“My Mum had me outside wedlock and never really got married afterwards, life was simple for a while until intense drama set in
It all started when I was 17 years old, my mum’s new boyfriend moved in with us. I thought it would be good for mum because she had a drinking problem and was depressed, I thought it would make her feel better having him around.
At first, he was okay, he bought me presents but then mostly he just ignored me, after a few months he started doing things that made me nervous, like when I was at home alone with him he would walk around the house naked. Then one day he asked me to touch him, though I tried to avoid him all the time but sometimes I couldn’t and I was scared to tell him to stop.
I didn’t know how to tell mum what was happening because I didn’t even know what to say. One day when I was 18 years old, we were fighting because I said I hated him (mum’s boyfriend) and she got angry with me, that was when I told her what he does whenever she was not around, I said ‘he tries to touch me’. At first she said I was making it up and exaggerating. Then she said I shouldn’t wear skimpy clothes around the house, that I could be the one sending the wrong signals just imagine that.
It upset me deeply because it seemed like she didn’t really care about me and she didn’t even blame him for what he did, it was like she thought it was my fault. I started staying over at friends’ places and avoided going home.
I told my friends I hated mum’s boyfriend but was too embarrassed to say I had been abused by him. Sometimes mum told me I couldn’t go out, but often she was too stressed or pissed to notice what I was doing. I couldn’t handle the way I was treated at home. Sometimes I would sleep in empty buildings in the city where there were other girls or couch hop around different people’s houses. I hung out with older guys and stayed with different guys for protection or for somewhere to sleep because I had almost no money. Sometimes I went back home but it was too hard being there and my mum’s boyfriend was openly rude to me, like he would say ‘Oh the lying b***ch is here isn’t she?’
I tried to go to school but I drifted away from my friends and I got into using drugs, which made it harder to keep up with school. I was angry all the time and even the slightest thing would set me off yelling or walking away from people. It felt like nothing made sense, I hated myself and I didn’t know if mum really cared about me. Once I overdosed on drugs in the city and someone called an ambulance and I went to hospital. They called mum and she was upset but when I was back at home nothing changed.
At first I avoided talking to welfare cos I thought they would call the NDLEA. I was worried they would find out I was using drugs but I eventually went ahead and did speak to them.
They were nice, they helped me to find a place of refuge. I however was arrested several times as a hawker and so eventually had to talk to a social welfare lawyer on why I didn’t want to go home. I told her it was because of mum’s boyfriend. She kept asking me about him and eventually I told her that he tries to touch me, she was nice and said she’d talk to mum.
Meanwhile I stayed at the reduce camp, all the girls staying there would watch TV together and everyone had their own problems, so you didn’t feel like a freak. If you were stressed someone would show concern and come up to you and ask if you were okay. It was indeed home away from home.
Mum must have listened to the lawyer because suddenly she decided she was going to make her boyfriend move out. The lawyer said he would be charged for abusing me and that the police will want to know what happened. I went back home and for a while it was good at home with mum, but I knew she would end up drinking again and that she would take him back, and she did. She started seeing him again.
When the police interviewed me about the abuse I didn’t tell them much even though they pushed me to talk but I was too scared of him i.e. my mum’s boyfriend. At nineteen I was sent to the family of the lawyer for safety. At first I used to yell at the family or refuse to speak to them for days but I think I was just turning my anger on them and I was kind of jealous that their family was so normal. It took me a while to get used to a totally new family life but the family members were nice, their kids are older and don’t live at home.
They helped me with school work, bought me things and I could invite friends over when I wanted. In some ways they acted like they were my parents and they really did care about me but they still made sure I still saw my mum.
Now mum says she’s sorry that I’ve got hurt because of her problems, and that’s made me feel a lot better. In some ways I have been more hurt by mum’s reaction than by how her boyfriend treated me. I was devastated by her reaction to the sexual abuse – she is my mum for God sake and she should stand up for me. I hate him for what he has done and I never want to see him again.
I believed at least that my mum and I were working stuff out. My life felt a bit more stable though I still feel sad and confused about everything that has happened. I don’t use drugs anymore, I’ve seen what drink has done to mum and I want to keep my life together and try to get some good results so I can get into the University.
However, recently, mum has started Calling and meeting her boyfriend secretly and when I accosted her on this, she told me I am now an adult and should leave her house and life if i cannot tolerate her boyfriend. She said she has her own life to lead.
I would like to go to my own father but my mum has never told me anything about his whereabouts. I am not ready to go through all i have been through again. Would rather end my life or end someone’s life. I have gotten to the end of this road. Cant take it anymore.
If you were in my shoes, what would you honestly do?”