I too have something to say

Breaking news, beautiful people, I’m back!. If you’re wondering what I mean by that, I honestly have no inkling. But today, I too have something to say regarding cultural silence and violence towards women.

The other day, My dad posted something about why women’s modesty is equal to virtuousness on our whatsapp group. My sister challenged the post with some strong feministic views. Now if there’s anything I’m good at, it’s ignoring conflicts. I’m not proud of it. Albeit, this banter did trigger something almost like a primal defence system in me, Much unlike any conflict. This may have a positive association with an issue I’m still dealing with.

If you’ve followed this blog for a while, then you may remember that I was raped at about age 7 by an uncle. I don’t like to bring it up, and it’s not a ploy for sympathy. I thought that was in the past, but apparently it resurfaces when a women virtues is questioned.

Permit me to derail yet again. Y’all know Nigeria right? the country that I’m rumoured to be from. We tend to be late, however the first feminism movement completely flew past us. Todays, several Nigerian women are what I call “Quasi-feminist”.

I simply do not value gender roles. I don’t care about whose submissive or who makes the most money. So, why did this simple harmless post about women’s choices of outfit churn my tummy into chucks? Then it hit me, this had nothing to do with the post, and everything to do with my father. I can’t come to terms that my father much like many Nigerian men still believe that rape is either partly or wholesomely the victim’s fault. Much like he may have not come to terms with his step-brother’s action. This is a conversation we need to have but I can never see it happening. Maybe in my next life, maybe.

The #MeToo movement bellowed the voices of women that were living in silence. Rape has been an epidemic in Nigeria for years but it has never been brought up as a societal concern because women are silenced against their violators and programmed to believe that it is a consequence of her promiscuity while the offending gender are left on the bench .

Many victims will venture through life never reaching their finest, most distinguished potential, because conflict especially with the opposite gender sets them back to the moment they got assaulted and they are crippled with a need to be submissive in order to survive.

As a writer, I feel like something has been stolen from me every time I want to connect with my childhood experiences and find blocks rather than creative flows. This doesn’t mean I’m bad, I’m acknowledging that there are seams of my memory that I don’t have access to and that really sucks.

My final point is harsh but there’s no polite way around it. I’ve probably penned it in poetry. They say children grow up to be their parents, and that is my biggest fear. I intend to triumph all the many different ways I am messed up, really because my children deserve to not grow up around the same personalities I did.

Thanks for stopping by for one of my self-therapy sessions, but I have to disappear again. I hope you endure my sadistic poetry for another week till I get back to creating real content.

Auf weiderschauen!

(In case you) Find your ghost

“A Toast,” she said, raising her glass, “to my adorable cousin, may no man ever traumatize her sexually, and physically like my uncle; her father did me”.

The venue went cold with unwavering tension. Out of nowhere, the head table overturned, shards of glasses glistening as they struck concrete. From the side of her eye, she saw her dad lurch towards the father of the day, gripped him by the throat before he could utter a word, his eyes red with fury.

And just like that,  the party was over.

 

********

 

Some secrets are too perverse to remain hidden. Secrets that burrow a hole in the middle of one’s chest. This is the story of a young maiden plagued by the ghost of the repressed emotions that she has never been able to confront.

This is the origin story of Alexander.

Born to working-class parents, the family had nearly nothing, except for a Volkswagen Beetle. Dad was never home; always at work, gunning for that big break that would catapult him to the next phase of his career; and mum, she too was hard at work, holding down the fort. Doing what good mums do.

About 18 yrs ago, on one of those evenings, an uncle visits for a meeting with dad but he didn’t come home that day which wasn’t unusual. At the time in Nigeria, you couldn’t just pick up the phone and call someone, NITEL was somewhat popular but people were adapting rather slowly. He stayed over solely because his village was somewhat far away and the sun was setting.

Her family were subtenants renting a one- bedroom apartment with a shared bathroom and while her mum and brother stayed in the bedroom, she slept in the parlor feets away from her uncle. Sometime between thirty to eleven and midnight, he drew closer and closer to her, then he began fondling her prepubertal body and genitalia…

Like a good little girl who always behaved in front of her elders, never spoke unless spoken to; she remained mute but then again, she was always a quiet kid.

Thought more than she spoke.

Wrote more than she was willing to say,…but that broke her. It solidified her antisocial exterior; her social awkwardness. Until this day, she would never be able to make eye contact or flirt the way normal people do.

********

A lot’s changed, the family lives in a big home, that old beetle replaced by numerous automobile model from Honda to Range Rover. What hasn’t changed is, dad’s still as busy as ever, and those flesh wounds never healed.

If he had stayed where he belonged—in the past, perhaps the ghosts wouldn’t haunt her.

Last she saw him, he came to the house with his then fiancée, to introduce her to dad and get both financial support and his blessing for their wedding. That was her chance to confront him, reveal these ghosts to the woman who probably thought she knew him so well, in front of her dad; so he would throw him out of their lives forever….but she didn’t.

Couldn’t.

Turns out she wasn’t ready. She would never be, but she knew she owed it to her younger self, that poor girl deserved even one honest moment where she didn’t have to hold it all in and pretend it was all okay.

It wasn’t until that day, years later, at her cousin’s naming ceremony when she climbed on that stage and her gaze settled on him, that her ghosts were enraged, threatening to unleash all the emotions of the past that have subdued her physically. Sobs welled up in her throat, her head buzzed with unsettling thoughts. This wasn’t the right time, but then again, there’s never a right time to talk about sexual abuse. Either she’d do it or she wouldn’t. So she swallowed hard, parted her lips and let the words spurt out….

A deafening silence.

A moment of sincere epiphany.

Through all the ruckus,  she swears she saw a little girl, not more than six years of age at the far end of the blinding stage lights whisper, “Thank you”.

From that moment, she began to see herself more as a force to be reckoned with and less like a victim, began trusting herself. She’d given herself the single greatest gift,

Freedom.

Some secrets are too perverse to remain hidden,…..

In case you find your ghost.