Ralia sat on the edge of the ruffled bed, with her teary eyes staring at the ceiling. She just paced into space with no thought in particular. Tears began to freely flow down her tender cheeks in torrents, as memories of the past flooded her mind as if to compound her problems. First, her mind went to her parents who had no idea what their innocent daughter was facing, she shook her heads at the arrogant ignorance of her parents. Her mind began to drift to the cause of her predicament and fresh flow of hatred filled her entire being
Ralia thought about her days at the community high school. She thought of days when she hung her bag across her shoulders and gleefully ran across the lawns to the block of classes. Days when she raised her hands at every single question whether she knew it or not, all because she wanted to compete with Dan Usman, the bright kid from the next village. Her mind remembered days when she played with the others from her colony before departure to their various homes. She cherished all of that and not this prisoner’s experience she was passing through.
She tried to get up and gain some balance but pains at the lower part of her abdomen coupled with that of strikes of belt on her body reminded her of something she never wished to remember. Fresh hot tears began wetting her eyelashes again and she sunk into the bed, letting out the cry of agony bottled within her. A glance at the clock made her wish it would just stop working and grant her the pleasure of enjoying her bitterness for that moment before her nightmare begins to think of her. Little did she know he was closer than ever, only this time, harmless.
A crack from the door jerked her out of her sleep. Ralia looked puzzled for a minute at the figures standing few metres from her bed. Uncle Danjuma she knew, Aunty Moni she also knew, but who are the two others in uniform gripping uncle’s hand from behind? A beckon from aunty Moni sent cold shivers down her spine and she reluctantly stayed put. But a second, this time, garnished with a smile made Ralia look into uncle’s face for approval but she got nothing but a hard, stern looking expression from him. Ignoring it, she got out of bed and dragged her feet towards aunty Moni. Oh! What feeling of paradise she got as aunty Moni coiled her hands around her and gently caressed her cheeks as she was led out of the building. She felt loved! She felt accepted! She had never felt this way all her life. Her feeling of pleasure was heightened when Aunty Moni began to say sweet words to her, assuring her of her eternal freedom.
Truly, she never knew what Aunty Moni, the seemingly distant next door neighbor had done for her until she saw Uncle Danjuma whisked in handcuffs into the white police van. It was truly a season of fresh hopes and aspirations for her afterwards. It was a period of freedom from Uncle’s constant abuse and whips of the belt, she then began to feel like a human being again and not an object of sexual gratification and constant torture.
#I stand with NO to child marriage!
#I say, stop child abuse!
#I reaffirm that the girl child has a right to life and education
#I join my voice with thousands of voices in the street saying NO to child abuse and child marriage. I am Oluwaferanmi Joshua