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Toyin Lawani: My uncle raped, impregnated me at 15

Popular Nigerian fashion entrepreneur, Toyin Lawani, has said she was sexually abused at the age of 15.

Lawani, in a recent chat with Chude Jideonwo, host of #WithChude, said one of her uncles raped her when her mum was away from home.

She said the incident, which happened a year after her father had disowned her, got her pregnant.

The fashion icon said: “When I was 15, I got raped by one of my uncles. It was so bad for me. I couldn’t tell my mum. Do you know when someone bullies you to the extent that you can’t talk? I opened up to one of Aunty, and she took me to Ibadan they tried to get rid of the pregnancy, the pregnancy was about five months already because I didn’t tell anyone. It was around that time that I was to get admission to UNILAG.

“My mum was on the phone asking me why I wasn’t back from the holiday at my grandma’s place, I didn’t know what to tell her so I fainted. When, she came back, because she was in Hong Kong at that time, the doctor told her. She couldn’t take it, because I was so young and because the person was so close to the family. Who I was, and where I have been, had shaped me into who I am today. I can take a loss, and stand up straight in front of you and I won’t show you weakness.

“I grew up in a kind of family where there is a way you are expected to behave. They will tie my hands and legs, pour water on my body, to beat me if I mess up. My dad, my mum, and my grandma used to correct me then. I’ll look them in the eyes and tell them ‘I can do this, without you’. I’ll literally live in people’s houses (with friends) when I left home. I had no one. I am from a prestigious family in Ibadan and I was trying to find my way.”

Lawani, while speaking about the issues in her second relationship, said: “We (women) were raised to believe that we belong in the kitchen, and in raising kids. I don’t need a man that will tell me that ‘you don’t have to work, you have to sit at home’.

“This was how my second relationship was. When you are passionate or your talent is calling, nothing in this world can stop it. Except you allow somebody to stop you because they are intimidated by successful you will become.

“If you let a man feed you, he will starve you. Because you have allowed him to dictate how you should do things. Any man that loves you will invest in your creativity, in who you will become in the future. He will not be afraid of you. He will let you make your mistakes, but you will learn from them. That’s how it is supposed to be.”

Lawani, while responding to the speculations that she uses ‘jazz’, said: “My grandma is a regent of Ikoyi, Ikole Ekiti. I grew up in a royal family with the ways, the culture. People don’t even know the ways of kings, I have had many people judge me, saying Toyin Lawani does ‘jazz’ because I visit the Osun palace. It is culture, it is their heritage, and you have to embrace it’.”

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