Too scared to speak - story of a girl child by Ayo AkinduroWritten by Ayooluwa Akinduro
She was twelve and happy.
Her parents had just changed her school to a better one and she was excited. The school demanded for a recent passport photograph and that was what she set out to get.
She ran two flights up the shopping complex, never had the patience to walk on any staircase. She either ran or jumped as is expected from a twelve year old girl.
She stopped in front of a shop that was painted yellow and had a big banner just above the door that read; “1 min Digital Passport – Wait and Get!” It was printed in about six outrageous colours, like the shop owner was scared people might not see the banner if it had just two colours.
She opened her satchel bag to make sure her money was still there, and then knocked rapidly on the brown door. Soon, a young fair man opened the door, stood there with one hand on the wall and the other on the door and stared at her waiting for her to state her mission at his shop.
“I’m here to take passport photographs,” she said in a perky tone.
“How many?” He stepped aside for her to enter.
“Four”, she replied looking at the portraits that hung on the wall.
Then she stood in front of the mirror admiring her navy blue flared skirt and her George’s Girls wear white top that had hearts prints in different colours. She ran her hand over head and concluded she didn’t look bad in her low cut after all.
“Are you ready?” He was standing next to her with a Nikon camera in his hand.
“Yes!" as she made her way to a blue plastic stool that was sitting against the wall with a blue drape that served as the backdrop.
“Use this”, he said handing to her small plastic bottle of a Tony Montana white talcum powder.
She took it shyly, poured a little amount on her left palm, rubbed her palms together, clapped twice, lifted her palms to her face and rubbed the powder in.
While she was trying to blend it in, he took both her hands off her face and gently rubbed her face with one hand and held her chin in the other.
“Do you know you’re very beautiful?”
She shook her head sceptically in response to his question.
“Your mummy didn’t tell you,” he said pecking her on the left cheek.
She knew that was a statement and not a question. As a young girl from a very serious Christian home, where no one really spoke about beauty or other mundane things, she stayed put on the stool not knowing what to do or say. All she gave was a sheepish smile.
After he had taken her picture, he dropped the camera on a table. He took her hands and drew her closer to him and traced her face with his index finger. She was naïve. No one ever spoke to her about a situation like this. She had no idea what to do or what not to do.
He turned her around, and placed her hands on the wooden table that had ink stains all over it and made her arch her back like that of a camel, then pulled her skirt down. She stood there, numb and terrified of what he would do if she rebuffed, and she closed her eyes – expecting the worse.
She jerked when she felt his organ rubbing against her orifice. She winced when he pushed it hard against the cleft. She was too petrified to struggle, and too ashamed to cry.
She only prayed for her help, and hoped God would send help. He kept trying to force himself in, and she didn’t wince anymore – she only stood scared stiff.
Just as he was about to force the penetration again, after lubricating himself, there was a loud knock on the door. Immediately, he pulled his pants up, zipped up and told her to pull her panties and skirt up.
“He didn’t even have the courtesy to do that himself”, she thought to herself as she picked her bag and watched him opened the door and greeted the guy knocking, as if nothing happened before.
Later the same day…
She knocked on her mother’s bedroom door.
“Enitan, is that you?” Her mum’s voice came from inside the room.
“Come on in, sweetheart.”
She opened the door and flopped into the queen-sized bed. She wanted to tell her mother what happened. She wanted to divulge every tiny detail, but she was too scared to speak. For one, she was ashamed and hated herself for not putting up a fight with the man at least.
Secondly, she was scared her mother would tell her father, who would in turn beat the hell out of her with the horsewhip (koboko). So she just sat on the bed, waiting for her mother to know what has happened to her just by looking at her flustered face.
“Mummy, my bumbum is paining me,” she said after she thought she had waited for too long. “Especially when I sit”, she added hoping that her mum would get the message.
“Ahan! What happened to you?” she asked peering above the book she was reading. “Come over here let me have a look.”
She hurried over to the bed where her mum was. She bent over in front of her and pulled down her pyjamas. “Check!”, she said pulling down her pants.
Her mum held the buttocks apart, and scrutinized it with the aid of a rechargeable lamp. “You have a slight bruise around your rear,” she finally said after a long look at the place, “It is a result of a hard poop trying to force its way out.”
She pulled up her pants and pyjamas. “You should drink a lot of water, so you won’t find it so difficult to poop.”
She was disappointed her mum did not get the message, she wanted to break it out to her in words loud and clear – but then again she was ashamed and frightened of what would follow.
She was totally convinced she was no longer a virgin, and she cried herself to sleep that night, the next, and every other night until she was sure she was not pregnant.
Author’s note: This fiction was written in commemoration of the International Day of the Girl Child and also to raise awareness about girl child sexual abuse, a topic I believe cannot be overemphasised.
As a people, we must adopt sex education at homes and in schools. While being observant of their physical and behavioural changes, we also have to teach them about issues on sexuality because these children are being exposed to different materials through the media and people they meet. They should know where nobody is supposed to touch or fondle with. As they grow older, we increase the education.
Parents as primary custodians of their daughters should do their best to develop a cordial relationship with their children. Let her see you as a friend and not as the judge of her life. This makes it easier for her to confide in you without the fear of being punished. Encouraging our daughters to talk and not judging them afterwards will go a long way in helping to ensure that perpetrators are brought to book, consequently putting an end to this barbaric act.
The effects of sexual abuse can stay with the girls for the rest of their lives and can pass from one generation to another. Hence, we must do our best to put an end to it. This evil must cease, please!
Ayo is a writer, columnist, poet and blogger. A Mass Communication graduate of Babcock University, tweets from @Selig_akb
Instagram: gist_hives and Selig__