79-year-old actress, journalist and television presenter, Taiwo Ajai-Lycett has revealed how she became a mother at the age of 15, dropped out at 16, became a widow at 52 and badly raped at the age of 65.
She made this heart breaking revelation in a recent interview with The Nation. Sharing her ordeal, she explained how she was robbed, brutalized and raped in her own house in Egbe.
According to the actress, most of her critics didn’t know what she was going through and how it all happened. “They felt I was a bad girl, a promiscuous girl. And such notions about me helped me develop a high sense of discipline and morality.
According to her:
“I have been through the fire, I emerged fortified. I was 15 years old when I had a child. By 16, I was on my own. I knew I was going to get a good education. I was going to be a lawyer.
“It’s complicated. It’s not that they forgave me, I didn’t go away,” she whispered and added that, “This feisty spirit of mine saw me through. My father wanted me to abort the pregnancy at first. But my mother thought I was a young girl. I was a baby. So, she had to spirit me away. I had the baby somewhere in Yaba. But after delivery, my father got attached to the baby. The child became his playmate.”
According to Taiwo Ajai-Lycett, her father insisted that Adebanji Adefolaju, the man who got her pregnant, must marry her and he agreed. But Adefolaju perished in the Lalupon train disaster on September 29, 1957. He was among the 66 people who died out of 370 travelers in the rail accident.
Ajai-Lycett wanted to go back to school. She needed to find employment too because she was been ignored at home.
But I knew that I was on my own. My family disowned me. I married one David Akinduro in 1959 after I relocated to the U.K, but I left him due to domestic violence, she said.
Ajai-Lycett said she met her late husband, Thomas Lycett in the UK long after she divorced first husband, David Akinduro. Eventually they got married.
We had a blissful marriage. He was the one that told me that I was better off being an actor. He died when I was 52-years-old. I remember him everyday, she said.
Recounting her painful ordeal in the hands of armed robbers Ajai-Lycett said:
In 2006, I was robbed and raped in my house in Egbe. I was tied. I was beaten. I was brutalized. My health was ruined. I was blindfolded and raped. The man who raped me complained that he couldn’t gain easy entry into me because I wasn’t wet. I told him ‘widows don’t get wet.’
I kept talking to them and asked them repeatedly, ‘Are you doing this to your mother?’ Angrily, they taped my mouth but I remained fearless and prayed all through the attack.
The police came. They expected me to pursue the case. I knew the masterminds. I could have gotten them incarcerated but I simply moved on.
Look at me today, I am over it. See, the mind is a beautiful thing. When you hold on to past hurt, you tie yourself down to grief. You get infected with its poison. Rather than wallow in grief and self-pity, I picked myself up and sought medical help, ensuring that they hadn’t infected me with any STD. That same year, the Obasanjo government got me the Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON) national honour.
Few years later, One of them came to prostrate before me, pleading for my forgiveness. I told him to seek forgiveness from God. I told him that I had moved on.”