It is a cool morning. I wake up and tiptoe downstairs being careful not to wake up my daughters who are still in bed. I get to the living room and sit for a few minutes to have my routine morning meditation. Thereafter, I don’t feel the needed rush of adrenaline to go make myself a cup of green tea. So I just lie on the couch instead to enjoy the serenity of the moment.
Moments later there is the creaking of the door. My husband, Fidelis who worked all night is back home. There is something unusual about his aura this morning. He gets to the kitchen, pulls a chair and sits, his breathing faster than it would normally be.
“The worst has happened.” He announces. Hearing these words, I cringe in the couch. I wake up, thoughts running through my head like waves in a torrent.
“Today, I have the license to say what Mommy always says because the worst has really happened.”
Mommy is my mother. She is noted for making strong statements like, “the worst has happened.” Then when you dig deeper to find out what really happened, she tells you something far from worst like, “I can’t find the receipt I brought home the other day!”
However, the look on Fidelis’ face tells me this worst he is talking about is worst indeed. He then lets me in,
“Philip has impregnated Susan!”
Hearing these words sends a wave of shock through my body that I can’t adequately explain. My cool morning metamorphoses into a very hot one. Within moments I find myself on the floor. I shiver uncontrollably, tears roll down my cheeks.
Philip is Susan’s father! Susan, who is in her mid-teens used to live with me before my family and I made the move to the United States. She is like a daughter to us but we didn’t formally adopt her because the adoption process was daunting. When we had to leave our home country, Cameroon, her father requested that we let her stay with him. I wasn’t supportive of the decision seeing as he is a widower. Yet he is her biological father. We couldn’t say no so we let her go live with him. Biggest mistake of our lives.
I lie on the rug in my living room trembling and filled with regrets. I know sexual abuse is real but I didn’t know someone I love and cherish would go through that dark path.
Statistics say 1 in every four girls will be sexually abused before they become adults. Think of four girls you know… one of them could be a victim. One I know is a victim. After receiving such a traumatizing piece of information, I seek to speak with Susan. She tells me the whole story. For the first few months after we left her, things went well and she always had the highest scores in her class. Things started going south with her when her father started attempting to go down south on her body.
“Sometimes I will wrestle until he will go away. Sometimes I will wrestle until he will succeed and force his way,” she tells me.
Her father secluded her from interacting with ANYONE, eventually got her pregnant in the process then gave her medicine to abort the baby. It was the pains from the abortion that caused her to run away from home and tell her whole story to a complete stranger. The stranger took her to the police and her Dad was eventually arrested. He is still in jail trying to negotiate release on bail.
As she tells me the story, I am in shock. How can a father do this to his own daughter? While she lived with me, I told her parts of her body no one should touch. What could she do when her own father, her supposed protector and mentor became a sexual predator and the first man to have carnal knowledge of her?
At this point, incest is no longer one of those things I read about on websites or in books and doubt their authenticity. It is something I see and feel. It is real. It is not fiction, it is non-fiction. It is a nightmare I want to wake up from but this is no dream. Incest is a reality.
This has caused me to embark on raising more awareness about sexual abuse on my blog, Precious Core. I speak with Susan almost everyday to make sure she is doing well. I know there are many Susans out there who are still suffering. Sexual predators could be fathers, grandfathers, cousins, uncles, teachers, anyone!
In contributing my quota to creating a better world for women, I must call sexual abuse by name and deal with it. It is a silent epidemic; far too rampant yet many victims keep quiet. We need to be aggressive in dealing with this because victims suffer far-reaching consequences, ranging from suicide, to promiscuity and low self- image.
I’m glad my Susan told herself, ” I have to put an end to this ” and sought freedom. She is back in school, no longer pregnant (the abortion went through) and living with a Good Samaritan she met at the police station.
I am raising my daughters to be fierce women. I never want to see this sort of affliction ever again. Ever!
*Philip and Susan are not the real names of those involved in the story.