Sitawa Wafula was on her way to church one Sunday when she ended up in a friend’s house. At the house, her drink was spiked that morning and she was raped. When she regained consciousness that afternoon, she was raped again.
Prior to this, Sitawa was epileptic, and she had now just been raped, twice, in one day, by a supposed friend. She later became depressed, suicidal and bipolar. One woman, dealing with epilepsy, rape, depression, suicide and bipolar.
In a TV interview, Sitawa Wafula shared her story. She did it in a manner so priceless: with grace and poise and strength. Strength that only a handful of people in the world could ever possess.
As I watched the interview, I shook out of sadness, fear, despair and agony. But also out of hope, faith, optimism and wealth. Wealth that could only be found from a story so strong. The woman being interviewed also had depth. A depth so contagious.
I wanted to interview Sitawa. I wanted her to look me in the eyes and tell me this story. Somehow, I thought, if she just told me the story in person, maybe I would seriously see God with my own eyes, because that, that is a woman whose life God reigns through.
I approached Sitawa Wafula, asked her if I could interview her and if she would open up to me. She responded with an immediate “Yes.” Here’s what she shared with me:
Name: Sitawa Wafula
Occupation: Blogger and Mental Health Crusader
You’re into poetry, why poetry?
Well pen and paper don’t judge and when I got raped, I didn’t have anyone to talk to or share what had happened, so I had paper and pen and these became the best sources of therapy ever.
Do you have a goal for your poetry or is it just a hobby?
It was more of a vent and now a lot people use it as an instrument of healing so that’s my new goal, to teach and provide that healing arm to others.
If you could see the the man who raped you today, what would you tell him?
God loves you.
Rape, which led to suicidal attempts, which led to depression, how did you find forgiveness, peace and self acceptance?
I found God and all these things were added unto me.
Epilepsy and bipolar, is it a struggle living with both?
Yes it is a struggle, every morning I have to self talk.
Epilepsy is a bit more common as opposed to Bipolar, what do you wish people knew about Bipolar?
It is an illness like any other, it can affect anyone at any age, race and social standing. We need love and support.
People who are bipolar tend to be feared by many who walk on egg shells when around them, what’s your reaction?
People fear what they cannot understand but once you do, there is nothing to fear.
Do the dynamics of the illness (Bipolar) make it hard when it comes to friendships?
Yes, it’s very tricky to maintain friends and sometimes I feel I am too much so I just let them go. There are really good people who God brings my way that I feel do not deserve what I throw at them so I do the loving thing and release them. But once in a while they check in on me and sometimes that’s all I need.
How do you identify the people who really cherish you as a whole?
They are the ones that stubbornly stay on.
When you’re at your extreme low, what do you wish your loved ones would do for you?
When I am low I don’t think, I am just in a state but it is good to have them around even when I don’t feel like talking because it makes it easier for me to get back into ‘the system’ when I am good to talk.
Would you ask God to have your life turn out differently?
Initially I did, severally, it was all I prayed for but now I accept this as a ministry God has given me.
Do you wish for marriage and babies?
When you’re not giving talks, teaching, attending meetings all related to rape and mental illness, what’s your best way to unwind?
Art therapy, I love trying out DIY projects. I have date nights with myself, I love just looking up to the moon, random road trips and eating.
What’s a typical Sunday afternoon for you?
Before I moved out, it was family time but now after church, I go to a restaurant I have never been to and try it out then i pretend to watch movies in bed but I actually sleep.
On a rainy, Friday night, what do you often do or think of?
I love the rain more than sunny days, so I’d have candles up and do a one woman karaoke show.
Dancing, swimming or cooking?
Cooking is the safer option… have you seen the new dancing styles? I need a manual. And I can’t swim as I almost drowned when I had a seizure.
Speaking of cooking, what’s your favorite dish?
Cooking ugali and eating anything with meat.
What destination do you wish you could travel to tomorrow?
What celebrity would you like to meet one day?
Ntozake Shange (American playwright and poet)
What advice would you give to a random 16 year old kid?…
Live the 16 year old and don’t rush life.
…to a 21 year old who wants to pursue painting as a career but the parents want him to take accounting?
Go out there and be the best painter ever.
…to a rape survivor?
You are still beautiful, you are still glamorous and you are way stronger than you could ever imagine, some days it is hard to believe it but that’s the truth.
And to anyone suffering from mental illness?
At least we know what we have unlike the rest, the days you can control, enjoy, be everything and anything you want to be, the days that control you, let them find when you have laid a good bed to lay on.
Is there anyone you would specifically like to thank?
Uncle Musee, Auntie Jane and Tarzan.
You can visit Sitawa’s blog here.