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Rape….the human disease and shame

It was raining heavily and Tinu, driving in the rain felt the beginnings of a headache coming on. She sighed and the phone rang, one cursory look confirmed it was Banji on the phone. She stretched out her hand to pick the phone, saw the girl and stopped.

The girl was obviously lost as she seemed oblivious of the rain, gathering her tattered clothes about her. Her blouse was torn, eyes were swollen and as Tinu stopped, got out of the car, she knew it was much worse than being lost. The girl had been beaten and she bled.
Tinu simply took the girl into the car and drove to the doctor. She was enraged and had a murderous glint in her eyes.

Thirty minutes later the doctor came back to the consulting room. Tinu gave the doctor a questioning look, there was also an appeal in those eyes as it silently asked for answers.
‘Rape my friend, by more than one person, she doesn’t seem to know the assailants. They dumped her at the bus stop when they were done with her.’ The doctor replied her silent query grimly.
Tinu unclenched her fists and asked to be taken to the ward to see the girl.
‘Now they dump them in the streets’ she said through clenched teeth as she narrated the story to her husband Banji much later.
Anike, the girl who was raped had been lured by the promise of a job in a neighboring town so she was completely lost and didn’t know where to go when those who called her for an interview simply grabbed her.
Are you shocked? That is just one scenario, there are several. I will share as much as my anger, disgust and bewilderment will permit
Where do you place your sympathy, in the midst of the calamities befalling the human race?
That is not the end of Anike’s problem you know. Her mother simply refused to accept that Anike was not to blame, and there was horror at the mere fact of letting the law enforcement agents come into the picture. She felt she would be blamed because she had not been strict enough with her child.
In the African tradition, a good child belongs to the father and any misbehavior of the child is placed at the doorstep of the mother.
Where does that leave Anike? Nowhere.
What kind of parents are we? Is there any form of support system in this country that helps someone like Anike? She sits and stares, I heard she was given a rape kit, a government lawyer came to talk to her and after much persuasion, her mother went with her to the police station. The officer gave her a lewd look and yawned.
She has refused to make further visits to the Police, the lawyer says she is busy and there is growing terror in the eyes of Anike as I watch her each time I visit.
I read the book of Robert Uttaro TO THE SURVIVORS’ and I ask myself questions.
I ask you now, Rape has been an issue right from Biblical times. Are we as humans so defective that we have been unable to resolve this type of murder?

I read from the good book that the commandment said clearly Thou shalt not kill.
We murder or we are accessories to the act before and after when another human being is raped. We take without permission the fundamental human rights of another human being in the act of rape.
There are so many types of it and starting from today, each week on this day, I will send you posts about rape.
Why?
I hope you will help in your own way to raise a voice against rape, and domestic violence.
Let’s do something, please.

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DO I HAVE SIX STOMACHS?

It started innocently enough, one of my girls insisted I love one of her sisters the most of my children and she really lashed out in pain. We always argued and I tended to keep asking her to get her act right. Then she told me I was trying to put her in a mould and very sharply told me she is different. ‘Do what grandma told you, have space in your stomach for me but not in the same space with my sister’

My mother had always said she had six stomachs, that is where the stomach talk came from.
I remember staring at her stomach often. How can you have six stomachs?

I did not understand for a long time until my understanding of my language made it clearer that what mum meant was that she had six different understanding of her six children r did she mean love or favour?

Can parents favour one child over the other? I really do not want to answer that question even for me. But I understand my mother after I had six children myself. Do I favour one child over the other? Please don’t ask me the question again. I am reluctant to ask myself and I refuse to answer because you see, I really don’t have an answer
In my race, we tend to check for the origin of an incarnation, so we might understand the manner of invitation or mission of the child thus invited. I remember I wondered about my first son and knew well ahead about the others some part of the manner of their incarnation. No I am not being fanciful.

How do you see your children? Could they really be friends?. I watch my friends sometimes when they try to impose a religion on their children and they generally support these impositions with plentiful quotes from the good books. So how did I become such a rebel?

