It’s that time of the month again, when I am swamped with work as is routine every alternate week of the month…through the year! This is what I like to refer to as my “heavy week” and this particular week is packed with very interesting cases (and not in a good way). This is the story that got me saying to myself,

Ok. That’s it! Enough is enough. Kizzie, we have got to do something about this!”

The following events occurred within a 7 day period.

This lady, Mary*, a business woman in her late 30s, is a divorced mother of 3 young ladies aged between 17 and 23, the last born in high school and the first two in campus. She retains her composure as she narrates her story to me.

Mary works a lot from home and social media and internet are the major platforms she uses to market herself and conduct her business. Thus, it seemed obvious to include personal details like her phone number on her facebook page. (Mistake no 1)

On a Wednesday, she accepts a friend request from Mike*, a person she doesn’t know. This was not unusual for her as she didn’t want to loose out on any business. The two strick up a conversation that she described as being “very intriguing. He was pleasant to chat with”.

Mike was either extremely smooth or very pushy, because believe it or not, by Thursday evening, (yes Thursday the next day), he was asking her if they could meet up! Mary was hesitant, after all, it had only been about 24 hours since they ‘met’. Surely she could not meet with him unless it was work related, which it wasn’t.

Come Friday afternoon, following Mike’s persistent requests to meet up, Mary gives in, but on one condition, that they meet at a public location. Mike is more than happy to oblige and meet her wherever she feels most comfortable. Infact, he offers to meet her at her home where she feels safest! (alarm bells should be ringing at this point).

Mary, who lives with her daughters, takes a liking to his suggestion since ‘I will be in my territory. Surely there is nothing that can go wrong?’ She proceeds to give him the directions to her home. (Mistake no. 2)

Mike then makes his way to her house where, together with her daughters, they have dinner. (Mistake no. 3).

It is getting late, and after lingering around for a bit too long for Mary’s comfort, she politely asks Mike to leave. He complies, and as soon as he is out her door, Mary receives a phone call from Mike asking her to meet him outside for a brief conversation. Perplexed, she asks what the conversation is about seeing as they had been together for the last couple of hours. His answer “ just come out we talk a little bit, you will find out why. I like you very much”. Feeling spooked out by his request, she declines, and switches off her phone. Mary then locks up, and retires to bed.

Upon switching on her phone on Saturday morning, she finds numerous missed calls and messages, all from Mike, the last at about 5:30am. The content of these messages ranged from “ oh baby I love you” ,“ I am outside please come talk to me” to “ Baby I have been waiting for you all night and you are ignoring me. What’s the problem” and “ I have been arrested by police officers who think I am a thief and had to part with Ksh10,000, yet you don’t even care!”. At this point, Mary is distressed and decides to spend the night, along with her daughters, at her brother’s home not so far away. She has a long weekend ahead and doesn’t want this nonsense interfering with her programme. She texts him informing him of the same hoping he will give up and leave her alone.

SUNDAY:

After a long day at church and doing last minute back-to-school shopping for her last born, Mary gets back to her home at about 8 pm. Mike calls. Mary, irritated, answers her phone. She wants to put an end to this madness. Mike desperately asks her to meet him outside to discuss their “relationship issues”. Once again, Mary gives in to the pressure and makes her way to the gate to meet him and hopefully resolve this issue. She carries nothing but her phone in one of her pockets. ( Mistake no. 4)

Once outside, she observes a very distressed looking Mike, in the driver’s seat of a white car (make not specified). He asks her what the matter is and why she won’t speak with him and why she seems upset. Doesn’t she know he loves her?

Once again, Mike’s exceptional skills resulted in Mary being convinced to get into the car with him so they could talk face to face. (Mistake no. 5).

As soon as Mary entered the car, Mike locked the doors and drove off! As Mary narrated this story, she said that Mike just “changed into someone else, someone very scary. He was angry, started yelling at me for being defiant, snatched my phone and slapped me a few times”.

At this point Mary is terrified. It’s dark, she has no idea where she is being taken, and the man in this car has turned into a mad man”. He has her phone, so she cannot communicate. Her daughters don’t know where she is, and at this point she doesn’t know if she will ever see them again. She decides to take note of as many landmarks as possible, they may come in handy later.

After a 20 minute drive, they arrive at a tall white gate. The security guard lets them into a residential area, with several blocks of apartments. Mike parks the car at one of the blocks , orders her to be quiet, and ushered her into his house. She thought not to scream and risk “ alarming the neighbors by causing a scene, or worse still, never getting back home”.

Inside the house, she noted many adult female pairs of shoes, several wall hangings with Mike and who she presumed was his wife, the wife he had told her during their earlier encounters, was no longer in the picture following a divorce. She also noted pictures of him boasting artillery. “ Now I was sure this man could easily kill me” she said.

