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/

 

 

SSHHH…. SILENCE

In a crowd of people,

A chaotic mess,

A rowdy crowd,

All I hear is silence

Sssshhh…….

Silence.

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In a horde of persons,

And a mass of men

A swarm of folks,

All I hear is silence

Sshhhh……

Silence.

gettyimages-598049266

Silence that taunts

Silence that haunts

Silence that demands answers

Silence that tears me apart.

Ssshhhhhh…….

Silence.

lip-sewing

What of the Children of Syria?

What of the women in Yemen?

What of the fathers in Palestine?

What of the brothers in Egypt?

Ssshhhhh……

Silence.

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What of the veiled Muslimah?

What of the imprisoned Sheikh?

What of the detained innocents?

What of the bombed civilians?

Ssshhhhh…..

Silence.

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What of the terrified little boys?

What of the brave stone bearer?

What of the starving little girl?

What of the devastated mother?

Sssshhhh…..

Silence.

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People are nothing more than statistics.

Civilians nothing but collateral damage.

Innocent ones nothing but mistaken identities.

Brave souls nothing but armed terrorists.

Sssshhhhhhhhh…….

SILENCE!

 

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This silence is deafening.

Choking my insides.

Twisting my guts.

Tearing me apart.

Ssssshhhhh…..

Silence.

boyaleppo

I refuse to remain silent.

I refuse to turn a blind eye.

I refuse to block the truth.

I refuse to watch quietly.

The silence is no more.

I refused to stay silent.

 

Dear Mama,

Dry up your tears,

And bow down your head.

Raise your hands.

And Mama, Praise Allah.

To Allah we belong,

And to Him we return

Mama, I may not have seen you

And not held by you,

But I know, you loved me

Mama, I may not have been in your embrace

But I know you give out the best hugs

Mama, I may not have experienced life,

But, I know of the greatest Mother of them all.

Dear Mama,

I love you.

 

Dear Mama,

Be patient,

For we shall meet in the Last Day

I shall hold your hand Mama

And to paradise I shall lead you.

Cry no more,

For this, Dear Mama,

Is but a trial from Allah.

And trials,

Are only given to those He loves.

Have Sabr, Ya Mama,

For surely,

You will be rewarded.

 

Cry no more Dearest Mama

And know that I love you.

Dear Mama,

Every soul shall taste death

And this is my time to go,

I may still be in your womb

But Mama, you were the greatest of them all.

I bid you good bye Dear Mama

Till we meet again,

I’ll be waiting for you Mama,

To hold you

And to Jannah

To lead you.

 To our house.

Which for your patience,

Allah has built.

 

For all those who lose their babies in their wombs, or lose them while they were still infants, have no fear, instead be patient, for it is just but a trial from Allah, and He shall reward you for it.

This is dedicated to a loving sister and friend. May Allah give you sabr to deal with your loss and reward you for it.

 

With lots of love,

Habeebaty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INVOLVING CHILDREN IN RAMADHAAN ACTIVITIES.

During this Holy Month we often ignore the children once we settle in doing our Ibaadah, we forget that children are as eager and excited for this month just the way we are.
Involving them in activities during Ramadhan brings them closer to Allah as well as it is family time.
So here are some suggestions on how to involve children during the Holy month of Ramadhaan:

1.Search for the moon together.
.
Well let’s put those telescopes to use this Ramadhaan, search for the moon together if you are in an area where the skies are clear and the moon can be found.
Involve them in this fun activity and you can reward them for spotting it.

2. Encourage them to fast.
Children from the age of 8 can be encouraged to fast half of the day, or fast a day then skips another.
My younger brother started doing this at the age of six claiming he was a big boy and he should also fast, Mother made him breakfast at 6.00 a.m. and he ‘fasts’ till 2.00 p.m. eats lunch then waits till Maghreb.
At the age of 7 he fasted a day and left a day till the last third where he fasted the last six days continuously.
This Ramadhan he told us that he would like to fast the whole day with the family.
This can be used to train the children to fast.
The children should be told of the benefits of fasting and the ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ of fasting, this way they feel more excited in the prospect of fasting and earning rewards.

