To someone who’s determined to find faults in you, facts rarely matter - any suspicion will do; In the same manner, to someone who values you, facts that negatively impact you will be judged ‘suspicious.’

Years later, when I learned that menstrual experience varied from women to women, I’d wondered why Aunty had chosen to traumatize me the way she did even knowing all that ( and she must have, being a trained nurse and all). I was traumatised when she shared her suspicions with my uncle and their children, and my little cousins began calling me akpara (prostitute). When my uniform got stained at school, I was humiliated before my peers, and the shame of it stayed with me for years. Above all, I was traumatised when she shared her unfounded ‘facts’ with my mother and grandmother. That last was the one that caused me the most hurt. If she was sure of her suspicions' validity, why did she not take me to a clinic or the hospital where she worked to have it confirmed? Having me medically examined could not only have proven that I had never before attempted an abortion, but it would also have shown that I was not yet sexually active. But she hadn’t done that. This left me wondering for years what her reasons were for tormenting me over something she wasn’t prepared to take steps one way or another to authenticate or dispute.

To someone who values you, no suspicion is terrible enough to tarnish you; to one who doesn’t, no fact is sufficient to absolve you!

Afterwards, when I began to understand (throughs books, documentaries, films and first-hand observations) the psychology of those who abuse others, I knew that it was pointless to seek the ‘whys’ behind Aunty’s behaviour. The truth is someone determined to make you feel less than does not really need a reason. It is a game of power to them, either to show that they are more privileged and therefore better than you or to fight off their own inner insecurities. To that end, people like that rarely need ‘hard facts.’ And even if the presentation of facts becomes necessary, they will manufacture those so-called facts themselves. Ultimately, someone who is determined to find faults in you will do anything to manufacture the reason. Even if, peradventure, facts that point to your innocence are discovered, they will choose to blur or bury those facts. Similarly, someone who values you will disregard accusations leveled at you and judge with suspicion so-called facts that negatively impact you and your wellbeing.

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