The scandal rocking Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA) has brought to light another shade of abuse that goes on everyday; the constant abuse of authority by influential men who prey on impressionable women.
It is sad that once again, a victim of abuse is being blamed for the crime of the abuser. Sexual abuse is not only about violent rape, it could ensue through getting consent via emotional blackmail, psychological manipulations and the abuse of authority.
Here is a quick summary of the scandal; the full story is available on Ese Walter’s blog. Ese Walters was not feeling connected with her old church, she mentioned this to a friend, who proceeded to introduce her to a new wave church in Abuja, Commonwealth of Zion Assembly. She went to the church, loved it and became a regular church member. With time, the flamboyant, charismatic, but very much married pastor noticed her. The Man of God sent for her and asked her to join the church workforce, basically to work as a member of the pastoral service group. She was elated; she felt special to have been noticed by her ‘Daddy in Christ’.
Fast forward a few months, Ese moved to London for her Master’s degree, she kept in touch with her pastor as her spiritual mentor. The pastor planned a visit to London, called Ese to arrange for a taxi to pick him up. She did but did not go to the airport with the taxi to pick the pastor. The pastor was not happy about this, so he called Ese and asked why she did not turn up at the airport. Ese apologized, he invite her to come to his hotel, like a scolded child eager to appease, she agreed. She called the pastor from the hotel lobby but dear pastor insisted she comes up to his hotel Pent Suite. There he proceeded to offer her alcohol, repeatedly asked her to relax her and before you know it, he was inviting her to sit on his laps and kiss his lips, the rest as they say, is history, a scandalous history.
Ese Walters said the adulterous affair with her pastor went on daily for a week. After which she felt bad and had a conscience breakdown, she called the affair off and has been feeling a weight on her faith and conscience. She also knows enough about abuse to understand that the pastor actually did abuse his authority. After making many failed efforts to speak to elders of the church to at least get the pastor to acknowledge to her that what he did was wrong, she eventually took to her blog to write about her experience. She also hoped that this would help other victims of abuse and make potential victims more careful.
Unfortunately since speaking out about her experience, she has been called names, accused of trying to bring the church down, and has been forced to close down her twitter account, facebook and other social networks due to the level of abuses she was receiving from Christians.
It is depressing and quite telling that many of those calling Ese Walter ‘a silly girl’ are actually women. Methinks they see in Ese walter things they personally go through every day. They are ashamed of their own reality and would rather blame someone like Ese who is courageous enough to shine light on this unfortunate reality many women live with daily, than confront the reality of their own sad situation.
Nigerian Pastors know they are held in a Godlike manner by their legion of followers and Nigerian Christians defend their pastors with vehemence. Any attempt to bring to light the fact that their precious daddies in Christ are less than perfect is always met with the brainless chorus “Touch Not My Anointed, Do My Prophet No Harm”. Nigerian Christians are quick to stand by their pastors even in the face of blatant abuse of power. At most, they chuck it all down to the devil trying to test their faith. The pastor has no blame. They conveniently put any blame on Satan or the conniving snake in the form of a tempting Jezebel.
The story of Ese Walters and Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo brings to fore the abuse many women endure. This is not new. I suspect that even the many women who are quick to blame or castigate Ese walter, see in her what they also are; victims of abuse, but unlike Ese Walter, they are not ready to admit that they are victims of abuse or just do not understand that abuse comes in different shades.
Now, let us look at some of the shades of abuse women are subjected to daily.
Workplace Abuse- This is so common it is considered normal behavior. Many employers abuse the authority they have. Being a boss, in a position to employ, promote or even offer foreign trips puts you in a position of power. In most cases, especially with male bosses, it is not just a meal ticket; it is also a sex ticket. Every day, many women, single, engaged or married are put in a compromising situation by their male bosses. Many are quick to snigger that those women are adults who have the choice to say NO. But do they really?
Imagine this scenario which unfortunately is so real it might trigger suppressed, sad memories in some women and for many, it is too close to reality to call it mere imagination.
You are a single lady who works in a competitive work environment. Your much feared, much respected and very powerful, married boss who is also the ‘oga at the top’ nominated you to go on an official trip with him. It is a trip that would boost your career and one that many of your colleagues would kill for. Even though you know you have worked hard to earn the trip, you are still thrilled and surprised to be nominated by the big boss himself. You feel honored, you feel special and you feel your hard work has finally paid off. You are eager to impress the big boss and justify to him that he did not make a mistake in choosing you.