3.Tarawweh Prayers.
In countries where Ramadhaan falls during Winter where there are shorter days and longer nights or in Tropic countries with equal days and nights involving children from age 7 in Taraweh prayers at least 4 to 8 units of prayers (Some Masjids pray 20 units while others pray 8 units) shows them the unity of Islaam, Muslims everywhere fasting together, breaking the fast together, praying together all worshiping One Lord, Allah.

4. Sadaqah Boxes.
This involves the whole family, come together and make one big Sadaqah box.
Encourage them to put in any coin they have.
Also sort through the cupboards and remove any clothes which are wearable and in good condition.
Most parents hoard their children clothes and store them in attics and basements taking up unnecessary storage space.
Let the children say which clothes they would like to give away.
And remember if they would love to give away recently bought clothes and those in perfect condition let them be.
“Never will you attain the good [reward] until you spend [in the way of Allah ] from that which you love. And whatever you spend – indeed, Allah is Knowing of it.” (Al Imran V92)

5.Suhour and Iftaar.
Involve the children while having Suhour and Iftaar, older children can be woken up to have Suhour with the rest of the family, while the younger children during Iftaar.
Parents mostly shoo away children during Iftaar since they mostly do not fast, let this Ramadhaan be different.
Let the children sit with you about ten minutes from the Maghreb Aadhaan, let this time be your Duaa time.
Help your children compile a ‘Dua List’ of the things they want to ask Allah, remember Allah is closer to those fasting near breaking the fast and is separated from them by a single veil.
Let them know that Allah is the Sole Provider and Granter of bounties and blessings.

6. Make a Ramadhan time table.
Make one for yourself and one for your children.
Plan your time so that you have your Ibaadah, time to prepare Suhour and Iftaar and time to spend with your children.
You can download Quraan Apps and read Quraan in the bus, lunch break during work and you can put a lecture in while you are cooking. Women have proven over time to be great multi-taskers.
Men can play a lecture or Quraan too while driving, walking, cycling or taking the bus.

7. Memorising and Understanding the Quraan.
Let Hifdh and Tafseer be a family affair. After having Iftaar save 10 to 15 minutes for Tafseer or Hifdh, you can do this alternatingly.
Pick a chapter or some verses to memorise then the next day listen to one another and try understanding the meaning and reason for revelation, whoever memorises can be awarded, encouraging memorisation and understanding of the Quraan.

7.A Prophet A Day.
Put the Disney Bedtime stories and movies away and buy some Quraan and Prophet Stories.
Alhamdillah for technology because animated stories and movies from the Quraan are a click away.
Indulge them in the adventures of Khaleed bin Waleed, let them learn of the humility of Abubakar, kindness of Umar, generosity of Uthmaan, compassion of Rasulullah and fierceness of Ali.
The stories of Nabii Musa, miracles of Nabii Isaa, patience of Nabii Ayyoub and perseverance Nabii Nuh.
Let them take a Prophet a Day and some of the prominent Sahaabas for them to know of their Islamic heritage and history.

8. Sunnahs
Teach them little sunnahs like removing harmful objects on the way, using a miswak, helping people, smiling, giving Salaam and tasbeehs and the small daily adhkaar.
Let them learn a Sunnah a day and try practising it for the rest of the month.

9. Laylatul Qadr
Tell them of the benefits of the Holy Night and show them by increasing the Ibaadah during the last third of Ramadhaan.
Search for the night together and for boys of age, they can join their male relatives for Itikaaf in the Masjid.

Let this Ramadhaan be a time to bring you and your family together and closer to Allah. Rome wasn’t built in a day, so do not try everything at once, gradually introduce them as the Holy Month progresses.

May Allah make this Ramadhan fruitful and beneficial to all of us!

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