A PanAfricanist Queer Womanist Collective

That ill fated night

By Abimbola

This is a remembrance of an ill-fated night; a night of humiliation at the cold hands of law enforcement agents, a night never to be relived, a night of fear and abuse.

My girlfriend and I had an argument a week before that night. She had called me up earlier and insisted we drive out to a secluded place in order to have a private discussion. We drove in separate cars to a public recreational spot. She parked her car, hopped into mine and we got talking. We talked, we argued and as expected settled our rift with a kiss. A deep long kiss that carried us away until we were brought back to earth by loud banging on the door.

The blows were exerted with enough force to jerk the door open because we had failed to lock them. As I looked through the car windows I saw some uniformed and un-uniformed men, one of whom had a rifle in his hands. All I can remember were the torrent of questions that were followed with a blinding slap. Questions inquiring about what we were doing in the car and why we were alone? Why a woman would be kissing another woman? Demanding to know what pleasure we derived from such an act? They demanded also to know if we had heard about the newly passed policy bill making homosexuality a punishable offence without the option of paying fine?

This bill makes same-sex marriage punishable with a 14-year jail term , outlaws homosexual sex and public displays of affection . It involves the community  by criminalizing bearing witnesses to and/ or assisting same-sex marriages.

That night my girlfriend was restrained ,by the unarmed police officer, while I was brutally manhandled by the officer with the rifle. They forced us back into my car and ordered us to drive to the small police station situated about 200 meters in the direction of the recreational centre’s main entrance. As I drove I pleaded that the officers to let us off before we reached the station but the three policemen that got into the car with us insisted their boss, who had gone ahead of us, was the only one could set us free.

When we arrived at the police station I parked and we all alighted. My girlfriend was immediately taken and locked up in one of the holding cells- the cell was dark because there was no electricity at the time of our arrival. I was asked to stand beside their boss and give an explanation of what we were busy doing in the car at the time we were apprehended.

As could be expected my explanations fell on deaf ears. I was forced to write a statement. After that, the talk shifted to how much I was willing to part with for our bail and that was accompanied by several threats of incarceration. All they wanted was money! Yet we had wasted so much of our time pleading while they battered regardless of our sex. We were made to pay through our noses before we were released, badly beaten and battered, at around past midnight.

As I write this today, my girlfriend is yet to overcome the trauma from that fateful night and still panics each time we ride in the same car together.

The difficulty you encounter coming out in the open is almost the same as what you go through in the process of accepting your sexuality. It is one thing accepting your sexuality, it is another coming out and it is an entirely different ball game doing so in a community where being a lesbian has been passed into law as being a punishable crime.

I often ask myself why this has to be so?

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10 comments on “That ill fated night

  1. MsAfropolitan

    Breaks my heart. What kind of society law enforcement focuses on restricting people from loving each other when there are so many people actually violently hating each other. Don’t give up.

  2. MsAfropolitan

    Breaks my heart. What kind of society law enforcement focuses on restricting people from loving each other when there are so many people actually violently hating each other. Don’t give up.

  3. mo'baby

    That’s really sad!If I were u I’d take da law into my hands,I’d make them pay,I’d make em feel the pain that I felt!One day our voices will be heard,we shall be free to be who we are without being afraid of being afraid of anything and when that day comes the world will be a better place!Don’t let what happened stop yalz from loving each other as they say,what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!!<3

  4. zukile witbooi

    What you mean by this” you were made to pay through your noses”before being released?

    • HOLAA!

      What the author means to say is that they were made to pay a large amount.

    • mo'baby

      The author means tht they had to suffer(sheding of their blood) before they got released!

  5. mbarley

    this is so sad… sometimes i wonder when will they start chasing real gangsters that make our neighbourhoods a living hell to live in. clearly they are cowards and they have nothing better to do, why would you hit a defenseless woman, who has done no harm to anybody.

  6. Patrick Lilley

    Dear Friend, it was not so long ago that the UK had many discriminatory laws (it still has a few): holding hands or kissing in public were considered “behaviour likely to cause a breach of the peace” (ie bigots reacting violently) and may of us older LGBT people had a more difficult time with the police and courts (I did). Change happens sometimes surprisingingly. We know the African context is totally different but I hope and pray there are steps towards human right to equal love. So who knows what the situation maybe in 5, 10, 15 or 20 years time. However I hope you and your partner can begin to move forward. I don’t know if you have access to any support or affirmative counselling to help you stay strong and positive. Keep writing and keep dreaming of a more happy time. Kind regards from London. Stay strong!

  7. angela

    Eish this is really sad yazi .we will never be free nje the ladies should have laid a charge against this policemen as they’ve done nothing wrong

    • mo'baby

      The problem is tht ey are the same people who handle these cases and all they will do is dismiss it cs they think that this is all a joke!

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