During your official trip, your boss whom you hold in so much awe invites you to his hotel room. You thought he wanted to go over the day’s event with you, so you practice how to dazzle him with your summary of the day’s meeting, but lo and behold, he was not interested in your well prepared analysis. He asked you to relax, asked you to take a drink, and even admonished you when you refused alcoholic drinks. Although you are not a fan of alcohol, but eager not to let him down, you let him thrust a glass of wine into your hands. He kept pouring and you kept gulping it down to impress him. He wants you to be comfortable, so you tried to relax your nerves. The next thing you know, he is kissing you and trying to get his hands into your pants. You are shocked, you are overwhelmed and really do not know how to react. So you just let it happen.
It is all so new to you but you can bet your life it is nothing new to him. He has tried this tactic on so many other unsuspecting, impressionable female employees.
- He knows how to play the game.
- He understands the power he wields.
- He knows you are not really in a position to give valid, unquestionable consent.
- He knows you are so damn afraid of losing your job you will likely play along.
- He knows the odds are stacked against you.
- He knows that even if you refused his advances, he will get away with it.
- He knows sexual harassment cases are hardly brought in Nigerian courts.
- He knows he is abusing his power but he sees it as perks of office.
- He knows whatever happens in that hotel room, it will still swing in its favor.
If you play along, it is in his favour, if you didn’t, it is still in his favour because you can never talk about it. Or accuse him of sexual harassment. And if you were brave (foolish?) enough to make that accusation, you stand the chance of losing your job, being widely called a slut and people asking what you were doing in his hotel room if you were not ready to have sex with him.
You immediately become the accused, not the victim of sexual harassment. Your powerful boss knows this, so he plays his card whilst he is rest assured that he holds all the aces. He understands that he holds a power over you. He is in a situation of control, he feels you owe him for putting your name down for the trip, even if you very well deserved that promotion or trip, he feels you need to earn it by sleeping with him. Yes, many men are like that, just he-goats with rampaging dicks for a brain.
University Lecturers- Of course we know how lecturers are quick to abuse female students. This is so common it is almost an institutionalized thing in Nigerian universities. If a lecturer fancies you, be ready to fight it out or just let the randy cow have his randy way. It takes guts to challenge those people. It is sad that authority figures would so blatantly abuse their power and hold over young, impressionable women.
Teachers- High school teachers are also guilty of this abuse of power. Whilst in secondary school, I know a few teachers who slept openly with under aged students. No one, not even the school principal raised an eyebrow. The affairs were open. It is sad that young girls are hardly believed when they complain about sexual abuse and harassment from their teachers.
Doctors- Doctors are no doubt in a position of authority. The hidden truth is that some Nigerian doctors do abuse their female patients. I have had my share of unpleasant experiences with Nigeria male doctors during my teenage years. It is terrifying for a child to be put in a position to confront the authority of the men in white. I would specifically request that my dead body not be handled by a Nigerian male doctor. Yes, there are many shades of abuses.
Media- There are many ways the media abuse women, especially in the entertainment industry. People say Ese Walters is an adult and should not claim she was abused in anyway. Well, There are many rich, famous women in the entertainment industry like Beyonce, this does not mean they do not have to prance around the stage almost naked if they wish to stay at the top of their career. Sometimes the choice is not just about how old, rich or famous you are. It is about who wields the real power, not just a semblance of power but the real authority.
God- I wonder how people look onto the Abrahamic God for morals. I mean, if you are talking of the king of immoralities, you can’t look beyond God. You were sexually, psychologically or emotionally abused and you want to seek solace in God? Really, was it not the same God who impregnated Mary without her consent? How is that not rape or abuse? Nope, God is not the arbiter of morality; he does not have the qualifications.
Now back to Ese Walter and Pastor Fatotyinbo’s case. Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo has not deemed it fit to clarify the mess. He announced from his pulpit that the church elders will meet and issue a robust response. I wouldn’t be surprised if all hands are on deck to write the robust rebuttal. Maybe Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo has a thing or two over the heads of other elders in the church. After all, he comfortably discussed the issue of his philandering with some of the elders. It is most likely that they are all in the game together.
Yes, Ese Walter is an adult, but you cannot deny the fact that her pastor has an unhealthy influence over her. He was her spiritual mentor. She believes in a God and her pastor was that being on earth next to her Skydaddy. In fact, the pastor holds that vessel through which she connects to her Skydaddy.
