I didn’t want to write this story. Never ever! It’s one of those things as they say, one should cover up, especially when one considers the human beings involved. But I thank God that someone like Ese Walter came out and shared her story. I am not God, so I can’t disprove her and say she’s lying, nor can I say she’s telling the truth. I’m only here to share my own story because something has been stirred in me.
Mine is a little different from hers but it runs along the same lines and I will combine it with a similar story because I want to expose a few things today. It is not easy to come out and share this. I stand to be judged for sharing it, especially by those who share the same faith as me and who have known me from home. But I make no apologies. I am a grown woman, a mother, a wife. And my husband approves. Nobody’s judgmental opinions matter.
Before I go to the main, story, read this intro. I hoped to hide this too through some random blog post about child abuse. I wrote this a long time ago and tried so many times to post it but my guts failed me. Today I share it. Here’s my story:
She was only six years old when her father’s friend visited their home. She didn’t know much about the visitor but she called him Uncle Cameroun because that was where she was told he lived. His name began with a C too but now she doesn’t remember. He could have been very fair or very dark. After all these years his face still chooses to be a mystery to her.
The first time she enters the guest room to see him, her whole family is in the parlor watching Another Life. A curious child she is, she wants to know what is in his bag. Earlier, he had promised her some goodies. But she finds nothing. The bag is full of books. Her eyes stroll to the dressing table and she sees a sachet of red pills. They look inviting and she picks the sachet.
“Uncle, what is this?”
“Blood medicine? What are they doing with it?”
“Bring it here.”
She takes the pills to him and he pops one into his hand. He puts it in her mouth and she instantly likes it.
“Yes. And it gives you blood.”
“Because you need blood to be strong.”
She keeps licking the pill and when the sugar-coated part of the blood supplement is over, she spits it out.
“Iz not sweet again.”
He takes her hand and draws her towards him.
“There is another thing that can give you blood.”
“Let me show you. Turn around.”
She turns away from his face but she’s very curious and tries to look back.
“Face your front,” his voice is a little gruff and she obeys it.
Next thing she knows, his hands lift her dress and runs over her sides.
She is innocent. She doesn’t know what he is doing. There is no danger alert device installed in her system. Her brain has no explanation for what is going on. She stands there and takes his abuse, oblivious. After he is done, he tells her she’s a good girl.
“don’t tell anybody. When you come back from school tomorrow, come back here and collect more blood so that you can be strong. don’t wear any pant. don’t tell anybody o!”
She is happy to leave the room but she can’t wait for more blood tomorrow. As he has instructed her, she tells no one.
The next day, after school, she runs into his room in her school uniform. He does as he pleases with her; gives ten kobo afterwards. She uses it to buy local sweets and shares with her sister and cousins. She looks forward to the following day.
This continues for the entire week—she collects ‘blood’ everyday and he buys her sweets. Finally, his visit is over and he must return to Cameroun.
The little girl is sad.
“Uncle, you will come again?”
“Of course, he will,” her dad says, oblivious of what his daughter has gone through.
He never comes back. She grows up, forgets him.
Years later, in her friend’s room on campus, she gets into a conversation with a bunch of girls. All of them have a secret to share; they have all been sexually molested as children. Every one of them.
It is then she remembers… A scene from a girl’s story sparks something in her and she remembers everything Uncle Cameroun did to her. Somehow, her mind had blanked him out all these years but now she sees everything in detail. It should not be in her memory if it has been quiet all these years but strangely, it is there—the picture of a six year old girl who was the object of a man’s dark sexual fantasies. He had pleasured himself while looking at her naked body for one full week.
She cannot handle the recollections as she leaves her friend’s room and goes home. Tears are her food for days. For weeks, she goes through the horror of her past over and over. Time makes her forget because she commands it to. She pushes it all into that blank place it came from and she moves on with life, unhealed, scarred, broken.
Uncle Cameroun was a pastor.
In 2004, while in school in my second semester, I fell really ill. I had the dreaded combo of typhoid, malaria and brokeness, so I did what every normal student would do. I went home. I had one other reason for going home: my ‘uncle’ was in the country. Not, Uncle Cameroun. Another one. And I needed to tax him for house rent which he promised me. Now, this uncle is not a blood relative. He is that uncle that one grew up knowing as one’s parents’ friend. He lived outside the shores of Nigeria and visited the country at least twice a year and spent both times at our home. We were very close. Now, this uncle, because of his oyinbo orientation, was very open with us and we were the same way with him. In short, I shared with him my relationship issues at some point and he gave me good advice on what to do. I trusted him that much.
Now, my dad’s a gentleman of the cloth (pastor) and so is this uncle. Let’s call him Z. Now, Z was a bishop. A well-respected bishop overseas; a doctor, a theologian, a learned man and member of the Jewish community. Whenever he came into the country, he was always so booked that it was hard to see him except for the little time he spent at ours. Therefore I was lucky to meet him at home. I arrived home on a Sunday really, really ill. By Monday, I wasn’t any better. My dad left the house early to the church for a preaching engagement. My mom left to work, my aunt to some place, my sister to some place and everyone just vanished and I was left alone with Bishop Z.