I hate being pigeon-holed and generally leave an association once it begins to stifle me. Almost all my children have picked these traits.

Do I have six stomachs? Do I view my children differently?, rate them differently? Yes of course, because they are six, uniquely different from each other. Then I understood mum. Yes you can have six stomachs. Yes you love them differently. Equally? Ergh, can we compare love by volume? Quality? Love? That serves, nourishes, strengthen? I doubt. What is the measure?

Some nights I just lie awake agonising over a child who seemed to me to be so different from me that I wonder how we happen to have woven a thread that necessitated us sharing another incarnation together. I wonder, agonize and sometimes am at pains to understand. I am not the only mother who does that you know.
It was one of the reasons that helped me talk to my mother again. I could finally understand and empathize with her confusion over me. I think I gave her the most cause for headaches. I was so different that we hardly could have a meeting point.

Now as a parent and grandma, I remember and sometimes nod in silent acknowledgement of my mother’s comment over six stomachs. I probably have six stomachs too.
How do we navigate the parenting waters and be able to bring each child to shore safely and move on without leaving scars or scarring them too negatively?

I do seem to have a lot of questions right? And you must have assumed I have forgotten all about parenting.
The invitation is still open to visit the parenting forum on the site and do let me know what you think.
How many stomachs do you have?
Talk soon

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What should I tell mum

I came home after seven years, I still looked fresh almost untouched. I really didn’t know what to expect, even why I came home. I was tired, emotionally tired, spiritually empty. It was time to go home.
I really had not factored into my spirit what my mum was going to say. Seven years is a long time to have stayed angry and rebellious. Seven years was the time it took me to look in the mirror. Really look in the mirror to look for me. To look for my definition of me, what it means to be me. I am not making any excuses my friend. I just got tired of it all, suicide even lost its attraction. Tried it for the first time after the physics teacher ran his hands all over me in class just before lights out. It was the same night the principal had called me into his office and asked me to sit on his lap and something hard kept sticking into me and I struggled to move away.
Yes those silent struggles, in his office his long beard and his pants, it was the reason I asked my mum to sew khaki shorts for me and I zipped them up my belly, to stop those wandering hands. I would scrub my body every night trying to take his smell on my body off. I was scared, I did not know who to ask the questions. Then I looked in the mirror then, saw my staring eyes and despaired .
Subuola would in rage insist I was after her boyfriend, first time I understood the import of what she meant, we had a big fight. It was Kola who in sheer mirth explained that I could make men commit sins. I asked him to explain, but he simply laughed and shook his head. He said my dimples and those bewildered eyes were a dangerous combination.

But that explanation came years later after two suicide attempts. But back in those days, I only felt shame, dirty and sad. Why would the principal do this things, and the physics teacher. I never had good grades in that subject, I could not explain why my brain will close up just seeing the subject written on the board. I was in constant state of terror just seeing him. He would pinch my breasts ( it was just coming up) very painfully. Hold me very tightly and rub himself hard against me. I would whimper and struggle, gradually my shame changed to anger and developed into a rage.

Seven years ago I timidly asked my mum why men were like that, and she lost it. I had never been so severely beaten. My backsides ached, mum checked my innermost places almost with a torchlight and there was no name left to call me after six hours of verbal abuse. I felt like nothing. The mat was so hard, and when it started raining, I embraced its cold sharp stings. It was better than all the abuse. I didn’t know when I started walking that night. I did not remember if I met any masquerade, I just walked, and walked.
The morning found me in the city, and the call of the conductor brought me sharply awake. Ikoyi still had a park in those days, so I guess in some fashion. I got there. Slept in the grass for a long time. Then this family approached me and asked if there was anything wrong. I remember saying very simply that I was missing and needed a job. Those were strange days. No telephones then, so I stayed with them for a while being a nanny to their child. Took my ‘A’ levels as a private student, rekindled my dream to be a human being.

I discovered later I had been damaged by the silent abuses, my mum’s lack of understanding made me a very bitter person. I closed my heart , kept the keys but refused to communicate.

