Where is the safe haven?

Following last week’s article a few people reached out to appreciate that I had written about the subject. Some even shared a few more experiences. 

Celine forwarded to me an online link of a story of a woman who was first raped as a five-year-old girl. On that day her mother sent her on an errand to a family friend’s house, and when she reached there the friend’s son received whatever she had taken to that house and offered to see her off, she only managed to wave at his sister who was her best friend. As they walked away, this boy who was around 14 years old led her into an unfinished building, undressed and raped her.

She tried to scream but he covered her mouth and when he was done warned her about telling her mother who was known around the estate as a tough parent. He told her if her mother ever found out about the incident she would chase her away from home.

The little five-year-old walked home in a lot of pain and when she knocked on the door a slap awaited her as the tough mother accused her of having stopped to play with her friends instead of coming straight home when she was done with the task. That is how the girl slept without never getting to tell her mother, her brother or any other member of the household.

The 14-year-old boy having had his way and successfully instilling fear in her made this the beginning of an ordeal that lasted close to 10 years  at some point even involving his brother. The environment at home and the relationship with her mother never allowed this girl to share what she was going through.

Even when her sister found the boy on top of her she brushed it aside and gave her that look of ‘you know mum and her demons, she cannot find out about this.’ The sister was grown and was herself bringing her boyfriend over to the house.

The lady referred to up there had several other men rape her as she grew older including an incident when she was 40 years old! It is then that she confided in her brother and even got the courage to post on social media.

The culture of not talking when a woman is molested or in an abusive relationship clearly starts when we are young girls and in most cases in our homes. A cousin, uncle, or male servant molests a girl and gets away with it because they have shown her that there is nowhere to run for help.

It is imperative to turn our homes and other social spaces into spaces where the aggrieved are free to talk and cry knowing they will not be berated for someone else’s sins. Members of the society need to know it is okay to report a wrong done to them because the person responsible for hurting them will be made to pay for it.

Young girls and boys need to know this but even older people need to know it too. There is also need to keenly observe the young ones growing around us so that whenever there’s a problem it is detected early. Change in behaviour or personality should not be taken lightly.

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