘serious beating’ she got. However, everyone empathized with her and thanked God for making sure ‘no life was lost’.
Sandra returned to school with the trauma as all rape victims, and thrust herself into the academic workload to distract her from the nightmares she experienced. She became a hermit and made conscious efforts to avoid male classmates. Efforts by close friends who knew she was ‘beaten by invading robbers’ paled into insignificance as Sandra rebuffed entreaties for group studies and campus fellowships.
Early February, Sandra fainted during a lecture session; her best friend, Pamela called Mrs. Oke who flew down to see her daughter at the university clinic. She immediately arranged for her transfer to Dr. Umez’s private hospital, the family hospital. Different tests were conducted: HIV/AIDS, Pneumonia, Diabetes, Malaria, Typhoid, Pap smear, Appendicitis, Low sugar, PCV, etc. Nothing significant was found.
After one week of hospitalization, Dr. Umez, Medical Director decided to indulge his ‘whim’; he took a blood sample to three outside laboratories for pregnancy test. Results came back positive. He was devastated, asking himself repeatedly: How would he tell Sandra’s mother that the real nightmare had begun? How would he face Pastor Oke, his dear friend of many years, to explain that Sandra was raped the same night he (Pastor) nearly died in the hands of the violent gang – resulting in pregnancy? How do you tell this to a mother who is yet to recover from the trauma of witnessing her daughter raped and husband beaten close to death?
Finally, he decided that there was no time to waste; Mrs. Oke needed to the situation to enable to family decide on what to do. Adopting reverse psychology, Mrs. Oke was asked what she honestly thought could be wrong with her daughter. She suggested it could be depression and fear that people knew she was raped. Dr. Umez reminded her that the personnel with the highest level of integrity coordinated post-rape treatment for Sandra. At the suggestion that Pregnancy Test would be done the next day, Mrs. Oke went berserk: “No. No. No. Don’t even think or suggest that Sandra could be pregnant. Do you know what that means? My husband’s Ministry will be finished! Have you considered what a pregnancy will mean to my daughter? Please perish the thought…”
Moved with compassion, Dr. Umez prayed for Divine Wisdom on how to communicate the ‘bad news’, fully aware that it was more dangerous to delay the information further. He needed to alter the Sarah’s medications to pregnancy-friendly ones decision on the pregnancy, but decided to update Pastor Oke on the situation to get a steer on the matter. Unaware of the pregnancy, but knew that it was expedient that her husband knew about the rape. At last, the secret of those fateful early hours of January 1 was going to be revealed. Would her husband feel disappointed and betrayed in her? Would he ever trust her again? How will Sandra feel IF the test proved positive…. Many disturbing questions…
Pastor agreed to create time Sunday evening to meet with his friend and chat over dinner. Ahead of the dinner meeting, Pastor Oke and his wife checked on their daughter, Pastor insisting that Sarah needed deliverance since nothing is medically wrong with her. Dr. Umez was glad to see his friend in high spirit, wondering how the day would end after delivering the sad message. He hated being the harbinger of bad news, and, it was the first time they were meeting socially, besides church services, since the unfortunate incident.
They had dinner in silence amid palpable tension; Dr. Umez ate mechanically, his mind pre-occupied, mentally joggling one possible strategy after the other. Walking with Pastor Oke and his wife in tow to the study, he knew that the die was cast and silently prayed for divine strength. “I want to begin with apologies. I have failed you as a friend and failed God as His child…” he began. A surprised Pastor Oke looked to his wife who sat with head bowed, believing Dr. Umez was about to reveal Sarah’s ordeal that fateful night.
“As you know, Sandra has been in the hospital for about two weeks…I just found out that she is pregnant…” Dr. Umez dropped the bombshell. Pastor Oke gave his wife a questioning look, “What…what did you just say? Sandra, my daughter is pregnant? How?” Turning to his wife, “Is this true? Are you aware of this? Speak, woman…” Dr. Umez interrupted, “My brother, mummy does not know that she is pregnant; that is why I decided to come to the house. We did not tell you everything about that night…. Those hoodlums raped Sandra, our dear daughter. Unfortunately, it has resulted in a pregnancy. I thought it wise to discuss with both of you. Something needs to be done, and, fast too…. My apologies Mummy; this burden has been too much for me…” he concluded with visible relief.
