Wow, I have been on a tear away! I Can’t imagine that we have consistently done 3 Dear Davina every week now for virtually three weeks. Thanks so much for the letters and the comments. You guys have been simply wonderful. I don’t know if you have been reading our survivor stories, please do. Some of the Dear Davina letters such as this one fits into the “my survivor story” mould. Some of the trauma from early childhood manifests itself into relationships later on in life as we can see with Ijeoma here. so here goes:

Dear Davina: Was Being Molested As A Child Ruining My Love Life?

Good day,
I have been reading a lot of your advice on issues and I appreciate your words of encouragement which has also encouraged me to share my story.

My name is Ijeoma I am a 32-year-old civil servant from the eastern part of Nigeria. I was sexually harassed at the early age of 6 right up till age 12. It kept happening and telling my mum about it didn’t help much as she didn’t believe me. Anyway, that led me to know a lot about sexual acts very early and I also grew to despise guys. I made up my mind to stay away from boys or having any relationship until I was done with my education. Also, thanks to my mother who kept telling me that if I allowed any boy touch me I would get pregnant and stop school, I stuck to my pledge.

I graduated from university and decided it was time for me to get into the dating scene. The first guy I dated was a guy who had been asking me out all through my university years. He graduated before me and by the time I was done he was working. I gave a positive response to his proposal; we had just dated for three months when I discovered he was seeing someone else although he kept claiming it was me he wanted. Six months into our relationship, he had his introduction with this lady and I had to step back. I was more disappointed in him than being hurt.

Youth service took me to Abuja where I met another young man. It was wonderful as he took really great care of me and respected me. Soon, I discovered he had started making me do away with my friends and was trying to control my decisions. Whenever I refused anything he asked me to do, he got upset. He was also about 10years my senior. I was feeling so caged that I had to walk out of that relationship. He also had a lot of female friends who he claimed were just friends but I was not allowed to as much as communicate with mine.

A few months later I got my job in the civil service and kept very busy. Approximately 5 months after I broke up with him I met another guy and wow the chemistry was everything! I never knew I was capable of falling in love because I was always guiding my heart not wanting to fall too fast. This man swept me off my feet and it was wonderful for about 8months then suddenly just like that, he stopped calling and refused to pick my calls. I went to his house and was denied access and just like that he was gone.

Oh, the hurt I went through; it was as if my heart was in pieces and I cried for months. I started to wonder what love had against me if the first guy I genuinely fell in love with could treat me that way. I decided to leave Abuja for Lagos to have a fresh start.

For the two years I have been in Lagos, I have refused to date anyone because every guy I have met after speaking with them wants to end up either in my house or I in theirs, and I see that to mean they just want to have sex yet I want something more meaningful. It has gotten to a point where sometimes I sit and wonder if I am being too harsh and judging them wrong but I just believe all they want is to have sex and go.

Please, I need your help as this is getting me so worried as I would like to settle down soon with a good man but I don’t seem to trust any man right now.Thank you

My Two cents…

Hi Ijeoma, thanks for the trust and opening your heart to me. There are several parts of the issues arising from your childhood molestation that is affecting your relationships.

1. During a rape or violation, the victim has this sense of being out of control, of helplessness against the perpetrator. This is further exacerbated if the attack takes place over a period of time as yours did. The side effect is that the victim develops a rebellion against anything that seems as control over their decisions. Sub consciously, it takes them back to the place of attack and even where the advice might be good, it comes off wrong.

2. Self-esteem issues. This develops into an inability to handle any form of criticism. Criticism even if constructive is sen as a personal attack; as a validation of the inner feelings of unworthiness that usually follows this experiences.

3. Distrust of people and their intentions. You constantly fret over if the men want you for yourself or want something from you. This shows up in the way you approach your relationships. You would second guess, want more assurances from the relationship and many times be an emotional drain.

These reasons are why you walked out of the second relationship and could be why the third man whom you loved so much left you suddenly; your drama had become too much too handle. While we might blame the first guy in that he could have been double dating both of you, remember that you also had the opportunity to swing the vote in your favour. His going with the other lady proved that he most probably saw her as a better option.

My advice

1. I believe one of the best things you have done so far is to take a step back from relationships so as to evaluate what is next. For someone who hadn’t been in a relationship for long, you sure went on a whirlwind of relationships. So many so fast.

2. The second best thing you did is to reach out for help to me. I would advise that you consult a good counsellor that can professional counsel you through some issues you have had from childhood. Those would be the key to unlocking this. If you are in a church and I strongly suggest you join one, I would suggest you see your pastor or the counselling head. They are usually trained for things like this. Additionally, I would ask that you write your molestation story and the aftermath in full and send to me. This starts the healing process.

3. You need to learn to love. Loving people starts with loving yourself. Love comes with trust. yes, you would be hurt but that is part of the loving process. Love is a process of hurting and healing. You get stronger via that process. Not all men are predators and not all men are just there because of your body. There is a right man out there waiting for you and yes you would find him soon. Amen.

much love,
You can send your Dear Davina letters to me directly @ I assure you whatever you send to this mailbox is for my eyes only and I promise complete anonymity when I decide to publish your letter.
I look forward to hearing from you



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