By Aunty Julie

Dear Julie,

I have been living in shame and most times, I’m very depressed. When I was living with my uncle, one of his friends did something very bad to me and I have not been able to say it out until now. I was violently raped and on my own, I went to the hospital. I was told that I need to get a pap test and other tests as there could be damage from the force used.

I’m really frightened about the whole idea of it. Do I have to be lying down and what do they do? It’s stressing me out! I’m 23 now but the rape happened when I was 22.

Chimaoke, Enugu

Dear Chimaoke,

What happened to you was indeed very sad and I know how you feel.

Having to have a genital examination, can be stressful for someone who has been raped, and so I think you need to hear, that these feelings you are having regarding the examination are completely normal. Feeling depressed about your experience is to be expected and you shouldn’t have waited for this long before opening up. You could have spoken to a trusted friend or religious leader about your experience. It is not too late though as you need regular and consistent counselling to get out depression.

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