My mind flashes back to several years ago when I was just a little girl. Home was always the best and I had siblings who made home better for me. My parents were loving parents, dad was a tad bit the disciplinarian and he was intolerant of reckless behavior. My mom was the loving/assertive one. She loved to discipline as she was a school teacher.
The abuse started in the hands of my cousin. My mom would leave us with her as she takes care of work and other issues. My cousin Tonia was our elder so we were asked to respect what she said. One fateful day, she asked me to come to her room, I went to the room, I remember the room very well and even though I was only five years old. The bed was a spring bed that bounces and the bed was strong. She asked me to pull her cloth down and finger her. I didn’t know what to do, I was naive and very young. Even though I knew it was somewhat wrong, this was my big cousin I was supposed to respect. What was I to do? I was scared, I couldn’t do it.
She threatened me, she said if I didn’t, she would tell my mom and dad a different story. She was ready to beat me but then she removed her cloth, removed her panties and forced my hand on her crotch till she got the satisfaction she needed. After the ordeal, she threatened me not to talk and I kept mute. What was I to say? That’s if there was anything for me to say. This continued for a long time, till she left the house and my parents never knew about it. My mom was in deep shock when I mustered the courage to tell her. She couldn’t believe her kin could do that to her child. I got to know recently that my younger sister suffered the same fate as myself. This cousin of mine was 13 at the time. I can only infer that she was abused as well by someone close to her wherever she was before she came to live with us.
Abuse is a vicious cycle. Oftentimes, the abused ends up becoming the abuser. This is why kids should be encouraged to speak up to their parents. A chain of communication should be opened so that kids can speak freely about what they go through in every aspect of life. Parents should have an open mind to listen, listen and investigate before they take action.
My cousin is grown now, she is presently married. I cannot begin to imagine what she passed through in life. I cannot fathom it but all I know is: she was abused and she continued the cycle. I am married and I have two wonderful children and I am very cautious of whom they interact with. I have created a door of communication where they can tell me if anything happens to them or anyone touches them inappropriately. I urge all parents to do same. All we do will never be enough but let us do our best. At the end we will say we did the best we could. We protected our children.
This story was sent in anonymously through our volunteer, Uchenna.