‘Sister T! Help me!’
I felt a need to rush in and save her from the devil that fathered me. But then, I remembered his threat and what became of our mother. My mother couldn’t report to our relatives because they wouldn’t believe her and my father would deal with her mercilessly, so, I didn’t think I had a place to turn to.
When my sister eventually came out of the ‘torture chamber’, everything had changed; my sister wasn’t crying, she was too scared to cry. That night I knew something terrible had happened to her, I couldn’t figure it out but I was tired of whispering.
The television was on and I was fortunate to watch ‘Moments with Mo’. The guest on the show was talking about domestic violence and he focused on child molestation, rape and abusive relationships.
He spoke with so much calm and charisma and it was difficult to miss his passion on the subject.
‘The statistics are daunting.’ he began
‘Domestic violence in Nigeria is on the up and up. 50% of women have been battered by their husbands. Shockingly, more educated women (65%) are in this terrible situation as compared with their low income counterparts (55%). Most endure, believing they have nowhere to go and in any case, believing, for good reason, that the law will not protect them (a staggering 97.2% of them are not prepared to report to the Nigeria Police). Only 4 states of the Federation (Lagos is one of them)’
he went on to emphasize by counting his fingers,
‘only ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR states of the federation have passed laws against the insidious crime, whilst several Bills against it languish in our male-dominated National Assembly. Of the states that have passed it, the law is yet to be fully tested. Only recently in Lagos State, a 29 year old banker, Titilayo Arowolo, was killed by her husband, Akolade, in a most gruesome manner.’
he stopped talking briefly to look at the shocked host, then he continued
‘Before that, the scandalous story of wife battering by the Nigerian High Commissioner to Kenya, Dr. Wilcox Wigwe and the Deji of Akure, Adesina Adepoju now deposed, who engaged his Olori, Olori Bolanle, (now deceased) in a public brawl made the rounds, thus bringing the issue of spousal abuse once again to the front burner.’
He paused briefly to catch his breath and ensure that he was still communicating, then he continued.
‘More that 35% of female are sexually harassed in their childhood, a growing number of rape cases go unreported daily and many women live in abusive relationship but are too scared to speak up about it or simply walk away.’
He also spoke about a domestic help who was raped by her employer. The domestic help took the case to court but rather than receive justice, she was placed behind bars. She was charged for libel.
In another instance, a teenage girl was raped by her uncle. The mother of the girl took the case to court but after a few ups and downs the case was throw out, the judge claimed that there was lack of corroboration. (There was no witness to the crime)
He explained that the psychological effect of these acts remains with the victim of this domestic violence for many years and it gradually affects their relationship with the opposite sex much later in life.
I found myself loving this man’s genuine passion for young girl like myself. He understood the kind of hell I called my father’s house. Mo, the host of the TV show, was also thrilled by her guest and she went on to announce his contact information.
‘That is all we can take on today’s edition of the program, please join us same time next week’, she said
The programme ended but not before I took down his phone number. I said a quick prayer,
‘Lord God, please let this be our deliverer’
That night, I dialled his number but his assistant picked the call. I began to explain all that had happened and she quickly asked,
‘Would you still be with this phone in 15minutes, I want Mr. Ernest to return your call personally’
‘Yes, I would try to be with the phone’
I replied, trying very hard not to sound too scared or excited.
I quickly put the phone on vibrate mode and waited for his call. Within 10 minutes, the phone vibrated,
‘Mr Oga ! You no come club today abi ? You no wan pay me my moni abi ?’
The voice on the other side was definitely not for me. I quickly ended the call and prayed that unwanted calls didn’t come through again.
‘Ring ! Ring !’
I looked closely at the number, I was tempted to ignore the call but on a second thought, I picked the call but didn’t say a word.
‘Hello Good evening, I am Ernest , I received …’
But before he could continue, I interrupted excitedly,
‘I called you earlier, I need help. Please help us !’
‘Sweetheart, please calm down, what is your name ?’
‘My name is Tolani’ I replied sharply.
My voice became whispers and I told him EVERYTHING. He didn’t interrupt me but before I started, he hinted me that he would record the conversation but I didn’t mind.
‘So that is the entire truth and I know that if we are not rescued we might end up like our mother’
‘Tolani, where do you live?’ He asked
I told him where we lived and he promised that he would be there in the morning but that I should stay calm.
<-Go to part 4