HER STORY

 

SENSITIVE TOPICS AHEAD!

 

I write this to share a story I hid deep inside, a story I fear being read, a story I wish no one ever experiences, but sadly many do.

I grew up surrounded by men, an only girl in a family of seven, I loved and trusted all my brothers, for I knew safety was home. safety was in the confines of our room, our room, one I shared with my 3 brothers. Growing up, money was tight but still life was good, we went to good schools, slept with our tummies full and walked around well dressed. I remember family road trips to the rural,  food made from mud and of course, family. Family made everything better.

One trip was different though, coming back we had a new guest to add, a cousin who wanted to study in the city, tired of the local run down college back home. A Harambee was done, and he was sent away to live with us. I was happy, gained another brother, 7-year-old me couldn’t stop smiling, another family member, another blessing.

“I know it’s hard adjusting to live with an extra person in a crowded room kids, but remember a guest is a blessing, I don’t want to hear any complains, understood?”

We all understood, no body wants to embarrass Mummy, so we all promised to be on our best behaviour.

Days passed, and we all got along so well that when asked, 7-year-old me had 5 brothers now, 5 brothers to play with, to eat with and to go home to, where home was safe, safe was our home.

A community pool opened up in our neighbourhood, one that was affordable to us, provided we saved up a week of our allowances, a measly Ksh 50 per head, so we did. And I couldn’t have been more excited, even though the only waters I knew were the rushing stream near Grandma’s house in the village and the big lake, where only big boys could swim because of the sharks and crocodiles.I’d watched Jaws with my brothers, there was no way I would risk swimming in shark and crocodile infested waters, I heard even an anaconda was spotted swimming one day! Finally I would know what it was like to swim. I couldn’t even sleep the day before.

Clad in my first ever mtush Disney one-piece,I was the happiest 7-year-old girl in the pool, it even had Bella and Cinderella! I stayed in the kiddie side of the pool, splashing water and holding the rail and kicking my legs into the water, enjoying with all the kids my age, and occasionally hitching a ride on the backs of my brothers’ backs, while others pretended to be sharks, it would have been the best day of my childhood, if the story ended there. The reason I probably remember everything in detail was because of the events that occurred after it.

My new ‘brother’ wanted to carry me around in the water, so I hopped excitedly, hoping for another games of Jaws and Crocodiles, only he was the monster after all. Creeping hands into my beautiful Disney one-piece, one that I found and burned a couple of years ago.

“SSSSShhhhh, don’t make a noise, I promise you’ll enjoy it, don’t let anyone see”

I didn’t enjoy it, I was confused and angry and scared, I was terrified. I didn’t know what was going on and I couldn’t tell anyone, not even Mummy, because she said

“NO COMPLAINS. BE ON YOUR BEST BEHAVIOUR”

That was the first time it happened, in a public pool, in front of my parents and 4 siblings.

Days later, it happened again.

Being the youngest and in Class One, school always ended early for me, I loved it because I had more time to read and play. I had a very healthy books collection because whenever I did something good, I was always rewarded with a new book, it wasn’t new in age, but it was a new story to read. I knew all about the Cunning Fox, the Quick Hare, the Wise Owl and the Brave Lion.

I had left school early, as always and I was excited to be home. I had recently passed my Mid Term examinations and I already had 3 books waiting for me at home. If I had realized earlier than it was home, I would have willingly stayed bored at school till 5 waiting for my brothers than go back home.

It cornered me in a room, alone and scared, still in my uniform where I was gagged and shoved on the floor. I tried fighting but it twisted my arms, successfully dislocating a shoulder, I think I passed out several times where I woke up in pain, in bed, face free of the tears I had wept, begging it to stop hurting me, begging it to stop, crying for it to leave me alone. It said it would kill me if I ever said anything, it was easy to squeeze my throat, it showed me by doing it. Or smothering me with a pillow, it was easy to do it too.

I walked around with a dislocated shoulder until it was too painful for me to handle, I showed Mommy and told her I had fallen in school playing at the monkey bars. It said no one would believe me, even if they did ask me, what happened, how was I to know what was going on? How would I say it? Every one was blind to it, and they loved it so much. When it realized, it had hurt my shoulder bad enough that I had to go to the hospital, it started being “nice and sweet.”

For 3 years, until it moved away to start a life, it bribed me with sweets and soda, promising never to hurt me again, never again. It was sweet to me for a long time, long enough for me to nearly forget.

But it happened again, again and again.

For 3 years until it moved away after finishing college.

