I never thought I’d be strong enough to write this story. I have suffered depression for so long and low self-esteem. My whole life turned upside down for a very long time but I’m getting stronger every day.
I was born into a polygamous home. My father married another woman shortly after my mom. My mother had told me my dad had always been the flirty type. She had married him out of shame because she got pregnant.
She had my older brother shortly after the wedding. I was born two years later just after he brought in a second wife. Our family was full of competition. If one child didn’t do well that term, the others would taunt him. If my father bought things for other children, they would rub it in our faces. So it was not a very pleasant environment to grow up in.
The house was always full of relatives from every side. Not that my father had the means to care for us all. My mother left him when she saw that the burden of raising us rested solely on her.
When I was about ten, my mother sent me to live with her brother whose wife had just had a baby in another town. I was happy to take a break from the chaos in my own house. My uncle was to train me in school just as a means of helping out my mother.
My uncle travelled a lot and so I was always left in the care of his wife. She maltreated me. She made me walk long distances to school. She never gave me food except for her leftovers. I took care of her children as a maid would. My uniform was tattered and my sandals were perpetually torn. She also shaved my head.
Whenever my uncle was coming back from his trips, she would quickly sew up the patches on my uniform and fix my worn sandals. For the days he would be around, she would give me food. I told my uncle that I wanted to go home and his wife heard and she told him I was a liar and a petty thief. I couldn’t reach my mother. My uncle flogged me and ordered me to bed without food. He believed his wife.
When I was thirteen, my aunt’s younger brother came to live in the house. He was about twenty and in year one at the university. He began to molest me almost immediately after he moved in. I told my aunt and she asked him but he denied flatly, this earned me more beatings.
I ran away several times when I couldn’t bear the pain, but my friend’s parents would only bring me back. I became unfriendly, stubborn and lacked self-esteem.
My aunt’s nephew continued to rape me at will until one day I had enough, I picked a knife and stabbed him. He screamed and ran out. He was taken to the hospital where he was treated.
I was able to establish that I was raped. My aunt was at her shop when it happened, news got to her and she came running back. She had me arrested but the neighbours stood by me. I spent a night in detention before I was released. Then I became really determined to leave that house. There were no phones then so it was difficult to communicate.
When my uncle came back, she told him I stabbed her nephew but I boldly defended myself and told my uncle I wanted to leave. I didn’t mind going back to the rough household I left. It was far better and I had missed my siblings. I cried and insisted that I wanted to leave.
My uncle said I should finish my secondary school education first. I began to beg for money after school. I begged for weeks until I got the amount that would enable me to return to my parents.
One day I packed a few worn out clothes in my school bag and as I left the house, I went straight to the bus park. I boarded the available vehicle to my hometown.
My mother was outside the house; she saw me first and screamed! I ran into her arms crying. She asked me what happened. I told her about all that transpired. She was angry and upset. She said my uncle had told her I was doing well and there was no way to reach me.
My uncle and his wife frantically looked for me. When they didn’t see me, they decided to come to our house to report me missing. They stood back in shock. My uncle scolded me angrily. My mother made it clear that I would not be returning with them.
I was bruised and battered. It affected me so much. I could not make friends easily. When I gained admission to the university I found it hard to cope. I was full of hatred. It also made me eat a lot because I felt I would not get food the next moment it I missed this one.
I lost good relationships for a long time. Getting through university was also financially tough. I started selling used clothes and making hair to raise money.
One of my classmates who was older began to talk to me about Christ, by some divine revelation, she knew all I had suffered. She led me to another lecturer who was a pastor and they counselled and prayed with me.
Slowly but surely I began to change. I was able to graduate with a good result. I also got a very good job. I spend my spare time talking to abuse victims and volunteering at an NGO. I met my husband while at work and we have been married for twelve years now.
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