My name is Wasilah Ibrahim, I’m from Niger state and this is my #SuvivorSeries.
I’m from a family of 7; we lived together with my parents and 5 siblings. Our house was quite small, that my siblings and I slept in the living room while my parents slept in their room.
My father, Mallam Ibrahim was a gateman in Abuja and he spent most of his days there, but on his off days, he’d come home. My mother, on the other hand, was the hair platter in the area. We weren’t rich but we were content.
Due to the recession, life was harder and the money my parents made wasn’t enough to take care of us. Understanding the situation, I knew something drastic had to be done. One night, my mother called me to her room to talk. She explained that with the current financial situation they couldn’t provide for us all. They spoke to my aunt in Abuja, who knew of a family that was in need of house help and they offered I go. I didn’t want to leave but I had to. I offered to help with her customers or to sell something “Mama I’ll do anything to help, please I don’t want to leave” I said but the decision was final. The following day, my dad came home for the weekend. I knew this was the last weekend I had with my family so, I treasured every second. I spent as much time with my mom and siblings as I could but it wasn’t enough.
On my last night, my baby brother Hanif asked if I was really leaving; I painfully said yes but I assured him that I’ll be back soon. He hugged me while I cried to sleep. In the morning, I packed my bags and said goodbye to my family. I followed my dad to the car park. He was meant to drop me off in my aunt’s house then go back to work. When we arrived in Abuja, tears rolled down my eyes. I realized that even though we’ll be in the same city, I wouldn’t see him as much. We went to my aunt’s house, Anty Rakiya who welcomed us in. “Welcome, welcome kai Wasilah you’ve grown,” she said. Her house was small for someone living in Abuja.
I thought all the houses were big since it’s the city but I guess I was wrong. In her living room, my dad decided to advise me. He told me “Whatever they tell you to do, do it! If you behave yourself, you’ll enjoy”.My aunt chipped in and said “The people you’re staying with are good people”, “Plus the reason why most girls don’t last is that they’re too stubborn” my dad said.
An hour later, my dad took his leave. I escorted him outside and with tears in my eyes, I hugged him goodbye. He handed me a small phone and said, “Only for emergencies or when you just miss us”. With that he said goodbye. I spent the night at my aunt’s house and the next morning we left for my new home.
During the ride there, my aunt warned “Behave yourself and don’t go spreading your legs.”
We arrived and the moment I saw the house, my eyes filled with wonder. The house was beautiful, I could only dream of owning such. We walked in and were greeted by a beautiful lady who introduced herself as Anty Siyamah.
She led us upstairs and we sat to discuss the terms of my employment. “She’ll do the cooking and cleaning but I also expect her to take care of my son Muhib,” she said. Anty Rakiyah replied “Don’t worry she’s fit for the job”, “So, you’ll live in the room downstairs and if you do your work well there’ll be no issues”.
After the agreement was made, my aunt left and her last words were, “Behave yourself”.
Living with Aunty Siyamah was great. My routine was to clean and make breakfast before she woke up.
On weekdays I took Muhib to school with the driver and picked him up. Plus, I ate well and I had a room to myself. After, 6 months I wondered why I never met her husband. He hardly came home. Later, I learned that he was in the military and had been deployed somewhere.
That’s all I knew about him. One day, she came home rejoicing. I asked her for the good news and she said “Baban Muhib is coming home”. I was happy for her but more curious to see who her husband was.
A week later, he arrived and he was the exact opposite of Anty Siyamah. He wasn’t jolly or kind and frowned all the time. He resembled someone that had been promised death.
I greeted him when he arrived and on that day, I knew that I had to stay far away from him. Baban Muhib mostly went out for meetings and other stuff, the only time I saw him was when I severed him to lunch or when he goes for a morning jog.
One day, while Anty Siyamah and Muhib were visiting relatives, Baban Muhib called me to serve his lunch. While I was setting the table, he asked for my name and I answered. “Are you married?” he asked. “No” I replied, “I’m just 14 sir”.When I bent to serve the food, I noticed him stealing looks at my chest. When I noticed, I hurriedly left the room. I waited for him to leave the dining area before I cleared the table.
Later, while I was bathing Muhib, his father walked into the bathroom and just stared. I almost tripped when I noticed him, I dragged Muhib and dashed out. I avoided his dad as much as I could. I dropped his food really early and cleaned up really late. Luckily, all this was going to end soon, because he was to leave by the end of the week. At least that’s what I thought.
