In the few cases of depression that I have encountered, physical or emotional abuse seem to linger somewhere in the background. Sometimes It may be as serious as being a victim of sexual abuse and it could be as little as verbal abuse. I have a friend who said she wanted someone to dis-virgin her before her father because the man seemed to have some unnatural attraction to his own daughter. I have also met ladies who were sexually abused by their trusted guardians, cousins, uncles and aunties too. Abuse is not limited to the ladies. There are boys who were introduced into sexual activities as toddlers and the confusion alone has put them in a mess. A counselor could easily discover roots of depression by asking questions like:- Do you have a history of sexual violence or abuse?
- Have you been a victim of sexual abuse in the past year?
- Do you have a history of physical abuse?
- Do you feel constant and deep regret for any encounter with someone you once trusted?
If you or someone you know, answered YES to any of these then they may need to be evaluated for suicidal tendencies.While addressing a group of young women, Lola Omotayo revealed that she suffered sexual abuse by a priest as a child and she was beaten badly by a boyfriend in college. She said she never told anyone about the molestation because she did not think anyone would believe her.
There is this terrible approach Africans have to the issue of rape, molestation or abuse, it is always the victim's fault. Lola spent a large part of her younger years filled with hate, she was rebellious and could only see how negative life was. I also have a friend who was raped by her cousin for years and this early introduction to sexual activity made her appetite for sex become too much for her to bear. She messes up, cries and then messes up again.
I don't know who may come across this work but the peculiarity of the Nigerian context puts the victim in such a situation that they cannot speak up, this alone is enough to make a person suicidal. Experiences like this set people on a sad and lonely path, it becomes almost instinctive for the abused to allow repeated abuse.
The easiest way to break free from abuse involves two steps:
1. Speak out: It is very important that victims of abuse get to confide in someone, this may also include security agencies. A healthy distance must consistently be kept from know sources of sexual, physical or verbal abuse.
2. Forgive: For the effects of abuse to wear off, you must forgive the persons involved. This gives you the capacity to start afresh, be happy always.