Why I love my rapist (4), by Anurika Onyelemelam

But I was pleased that life hadn’t been kind to him. He looked shrivelled. I was with my kids; in the midst of people. I stared coldly at him and willed him to look at me. But he couldn’t. Yes, the little Juliana Francis has become a woman. A tigress. I told my family about him that same day. I learnt his kids were giving him heartache and were “never do well”.
I couldn’t tell anyone back then. I was just a kid. Who would believe me? Yes, who would believe a kid over an adult? They would call me a liar. They might even accuse me of having a vivid imagination.
One day, one of my in-law’s cousins, Cyril Diribe, started his. His was bad because he was a permanent feature in the house. He had an accommodation problem. He started with telling all sorts of spurious lies about me. He would tell my in-law that he saw me with some boys. I wasn’t into boys; I was into novels. I buried my life and pains in novel. Novels make you to forget pains, hunger and man’s inhumanity to man.
Novel makes you believe in a better world, filled with Prince Charming and forever after kind of love. And if it’s a crime novel, the villains usually pay for their crimes. Novel keeps you sane and helps you not to go insane.
Whenever Diribe tells my in-law, he would believe him and without asking me, would pounce on me with his giant metallic ruler.
After the lies, came the trouble, festering fingers at night. Sleeping at night became difficult. I had to keep guard against preying fingers.
It’s more frustrating because I usually go to bed late and wake up early. I never ever slept enough and always went to school late. I have several scars on my back today to attest to my constant lateness to school.
I have to wake early to wash clothes, prepare the kids’ food and prepare them for school. I had to sweep the rooms, fetch water before dashing off to school.
When I couldn’t bear the moonlighting fingers anyone, I cornered Diribe (He was quite older than my in-law) and rained curses and insults on him.
He reported the affront to my brother in-law. For my pains and courage in finally being able to confront one of my violators, my in-law stripped me naked in presence of the said Diribe.
He started flogging me. I still recollected him words as he flogged me, with Diribe gloating at my fair nakedness: “Is this the thing you’re talking about? What do you think you have?”
As each words came, the iron ruler landed. He didn’t even ask me what happened. He never gave me a chance. And in the midst of my cries and pains, I tried to mumble out the words, he shouted at me to shut up.
I had had my first son, Michael, before I was able to tell my mum and family the story of Diribe.
My advice to mothers is never trust anybody with your kids. If your kids live with you, they’re more likely to confide in you than if they live with their aunts or uncles.
Another advice: never trust your kids with anybody! There are perverts in every nook and cranny, but most especially in your home.
It’s actually a double jeopardy for the kid. The home is supposed to symbolise a safe haven, a sanctuary from monsters, yet the home has now become a place where the bogey man lives.
It has become crystal clear, that even fathers’ can’t be trusted with their biological daughters. Rather than protect their daughters from sexual perverts, some fathers are the ones breaking into the fortresses of their daughters, to plunder the unripe vegetation.
So saddening.
A story I stumbled on at Egbeda: the girl was just two years old when the father started violating her. It was the height. Everybody felt he loved the little girl too much. He was rich. He likes sleeping with the girl in the master’s bedroom. If he wants to make love with his wife, he goes to her room.
He used to bath for his daughter morning and night. The wife sells kids’ clothing. The guy would tell his wife to go to her shop that he would take the girl to school.
One day, the guy travelled out. The mum had to bath the kid. She grimaces and winced in pains. The mum checked her and was horrified at the sight of her baby-vaginal. She asked her what happened; she said it was her daddy. The girl was already three years old by then. The girl was taken to doctor. The vaginal was too damaged. The mum ran to an NGO.
When the man returned, the wife confronted him. He gave her the beating of her life. He told her that whatever he did with his daughter, it wasn’t his wife’s business. After all, the girl was his daughter. Can you imagine such nerve?
The NGO prepared to take the matter to the police, but relatives said they had rather go to the village to settle the matter. Husband, wife and daughter went to the village. That was the end of the matter.
Gone are those days when our fathers used to be our heroes.