I wake up every morning, and I follow the same routine, I get out of bed, say a quick prayer, well not as much as I used to pray, because well let’s face it, am not a very religious person anymore, especially not after what happened, anyway I tidy up my room, and go into the kitchen, to wash the dishes if any, do some house chores if any, take a bath, and sit outside my little room, and stare at people as they walk by on their day to day activities.
I am not allowed to leave the compound, not alone anyway, I am labelled a dis-appointment, a scarlet woman if you will, a repeat of history, but with certain modifications, am sorry if I have you confused, I’ll slow down a bit, and break it down for you step by step.
I am 21 years old, my name is adhra, I live with my grandfather, or rather I live in his compound, I am not allowed into the main house, and basically my interaction with people both within the house and outside is largely limited, you may begin to ask yourself, “what is she rambling on about”.
Let me start with a little history lesson, my grandmother died, giving birth to my mother, and so she was raised largely by my grandfather, with whom I live with today, my mother also died giving birth to me, and yes,grandad raised me too, traditionally, there is this myth surrounding us, they say we are the same person re-incarnating, but that’s just an old wives tale, we don’t live in the stone age anymore.
I have a father, I never knew him growing up, but I eventually met him, and the circumstances would make you understand why I am being treated the way I am.
My mother was raped, by my father, and I was the result of the rape, some say she died of shame, others say she was a witch, others say she was my grandmother, coming back again, I don’t really care.
My father denied any wrong doing, and was never punished for any wrong doing, but he named me adhra, which means “an apology”, if he didn’t do anything wrong, then why was he apologizing?
My grandfather took care of me, he sent me to school, he provided for me, and always took every opportunity to remind me of how he never wanted me to be like my mother, see the thing is he always blamed her for getting pregnant, he attributed it to her being lose and wayward, and as a result getting pregnant, so he made it a point of duty to keep me away from boys
I was a nursing student, I would leave home, go directly to class, and come directly back home, I was never allowed to stay in the hostels, or even have reading groups, no parties, and no unusual outings, they didn’t bother me much, I was just happy to be doing what I do.
We lived on the outskirts of town, not too far off, but you couldn’t walk to the nearest house, so you do the math, I left class a little bit late, and got stuck at the bus top, waiting for the last bus going my way, we eventually left and I got to my stop rather late, it was not very dark, the moon was out, I was walking across the corn field leading to the house and I saw some men sitting and smoking, they fell silent immediately they saw me, I don’t really know why, but I immediately started running when I saw them,they chased me, they caught me, they beat me, they raped me,they were 4 men, not boys, but men.
They left me, and they ran away, I found my way home, and went straight to my grandfather, I told him what had happened, and he immediately called me a liar, he said he knew this day would come, and that he had been expecting it.
He walked away, without a word, I left and went into my room, the next day I went to the hospital and spoke to the matron, she called the police immediately and I was asked if I could identify them,I said yes.
About a week later, I was invited to the police station, to identify those suspected to have raped me, I was able to identify 2 of them, the police took me home, and invited my grandfather to the station along with me, to formally press charges. When we got to the station, my grandpa saw the men, he walked over to get a better look, and he immediately grabbed one of them, cursed and said a lot of words I never knew he could utter.
We left the station in silence, grandpa didn’t utter a word when we got home, he called me to the living room later that evening, and he explained why he had acted the way he did.
The man whom he had attacked at the station was my father, now you see why I said we met under unpalatable terms,I was dazed,shocked,and sick to my stomach, my immediate fear was getting pregnant, I knew they were others, but the thought of being raped by my biological father was too much to take.
The saddest part was my grandpa blamed me, he said it was inherited from my mother, and my lose ways and pretense had finally caught up with me, he blamed me, for being raped, by my own father.
A few months later, I was told I needed to run some tests, just to be sure, I wasn’t pregnant, but I had been infected with the HIV virus, at that point I wish I was pregnant. It took some time and counselling to come to terms with everything, the nurses have been kind to me, but grandpa decided to isolate me, he still provides for me, I will be resuming my studies soon, but he caters for me mostly out of obligation and nothing else.
My father and the other man, remain in police custody awaiting trail, the rest have still not been found yet.
Written By Arome Ameh(The Priest)