The house hold I grew up in was a far cry from a peaceful home. Mine was a true definition of a haunted home. My mom was an alcoholic, and both of my parents were never present at home.
On a lighter note, they provided everything I needed materially. This never served to accord the security, love and comfort I so much craved. I never felt loved, not even for one day.
Evenings and nights at home were always chaotic with fights almost daily. There was a lot of instability that pushed me away, not only emotionally but I had to seek physical safety.
At first, I had to hide under the bed until the quarrels and the fights were done. In 2002, there was a terrible fight that led my parents to both walk away from the home. God knows to where, but they had to take a break from each other.
I was extremely terrified of staying in the house alone, but our Askari (guard) assured me that nothing would happen to me. And that proved to be the case, at least for a while.
For once I felt loved, protected and cared for by the least person I expected, our askari.
David provided me comfort, care and filled the gap that my parents had left inside of me. Unfortunately the care was short lived. The deceptive bubble David had covered me in was deflated on one dark night.
The charming David was a monster on the inside. His love and care wasn’t innocent after all. After two months of so much care, on one of the nights when my parents did not return, David walked in to the house and raped me! This event was only the beginning of a series of gruesome rape.
The horror only ended after 4 months when he was fired for a theft case that had occurred at home during the day.
I am sure at this stage you are wondering why I never opened up about what I was going through! It was hard and confusing for me considering the fact that there was a lot of chaos and instability at home.
More so, David’s threats to kill me if I ever said a word sounded real to me. Here was an armed Askari who repeatedly raped me with no remorse. I was convinced he was equally capable of killing me if I ever said a word.
At only 12 years I was made a sex object that turned me into a cold soul incapable of holding meaningful emotions. I hated all men because of what had happened to me.
It wasn’t until I met Ms. Joan that my sanity slowly began to return. Right at the verge of committing suicide is when God sent me this beautiful soul. I don’t remember much that transpired during an end of year training session we had in Jinja that Joan was facilitating. She just came across as someone I could confide in.
I was tired of living and all wanted was to die. And here was someone who seemed to suggest that there is hope for me. Ms. Joan counselled me and promised to introduce me to a therapist.
I have since been counselled professionally and have been assisted to overcome the traumas of sexual abuse. The emotional abuse that was caused by the violence in our home is slowly healing as well.
Sexual assault and abuse can result in severe physical and emotional trauma to the affected person. It takes the wisdom and support of a non-judgmental person to recover or heal from such traumas.
Beyond the caring, it is important for parents to get back to their core responsibility of balanced parenting. There’s need for parents to intentionally be present to protect and defend their children as they provide them. No child asks for permission to be born. If you decide to be a parent, then make a commitment to put in the work it takes.
Children’s character and behaviors are shaped by what they see and experience in the home. This is why as parents we have to be careful what they see and experience.
A dysfunctional family will produce dysfunctional children. And the reverse is true. Their social behaviors and character will be shaped by the environment they are raised in.
The economic times are trying for most parents who are laboring to provide for their homes. But let’s not be hoodwinked into sacrificing our parenting duties at the altar of provision. We can strike a good balance.
We can work hard and still be present in the lives of our children. More so, let’s cultivate a relationship between ourselves that is worth emulation by our children. The love between a husband and a wife spreads through out the whole house. Love always wins.