I always wondered about how rape victims felt whenever they heard the word rape or when they read it.
Somehow I always felt connected to them in a way, don’t ask me how because I simply can’t explain, but looking back now, I guess I know why.
I am not going to have an epic flash back like they do in the movies, I’ll just cut to the chase, I am a victim of rape, a victim of sorts I dare say.
I am a product of rape. My mother was raped, and I am the product.
I found out a couple of weeks ago, and before now, my mother had done a good job of keeping it away from me, but even the best kept secrets eventually get exposed.
Now how did I find out? Well she didn’t walk up to me and say hey, I was raped and I got pregnant with you, no it didn’t happen like that, it happened so quickly, even mother did not expect it.
I always dreamt of going away, travelling to Spain, well I dared to dream because I knew mother could afford to make it come true, if she wanted.
Well it wasn’t as easy as I made it sound, you see, anytime I brought it up, it always seemed to cause a big fight, and the friction it caused would last for days, and so I became weary of the subject and decided to put it on ice, until the perfect time. I had always believed mother was just being over protective of me, because she loved me and didn’t want to deal with the fact that I wanted to leave her.
I waited until I graduated, and then I brought the matter up again with mother, and as usual she lashed out trying to kill the conversation by screaming louder.
This time I was prepared, I told her this was what I wanted , and that I deserved it, I have never done anything against your will, I have always done all you required of me, without questions or stress, so I feel I have earned this right, I pointed out.
No, you are not going anywhere, if you want a Spanish experience, I am pretty sure you can find that on the internet, she replied.
We argued back and forth, and then suddenly I stood up, and stormed out of the living room, I returned a few moments later with my passport and dropped it on the table.
Where did you get that, mother asked as she stared at me in surprise, I remained silent and just stared back at her, she asked the question again, and this time the anger in her voice was quite scary, even for me.
I took it from your room, I replied, if you don’t want to help me realize this dream, then I’ll do what I can to get my visa and travel, and after saying that I stood up, picked up the passport and was about to walk out, when she asked me not to take another step.
Who the hell do u think you are? Mother asked, and what the hell do you think you are doing, you simply feel because you want something, you can just go ahead and take it, without caring how others feel, and if they are willing to give it to you? I turned around and could only listen to her talk.
Why am I not surprised, she continued, you are just like the man that put you inside me, you are just like your father, you both are of the breed that takes when it suits you, when you have the urge to have something, at that point only your desires matter, so you just go ahead and take.
Her words hit me like bullets, mother had never spoken this way before, and she had never mentioned my father in anyway, and I remember asking about him once when I was much younger, she had told me he was not with us, and that was all she said, and never spoke if him again, until now, and I had never asked again.
What do you mean I am like my father and why do you refer to him with so much disgust, I asked.
She stared at me for a moment, and I could see anger and hate in her eyes, and then those haunting words came out “Your father raped me”…….., he raped me in a gutter, he beat me, I didn’t even know who he was, and just as he appeared, he vanished, after taking my self worth and my dignity, and now I see the apple has not fallen far from the tree, you are doing exactly what he did, you just want to take, simply because you want it, you don’t care how I feel.
I slowly sat back down, and just stared at her, I watched her lips as she spoke.
I have always wondered why I kept you, she said, I wondered if you had been a boy, you would grow up and eventually rape a woman just because you wanted to, and if you were a girl, you would get raped by someone like your father, listen to me, I had the opportunity to get rid of you, but I kept you, and raised you, and was reminded of your conception every time you opened your eyes, every time I saw your face, your eyes tortured me for 24 years, and now you have began showing his traits, you want to take, all that matters to you are your wants and needs.
Mother walked out of the room, without saying another word, I sat in the chair, speechless, not knowing how to feel.
After a while I replayed everything she said in my head, I was angry, and then I felt pity for her, I tried to imagine how she must have felt, living with me all these years, knowing how I had come into her life.
A few weeks later, I came home and saw my passport, with an airline ticket beside it, I opened the passport and saw it had been stamped with several visas.
Mother never said a word to me after that, and I have never said anything to her either. I mean how do you respond to information like this, whom do I ask my questions?
As I write this, I still have difficulty processing this new information, I mean how does one deal with the fact that your conception was facilitated by rape and violence.
How do you cope with the fact that every time your mother looks at you, she remembers a dark period in her life.
Now I have what I thought I wanted, the opportunity to leave, but I am also burdened with the fact that my father is a rapist and I am a constant reminder, and just like he did, I just want to take and leave.
Do I just leave and spare her the constant reminder? Is 24 years not enough torture for her? Or do I remain and try to show her more love and understanding, but what if she doesn’t want my love?
Can we ever get past this?
Arome Ameh (The Priest)
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