At some point in life, some things will happen to you that you may never be able to say to anyone. For everyday that passes, you keep heaping the grave you buried it with more sand, hoping to kill it finally but it still hurts. What even hurts more is not being able to talk to anyone and if ever you tried you start your conversation with “There’s a friend of mine who…”
Watching the latest direct by Kunle Afolayan, ‘Citation’, I’m being hunted by my own experience all over, an experience I’ve had locked in my closet, hoping never to open it up but the movie became a trigger.
Before delving into my experience, first I must give deserving accolades to the brains behind “Citation”, from the director; Kunle Afoloyan, the writer, Tunde Babalola, and to all the crew and casts for delivering their roles perfectly, especially the lead the act, Temi Otedola who plays the role of Moremi. Her performance was beyond the average for a debut role. She nailed it. Her fluent French-speaking was extraordinary too, made me want to go back to my French learning class…of course I will and this time take it more seriously. “Citation” also excels at portraying a good representation of Africa’s culture, from the littlest detail like costumes, to the locations and soundtracks.
Since its release, many like myself have argued that the storyline is predictable and is not as mind-blowing as the hype presented it but however, it doesn’t invalidate it’s strong message. Does preaching against sexual assault every day dilute the intent? Some messages have to be preached recurrently no matter how predictable it might seem. Citation’s storyline goes beyond the screens. These things happen! It is real! There have been victims and still will be like Moremi who becomes a target prey for the likes of Professor Lucien N’Dyare (Jimmy Jean-Louis) in the movie.
Heard some opinionated people say “ohh but Moremi seemed like she was making some advancement too by getting close and helping her professor”. Hmmmmm…on reminiscing my university experience, I don’t know how I escaped from the sexual thirsty claws of my H.O.D and one other lecturer.
Like Moremi, I was smart and intelligent and didn’t need to sort any lecturer to pass a course. I wasn’t loud in neither actions nor dress sense, very reserved to a fault still my H.O.D took a strange likeness in me. Before then, I remember vividly how our eyes met frequently at a departmental excursion while he was giving a speech. I thought it was only normal, I mean I wouldn’t have been the only one who caught his gaze at the time right? But this nigga summoned me afterward and started with some bullshit talk asking me if I liked him. I was dumbfounded, like how? Like an old man…yuck! Some deliberate laughs saved me that day but I had no idea it marked the genesis of problems for me in the department.
I was scared, I didn’t even know who to tell when he recurrently called me to his office, tormented me with phone calls, and even invited me to his hotel more than once. On one occasion it was a forceful atmosphere. I struggled with this old man; I cried and pleaded with him that I was a virgin. He overpowered me and slid his hands into my vagina forcefully. I was terrified and managed to let go of his grasp. Quickly dashed into the bathroom and locked myself, shivering & praying to God to save me. He made me swear on any of my late family’s names that I was a virgin. He’s one of those who attach some fetish belief to virginity, believes it’s sacred, and shouldn’t be taken forcefully. Without mincing words, I swore with my late grandmothers’ before he let me be and then promised to take good care of me in the department. Well, to hell with your smelling care sir! I avoided him like he owned a contagious disease.
I had another encounter with an idiotic lecturer who out of spite failed me twice for his courses in a semester. I was pissed, I cried, and out of anger went to confront him in his office and all he could say was ”Ahhh how can you of all people fail this course? I told you to come and see me didn’t I?”
FOOD FOR REASONING
“Citation” is an insightful film, it is as real as real life. I found none of the scenes exaggerated. Unlike me who couldn’t speak up, I commend Moremi for having the courage to take the matter up to the disciplinary committee of the school. Imagine throwing stones at a dog everyone saw as harmless? Everyone perceived Professor Lucien N’Dyare as a man of good character, calm, and profoundly knowledgeable in his field, and then boom! Moremi flips the script.
Who should they believe? Of course the professor! Little wonder the majority of her coursemate testified in favor of the Professor.
In my case you might wonder, why did I visit him in the hotel? Couldn’t I have gone with a friend? Well, if you understand the weight at which some men in power can be oppressing to many then if you were in my shoes you’ll appear at the hotel gate before you hear ‘jack’. I didn’t want to fail, the man was so vile. Vile enough he knew how to clean traces before they’re imprinted. He made sure I switched off my phones on entry and had me submit them to him to avoid foul play.
You might also wonder why Moremi was still cordial after the professors first attempt to kiss her huh? And even after the assault… well, you might never know the right way to behave except walking the exact shoes you condemn. What could she have done? Scream ‘Bloody Rapist’ whenever she sees him? Drop out of school?
I hope “Citation” creates the needed awareness for higher institutions to have a functional, accountable, and transparent disciplinary committee. I hope after watching, young girls and boys who have been harassed by their teachers and persons in authority can find their voice.
Have you ever been harassed by a lecturer or person in authority? Have you ever been denied good grades, placement, or promotion because you refused to surrender your body? I’ll appreciate it if you share your experience in the comment section, especially how you dealt with it. Also, If you have watched “Citation”, would you have done anything different from Moremi? What are your reservations/lessons from the movie? Shall we…👇👇
Do not forget to like, rate, and share this article!