I started teaching and loved the children particularly one sad eyed angel called Tina. She always sat quietly in a corner. Rarely went to breaks with the other children, never got her clothes dirty until one day another tiny one mistakenly splashed her with the drink she was having. I saw the terror that came into her eyes and how she trembled uncontrollably. Suddenly I knew what was wrong with her. I picked her up and rocked her as my own tears finally burst and we both cried helplessly.

Hours later, when the storm was over, and the wretched house girl who had been abusing Tina was arrested. I went to my clean, over clean spruced flat and looked in the mirror again
Now I am on my way home to talk to Mum.

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GET YOUR PRIORITIES RIGHT


My name is Mercy. I am a christian.
I got married at 25, finished my PhD at 27 and became a Professor at 40.
So fast you said? Yes, everything around me work fast. It was now that I realise that it was a misplaced priority.
My ambition blindfolded me and I got it all wrong, that is why I am sharing my experience through this medium to warn and encourage our young mothers not to be careless as I was back then.
I worked very hard as a lecturer and as an administrator, always busy that it became my language to my children.
My mum was around to nurse the children for me for sometime, the moment they clock ten, I usually send them to boarding school, though my husband was not in support but I always find my way. I have no good warm relationship with my children, 2 boys and a girl.
I never knew it was a bad idea not to have time with my husband, children and the household, until 5 years ago, when guilt, loneliness and restlessness filled my heart. I sent for my children to rejoice with me at my 60th birthday.
The two boys, staying in Canada said they are busy and that their sister will come down from South Africa.
Two days to my birthday, my daughter sent this message to me,
“Mum, I am very sorry not to be around over there, there is no time to squize out, my husband needs my attention at his newly established clinic, presently, I’m pregnant, very busy and lonely in a strange land”
Please pray for us mum. Happy birthday”. I could not get out of the meaning I get from the message. “First-thing-First”. When they needed me for warmth and discussion, I was not available, now I need them for warmth and discussion I could not get them, rather they returned my slogan back to me “I’m busy”
To worsen the matter, my dear died in his sleep a month after…only one of the children came without his family to the burial ceremony, I was dumbfounded!!!
#COMMENT: it is good to work and be a hard working fellow. But hear this important and salient biblical truth, Parenting is a sacrificial work, give it all it takes, any work that will take away your attention too much from your home – #Avoid it and be careful!
#SOLIDIFY YOUR HOME FIRST, CREATE TIME FOR HUSBAND AND CHILDREN, ESTABLISH THE FEAR OF GOD IN THEIR HEART THROUGH YOUR ATTITUDE AND BEHAVIOUR.

THOUGH, IT IS COSTLY NOW, BUT THE FUTURE REWARD IS WORTH IT.
Prov 31 – the woman receive reward of praise at the end after series of home-care activities.
THIS IS AN EYE OPENER FOR BOTH MEN & WOMEN.
LET’S BE SELFLESSLY AVAILABLE WHEN OUR CHILDREN NEEDS US.
GOD BLESS.

Kindly post to the Parenting Blog.
Very interesting you would say, a parent brought this to my attention.

Here is one response,
Charles Ayo Dada wrote: They wanted doctors, lawyers, pharmacists, geologists and engineers … and they ensured that they got it! Little did they know that with their “selfish aspirations”, the world would be losing… the best carpenters, cooks, musicians, writers, artists, gardeners, farmers, visionaries, and inventors, whose innovations and revolutionary discoveries were to change the world!

Parents beware!

Adjust yourselves to the nature of the child guest who comes through you … but does not belong to you!

That was Charles, but my questions are:
Are we guilty of wanting to fulfil our frustrated dreams through our children?
Are the children, investment against our old age or are entitled to be allowed to lead their own lives once they have attained maturity?
When must we learn to stand aside and watch, guide, love and be friends ?.
Are you a possessive parent?
So many questions. Let’s talk shall we?