Unfortunately, one night while Anty Siyamah was out with Muhib, I was home cleaning the kitchen. When I heard the door unlock, I assumed that they got back early. Suddenly, I felt someone staring, I tried running away but there was no way out. Baban Muhib was standing by the door. “Please sir, I’m very sorry”. I pleaded but my pleas fell on deaf ears. His mind was made up. He pushed me to the floor and tried to yank my wrapper off. I attempted to escape but he was too strong. He put all his weight on me and I scratched his face. In response, he slapped me and when I lost my strength, he had his way with me.
After he finished, I cleaned up, went to my room, and cried myself to sleep.
The next morning, while I was serving the family breakfast, Anty Siyamah pointed at his face and said “Darling, what happened to your face?” I looked at him and saw my scratch marks there. He laughed it off said, “Don’t worry my dear, it’s my friend’s cat that scratched me”. Anty Siyamah didn’t seem convinced but she didn’t say anything.
The following days, went in a blur and I became a zombie. I did my duties but I wasn’t present anymore, I felt robbed of my sanity. After the third day, he was meant to travel so, I was happy that at least, life was going to be normal. But he had to cancel the trip! Apparently, he had some unfinished business.
Since the first time, he didn’t wait for everyone to be out. When everyone fell asleep he’d sneak downstairs to my room and do whatever he pleased. I asked for the key to my room but Anty Siyamah didn’t give it to me. She didn’t see the need just like I didn’t see the point of fighting anymore, because he’d still win anyway.
“Please sir, I’m on my period, just wait till I’ve finished” but he didn’t care. All he needed was satisfaction and I was left to deal with the consequences. I thought of reporting to Anty Siyamah but she wouldn’t believe me, who would? I spoke to my mom on the phone about it and she advised me to stay. Even though she wasn’t happy, this job helped pay the bills.
I accepted my fate and whenever he came I just let him have it. Funny enough, I began to expect him. However, one night, while he was having the time of his life, Anty Siyamah walked in on us. She screamed and dropped the glass in her hand. She came down for some water and decided to check on me. “Habib so this is what you do? Every time you leave the room, I always think you’re doing work instead I catch you sleeping with this girl”. I felt sorry for her but it wasn’t my fault.
“Baby I’m sorry this isn’t what it looks like, she seduced me”. With tears in her eyes she left the room and didn’t say a word, he rushed after her while I sat there thinking of what was to come.
To my surprise, she didn’t bring it up. What was wrong with this woman? She caught me with her husband! She’s meant to do something but she didn’t. Instead of sending me home, she decided to make my life miserable. She began to beat me and accuse me using witchcraft on her husband “Shegiya, of course, all these Niger people are witches but you won’t win”. I guess she denied the whole situation and found it suitable to blame me instead of addressing the issue.
Sadly, she had to face reality when we discovered that I was pregnant. After throwing up several times around her, she dragged me to her room to talk. After hitting me, she asked for the person responsible.“Anty Siyamah, you know Baban Muhib is the father.” “SHUT UP! You think I don’t know, ehn, tell me it’s not the gateman” she said. “You know I’m saying the truth,” I said. “Liar! I see how friendly you are with him”.
I tried to explain what she already knew but she told me to get out and threw her shoe at me.
I ran to my room crying but she barged in and told me to dress up and follow her. I went out to see my Anty Rakiya standing by the gate. I was excited to see her but Anty Siyamah followed me out with all my things and threw them on my face. She told us to get out and never come back again.
Anty Rakiya helped me pack them and we left the house.
When we got to Anty Rakiya’s house, she asked for my side of the story and I told her everything. “You should have told me, I would have gotten you out sooner,” she said. We called my dad to discuss but he said that he wanted nothing to do with me. He said I was a disgrace to the family. I was devastated. I didn’t want to leave home for this job in the first place but I did. And they rejected me when I needed them the most! I sunk down and cried my life out. Anty Rakiya consoled me and told me that everything was going to be fine.
The next morning, I had to make the hardest decision of my life. “What do you want to do?” Anty Rakiya asked. “I don’t know” I tearfully responded.
She let me know that it wasn’t my fault and that she’d support me, no matter my decision. I decided to keep the baby and honestly, it wasn’t easy. I know that you’re meant to love your child, but I hated my baby girl and I had no justification. I blamed her for everything. I blamed her for my parents and everything. I intentionally didn’t take care of her for the first 3 months but my aunt made sure I did.
She understood my situation and just let me be. I didn’t mean to cause trouble but I just needed to grieve.
Finally, I later accepted my baby and we’ve been alright. Aunty Rakiya has been there all along for me and my daughter, I owe her everything.
Thanks to Jaruma Magazine for compiling this story.
Names have been changed to protect the identity of the narrator and other individuals in the story. If you know anyone that was raped, molested before in respective of his gender please encourage them to share their stories with us.
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