I was born into a middle class family and I had two brothers and three sisters – I was considered the favoured baby by my siblings because I was the one born in the time of family abundance and wealth, unlike the others who were born in times of some austerity…! After I was born, my parents began to build our first very own family home, with 8 en-suite bedrooms and mod-coms of the time, and this was soon completed and we moved into our first rent-free residence when I was 3 years old. My childhood was relatively care-free – I loved going to school, loved learning and was generally inquisitive by nature – I was privileged to attend a good primary school and always passed with flying colours.
The relationship with my family members was a good one, though there were the “usual” squabbles between us, but generally the family life was okay. My parents had been born in their respective Christian families and we were brought up with morals though we didn’t attended church together as a family.
As I grew older, I began to see things happening in the family that were previously unknown to me. My father was, on a number of occasions, hitting my mother or being emotionally abusive towards her. I remember an actual occasion where my father had hit my mother across the face so hard, that his signet ring made a cut on her face – this got my brothers so riled up that they actually wanted to confront him physically as well but my mother calmed them down to prevent this. My mother being a very patient, tolerant and big-hearted woman, would always accept all of his apologies whenever he would make them. I remember my older siblings challenging her on this but she always said that she did not want us to grow up in a broken home and that was why she decided to put up with it.
My father was also a chronic womaniser and I remember at one stage, he married another wife into our family home – she in turn, bore two children in quick succession. There was a lot of witchcraft influence with the introduction of this “second wife” and it was not conducive for a comfortable family interaction as there was unspoken rivalry and favouritism going on. However, when that marriage broke down about 4 or 5 years later, all seemed well again. I later had a brother and sister die unexpectedly, on separate occasions, and this has now left me with a brother and two sisters.
Another difficulty I encountered was being sexually abused from age 9 to 12 – I was totally oblivious of this at the time and believed what I was told; that it was a special game between special people, and that I was not to say anything because whoever knew would be jealous. The perpetrator was an extended family member and I had been spending a lot of time with him in carrying out different house chores, etc, because in those days, my dad had placed an embargo on us relating with extended family members, so this was an exciting novelty for me.
I also attended Church with him and his family (subject to my dad’s sporadic approval) and I enjoyed this interaction with people outside my immediate family – it was as though respite from my everyday family life. I remember he used to complement me a lot on my beauty and this admittedly, was nice to hear. He made feel at ease with these and I suppose, also made me totally trust and believe in him. These “special” acts were always obviously carried out in secret but my young mind was too naïve to spot this blatant anomaly as to why everyone could not join in this game – one time his wife nearly caught him in the act but he was a very good actor, and she did not suss out that anything dodgy was happening. He also used to tell me some intimate things about their marriage – looking back, they were things along the line of what a cheating man would say to his mistress like “my wife does not understand me, etc”. These acts went on till the couple then moved out of town. After this period, I happened to be watching TV one day at home and came upon a sexual scene showing in the programme – I was intrigued because this was similar to the “games” I was playing with that man and my childish brain at the time, processed that the couple in that scene were very “special” as told, for them to be doing that.
It was not until my mother came into the room and made a disapproving comment, and changed the station – this happened on one or two other occasions – that made me think that maybe this was not that good after alI as I was previously advised by the perpetrator – and that was when the penny dropped and I realised that what was happening to me was not just a mere game but horrid reality of a man taking advantage of my innocence…
To be continued…