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Conversations with Mama

The pain didn’t have a location and it was not physical. But it hurt so badly I sighed awake for three straight nights. I was also embarrassed. I remembered mother. Then I prayed weeping silently in remorse. Could I talk with mother now? But then, I still felt pain about the whole episode. Forty three years was a long time to hold pain and Mama had been dead for twenty years of that time. We had not talked for the first fifteen years after mama passed, the pain was too raw all that time. I had simply ignored all the silent promptings that explained it was in my best interest to hold mama in love.

The horror of one day in Time, being brought to face the chasm of lovelessness had forced me to get a firm grip of myself and I made the first tentative approach to talking. I had no idea where mother was now in the beyond, I had not even prepared her seat so she could sit with the ancients. So I had to call her with my thoughts and use my love to search for her through moonlit nights amongst the stars.
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It took a while, but finally mother responded one morning while I was in the bathroom. She simply stood in her thoughts watching me critically and then said simply, she had received the messages. I asked Mama how she was faring and gave her a critical look.
Mama looked …well….Mama had shed the toga of a ghost and looked young, in fact younger than how she was before she passed.
“So, you didn’t send me such messages just to wonder at my age do you?” Mama asked
“No, Why didn’t you give me any inkling of what you thought of Alex when I came to tell you about him” I blurted
“I did” Mama said and I could imagine she had raised her eyebrows as she always did when she thought I was asking a stupid question
“Mama, you never said what you thought was wrong with Alex, just asked that I should not get pregnant and said it was okay to agree to marry him and he promptly made me pregnant. Why didn’t you tell me about love Mama? About waiting and preparing for the Mr. Right and not living with a man out of wedlock”
“How could I tell you what I only sensed, your father wasted no time getting another woman when I did not birth a son for him, what did I understand about love too?”
“My daughter is sleeping with her boyfriend now and I don’t know what to tell her, I wish she would wait for him to come and ask for her hand properly, Alex never did for me. Three children later, I left him and live alone now. The moral standard is much lower than when I met Alex Mama and as a parent, I have tried letting my daughter know about decency, but she says she is getting on and must marry quickly or be left on the shelf”
“I see, so you want me to spook your daughter by appearing by her bed and tell her she is committing sin?”
I laughed outright, alone in the bathroom with the misty image of my mother. She still retained her sense of sarcasm and fun.

I wanted to ask her what I am not doing right about parenting, and why all I said to my daughter always sometimes ended in painful arguments and silent days of mutual hurt feelings.
I wanted to be a perfect parent, show out all I had missed why growing up and fill in the gaps.
“In short Olayemisi, you want to live your life all over again through your daughter. Interferring as usual with the threads of fate of your gift”
What?

I was alone in the bathroom and Mama had returned to history and left behind the lessons of love, prayer and patience.
Parents were never created perfect, that is why procreation was allowed, so we learn through each other and with each other.
Talk soon..

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ARE PARENTS PERFECT?

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She was late again, and I rehearsed to myself all the stories she was going to tell me . Not the truth though and that was the source of pain. There was pain in her eyes as she talked and I sighed, for some of the things she said echoed within me.

“Why don’t we have perfect answers and reactions? She asked me plaintively.
I sighed, Can parents be perfect? Is there really a manual that tells us that we can do this or that at any given time?
You don’t become perfect as a human being and we all work towards that perfection when you will not be here on terra firma.

I wish I had perfect answers all the time. My granny would always smile and shake her head.
As a parent, do we have really and truly the best way to bring up a child. Some of us take refuge in our religion and use that as a yardstick. Then I read the commandment that said Tough shalt honour father and Mother.
Can a child honour a drunken father, dishonest and dissolute? Or a mother who indulges in coquetry, flirts and cheats? Where does the honour begin? and the distaste sets in?. How can I honour a father that sends his son to give his girlfriend notes and messages, or a mother that has kept the secrets of her extra houses away from the father until the daughter stumbles on it one innocent afternoon.
Joke came to see me, her eyes saucer like in shock. Her mother is a trader and she had three daughters. Joke is the last of the three girls. A marketing executive with of the major brewery in the city. Her father retired as an accountant and Joke was always regarded as daddy’s little ‘present’ because she came after 12year from the last girl.

