Kenyan pastor says she failed to show up at her Nairobi wedding because she was being gang-raped

Ms Gobanga's excitement about getting married turned to terror as she was abducted and brutally attacked on the morning of her wedding day

May Bulman
Friday 30 June 2017 13:32
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Terry Gobanga, from Nairobi in Kenya, recalled how on the morning of her wedding day she was abducted by a group of men who proceeded to brutally attack her for six hours
Terry Gobanga, from Nairobi in Kenya, recalled how on the morning of her wedding day she was abducted by a group of men who proceeded to brutally attack her for six hours

A woman has described how she failed to show up at her own wedding because she was being gang-raped in Nairobi, Kenya.

Terry Gobanga recalled how on the morning of her wedding day she was abducted by a group of men who proceeded to brutally attack her for six hours.

Ms Gobanga's excitement about marrying her fiancé Harry turned to terror as she "felt sure [she] was going to die" while she was repeatedly raped by the men, and stabbed when she tried to fight back, before they eventually left her on the side of a road.

Speaking to the BBC, she traced the story back to the night before the wedding, the bride-to-be realised she had some of the clothes Harry was supposed to wear for the wedding. In the early hours of the next morning her friend took them to him, and Ms Gobanga walked her to the bus stop.

But as she was making her way back home, she was "suddenly grabbed from behind" by a men who proceeded to "dump" her in the back seat, she said.

"There were two more men inside, and they drove off. It all happened in a fraction of a second. A piece of cloth was stuffed in my mouth. I was kicking and hitting out and trying to scream," she said.

“When I managed to push the gag out, I screamed: ‘It's my wedding day!’ That was when I got the first blow. One of the men told me to ‘co-operate or you will die’.”

Ms Gobanga recalled how the men took turns to rape her. “I felt sure I was going to die, but I was still fighting for my life, so when one of the men took the gag out of my mouth I bit his manhood,” she said.

“He screamed in pain and one of them stabbed me in the stomach. Then they opened the door and threw me out of the moving car.”

Ms Gobanga said that by the time police arrived, they thought she was dead. She was taken to hospital, and was able to communicate the fact she was a bride-to-be to the matron.

By coincidence, the first church the hospital called was the right one, she said. Her parents had been panicking after she failed to turn up at the church, and rumours "flew" that she might have simply changed her mind about the wedding.

When they heard where she was, her parents came to the hospital with the "whole entourage", and Harry was carrying her wedding gown.

A recent photograph of Ms Gobanga with one of her young daughters

“That was where the doctors stitched me up and gave me some devastating news: ‘The stab wound went deep into your womb, so you won't be able to carry any children’,” she said.

While she and her fiance got married seven months after the brutal attack, tragedy struck again when he died less than a month later due to carbon dioxide inhalation.

Several years later, however, Ms Gobanga has re-married, and despite being told she wouldn't be able to have children, she has given birth to two daughters.

Summing up her traumatic experience and her attitude to adversity, she told the BBC: "I have forgiven my attackers. It wasn't easy but I realised I was getting a raw deal by being upset with people who probably don't care.

"The most important thing is to mourn. Go through every step of it. Get upset until you are willing to do something about your situation.

"You have to keep moving, crawl if you have to. But move towards your destiny because it's waiting, and you have to go and get it."

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