As the year nears a close, I thought to share something “quite disturbing” about my childhood, hoping it might help a parent or guardian somewhere make some appropriate decisions.
I grew up in the boondocks where everything was as green (or if you like untamed) as the kales we used to eat. As kids, we knew very little about the existence of any sort of harm beyond our control. What we only feared were wild beasts and thunder, and what we respected most were our elders.
We feared wild beasts because they were the only immediate physical harm available in the forests surrounding our homesteads, and we feared thunder because of its extraordinary rumblings and the myths around lightning. We respected our elders because we acknowledged that they were our immediate protection against these fears (for this, we felt very safe being around them).
I didn’t know that one day, still as early as at my childhood, this belief would change for me – that the fears would be shifted to ‘other things’ and the respect ‘tamed’.
My mother was both a caring woman and a stern disciplinarian. My dad, on the other hand, was bossy and quite generous. He worked for a telecommunication company in a town far from home. My sisters love for him was inexplicable.
During the long December holidays, when schools closed for my elder siblings, we would visit dad and spend some time with him. But I was only so young and clueless about many things. And I was such a “beautiful” kid, my mum often tells me, that people kept bothering her about my sexual orientation (I’ll speak about this in another post).
I had not even started school, yet these memories keep wringing up my mind like a washerwoman wringing a wet piece of cloth (most of us began schooling at an age of six since nursery schooling, then, ran for only a year).
It was during these visits that a long-term harm to my soul would then occur. On such spendings at my father’s rented house in town, especially when my elder siblings had gone out to play, run an errand or stroll in town and dad too was at work, I’d be left with the rentals’ caretaker.
I can’t remember how old this man was or the exact look on his face, but I do remember that he liked yams and milk tea, and I happened to love food. So whenever I was at his house, I’d be sure of taking these. Staying with him was therefore a no-objection for me.
But beyond his tea, the man did something to me that has never faded off my memory. The scenes are blurred with the years lived after and the episodes tainted with new events, but the imprints of the playful sexual abuse are manifest.
The pains linger in my mind. The shadows of an older respected fellow luring a kid the age of his youngest son to “give him head” took away this little boy’s respect for grownup boys and replaced it with fear, overwhelming fear. And yet still, no one in the boy’s family has ever known. He chose to forgive and move on, but the memories are painful and the damage irreparable.
Dear parent, do mind who you let your kids stay around.