Tuesday, November 17, 2015 2:04 pm
By Grace Essen.
Recently I got a call from a man, a father of four, the eldest six plus, the youngest about two, and a set of twins in-between, about four years old. According to him, his wife had just packed everything that belonged to her and left the house, and he needed advice on what to do next. While we spoke, I heard a lot of noise in the background, I didn’t want to assume they were from his children, so I asked if she left with the children and he said no. He was home, and the children were all with him.
When I asked how he was coping, he said it was not a problem, coming from a large family and being one of the eldest, he had to take care of his younger ones, and so taking care of his children was not a problem. Hmmm! Not a problem? When on a working day he was home with the children who obviously didn’t go to school? Maybe okay the first day, but in two days his answer to the question will definitely not be the same.
Managing the household and children is a tough job when all is well in the home and both parents are present, how much more when one, a very vital member of the family if you ask me, is not there, especially when the children are quite young.
I read in The Punch Newspaper last week a story that made my flesh crawl. A five-year-old girl recounted how she and her three year old sister were raped by five grown men, close friends and colleagues of their father’s while he was at work.
According to the report, the father of the children, a driver at a cement factory where the suspects also work, lives in the same compound provided by their company with all of them. He had no wife, and so he usually left the little girls in the care of his colleagues.
The little girl gave details of her experience, she said: “Yes. Apako, John, Segun, Orobo and Ejima raped me. They put their ‘willy’ in my ‘bum-bum’ two times. They kissed me. It was only Apako that put his ‘willy’ in my sister’s ‘bum-bum.’” She also said one of the suspects instructed her to put his private parts in her mouth.
The father, heartbroken and disappointed, expressed his sadness on what his colleagues did to his daughters: “Five days ago, my younger daughter ran to me and was shouting ‘pepper, pepper’ pointing to her private parts. She took off her pants and cried when I did not answer her. When I asked her who put pepper in it, she said it was Apako.
I called her elder sister and she confessed to me and narrated all that happened. She said they (the suspects) threatened to kill them if they told me what was going on…I am surprised they could do such a thing to my daughters. Those children are precious to me.
At times, I take them with me to where we offload bags of cement when there is nobody to look after them. My older daughter told me that two drivers, Ejima and Orobo, used to touch her private parts while I was busy at work. I left my daughters with the security guards, Mahansi and Segun, whenever I was on night duty. I didn’t know that they were also defiling my daughters.”
The question many would ask is: Where was the mother(s) of these girls? How would she feel reading the story of what has happened to them, (if she is alive, that is)?
There are numerous reasons a woman would walk away from her matrimonial home or from a relationship that has produced offspring(s). In some cases, walking away could have been the only way to stay alive. I remember watching a movie when I was much younger, Not Without My Daughter. I can’t quite remember the details now, but I can vividly remember the unyielding struggle of a woman who was not going to walk away from a failed marriage without her only daughter, and at the end, she had her way. But when today, we see women who would just take a walk with only their personal belongings and not worry about their children, I wonder what has happened to motherly love. One woman on her death bed specifically asked that her elder sister took custody of her only daughter; a wish everyone believed was in the interest of the child and was carried out even till today.
In a society like ours where when a marriage crashes both parties put their personal interests first and that of the children thereafter, this is what we get. I think ego more often than not gets in the way, and the children unfortunately bear the brunt. Little wonder many women going through tough times in their marriages insist they would stay for the sake of their children. I think there is some wisdom in that, because when a mother walks away, what the children go through is better imagined…
What do you think?
You may reach Grace via email: firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on twitter @GraceEssen, also follow her blog @Mum2MumAfrica.com.