She calls him ‘uncle’. He really isn’t her uncle. He is a tenant in her mother’s compound. He lives alone in the boys’ quarters and drives a commercial motorcycle. His real name is Fredric but she has never called him that. It is disrespectful to call elders by their names, mummy has said. And so, he is just ‘uncle’.
She is just five years old.
Mummy likes Fredric. She usually says, “Oh Fred, you are heaven sent.” But she doesn’t think uncle is from heaven at all. She thinks he is a bad bad person. Usually, mommy says, “Fred dear, could you help me mind this brat. She is so noisy and I need to work.”
“Of course, madam,” uncle replies, “Is she not my wife again?”
He has that oily smile on his face again. She doesn’t like that smile. It creeps her out. But Mommy laughs and shakes her head complacently.
Her heart sinks. She doesn’t like uncle. And she doesn’t like it when he calls her his wife either, even though she doesn’t know why, really. Or maybe she knows. Maybe, it’s because of the way he lifts her and places her on his legs. She doesn’t like that she feels that bulge, that movement while she sits on his legs. She doesn’t like the way he rubs her shoulders when she comes back from school and greets him good afternoon. she doesn’t like that he pinches her underdeveloped breasts when he thinks nobody is looking. And she really really doesn’t like that movie of naked people doing bad things that he put for her in his VCD when she had only asked him to put Barney and Friends.
She thinks he is thinking of something bad. But she cannot tell mommy because mommy will not listen. Whenever she tries to tell her mommy anything, she says, “Please go away and play I need to work”, in that sweet voice of hers. And daddy is never at home.
“Clarisse is such a sweet sweet child,” uncle continues, “I don’t mind watching her.”
He leads her by the hand like the proverbial ram to the slaughter. She looks back at mommy. Mommy is not looking. She is standing there and talking on the phone. Her heart beats fast. Maybe, mommy will call me back. Maybe mommy will tell uncle to bring me back, maybe…. She looks back again. Mommy is no more there. She has gone back into the house. She sighs and follows uncle into his one room quarters.
Even before she entered his room she knew a phase of her life is over. She knew even before he told her to remove her panties. Even before he inserted his hands into her tiny vagina and made her wince with pain. Even before he pulled down his briefs and revealed his huge organ. Even before he inserted his organ into her and made her tear the silence of the afternoon with her piercing screams. Even as she screamed, she knew her mother would not hear her. She had never counted on her to protect her, anyway. When he was through, he took her to his bathroom and washed the all blood away.
Then came the warning, “If you ever tell anybody about this, you will die in your sleep!”
She doesn’t want to die in her sleep so she keeps quiet. It’s a scary thought; one dying in her sleep. She is always relieved whenever she wakes up in the morning. It has been two months since that day. Mommy hasn’t noticed. She still calls uncle 'heaven sent.' She still tells uncle to mind her. And uncle still does it. She doesn’t know yet that her childhood is gone. She doesn’t care anymore, anyway. She only knows that she suffers. But she will be brave. She will wait it out. One day, when she is all grown up, she will run away and never come back, or maybe, she will kill uncle.
There's one prevalent factor in most child molestation cases, both in works of fiction and in reality, and that's the complacency and outright stupidity of some mothers. I cannot begin to tell you how many people people I know who were sexually abused as kids that were put in those situations by their mothers. In most cases it's mummy actually taking them by hand to the slaughter house.
And even if some mothers are stupid or naive enough to think their kids are safe left alone with a man, I wonder why they never see the telltale signs of abuse in their daughters, those signs are always
Worse yet, some daughters actually speak up! But these "strange" mothers will beat them and ask them to shut up, tell them that they're imagining things or trying to make trouble. And so these daughters continue to suffer in silence and most of them end of being damaged individuals.
My friend *Bibian is a prime example. Raped by her father's brother at the age of 4. She reported to her Mum and mum beat her silly. This rape continued until she turned 8, and on a few occasions uncle would bring a couple of friends to join in the fun. When we were 17 Bibian used to tell me that she's satan's child. She literally used to pray to satan. She said if she was God's child he wouldn't have allowed those things happen to her. In our late teens she started doing hard drugs and sleeping around. In our early 20s she was still bedwetting as a result of the trauma. I'm glad she's gotten help and is now in a good place.
Thanks so much Genevieve E for this piece.