Iyabo her mother had a very bad pregnancy. I mean she hardly had one pain free day. We all attributed it to the length of years between the pregnancies. She never seemed interested in her children though always leaving the emotional nourishment to Dapo her husband, so we were not surprised when they seemed closer to their dad and we were touched because you know men always wanted sons . Dapo was different though. He cared for his daughters. As they got older, they would share confidences with their father and not the mother.

Joke said, it was strange as she would visit her friends and knew the daughters could share with their mothers girly secrets, however,Iyabo rarely seemed to want her daughter’s company.
I was always puzzled but since she always seemed concern about them I shrugged it off as maybe she was inwardly shy of letting her inner thoughts to shine forth.

However this afternoon, there was anger, disgust and disbelief in Joke’s eyes. She had escorted her friend to a new flat he was paying for and the landlady turned out to be her own mother!
“We both stared at each other in total shock I can tell you, she suddenly paid money into my account. This woman has been complaining to my dad that she has no money from her trading and asks for money to buy toiletries and she owns a luxurious flat at a swanky part of town. How do I honour such a two faced devil?” Joke asked me
What should I tell her?

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The mouse roared

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Are you jealous?
“I was surprised at the question. Jealous of my own daughter? I wondered if I was jealous. A tiny imp of mischief whispered that I probably am. It was a depressing thought and I felt funny. My spirit lifted however when I remembered Dad and I. The severe pain I had felt when he passed and how I resisted any hint that he could have been human after all.”

I sighed as I listened to Tope. We have been friends for more than forty years and so I accepted all she wanted to tell me as a friend. I wondered though if she would be willing to take a few words from me. I had listened to her eldest daughter talk to me one day.

“Aunty, Mum is the male in this house. She never once visited me in school, has never ever looked at my reports from school. There is a loneliness that I will never wish on my child when I have one. Each time I bring my reports home, she simply asks Dad casually if there are any reds in my report then yawns and goes straight to bed. She never waits for Dad to answer” There was bewilderment in her voice, then she continues ”you see she is of the school of thought that parents should not be attached to their children, but she is not attached to me, I think she said having me, spoilt her shape, she keeps telling me that she was a real heartbreaker when she met dad”

Wow, I said to myself as I wondered how to be helpful. The question of jealousy had come out because Tola has a very beautiful figure, clear faced ebony beauty a pride to any parent. She had finished school and was working in the hospital. As a medical doctor, she barely had a social life until she met Tade a fellow doctor. On the very rare outing, her mother had come out and complained about dress, make up and eventually the fact that Tola was throwing herself at a man who was poor did not have a rich genealogy and was…. The complaints were endless. Tola had in anger taunted her mother and asked her mother if her mother was jealous.

You could say the mouse finally roared.
I have said it often on this blog. Let’s take a step back once in a while and put the spotlight on ourselves. We know that we are not always right. My cousin says you can’t keep forever second guessing yourself. There is no such person as a perfect mum or dad. We are humans after all too. So how do we help ourselves to grow?
Tola drew naturally close to her dad, being an only child, Tope became so immersed in her job that she forgot all about the guest she had invited into her life. Children are guests and gifts from the Father Almighty. We are not just expected to feed, clothe and educate them, we have other basic responsibilities too.

What are the priorities we show our children with our activities? I asked my friend if she wanted a rich husband for her daughter and would be willing to shop for one. I asked what made her to be close to her father?
She looked at me in surprise and said her father was the one person she could relate to in a polygamous setting with her mother out of the picture

“Well, you seem to be repeating the same pattern you know, Your father took care of you because your mum was not there physically for you and you never became close because the bond of love was not made. You are not in the picture right now for your daughter, not because your husband has another wife or wives, he loves you but you have made him both mother and father to your only child. When do you want to be in the picture?”
I saw a strange look come into her eyes as realization started to dawn. It was going to be a long road to find a daughter and it was time I left.