I had stopped talking as much, no one noticed.

I didn’t want to leave the house as much, no one noticed.

I grew terrified of my own father and brothers, no one noticed.

It said I deserved it anyways.

I was JUST  7 YEARS OLD!!!!!!!

I took an oath to hate men, they were monsters, I had lived  and slept in the same room as one.

The room that was safe, haunted me in my nightmares.

I had night terrors, no one noticed.

I woke up in tears, whimpering and crying no one noticed.

I’ve never spoken out loud about IT, how could I?

I see it every holiday when I go to Grandmas

I see its wife

I see its daughters

I know Mum and Dad love it so much.

They call it son.

So how could they believe me?

No one would

They never noticed anything, why would they now?

The rage I feel for IT is so consuming so powerful

I wish I could burn it to ashes with my eyes

I shall never forget it

Never forgive it

The monster that I lived with

I can’t say who I am, or who IT is,

I never was one to cause chaos, I wonder if anyone would believe me, if they did, what would happen to it? Will they risk breaking up not one but two families based on something they never knew about?

I’ve seen around and I’ve heard the excuses.

“It’s too late”

“You should have spoken earlier”

“Why did you stay silent”

“We can’t do anything”

Sorry, I was scared for my life

I’m sorry I lived in fear

The statute’s expired while I drowned in nightmares

Since I can’t sue you here

I leave with my scars and cries

See you in the Court Above.

I still live with nightmares, I’ve seen therapists, counsellors and life coaches, it does get better, but when?

Every time a story like mine comes up in the news, I wake up terrified of my own shadow.

Every time I see the backlash and stigma in this topic, I am relieved I never shared mine, then angry, so angry and furious that our uneducated and uncivilized society would blame the victim, again and again.

I contemplated killing myself when I was ten, ten year olds SHOULDN’T EVEN THINK about killing themselves, but I did, I have tried several times, but I now know that it wasn’t my fault, I DESERVE TO LIVE, I DESERVE TO BE HAPPY.

Slow but steady, I have rough nights where I wish I could just off myself, I hate being touched by anybody at all times, I have panic attacks randomly and I am on depression medication. I have never been in a relationship, simply because I still do NOT trust easily, I understand that not all men are monsters, but I am yet to believe it myself. It took me years to accept love from and trust the male figures in my lives, my father and brothers, SEVERAL YEARS.

I AM A SURVIVOR!

I tell my story, not to gather any pity, but to remind others and myself, I have lived this far, reached this far, and hopefully will one day reach where I want to be.

“WhAt WeRe YoU WeArInG?”

A one piece long-sleeved Disney swim suit.

“YoU sHoUlDn’T hAvE wOrN tHaT!”

I was 7, and I was swimming.

“YoU InStIgAtEd It!”

I was  SEVEN YEARS OLD!

“PrObAbLy DoN’t FeAr God?”

I was raised in a Religious household, Religious God-fearing Household.

“WhY dIdN’t YoU SaY aNyThInG?”

I was terrified for my life, I was tied, gagged, smothered by a pillow, choked and it dislocated my shoulder.

“YoU cOuLd HavE sToPpeD IT!”

HOWWW????? I WAS SEVEN! HE WAS OLDER! STRONGER! MORE POWERFUL!

“ThReE YeArS? YoU oBvIoUsLy LiKeD iT iF iT hApPeNeD fOr ThAt LoNG!”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Any more ignorant and stupid idiotic questions?

 

All those who blame sexual abuse victims are as bad as the abusers themselves, we fail to provide a proper supporting society, and continue to stigmatize and terrify the survivors more.

UNTIL WHEN WILL PEOPLE SIMPLY UNDERSTAND THAT NO IS NO!

Child molesters and sexual abusers might be the scum of the earth.

We live in a terrifying world where a Sexual harassed or abused victims called a liar, even when there is proof, a coward for not stepping up sooner, a

Rape culture trivializes the experience of women while at the same time blaming us for what we’ve experienced. It perpetrates myths about why men rape and simultaneously underplays and exaggerates its impact on victims and survivors.

1 in 3 women has experienced sexual harassment.

Every 5 minutes, someone somewhere is being raped.

To every survivor reading this.

You are strong,

You are beautiful,

It was NOT your fault,

It never was, never will be.

I am sorry for society, its backward thinking and stupidity.

YOU ARE NEVER ALONE!

#METOO

 

 

*BASED ON A TRUE STORY, SOME DETAILS HAVE BEEN EDITED TO PROTECT THE SURVIVOR. 