He called me out to the sitting room and asked how I was doing. I told him I was getting better as per the normal answer na. Next, he asked me to sit on his laps. I did. Without hesitation. It wasn’t anything new. My sis and I had been innocently sitting on that man’s laps for as long as I can remember. He was like a father to us. So I sat and he started asking me about the house rent issue and I told him how much I wanted. He told me he was going to give it to me before he travelled. I thanked him and he asked why I was thanking him, that he would do anything for me, that after all I was getting married to his son. I laughed and while I was laughing innocently, I felt his hand on my breast. Now, I was a girl and I had been in situations when a guy wants to start getting fresh with you and he makes a move that you think is a mistake, that maybe his hand just mistakenly brushes against your body.
That was how I felt. It had to be a mistake. But I felt it a second time and I froze. I was shocked. I couldn’t move because I couldn’t believe it was happening to me. When he saw that he got me immobile, he became bolder and started groping. That was when I found the strength to move away. I asked what he was doing and he laughed and said, ‘why are you acting like you don’t know what’s happening? Are you a virgin?’
I couldn’t reply. I got up to move away but he pulled me back and became very forceful. Guys, I was scared for my life. I was very weak; if you know what typhoid can do to you, you’ll know how frail I was. I could hardly move and it seemed my struggles were useless but this man just kept on touching me all over, oblivious of my begging and tears and he was in the process of lifting my dress when God sent an angel to the front door.
My dad had sent someone to come pick him up. Mind you, he was to be speaking in the church in less than an hour at a pastor’s conference. I ran to the door, opened it for the driver and ran back inside crying. My heart was beating faster than a racecar. I was scared to death. I could hardly breathe. Minutes later, he left with the guy and I called my boyfriend and told him everything. Naturally, he was mad and told me to report it but I couldn’t.
And here’s why.
I told you my dad is a pastor. Before this, I have heard of stories like this and have gotten in-depth gist of such situations and always, the blame fell on the girls or women that were involved either in a rape situation or a consensual sexual affair with a man of God. Thus, I knew, nothing would be done to him if I reported and I knew I would be blamed for seducing him or something of the likes. So I kept it all in; I didn’t even tell my sister immediately. That man stayed in our house for a whole week and even on Wednesday, I went for midweek service and watched him preach. As usual, the church was slain in the spirit by his theatrics and I sat in one corner and asked myself what in God’s world was going on. This was the man that almost raped me on Monday, now here he was talking about living a holy life? Nothing made sense.
I kept that story to myself and told my sister when I noticed he was getting close to her. She wasted no time in telling my mom who got mad at his behavior. Things went awry after that and I will not expose family issues here. But later on, I was told by a close friend who travelled around the country on his preaching engagements with Bishop Z, that my case was small. There were more vulnerable women out there that fell into his trap – wives, daughters, including orphaned twins who had come to him for help. But like I said, he was just another randy MOG amongst so many others I knew.
Unless you have been a victim to the wiles of these fake pastors or have witnessed firsthand what the disgusting things they do in the name of God, you will not understand where Ese Walter is coming from. Her case was not like mine. She had consensual sex with the pastor in question and she has no right to play the victim. But was she a victim? Yes, she was. To what extent? To the extent that these men, if they have the oratory power to make their members believe anything they tell them, they also have that same power to make spiritually weak women fall into sin with them.
I visited a church earlier this year and the senior pastor towards the end of the service, picked me out of the crowd and shamelessly told me I was beautiful and when I got embarrassed, he told me not to be, that God had a calling for my life and that I should see him after church. I obeyed and waited after the service. He came to me and continued the whole you’re beautiful speech and then asked to be my ‘personal’ pastor. No, scratch that. He begged. Not once, not twice; three times and when he saw the shock I carried, he went on to ask why I was shocked, that hasn’t anyone ever been that bold towards me? He continued, saying that there’s a calling of God for me, blah-blah-blah, he will publish my books and give me a job with a publishing company that has offices in London and South Africa. I should just let him bring out God’s gift in me. Nobody told me twice to leave that church with speed. He even had the guts to call me the next day by 10pm and my husband tore my ear with warning about him. Now, is that a man of God? But if I told his members? What do you think they would say?
On the top of the list of women’s problems are infertility, lack of husband, spousal abuse and financial issues. Such women are vulnerable and the closest spiritual figures they have next to God are their pastors. They will believe anything they’re told and might even do anything and these evil men prey on them and use them and when these women come out to speak, we open our mouths and tell them to shut up.
So, just because he carries the title of MOG, he is automatically sinless and untouchable by human scrutiny and investigation?
Of course, I have seen a case where a lady had consensual sex with her pastor and came out and told the world he raped her. There will always be lies by crazy people but this should only push us to make our spiritual leaders more accountable.
