I had heard of how rape happen to girls my age in different ways. So when Fatima was telling me that hers was not rape, I didn’t know what to make of it or what to tell her.
Truth is…. I didn’t even know if mine was rape. Who would explain to us?
We were playing – clapping and chanting the game “who is the garden?” other girls sang along as Ify smiled and crouched in the middle of the perfectly round circle we made with our bodies for the game.
Fatima dragged me out from the circle, leaving a space between Hassana and Toyosi, both girls turned around, eyed Fatima, closed the gap and continued singing “can I come and see her? No, no no no…” “Fatima wetin happen na?” I asked.
She turned around to make sure no one was eavesdropping before making me promise not to tell anyone what my father’s best friend is doing to me. “Sisi, because if you tell anybody them go wan know my own too.” I nodded yes and we both went back to join the game.
Yes, “doing.” It happened again. He gave me ice cream this time and said he wanted to check something in my bum bum.
No one was home, so he took me to our toilet, raised my dress and put his thing in a different place this time. It was painful but I endured. We were both standing this time, and he held my bum bum and was forcing himself inside me.
The pain sent chills to my spine, my chest and my head, I wanted to scream but I didn’t. Instead I held my mouth closed with my left hand, while holding my ice cream with my right hand and remembering what Fatima said “that it’s part of being a woman, not screaming even when it hurts”.
I didn’t want to disappoint her, because prior to that day, Fatima taught me how to place my legs and said i should try not to urinate when it’s happening, so when I opened my legs that way for him, he was pleased and said “Sisi you are a good and sweet girl o”.
He continued to push himself inside me. He was sweating and mumbling some words I couldn’t make out. I was crying silently and praying for it to end.
Chibuike almost caught us, he rushed inside my house shouting my name that Imaobong has uprooted the beans that I planted in the garden In front of our block. “Sisi! Sisi!” He shouted my name.
My uncle quickly stopped and hurriedly put his thing back in his khaki trouser, then walked out saying “your daddy is on his way o Sisi, so wash that your school uniform fast.”
Chibuike greeted him cheerfully. He was oblivious to what he had seen. then I let down my dress and came out still holding my ice cream which by now has Melted.
When Chibuike saw me, he rushed to me repeated his words about my uprooted beans plant. “Give me ice cream abeg” he said. I gave him and and wiped my hand clean on my dress. “Why would she do that?” I asked him.
He was explaining something about Imaobong being upset that someone had uprooted hers, and she suspected it was me. I followed Chibuike to the garden where I saw Imaobong standing and looking at me like she was ready to fight, I grabbed her by her waist and she fell on the garden soil but we were quickly separated by Mama Osaro whom I suspected had been watching the whole thing from the get go and knew that a fight was going to happen.
She queried Imaobong and dragged both of us to Imaobong’s flat where she reported the case to Imaobong’s mother who instead of calling out her daughter for doing wrong, blamed Mama Osaro for taking sides in kids fight.
“You this Mama Osaro, Commot eye for my family o, shey na only Imaobong you see there?! Why na only her you dey put accusations on?” The others that followed tried to explain that it was Imaobong that started it first but Mama Imaobong was having none of it.
Mama Osaro and Mama Imaobong began to trade words. We had nothing to do, but to watch the two grown women insulting themselves.
Other Neighbors came out, opened their doors to also watch, some were window spectators, and others were bystanders. “Your husband is a nobody, a mere sergeant.” Mama Osaro said to Mama Imaobong, “your own husband nkor, a useless drunkard, that’s why him no fit get promotion”. Mama Imaobong fired back.
They kept going, until the block leader blew her whistle, then there was silence everywhere, even the boys playing football had to pause- giving their full attention to what was happening.
The block leader, Mama Oche, a very respected woman who had nine grown up children, shook her head in disappointment and said some words in all calmness, then gave both women punishment to sweep the block and clean the gutters for a week. Other women heard this and celebrated silently. (At least they’ll rest for a week from waking up by 5:30am to do block clean up).
Mama Oche also promised to report both women to the Magajya for further action. The Magajya is the head of women in the barracks. Now both women will be in so much trouble just because of an insignificant uprooted beans plant.
However I snapped my fingers at Imaobong, letting her know that It is not over yet, I will catch her in school tomorrow and deal with her.
But first, I have to deal with this burning-bruising pain I feel between my thighs.
I had heard of how rape happen to girls my age in different ways, so when it happened to me – I didn’t know if it was rape or something else.
Read Part 2 – Diary of A Soldier’s Child (Part 2)