 

ORGANIZATIONS THAT CAN HELP:

Childline Kenya : www.childlinekenya.co.ke

Wangu Kanja Foundation :  www.wangukanjafoundation.org

Gender Violence Recovery Centre (GVRC- Kenya):  www.gvrc.or.ke

Centre for Assault Recovery of Eldoret (CAR-E): +254 532033471, +254 53 2061005

Gender-based Violence Recovery Centre- Coast Province General Hospital ; 

Helpline: 254 20 2179519 / 2179521
Airtel 0734 466 466 , Safaricom 0722 208 652

 

Divinity FGM Rescue Centre: http://divinityfoundation.com/

CARA Girls Rescue Centre: https://caraprojects.com/

Women’s Rights Awareness Programme (WRAP): http://preventgbvafrica.org/member/womens-rights-awareness-programme-wrap-2/

 

 

Monsters and Nightmares

I’ve lived through nights I wish I hadn’t

I’ve wished for death even by my hand

I’ve carved my skin, deep enough to feel pain, deep enough to let go

I’ve witnessed nightmares even while awake

I wished for the ground to swallow me up

I’ve wished for the room to close me in

For the last breathe to leave my body

Just so I could escape this world

I can still feel

The hands on my neck

Squeezing, with no aim to let go.

I can still feel

The wandering hands on my body

Leaving a slimy feel

Painful, aimed to hurt

I can still see

The darkness of the corner

One that was safe

Only it wasn’t hard to be found

I can still smell

The dust underneath the bed

My refuge

Before I got dragged out

The nightmares that I live with

All remind me

Of a beast I’d wish to forget

Only he never left.

These are tears of a rose.

From nightmares and monsters.

It starts slowly,

Like a horror film,

Then comes the screams of a little girl,

Held down, head on the cold floor

Tears streaming down her face

She refuses to look at him

Her gaze falls on her little Barbie doll

She barely is 6 years old.

She can feel the pain

Feel the anger

And my screams merge with hers

Only, they were mine all along.

Silent cries for help.

Nobody comes to help.

The absolute terror,

When anyone grabs her suddenly

She hates the feeling of contact

For all she knows

Is to never trust anybody

Men and women alike

She is safe from nobody.

The anxiety

Like dipping in cold water on a freezing night

Like drowning in sea water. eyes wide open

Like suffocating, just like his hands on her neck

She sees her nightmares every time she closes her eyes

Sees her monsters every time she opens them up.

She wants not to be touched,

Believes not in love

Never had faith in trust

Never hoped for a better life

How do I let her know

Not all beings are monsters?

How do I stop myself,

From whisking her away in my arms

To hold her tight in my arms so she could cry

To have her in my embrace till she stopped sobbing

To hide her in my heart

So she can know of the love I have for her

How do I tell her?

That she’s beautiful

Absolutely amazing

How do I give her hope?

For a better tomorrow.

How do I tell her?

That tomorrow, The sun will rise again

It’ll be better

So let the rain wash away

The tears in your heart

Let His Light, heal your wounds

Believe, and let Him fade your scars.

Have hope in your Lord.

Broken and Beautiful

You are a wonder

An amazing being

Even beautiful

Doesn’t cover what I see in you

You are strong

You are brave

And may the fire in you

Blaze for eternity

When you were seven

You dealt with so much more

Than many have ever seen

Sexually abused

In the place you felt safest

When you were ten

You wanted to run away from it all

For home was just hell to you

Nobody understood

The fear you held

You couldn’t even meet

Your father’s eyes

Your mother never understood

At thirteen

You wanted to end it all

You couldn’t hold it in anymore

The fear you feel

The nightmares that never end

You started then

Harming your beautiful self

You got broken

Once too many times

The voices in your head

Only got louder with time

Words hurt deeper than wounds

Beautiful Being, you are not alone

You are beautiful, for each crack in your soul

You are beautiful, for each mark on your body

You are beautiful, for all your flaws and more

Beautiful Being,

I am in awe of you.

At twenty

Here you are

Spreading your wings

Attempting to fly

Still in pain, but healing inside

For every single day, I thank God you are alive

I see you chasing your dreams

And I know you’ll be fine

You light up a candle

So bright in my heart

For every trial you’ve been through

I am in awe of that smile

Beautiful being

Your story has just began

Let yourself live

To see better things

Let yourself enjoy

Every morning’s sunrise

Enjoy

The smell of rain

The scent of fresh coffee

The fragrance of a blooming flower

You are yet to travel each country

You are yet to meet your perfect match

You are yet to love once more

With every day comes a new beginning

And I’ll be here

All through the way

Beautiful being

You inspire me every day.

