female pastor has described how she failed to show up at her own
wedding because she was being gang-r*ped, and recalled how on the
morning of her wedding day she was abducted by a group of men who
brutally attacked her for six hours.
to her wedding, nobody could have guessed that she had been abducted,
r*ped and left for dead by the roadside. It was the first of two
tragedies to hit the young Nairobi pastor in quick succession. But she
is a survivor.
church members were coming, as well as all our relatives. My fiance,
Harry, and I were very excited – we were getting married in All Saints
Cathedral in Nairobi and I had rented a beautiful dress.
Harry’s clothes, including his cravat. He couldn’t show up without a
tie, so a friend who had stayed the night offered to take it to him
first thing in the morning. We got up at dawn and I walked her to the
the bonnet of a car – suddenly he grabbed me from behind and dumped me
in the back seat. There were two more men inside, and they drove off. It
all happened in a fraction of a second.
out and trying to scream. When I managed to push the gag out, I
screamed: “It’s my wedding day!” That was when I got the first blow. One
of the men told me to “co-operate or you will die”.
was still fighting for my life, so when one of the men took the gag out
of my mouth I bit his manhood. He screamed in pain and one of them
stabbed me in the stomach. Then they opened the door and threw me out of
the moving car.
came running. When the police came they tried to get a pulse, but no-one
could. Thinking I was dead, they wrapped me in a blanket and started to
take me to the mortuary. But on the way there, I choked on the blanket
and covered in blood, and my face was swollen from being punched. But
something must have alerted the matron, because she guessed I was a
bride. “Let’s go around the churches to see if they’re missing a bride,”
she told the nurses.
People were sent out to search for me. Rumours flew. Some wondered: “Did
she change her mind?” Others said: “No, it’s so unlike her, what
room for the next ceremony. Harry had been put in the vestry to wait.
the whole entourage. Harry was actually carrying my wedding gown. But
the media had also got wind of the story so there were reporters too.
was where the doctors stitched me up and gave me some devastating news:
“The stab wound went deep into your womb, so you won’t be able to carry
to protect me from HIV and Aids. My mind shut down, it refused to
accept what had happened.
of her and make sure she comes back to good health in my arms, in our
house,” he said. Truth be told, I wasn’t in a position to say Yes or No
because my mind was so jammed with the faces of the three men, and with
everything that had happened.
in the eye. I kept saying sorry. I felt like I had let him down. Some
people said it was my own fault for leaving the house in the morning. It
was really hurtful, but my family and Harry supported me.
line-up but I didn’t recognise any of the men, and it hurt me each time I
went. It set back my recovery – it was 10 steps forward, 20 back. In
the end I went back to the police station and said: “You know what, I’m
done. I just want to leave it.”
really excited, but they told me I had to wait three more months to be
sure. Still, Harry and I began to plan our second wedding.
read my story and asked to meet me. Her name was Vip Ogolla, and she was
also a rape survivor. We spoke, and she told me she and her friends
wanted to give me a free wedding. “Go wild, have whatever you want,” she
expensive. Instead of a rented gown, now I could have one that was
lit a charcoal burner and took it to the bedroom. After dinner, he
removed it because the room was really warm. I got under the covers as
he locked up the house. When he came to bed he said he was feeling
dizzy, but we thought nothing of it.
duvet. But Harry said he couldn’t get it as he didn’t have enough
strength. Strangely, I couldn’t stand up either. We realised something
was very wrong. He passed out. I passed out. I remember coming to. I
would call him.
myself out of bed and threw up, which gave me some strength. I started
crawling to the phone. I called my neighbour and said: “Something is
wrong, Harry is not responding.”
door to let her in as I kept passing out. I saw an avalanche of people
coming in, screaming. And I passed out again.
they were working on him in the next room. I said: “I’m a pastor, I’ve
seen quite a lot in my life, I need you to be very straight with me.”
The doctor looked at me and said: “I’m sorry, your husband did not make
earlier I had been there in my white dress, with Harry standing at the
front looking handsome in his suit. Now, I was in black and he was being
wheeled in, in a casket.
“There’s a bad omen hanging over her,” they said. At one point, I
actually believed it myself.
by everybody. I couldn’t believe that people could be laughing, going
out and just going about life. I crashed.
away and I said: “God, how can you take care of the birds and not me?”
In that instant I remembered there are 24 hours a day – sitting in
depression with your curtains closed, no-one’s going to give you back
those 24 hours. Before you know, it’s a week, a month, a year wasted
away. That was a tough reality.
husband, and the thought of ever going through such a loss again was too
much. It’s something I wouldn’t wish on anybody. The pain is so
intense, you feel it in your nails.
encourage me to talk about my husband and think about the good times.
One time he didn’t call for three days and I was so angry. That’s when
it hit me that I had fallen for him.
story and tell me if he still loved me. He came back and said he still
wanted to marry me.
they heard my story. “You can’t marry her – she is cursed,” they said.
My father-in-law refused to attend the wedding, but we went ahead
anyway. We had 800 guests – many came out of curiosity.
When we were exchanging vows, I thought: “Here I am again Father, please
don’t let him die.” As the congregation prayed for us I cried
the stab wound to my womb. But all went well, and we had a baby girl who
we called Tehille. Four years later, we had another baby girl named
people hope of rising again. I also started an organisation called Kara
Olmurani. We work with rape survivors, as I call them – not rape
victims. We offer counselling and support. We are looking to start a
halfway house for them where they can come and find their footing before
going back to face the world.
getting a raw deal by being upset with people who probably don’t care.
My faith also encourages me to forgive and not repay evil with evil but
Get upset until you are willing to do something about your situation.
You have to keep moving, crawl if you have to. But move towards your
destiny because it’s waiting, and you have to go and get it.