Mrs. Oke wept uncontrollably, while her husband stared unseeingly and motionless. When he spoke, it was to no one; he soliloquized: “Lord, what is my crime? Who has sinned in this family? What are you trying to tell me, Lord? Have I not served you faithfully? Are you visiting our sins on my beloved daughter? What kind of shame is this, Lord…?” Dr. Umez quietly left to the home of the Okes, making a mental note to return first thing the next morning. There are key issues that need to be resolved and the earlier the better.
For the Okes, it was the longest night of their lives. Painfully, Mrs. Oke narrated what took place that fateful night and how everything was done to clean up and treat their traumatized daughter who was violently raped. She pleaded with her husband to persuade Dr. Umez not to disclose to Sandra that she was with child – and to secretly abort the baby. Pastor Oke was indeed in dire straits – he could neither pray nor reason with his wife. He lamented all night.
Dr. Umez had invited me earlier to provide my perspective – a ‘third eye’ angle, but I dithered. He got to his friends’ residence the next morning only to discover that they never left the study. Husband and wife sat down in deep thought with confused expressions. Dr. Umez was concerned and checked their blood pressures; the results were so alarming that he gave them medication to relax them. He left with instructions to the housekeeper that the couple should neither be disturbed nor allowed to receive any visitors. He knew his friends would need their strength to deal with the issue at hand. Sandra had been requesting for a private session with the doctor to understand her ‘ailment’.
The meeting with Sandra’s parents was one of the most emotionally tense sessions I have ever dealt with. Discussions focused on “How to manage the information”; “Is abortion the answer?” “How will the church perceive their Pastor in view of the Sandra’s pregnancy? “Would the Pastor approve abortion as a necessity under the circumstance?” “Will Pastor accept that his first grandchild is seared by a criminal?” So many questions…
This couple was crestfallen. They needed a shock treatment that would kick-start them back to reality. I empathized with the Pastor Oke, who is one of the few ‘true men of God’ with the highest level of ethics and integrity I have met. He was loved for his stance on Christian discipline, piety and morality. Clearly, in this circumstance, Pastor Oke and his daughter, Sandra, are most impacted. Aware that they had not had anything to eat in almost 24 hours, Dr. Umez called on the housekeeper to get some green tea and freshly made juice, for it was going to be a long evening. Introductions and exchanges were made while waiting for refreshment.
We took refreshment in silence, but the tension was palpable as Dr. Umez gave me a nudge. One of the most trying periods for even the most experienced and talented professional is rationally surfing through entanglements. The need to explain real situations and their implications is usually a tough call. Dr. Umez and I had worked through the issues – all night and day – till the point of meeting – until he, too became very emotional.
Rationality is often impacted by uncoordinated feelings; this happens to be best of us, no matter your profession or vocation- including yours truly. “Pastor, I understand how you feel right now, but I believe that a prayer to kick off discussions will be good…. Please, lead us in a short prayer”. That was an unkind cut, but it had to be done; it was the beginning the process of venting and healing for the family whose trust is in God. Initially, Pastor Oke looked at me with an inexplicable emotion, shaking his head, he knelt down and said a very short, but powerful prayer under the circumstance. His prayer cleared the path to emotional recovery: “Lord Jesus, I thank you for everything; please, grant me the Grace to bear this great burden. Amen”
That simple but powerful prayer changed the mood in the room. There seemed to be an entrance of Power that encapsulated the room with PEACE. Internal peace aids positive reasoning, and we needed a surplus dose of that for the discussion. Also, the wordings and tone of the prayer was a signal that everyone in the room was ready to accept the worst-case scenario. Above all, I was strengthened and more confident to deliver painful but critical perspective to the ‘issues’ at hand. It was brief, without sentiments and straight to the point:
“Thank you for allowing me to participate in this very intimate family matter. I am glad that we are all positively disposed to deal with the fact of the tough problem before us. This family is a high profile and well-respected family, and Pastor Oke is a revered minister of the Word. Therefore, we need to carefully consider the situation and take decisions towards remediation. We need to consider that Sandra is an adult who must be carried along in this matter that affects her directly. Yes, the situation if not well articulated and handled, will impact the family’s reputation, Ministry, and most importantly, Sandra.
