My mom was in the hospital after getting beaten severely by my father. Her condition was very bad, a cut on her forehead, eyes that were almost blinded, a broken right arm and a broken nose. I was very young, less than 12, I think. They wanted money before treating her, my father wasn’t in the least bit interested in paying for the treatment. My mom was on her own. Before now, relatives had abandoned us because she was always lying about having accidents and slipping in the bathroom or getting robbed when my dad was the culprit. A few times I spoke out, then she went and said something else and made everybody consider me as a liar, a few relatives even called me an ogbanje child.
I started going to visit aunties and uncles for money, one forced himself on me in the process and didn’t give me the money afterwards. The wife caught him raping me, I was almost lifeless, my face was tears-soaked and still she beat the crap out of me. They later did family meeting and judged me guilty, the man said I was the one that removed my pant and opened my peepee for him. That’s how they bundled me to go and do housemaid work in Warri. My mom didn’t do anything. My father was probably happy because if I was far away, I couldn’t soil his ‘good’ name.
The woman I was a maid for was a family friend to one of my aunts. She beat me into learning everything I now know. She beat me because I couldn’t cook or bake or clean properly. Fear of being beaten made me learn fast. I would be putting salt in food and my hands would be vibrating. A little too much salt equalled beating, a little less salt equalled beating. I was beaten so much that my body got used to it. I started to expect it. Now if anybody beats me, they’re wasting their time, I don’t feel pain from physical violence.
I used to eat whatever remained on her children’s plates after they had eaten to their satisfaction, sometimes, nothing was left on their plates. I’d spend hours cooking and I wouldn’t even taste that food. I used to wear torn clothes, torn hand me downs from her boys. I was afraid of night time because both the husband and the boys took turns to satisfy themselves with me.
I couldn’t even speak to anyone about these things for years, maybe because I was shocked into silence or because even if I wanted to talk, I had nobody to listen to me. Many years after, even when I met people willing to listen, I had sealed that aspect of my life and wanted nothing to do with it. I moved on without really moving on. I lied to do many people because I was trying to cover my really deep scars with not too serious ones, I didn’t trust anyone, I couldn’t trust anyone with the truth.
I’m glad for how far I’ve come and as I tell each part of my story, I heal a little more.