What do you think?

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Does your child respect you

Honour thy father and Mother
“When you hear the words “Thou shalt honor thy Father and Mother” how do you read it as a parent?” I asked my friends this question early in the week and asked permission to use the replies of two of my friends to use as lead in for this topic.

Layi Ademokoya: Notwithstanding that God did not give condition for obedience of this command, a parent should live an honourable life that will encourage their children to obey the command. A man in an incestuous relationship with his daughter does not deserve that honour even if it is given on compliance with God’s command. Afterall, the holy scriptures in Ephesians 6:4 enjoins fathers ” And you fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the discipline and admonition of the Lord”.
Adebimpe Akindele: No, all elderly people ni o. Gbogbo awon to ba ju ni lo.(Translation, it applies to all elderly people anyone that is deemed as older) Even a times those who are anointed by God even though you may be older than them. There is need to always respect those younger to oneself because no one knows tomorrow, another reason is, respect begat respect. And the respect your parents law has a rider”that your day may be long”. It’s very important, because automatically it becomes a curse when one disrespect an elder and without the elder laying any curse.

So what do you think? Is that commandment actually meant for the children or the parents? Let’s look at a couple of situations.
A father who comes in drunk every night cannot be said to have done anything to honour the concept of fatherhood can he? How will a child honour a father who goes into rages every once in a while and has bad language to boot and belts everyone he can lay his hands on? Could we really ask the child to honour father in that regard?
My friend Adebimpe seems to sense that it meant really that we should honour the elderly. Would the elderly have honoured the age that they are as to make the children honour them?
Let me ask our mothers, how will a child honour mother if she is a slave to any type of fashion whether it suits her person or not? You know the kind of mother who seems to be perpetually competing with her daughter and is always wanting to wear the same clothes as her teenage daughter. The kind of mother who is willing to allow other men paw her skin while her daughter is around and notes it. What is there to honour in such a mother?, I ask.
There is no such thing as a perfect parent and we all know it but we do get guides from higher sources if only we listen.
That commandment is directed more at parents than the child. When we as parents in our activities create an environment of the high qualities we are endowed with we are likely to make children honour father and mother.The conditionality attached becomes possible because in seeing our parents as potential role models we learn how our days may be long
You might think I am preaching but if you give a few thoughts to the idea I am sharing with you, we might see how we are flouting that commandment. There are societies in the world that have evolved a healthy respect for their elderly citizens.

I have come across parents who have encouraged the demoralization of their children because they gave the excuse of being very poor. Poverty does not preclude us from decency. When a mother looks the other way as her daughter brings home all types of men and accepts gifts, from those men twice her daughter’s age. She has precluded herself from all honour and it will be hard to ask the child to honour motherhood .
What we really are looking at is our responsibilities as parents. Fatherhood brought to a level that inspires respect from the child and helps the child to see you as a role model and mentor guiding the child into maturity.
The same applies for motherhood, a womanly chaste nurturing, that ennobles all those who come into her orbit. The woman we have learned determines the spiritual outcome of a nation through her very nature. Let’s look at it this way and think about it.

The world is full of swindlers, thieves, reprobates, bad politicians or any manner of negative people, but they are children to some parents. Do you get my drift?
Where will you place your child? When next you hear the words or the command, “thou shalt honour Father and Mother” please think about it and ask how much of it have you given as a father or mother.
The Creator by whatever name we recognize Him, knows we came imperfect, and must thus make our weal or wealth as human beings. However, when we take on the responsibility to invite another human being into our circle of experiencing, we have the job to make it right. Every child that has come is the right child for us and we learn and grow by the passion and care we put into making ourselves the right parents
We can change the world only if we imbue our children with the right mores and ethics. If we make them look at the world through our lenses and if those lenses portray a decent world to the child.
It is easy to be despondent and cynical and ask ourselves that what is the point?
The point is we all are responsible for the mess the world is in right now because we are the parents.
Next time remember, “Thou shalt honour Father and Mother”. It is an order we should obey.
Chat soon