18 year old Tina Daniel, sat across the table facing the counselor in her office. Eyes glistening with tears she blurted “You mean my mum came here to report me to you? Gosh! That woman has no shame at all”
The counselor quizzed: “How can you say that about your own mother?”
This question brought out the lion that had been lying low inside Tina as she sprang to her feet and faced the counselor.
“And why shouldn’t I say that about her? Where were both of you when I was being molested every now and then for twelve solid years?
Where was she when I was used as a sex toy right under her roof? Where was she and what did she do when the man they said is my father denied me the privilege of going into boarding house like other students but insisted that I remained a day student so that he would be using me like tissue paper?
Where was she when her husband was accusing me of all sorts of crimes just to punish me for not satisfying his immoral desires the way he wanted it?
Where was she when…?”
The counselor cut in at this point with, “Are you sure your mum knew that all these were going on in your home? Did you tell her?”
Looking angrier than ever Tina shot back at the counselor:
“What does that suppose to mean? How could I have told her when I was threatened with death if I did?
At the age of six when my father started sleeping with me he threatened that if I told mum or any other person he would kill us and afterwards hand himself over to the police.
He would sneak into my room night after night with the pretence that he was coming to make sure the window was locked or that the mosquito net was tucked in very well.
I expected my mum to notice that something was going on. I expected her to ask questions. But she didn’t.
Rather, she chose to play the good wife with her husband while I was dying in silence – being killed slowly by my own father.”
The counselor allowed her to pour out her mind as she continued,
“I expected my mum to raise eye brows when my dad would tap me on the buttocks or tickle my breasts in the name of playing with me. I didn’t find it funny when time after time my dad would barge into my room without as much as a slight tapping on the door even when he knew I was dressing up.
And he would come and stand there watching me or saying some stupid things. My dear mum kept mute.
What was she doing when it was my dad’s duty to come into my room almost every night to check if I was lying down properly?
Was that a man’s job? And I wonder what she was thinking when her husband became the home nurse informing her that I couldn’t do my house chores because I was having menstrual cramp.
Madam, I was molested, I was abused. My emotions were trampled in the mud; I was treated like trash in my own home until I lost my identity. I lost everything called feelings.”
At this point the lion in her calmed down and she broke into tears.
The counselor offered her a piece of serviette to wipe her eyes as she sat heavily into her seat sobbing violently.
After she calmed down she continued with her story:
“Madam, I’m sorry to behave this way, but I just couldn’t contain the anger in me any longer. My mum failed me when I needed her the most. She never talked with me as a mother should to a daughter she loved. She never believed my story but she believed everything my dad cooked up against me each time he felt I was not giving him enough of my pride as a woman.
He accused me of being a flirt even when I had no boyfriend and my mum believed him. And both of them agreed to make life more miserable for me at home by making sure no friend visited me again.
And in my loneliness the same man causing me pains would sneak into my room at every opportunity to molest me. He denied me my basic rights if I refused to allow him have my body. AND THEY SAID HE IS MY FATHER!
By this time next week, I will be 18 years old and I have nothing to show for it. Not even my O’level certificate is complete.
I am not talking of gaining admission into the university because I am not ready to mortgage my womanhood in other to get my school fees paid. And now I have chosen to fight for myself, my mum has the guts to report me to a counselor!
Mhnnn! Madam, please help me pass this message to her: Tell her that I said they ain’t seen anything yet because for every tear I shed in the dark they shall weep openly, and for every opportunity I had missed they will pay double.
My dad threatened me with death when I was six years but help me inform him that very soon he will plead with me for his life. Have a nice day ma’am.” With this she stood up and walked out of the office.
That is the end of my story. Now the matters arising from the story are as follows:
1. Dear mum, no man, not even your husband and the father of your daughter has the right to tap your daughter on the buttocks or tickle her armpit.
2. No man has the right to call your unmarried daughter “my wife”. The same thing goes for your unmarried son.
3. Your husband should not for any reason enter into your daughter’s room without knocking at the door. If he does not know that, teach him and make sure he obeys the rule.
4. It is not dad’s responsibility to go and check whether his daughter, especially grown up girl is lying down properly in the middle of the night.
5. I may sound very old-school-like, but that would not stop me from telling you that your husband has no business with your daughter’s monthly period. It is your duty as a mum to guide and protect her in everything that has to do with her womanhood.
6. Don’t wait for your daughter or any young girl staying with you to ask you for money for sanitary pad. They may never ask for it from you and another person somewhere may provide it for them for the wrong reasons. That is one of the ways predators get their victims.
7. Make it a habit to always give some money to your daughter for her personal upkeep.
8. Don’t use this unfounded belief that daughters are usually closer to their father than to their mother to allow undue attachment between your daughter and her father.
9. Be extra vigilant if your husband is the step father of your daughter. I am sure you know what that means.
10. It is no longer news that fathers impregnate their daughters.
11. When you notice unnecessary tension brewing between your daughter and her father or step father don’t hesitate to investigate the cause of the tension. Make sure you get to the root of the matter.
12. For no reason should your husband be your daughter’s confidant. You should be your daughter’s best friend.
13. Let matters that involve your children, especially teens and youths be discussed openly with them before the final decision is taken. Tina wanted to live in the boarding school as a means of running away from her father, but they stopped her without any justifiable reason, such cases should not arise.
14. When you start noticing some deviant behavior in a child try to find out if something is eating him or her up. Try to empathize with the fellow and as much as possible follow through till you find out what the matter is.
Many times, what we regard as deviant behavior in kids is actually their way of protesting against what they regard as injustice.
15. On a final note, before you start pursuing the dogs outside, chain the one inside first to be sure which dog is eating the meat in the fire place.