Mary was frog marched to a bedroom, where Mike stopped her, opened the door and instructed her to enter the room and say hello to his daughter. Daughter?! She then followed instructions, peeped into the room and was shocked to find a possibly 10 year old girl child in the room. Had she been left here unsupervised all this time? Was this really his daughter? They seemed to know each other and were familiar with each other. She didn’t think more of this. She couldn’t anyway, because she was then dragged into the master bedroom where all hell broke loose…

Mike commanded Mary to strip, stating that it was time to consummate this relationship. Mary dared to resist, thinking she could talk him out if this madness. Enraged and frustrated, Mike pounced on her with kicks and blows! All the while daring her to make a sound and test his ability to silence her effectively. Mary was raped, penoanally and orally several times (unprotected). She told me, with this disgusted look on her face, how he kissed her, everywhere, “as if I was his girlfriend. How can you kiss a stranger??” she asked. She was obviously very confused by all this.

At about midnight, when Mike was satisfied, he told her to dress up, and leave and that they would meet again the next day. Mary had come to the conclusion that playing along was her best bet. He then drove her back home, dropped her at the gate promising to meet her again for a repeat session the next day. He never returned her phone to her. Mary gives her daughters some excuse as to her temporary disappearance and mobile network unavailability, goes straight to the shower, scrubs herself clean, and waits for morning so that she can report the incident to the authorities. (Mistake no.6)

MONDAY:

Mary makes her way to the nearest police station to report her case. A P3 is issued to her, and she is referred to any hospital to receive medical treatment and for the P3 to be filled. She goes to the nearest medical facility, pays for consultation, waits in line for hours on end. Finally it’s her turn, and she once again, repeats the story to the clinician. To her dismay, the clinician informs her that this case was way beyond his/her capability, and that she should seek assistance elsewhere. Tired, restless, frustrated, and not knowing which facility she was required to visit, Mary goes home.

Allow me to stop this story at this point. I will continue it later on a different page. Right now, I want to highlight a few issues that struck me as shocking. As I listened to Mary, I was filled with so many emotions and questions. I wanted to interrupt many times and ask “ Really??? How did you not see this coming?” But this would be unethical, and completely judgmental. I quickly shifted my thought pattern from shocked and frustrated, to compassionate, sad, empathetic, wanting to understand better, and most importantly, put a stop to this.

I asked myself, how many other susceptible females are out there? How many more women can repeat this story? Considering this was a mother of 3 girls, previously married, yet was duped the way she was, what about the younger girls out there? How much easier would it be for a predator to coax a young girl into his den? Mary was brave enough to report to the police, something very many are unable to do fearing ridicule. Mary courageously opted not to remain mute, but to break the silence. How many survivors have kept these issues to themselves? How many are suffering the consequences of trauma, otherwise known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder-PTSD…in silence?

This article is for any female, or male, who is way too trusting and oblivious to what is really out there. This article is for anyone who is considering physically meeting strangers they have “met” on social media.

Lessons learned according to mishaps/mistakes Mary made:

  1. Giving personal information on social Media. If you use social media as a marketing tool, have a separate number for business activities.

  2. Directing a stranger to your home is a big NO NO NO!. Even people who may not necessarily be classified as strangers need not know where you live. Be careful with who you let into your home. Home is sacred.

  3. Protect your children: As a parent your children are THE priority at all times. Parents must protect their children from potential threats to their security. Allowing a stranger to your home, especially when you have children (and worse still…daughters) is inviting trouble to ALL of you. Children are vulnerable, even adult children.

  4. Follow your gut: Your gut instinct is there to guide you and warn you. Don’t ignore it. In the very beginning, Mary wondered why Mike’s behavior was out of line. But she doubted herself and trusted him…she literally walked into his trap with her eyes wide open.

  5. Avoid meeting strangers ANYWHERE and by yourself ESPECIALLY WHEN IT IS DARK, even if it’s just at the gate. Abduction is a reality.

  6. Keep close relatives or friends informed of your whereabouts and the people you will be with especially when dealing with new people or places. Let someone know where you are and how to reach you.

  7. If unfortunately you are sexually violated, report to a medical facility immediately. DO NOT SHOWER.

  • This serves to treat any injuries you may have sustained, and for collection of forensic specimens that may be used later on should you choose to proceed with the case. The earlier the better.

  • For info on the do’s and don’ts following sexual assault, see here.

  • DO NOT ENTER A STRANGER’S VEHICLE!

Please take these tips seriously, and share them with everyone you know. Some may seem obvious but you will be surprised, as I was, that what is obvious to you may not be obvious to me. Let’s break the silence on matters of personal security, and maybe save a life.