Right here on this spot, he made me a woman. Yes he did. I was innocent, naive, young, fragile, full of life but scared. I didn’t allow their words to weigh me down. I made up my mind to be strong regardless but I guess I was wrong. They didn’t believe in me, they didn’t believe in a girl child. All they ever wanted, all they ever saw me as, was a mere tool for making money. My bride price meant a lot to them, my getting married was their symbol of status and originality. I was deprived.
Each step away and on this spot brings me so much pain, grief and horror. I was ripped off my innocence by my so called uncle. I wept in so much pain as he slid right inside of me with such cruelty. Then I ran home. I told my father and mother what happened. Father was shocked, mother cried, brother was furious. Then, they pretended to love me and off, he was in court for trial. He raped a young girl. Thanks to the lawyer, a man with so much respect and passion for women especially girls. That evil uncle of mine didn’t go scot free; but it didn’t change the deed nor heal the wound. I thought that was the end of it until my father came in few weeks later with one old looking man and informed me of my wedding and husband.
I was angry. Very angry. I didn’t want a husband. All I wanted was good education.
Well, some people will wonder how I could speak so much English. Determination they say. My dad sent me to a primary school so I can have a better bride price. I didn’t give up on myself. I sneaked behind the classes to listen to lessons. I sometimes got caught and disgraced, but i’ll go there again until I could help myself.
That evil day, the day my hand was given in marriage, they celebrated my brother going into the University. He whispered to me and said he didn’t want to go to school, he wants to learn a trade and be a successful business man but he was forced. I wanted to go to school, to be a good broadcaster, I was denied. What a life!
Here I am today, on my matenity bed, with a beautiful daughter God has bestowed on me from that monster called a husband. A girl looking so innocent just like I was a few years back. Her smile makes the butterflies in my belly jump. Her eyes make me remember days all I wanted was to make a difference. Her tenderness brings memories of the times I enjoyed being a child.
I saw the female doctor so happy as she helped me deliver of this baby whose father is no more. Afterall, he was old when I married him. I might have been denied of all the great things I should have been but I swear on my last breath, the child will be everything I wanted and more. I will put an end, through this child to the segregration of girls.
I am a victim. My child will never be one.
I have come to realise that I am a Woman and I am
Strong and Powerful,
Relentless and Enduring,
Amazing and Beautiful,
Endearing and Compassionate.
I have come to understand that,
Hurdles cannot break me,
Resentment cannot mar me,
Family cannot bend me,
Culture cannot define me.
I am the Pillar my daughter needs,
I am the Hope the people await
I am the Solution the nation looks forward to
I am the Future the world projects,
I AM A WOMAN,
I AM DEFINED.
I was A Victim, My Generation will be Victors!