Cases like Ese Walter’s happen every damn day and people know about it and do nothing! I have seen a church where a man was caught in adultery and instead of having the backseat to shame him, he was given the seat in front with the leaders because he was a pastor while his cohorts in sin sat behind because they were members. Reason: I quote “one has to be careful when dealing with a man of God. He’s not to be handled the same way a normal Christian is handled.” But (excuse my language here) he has a d**k abi? Or is it a spiritual d**k? And he has sex the normal way or is there a biblical kind of sex that we don’t know about which makes it okay for these men to commit blatant adultery and God does not look?
Oh, okay, my bad. There is a different level of grace on them, abi?
Well, for those of you who believe this, I ask: what if this MOG is screwing your wife, daughter or sister or mother? Do your lyrics remain the same or do you scream bloody murder?
We Nigerians are so quick to jump into the “Touch not my anointed and do my prophet no harm” verse when it concerns our pastors. But have we read that passage to find out who God was referring to? Please go read 1st Chronicles 16.
More quick questions here: if my pastor tries to have sex with me and I report him to someone who can bring him to order, am I harming him? If I try to speak out against what he’s doing and nobody is listening and I am getting threats instead, am I harming a prophet? It’s bad enough that we live in a society where women are often blamed for rape and consensual extramarital affairs while the men are left free. The church is supposed to be the place where none of that is allowed, where hypocrisy is unveiled and truth abounds. Why then do we carry that same spirit into our places of worship?
I am one of the strong proponents of us not judging each other, though I too, still fall into this sin many times. But what gives us the right to damn politicians and everyday people to hell and even in our prayers but when we see the wrong in our pastors, we keep quiet about it and venerate them to a pedestal that is sometimes shockingly higher than Christ’s?
Let us face the truth: These are mere men. Sadder is the fact that people seem to believe that the super apostles (with private jets and huge churches and massive followings) are void of sin. If a small pastor in a mushroom church is caught in adultery, he should be persecuted but if a super apostle is caught, the whistle blower should be persecuted, silenced and delivered of her evils. Bet why?! Strip one of these super apostles of their wealth and his congregation would be the first to cast their stones and blogs will not be enough to post their sins on.
I repeat: They are mere men. As a Christian, you should know that we (not just one man) are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation. Not one man. Not some men. Me and you as long as we believe, God will use us. He spoke through a donkey. Jesus sat and ate with people that even in our church today, we would turn our noses against. From some of such sinners came the gospel which we preach today because it was God who chose the vessels.
What criteria then do we use to know true men of God today? Sadly, there is none. At least, doctors spend eight years in school and every other profession has some form of accreditation. Yet there is none for pastors. Even theological seminary is not enough because we have atheists who have studied Christianity better than Christians themselves and can quote the Bible word for word, yet do not believe in God.
So what criterion do we use? We have only one standard and that is the word of God. If you’re a true Christian, you will not judge Peter and let Paul go free if both of them committed the same crime. You will judge neither but will bring their sins under the light of truth to weigh and see if they are on the right path or not, also being mindful that one day, you could be in their shoes as well. And when you see the wrong, you ask for mercy on their behalf and do not claim one is righteous over the other.
What then should be done to men in position who abuse their office? We demand from them to lead by example or else what they feed on, they feed back to their followers. If they refuse to lead a godly life, they should not lead us at all! The principle when last I checked is ‘follow me as I follow Christ’. If a man is following the lusts of his flesh, and we want to keep to rules and principles for order in God’s house, let us expel such a person as the Bible says in 1st Corinthians 5 because a little yeast works through a whole batch of dough. Makes me wonder why there is so much immoral lifestyle in the church. It is because predators, victims, partakers, spectators, contributors, judges, people on the fence, all of them keep quiet and it spreads from the head to the least person. Just because we don’t want to expose our sins and seek for mercy.
I don’t claim to be a saint. And I feel bad that I kept quiet and watched a man whom I should have exposed for what he did, continue doing it because I was afraid. Today, I keep his identity a secret because he is no longer in that position and has fallen from grace. Am I happy about it? Yes, I’m happy that he is not manipulating any more vulnerable and weak women. But at the same time, I am sad because that was a man God had deposited his word into and given the occasion to speak the truth but because he hid his sin and others like me helped him lock it with a huge padlock, he imploded on the inside and took many down with him.
Ladies, stop seducing your pastor. God has given you the strength to flee if he is too weak to flee. Go to church, face your God. Stop disturbing pastor for special prayers biko; that’s why women leaders are there. Leave those pastors! They are just men and last I checked, can still be affected by your boobs and bom-bom.
Let us be the donkey and not be afraid to speak the truth when we see things go wrong in the pulpit but let us also do so in love, remembering that it could be us in the shoes of our neighbor tomorrow.
Thanks to @OD_lifecoach, @larriepeniel and @ameh_arome
They gave me the strength to write this.