The pastor has a moral obligation not to abuse that hold he had over her. The point is that he did abuse that power. He not only abused that influence, he deliberately manipulated that hold to put her in a position that suits his needs. He is a shepherd with a pastoral duty to his sheep. He manipulatively led one of his sheep to the slaughter slab.
People need to understand that this is not just a case of ‘Man meets woman, ask her for sex’ situation. This was not an equal playing field. Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo had a very strong spiritual and psychological hold on this lady and he exploited that hold to the fullest. Through the entire trauma she went through and still going through, this so called ‘Man of God’ has not even found the empathy, humility or milk of human kindness to apologize to this lady for abusing the trust she had in him and the distress he has caused her.
According to her, when she asked about the inappropriateness of their sexual intercourse, during one of their trysts, he arrogantly said “I will teach you a level of grace that you don’t understand.” What a manipulative asshole!
And to those (especially women) who thinks this woman is just playing the role of a victim or playing into the stereotype of women as weaklings, you are simply not getting it.
She is not playing the victim; she is a victim of psychological abuse. She is a victim of a very manipulative man whom she held in high esteem. With her pastor, she was Alice in Wonderland. It was a whole new world for her, a world where she was dancing and dining with a demi-god.
Her pastor knew exactly how she felt. Of course he had built his whole career on appearing like God’s right hand man on earth. He knows how to manipulate this feeling and like a skilled predator, he horned in on his prey for the kill. From more revelations coming out, it is clear that this was not his first kill and it most probably won’t be the last.
It is important that Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo be held accountable for his predatory behavior.
And for those who says Ese Walter is doing this for revenge because hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. For one, Eze Walter was not scorned. According to her, she ended the affair because it was becoming a big burden on her conscience and faith. She did not publish this inappropriate sexual encounter for the sake of revenge. In her own words
This is my confession and I cannot begin to describe how much weight has been lifted off of my shoulders just pouring the truth out about what went down
I am a stronger woman and a damn abuse survivor seeking to connect with other victims of abuse to show them how to deal with the shame, hurt and guilt and how to come out stronger. Turning their mess into their message.
My aim with this blog is to show other ladies who suffered same fate at his hands both in Illorin and Abuja (some of whom have emailed me but are still trapped in guilt and shame to speak up) that there is nothing to be ashamed of. The clout he has over people can cause them to do thoughtless things but in the end, it’s all out there and I am at peace with myself and with God.
With the way Nigerians are quick to defend their pastors, I wouldn’t be surprised if many Nigerian Christian women wish they could roll in bed with their Daddy in Christ like Pastor David Oyedepo, daddy Adeboye, prophet T.B Joshua, and get to feel their anointed dicks.
I wouldn’t be surprised that many Nigerian Christians men would jump at the opportunity to physically kiss the anointed butt of their Daddy in Christ, if they were told to do so by the precious Daddy in Christ.
Nigerian Christians worship these pastors, not really because they want to go to heaven, love or fear God so much. They just want a bit of the prosperity anointing that their precious ‘Daddies in Christ’ seem to be swimming in. It does not matter that their pastors slap young girls, it does not matter that they enrich themselves with church resources, it does not matter that they abuse their pastoral position, all the average Nigerian Christian want is an opportunity to be part of the ‘Anointing’.
Her sense of morality did not come from religion; it comes from being a decent person.
Her remorse did not come from religion; it comes from wanting to be a better person.
Her church, her pastor or a personal relationship with a Skydaddy cannot give her that moral reprieve. God cannot give what it does not have. Man created God without a sense of decency; therefore it cannot give you what he lacks.
Ese Walter, this is not meant to put you in distress or test your faith. It is just the brutal truth. You said you have now started reading the bible on your own; I applaud that decision. It is the first step towards emancipation from mental slavery. I read the bible and it turned me into an atheist. My sense of morality overcame any idea of spending eternity with a sadistic, bigoted, egomaniac, tribalistic God who commands genocides out of mere jealousy. Your sense of morality will eventually make you question what you read and I hope you will also have the strength to speak out on behalf of all the victims of the atrocities commanded by God in the bible.
There are many shades of abuses; unfortunately the God in the bible, created by the fevered imagination of those who have perfected the act of manipulation, is the ultimate abuser.
Stay safe, stay positive, stay strong and always stand on the side of truth and justice. Seek ye the truth and the truth shall set you free. You have spoken your truth; feel free to fly on the lightened weight of your conscience. The hero lies in you, not in the sky, not in some ancient book, not in your pastor, not in a holy building. You are your own hero. Regardless of what the shamers say, take pride in your conscience.