“While the seemingly easiest option is ‘quiet abortion’, Dr. Umez knows that he cannot wheel Sandra to the theatre without an explanation. She already suspects that she might be pregnant and has requested for a pregnancy test. When Dr. Umez and I playfully asked her what she would do if she were pregnant, Sandra shook her head and faced the wall. That is denial! The clock is ticking; the damage has been done, and I think we might consider the following steps:
1. ZERO consideration for Abortion
2. Relocate Sandra outside the country (preferably, the United States of America or United Kingdom) to have the baby and continue her education there
3. When the baby comes, send the baby to a Motherless Baby Home for possible adoption; OR, return the baby ‘home’ and be adopted into the Oke Family.”
“No way”, Mrs. Oke shouted. How can my first grandchild be a bastard, and, a product of rape? God forbid. Please Dr. Umez take out that thing…that bastard…. Oh God, why? Why? Why me? What did we do to deserve this? Who did we offend….”she sobbed uncontrollably. Her husband moved over to her side and held her tightly muttering “It is well; it is well; it will end in praise. Like Job, we will triumph. What else can we do? Abortion is against the Will of God. The shame is unimaginable, but I think they have thought this out well. It is a temporary option until things cool down. Please, my darling. Be strong…”
Pastor Oke decided to go with us to the hospital to see her daughter immediately. It was an apprehensive and confused Sandra who greeted us. Mrs. Oke wore a very sad and depressing countenance that increased Sandra’s anxiety, “Daddy, Mummy, what is the problem? Is everything okay? Am I dying?” Pastor Oke moved to the bed, reassuring his daughter that “All is well”, however, he had ‘unfortunate news’ to tell her. Sandra became hysterical: “Did I contact HIV/AIDS from the rape? Is it cancer? Oh, please, Mummy tell me that I am not dying. I have seen the way the some of staff have been looking at me with so much pity…like I have limited days to live…Can someone tell me what I am suffering from…”
“God is Faithful; He is Merciful and Gracious. You do not have any ‘Egyptian Disease’. We thank God for that; but you are pregnant…” Pastor Oke dropped the bomb! Minutes that seemed like an eternity passed, with a now uncontrollably hysterical Sandra pulled away from her father, tore off the drip and attempted to run away from the room without success. Dr. Umez tried to calm her down, overcoming his desire to sedate her. When she became calm, Sandra asked her mother, “Mummy, what am I going to do? How will I be able to face my friends in school and the church? Oh, Daddy, how will your members look at you – a minister whose daughter is pregnant out of wedlock…made pregnant by an armed robber? What kind of destiny is this…?” Sandra went on and on… Mrs. Oke held her daughter tight and the two women wept in tensed confusion.
One week later, the family adopted the “Emotionally Yours Model”, as Pastor Oke christened the advice provided that evening of crisis. Sandra spent some time with the Emotionally Yours Team to enable her vent and come to terms with the challenges of ‘accidental motherhood’, as she called it. Within three weeks, Emotionally Yours Team worked with its international network to get a Christian couple in Europe where Sandra was to live, school and have her baby – all with the support of her parents.
Emotional Piggy Bank
Rape victims experience emotional and psychological consequences beyond the constantly harped ‘stigmatization’. Being raped by a criminal with the resultant consequence of pregnancy introduces another dimension in emotional distress. While victims fall back to self-blame as ‘avoidance tool’, ‘spiritualizing’ the incident further impacts the healing process. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, flashbacks, sleep and disorders, guilt, anger and suicidal inclinations are recurring emotional pools in which victims swim.
Love, patience and understanding help victims rebuild their self-confidence, while crawling gradually from the stupor of depression through the rungs of self-awareness. It is Love’s influence via expression of positive emotion and rational behaviour that help victims overcome, as well as come to terms with any other fall outs impacting on other parties. The constant reference to the word ‘bastard’ during pregnancy arising from a rape incident naturally reopens the wounds to a never-healing state. The incident is mentally relived and the cycle could be unending.
Therefore, Love is the BALM that soothes emotionally traumatized victim. Thus, the next time you meet a rape victim, show empathy, understanding and LOVE.
More Emotionally Yours ►►►