By Dorothy Gomani

He did it, over and over again until the only option I had left was looking to at him as he took it all. I was only 12. When all I could do was scream for help, yet no one came to my rescue. Yes, I was only 12 when he took away the number 1 treasure I can never take back, My Innocence.

“This stays between you and me, I asked you the easy way but it seems you want it the hard way,”

“Don’t you have any remorse; don’t you feel ashamed at all?” I asked as I tried to pick my weak self up. As far as justice goes, I knew he had his way and there was nothing I could do about it.

The following morning I sat under our mango tree recalling everything, still feeling the pains he inflicted in my genital parts. I saw my mom walk towards me. “Why is it that the ground appears not to have been swept, Jane? She asked as she walked closer to where I sat. “Well, mom I will do it don’t worry,” I said as I walked away with a sarcastic smile. Why I didn’t tell her what happened would be the normal question to ask.

Before my stepfather took away my innocence last night, he had been making weird comments about me whenever my mother was not around. Am not saying a father should not compliment his daughter but his sentiments became weirder with each passing day.

“Your legs are beautiful” was the common one of them which he often said each time I wore a skirt. And on a particular day, he went as far as saying “Iwetu ungakome” (You could be good in bed). To say I was disturbed would be an understatement, I was troubled so I decided to tell my mother about it.

“Mom, uhm can I talk to you?”

“Yes go on”, she answered as her eyes stayed on the TV watching one of her favourite channels.

“Mom for days now, dad hasn’t been polite towards me with his choice of words, he is either talking about my legs or some other body part and yesterday he told me I could be good in bed and…..”

“Girls of nowadays, simuvala bwino (you don’t dress properly), how am I even sure you’re saying the truth, you have never liked the idea of me marrying another man except that excuse of your father, I don’t buy it” (and continued watching TV)

Sobbing, I stood there for about 10 minutes in disbelief from what my mother had just said, does love really make people that blind? My own mother turned a deaf ear to my predicaments because of a man. And because of this, I couldn’t even bring myself to tell her he had raped me, would she have believed me?

Days passed, months went by and years passed by, my stepfather never stopped forcing himself on me, he did it each and every night, I even got tired of screaming from the pain all I did was cry, cry from the pains he made me go through, cry to the thought of having a mother who refused to see what I was going through. Eventually, my performance in school started declining, well you know each time I went to class I was always tired, tired from the hours of forced sex and the emotional stress which made it really difficult to concentrate. To my surprise, my mom never asked why the sudden decrease in performance as far as she cared, it was all okay.

 When I was 17, I sat for my MSCE and as I waited for the results I started courting (or dating as most would prefer to put it nowadays) with our neighbour’s son George. George was 4 years older than me and at the time was managing a hardware shop in Limbe. At first, I wasn’t really sure if I wanted anything to do with him because I had developed a negative attitude towards men, but eventually, I learned to love him and as more time went past, he became the close friend I needed but I still hadn’t told him what I was enduring in the hands of my stepfather.

“Babe, don’t you think I have waited for enough, I mean come on am a man and I want you”

“Just a little longer, I promise we will do it, you know am a virgin and am afraid”

George was a man and all men want sex especially from the woman they are in a relationship with, but each time he asked for it I refused with a lie that I was a virgin and I wasn’t ready. The real truth of the matter was that I was frightened, I couldn’t do it with him, what my father did to me each night made me refuse George. Was I even going to do it with him? I didn’t know.

“Come on remove your clothes before I beat the hell out of you”

“Am tired, I can’t, I haven’t been feeling well, I…..” Before I could even finish the sentence punched me, he hit me so hard then took off his belt and tied my arms. This time around he was so aggressive, I cried but my tears didn’t seem to move him, he then did as did routinely did every night, he raped me. For a minute the thought of killing him crossed my mind but I was no murderer. The next morning, I woke up with a bruised face, and to keep my mother away from noticing my face my father took her out that day on what he called a “date”. By the time she came back, she was already late for work so she left, left me to endure another night of misery. I really did feel like opening up to George but what if just like my mother he doesn’t believe me? I’d even considered running away from home but I couldn’t bring myself to it, where would I go, where would I get food? Shelter? What of school? What about George? A thousand the questions I asked myself. I was going through hell in my mother’s house right under her nose, I was helpless with no one to talk to.

Three days after the beating, I fell sick, I had a fever, I felt uneasy so I decided to ask George to escort me to the hospital.

“Come on, let’s go to the nearby clinic,” said George as he offered to carry me on his back.

We arrived at the hospital and 30 minutes later I received the most devastating news of my life.

“You good for nothing whore, I loved you, you told me you were a virgin that I should wait for you a little longer, I did and you do this?”

“Let me explain George it’s not what you think, my……”

Before I could finish the sentence, he slapped me so hard

“Am glad we never did it, you excuse of a woman, we are done”

He walked out on me, I felt so heavy, I wanted to cry so hard but I couldn’t I was down into sorrow, why? What did I ever do? Did he even mean the love he always confessed to me?

“He will pay with his blood” were the words I told myself as I walked home. When I arrived, I sat on the veranda waiting for my mom, who at the time had gone to visit a friend nearby. When she arrived finding me where I was seated, before she could take any step inside, I hit her with a block of wood to weaken her, then I tied her to a tree, she wasn’t going to be an obstacle in what I was about to do.

“Mom, today you will see me do the worst kind of thing, come on look at me”

“What is wrong with you?” She asked

“What’s wrong with me? Hahaha well let me put it to you this way, remember when I tried to confide in you 4 years ago, 4 years ago I tried to tell you about what your husband was saying to me and what did you say, mother? That I should mind my dressing, ever since you got married you turned a blind eye to my welfare, all you cared about was your disgusting husband (crying)

“Will you shut up and untie me!?”

“I will not shut up when I was twelve, your husband raped me. Oh please don’t look surprised because it did not happen once he’s been doing it for the past four years, and now mom (crying heavily) I am 6weeks pregnant, I am HIV positive, my boyfriend has left me, no…”

I was cut midway through my speech as he arrived, a man with the heart of the devil. Fast forward to 10 minutes later I was covered in blood, my mother crying begging me to stop, I had hit him on his head continuously, and now he was dead. Neighbours came around as they were curious about the noise and shouting, immediately the police were called and I was handcuffed. With a heaving heart, I wondered what kind of fate awaited me but one thing I was certain about is I didn’t regret what I did. I felt better knowing I helped get rid of a man so evil and remorseless. Surely the world is a better place without him.

A month later my case was brought to trial and I was sentenced to life imprisonment with hard labour for murder, for the murder of a man that ruined my life. Ironic isn’t it? I sarcastically laugh at the thought of how unfair the law tends to be at times because, in my defence, I was protecting myself and possibly other girls he might have raped or planned to rape but I guess the argument was who knew about it of which, honestly no one did except me.

I write this from a jail cell, serving my fifth year. I lost my child when I miscarried the pregnancy. I lost a chance to live the life I dreamed to live, my hopes, my freedom and now I only have HIV to show for it. I lost it all the day.



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