Scrolling through my archives this morning, I found this article that I had written in August 2015 alongside some pictures I took then and it reignited the same feeling I had when i wrote it then.
I hope you find it insightful.
In the sincerity of it, I know you haven’t.
I had one; it happened today
I am 7 years old and I live in our 2 bedroom apartment in Fagba crescent around Agidingbi, Lagos Nigeria.
It all started quite early in this morning.
We were off power supply so it was still very dark apart from the little stream of light that entered my room from the moonlight outside.
It was also ghost quiet.
I thought at first that I heard footsteps…. I ignored it… No one dared raid our environment. Not with our top-notch security. It would definitely have been a product of my imagination.
Then, a touch. I shivered.
I was shocked! I have a bedroom to myself so a visitor is the last thing I’m expecting.
Wait!! Just before you think I have all the luxury in this world, I sleep on a small tattered mat in this house. Probably because I’m not their child. I shouldn’t have luxuries you know. I came to the city to work. I’m just an ordinary maid.
“Who could be in my room?”
An armed robber?
Or another illusion? I asked myself.
I kept calm and waited for the next move.
Again, the touch went up my body.
Why didn’t I even think of this?
Could I have ever thought that the serpent would change?
It was Papa… Scratch that… Mr. John…
I sat upright on the mat, fidgeting.
He is the man I was forced to call Papa. He is Mr. John, the owner of the house where I work. Ever since I was brought to Lagos some moths back to work and also school, he comes to my room once is a while to play with my body. He told me that it’s part of the work I was brought to Lagos to do and no one must know about it. I couldn’t even tell madam [Mrs. John]
Well, who would even want to talk to her? She cares less about me and more about the million and one tasks I should have completed before her arrival from work. Apart from the touching, I think Mr. John is the only one who likes me. At least, he buys me Toblerone. Feyi is the only one is my class who brings toblerone to school. I think I should be proud about that too. I only got bothered when after a while he reaches for my panties and the frequency of his night visit increased.
The only night I get to sleep with both eyes closed is when madam decides to stay awake all night. I wonder why I never even thought he was the one at first.
He smiled again and he switched on the light.
As he looked at the time, his smile quickly faded!
I concluded it was because it was a few minutes to mother’s wake up time. In anger or frustration, He reached for me, grabbed me and hit me hard on the floor.
I released a shriek sound but I wasn’t too fast. In split seconds, the demon had his hands all over my mouth so my voice got lost. He spent a few minutes all over my body but retires to his room in no time. Now, I’m confused. Mr. Obalola, our health teacher told us about the implication of sexual abuse but I’m not even sure about what’s happening to me. I have no idea what this is
After spending some time sobbing, I fell asleep.
I opened my eyes slightly and in front of me was Jezebel I could relate with. I wanted to tell her this time but she didn’t look like one who wanted to hear anything.
In a few minutes, she highlighted my duties for the day… she would be working from home today and as you have probably guessed, it would be work, work and more work. That would also imply that no school for me today.
I was scared.
In a few minutes, I tidied up the room and began with my duties. My first duty was to go buy some ingredients. I bought the onions from a separate place after buying the other foodstuff. On my way from where I went to buy onions, the worst happened. The nylon tore pouring out the contents of the bag on the ground. There they were, the onions lay bare on the ground. I knew I was done for. The slightest grain of sand on the bulbs of onions would be noticed by madam. I knew I was going to be beaten black and blue and orange today again. Yesterday, the food got burnt, and today it’s the onions.
Why is my life like this?
Oh, how I hate God!
Then, another young man. This time, he came with a camera.
Whether he could see what I was going through, I have no idea. I just don’t want to talk with another man. He probably wants to molest me too! He better not or I’d curse life out of him
I’m tired of this life. I once thought of the police but I overheard madam telling Mr. John that it’s been over a year since some girls were kidnapped and the government couldn’t do anything about it. Now, I’m confused. I can’t report to anyone.
No one can be trusted, not even those in authority. I guess I’d just die.
This pain is unbearable.
I AM RUINED
PS: This is entirely fiction. Thank you!
Dedicated to all girls facing sexual abuse.
Photographs taken by Bolu Akindele in 2015