May your story be a legacy

So that they may know

Of this Beautiful being

That was broken down

But rose up again

That was teared down

And stitched her self up

Who was pushed down

And picked herself up

Who thought of ending her life

But lives to see each sunset through

Because of her, I have hope I’ll make it too

Who says proudly

I’M STILL ALIVE

BROKEN AND TORN APART

BUT STILL BREATHING AND ALIVE

Each sunset shows the end of one day

But I promise the sun shall rise again.

Till the end arrives.

Beautiful being.

I love you.

To My Mother

To the one who conceived me

Carried me

Then had me

The one I troubled the most

Nurtured me and held me

Loved me and nourished me

In whose arms lies my comfort

To the one I love unconditionally

Who taught me right from wrong

Showed me the way

Held my hand as I walked

Encouraged me as I talked

Believed in me

When I lost that in myself

Supported me

Helped me up as I fell

To the one I’ll always go back to

This is my prayer for you

May Allah bless you

For each time you hold me

May Allah forgive you

For every tear you shed for me

May Allah keep you safe

For all the times you worry about me

May Allah make you among the women of paradise

May Allah raise your status in this life and the hereafter

Ya Rabb.

This woman I love

Protect her

Love her

Bless her

Look after her.

The one I call Mama

Ya Rabb

Give me the ability

To make her smile when she’s sad

To make her proud, here and forever

To make her happy, wherever she is.

Ya Rabb,

For the one I call mother

Is the one in my heart.

FOR MY PEOPLE

I wish I could do more.

I sit and cry out my heart

I’ll bow down and pray with all I have

I shall stand and make my voice heard.

But still I wish I could do more.

I will help out where I can.

Yet my heart bleeds for I cannot do more.

I cannot bear to watch the violence

I cannot stand the blood.

I do not want any more numbers going up the death toll.

500+ and the number keeps rising

To many, they are just body counts

To the rest they are family

They are friends

They are students

They are children

They are human.

And in the streets flow blood

And in the rubble lay my people.

And as much as the world is silent.

I want to speak out as loud as I can.

I want to do more.

Until I am able to do that.

I write here

In appeal to your hearts

Raise your voices

But also

Raise your hands in prayers.

For my people of Ghouta

For my family in Palestine

For my friends in Yemen

For my loved ones in Somalia

For everyone in pain and suffering

Raise them so that they can be heard.

Justice For Zainab

A little angel,

Just started to fly.

Little flower,

Just started to bloom.

Little innocent baby,

Gone. Never to laugh anymore.

I cry for you.

May you be avenged Little Love.

My heart cries for you.

May justice be served for you.

For your parents, I pray for patience

May they have courage

May they be brave

To fight for you, and for what could have been

May you be a treasure to them in the hereafter

Little Zaynab, May you be reunited with them in Paradise.

See You In Court

I’m suing you today

So see you in Court

I’m suing the offenders

Who think harassment is fine

I’m suing the perpetrators

Of this horrendous crime
I’m suing you for the nightmares

I’m suing you for the fear

I’m suing you for never looking at humanity the same

See you in court.

I’m suing the parents

Who never let their children know

“No means No”

Don’t let anyone touch you if you don’t want

Speak up when in fear

Speak , I promise you I’ll hear

Tell me dear, I promise I’ll listen

For this, I’m suing you

See you in court

I’m suing Society

For stigmatizing victims

For not being supportive

For letting these offenders loose

For failing your people

For making it hard for me to speak up

For this, and many more

See you in Court

I’m suing the Education system

You taught 1+1, ABC, 123

But never thought of teaching Humanity

Kindness, Compassion, Morals and again, Humanity

I’ll see you in Court

I’m suing you too

You who knew what was going on

And ignored the cries

Ignored the tears

You hiding behind that cloak

I saw you, I’m suing you now

See you in Court.

I’m suing you too Dear Law

If murder’s law never expires

Why should Sexual Harassment Laws Expire?

I’m suing you for letting them scot free

I’m suing you for letting me live in fear

I’m suing you for it all

After suing them all,

Dear Courts, See you there.

“It’s too late”

“You should have spoken earlier”

“Why did you stay silent”

“We can’t do anything”

Sorry, I was scared for my life

I’m sorry I lived in fear

The statute’s expired while I drowned in nightmares

Since I can’t sue you here

I leave with my scars and cries

See you in the Court Above.

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