Like every young girl in Lagos suburb, Aisha (not her real name) was born with towering dreams to be great. She was exceptionally brilliant, but before her innocent world, those dreams appeared to be vanishing like smoke in the thin air when life took a nasty turn on her family.
Badly bruised and bitterly battered, she was left with a cross too big for her age and naivety until life ushered ease and light into her life through WARIF.
Victim of a shattered home
Born 14 years ago into a family of three, Aisha never envisaged life could be unfair. However, the reality first emerged when her mom left her and her siblings in what could be described as an abusive marriage.
Her father, a roadside mechanic and “abusive drunkard”, had been struggling with the financial upkeep of the home, and most times, the family could not afford a three square meal per day. So quite often, they went to bed hungry at night, waiting for a miracle to happen the next day
Before leaving the marriage, Aisha’s mother, a petty trader, was engaged in selling household commodities to help the struggling family. But, of course, she also was a victim of constant beatings and gross domestic violence from her husband, Aisha’s father. One day, she packed her loads without the knowledge of her children and
Aisha was barely seven years old when she left. Since then, nobody knows her whereabouts, and she never cared to check on her children– that is, if she is still alive. “After an intense altercation that left my mom bleeding from her face because of a series of beatings, she decided to leave the marriage for good.
It was a few weeks after I had turned 7, we got home from school and found out that my mother had taken her belongings and moved out of the house to an unknown destination. We waited for her to return but up till now, we have not set our eyes on my mother. My siblings and I were left alone with an abusive drunkard,” she narrated.
The road to brutal abuse
Aisha’s mum leaving the marriage gave the devil the power and opened the way for constant abuse. In the hands of a poor and fear-personified father, Aisha and her two siblings were left with no hope other than to wake up and take what life brought in terms of grace and misfortune.
And as the first born of the family, she had to quickly adapt to life bigger than her age and play the role of both guardian and mother for the younger ones. “I was suddenly thrown into a world of chaos with two younger siblings to look after and a father who did not care. It was a very difficult time, but because I am smart and hardworking, I was able to adjust to our new life quickly. I learnt how to bathe my siblings, prepare meals, and clean the house,” she narrated..
One night, the worst happened when her father summoned her into his room for a chat after everybody had slept. It was a night of terror and overbearing agony as her father forcefully had canal knowledge of her without remorse. He perfected his plans with the devil and had his way. Then, as if that was not enough, he threatened to harm her if she dared to tell anyone about the incident.
Narrating how it happened, Aisha said:
“He placed me on his lap, and before I could understand what was happening, he started fondling my breast. I was in shock and confused. He then opened my legs and inserted his finger into my private part. I tried to shout but he covered my mouth.”
Suicide thought amid repeated abuse
The following day of the first abuse, what first came to Aisha’s mind was to kill herself. The pain was unimaginable for a young girl of 14. And she had wanted to end it all. But she had to think of her siblings whose lives might be wretched in the hands of their father.
She decided to shelve the plan to kill herself and bear her cross alone, in silence.
Most times, when the abuse happened, she would not go to school the following day, or for a couple of days, so that nobody would know what occurred.
Aisha was subjected to constant sexual violation by her father till she gained admission into secondary school. That was the beginning of a breakthrough.
Noticed by her teacher: a tiny road to breakthrough .
Aisha’s life could have been shattered and miserable if not for a brave, godly, caring and very observant teacher who noticed that the 14-year-old was not always happy and often recorded poor performance in her result. Mrs Tolulope was more than a teacher; she was a mother and God-sent angel in Aisha’s life.
One morning, she noticed that the young girl was exhibiting abnormal behaviour. That was a day after one of the abuses, leaving Aisha with abdominal and private part pain.
When confronted by Mrs Tolulope, Aisha told some lies to cover up her father’s misdeeds. But when she was pushed further with an assurance of hope, safety and protection, she let out the struggles Mrs Tolulope immediately reported to the school authorities who in turn alerted the Police who then took my father into custody for being a perpetrator of rape,” she added.
That extra push by the teacher ushered ease into Aisha’s life. And she will forever be grateful .