“Dad, please stop! Dad, you are hurting me!! Dad, please stop!!” On that fateful day, she had just come back from school. She was in form two. The father was home alone. He called her to the bedroom. While having a casual chat with her in the bedroom, he stood up and all of a sudden, locked the bedroom door.
In a bid to disarm her, he told her that she shouldn’t fear him. That he is her father and he could never harm her. Then he hugged her.
When his masculine arms landed on her fragile back, a cold chill ran down her spine because it was unprecedented what her father was doing. He was always hostile towards her, an act that had crushed herself will & reduced her to a trembling ‘yes’ girl.
As an experienced opportunist he was, he bulldozed his way through the guards of steel she had built towards him. A few minutes later, the hug didn’t stop but instead, it became tighter like a predators grip on the prey.
He pinned her to the wall and held her mouth with one hand. His other hand started to move towards her breasts. She was trembling with fear that paralysed her. The words that she had hoped would alert the neighbours to rescue her from her father’s bruising tight grip never came out.
Her desperate attempts to break free from the defiling grasp crumbled like chalk. As her strength evaporated, she was reduced to a heap of helplessness. He removed his belt and unbuttoned his trouser. Her father not only raped her, he also deposited HIV in her body.
It’s almost 9 years since the incident occurred in a house along Jogoo road yet *June (not her real name) vividly remembers how her innocence was violently taken away from her. The scars of that fateful day are still written all over her body only that some are external but the painful ones are internal.
I met June at Petma restaurant along Kimathi Street. Looking at her, it was very hard to reconcile the story and the person who was telling it. The scoop I had gotten painted a very bleak picture. I was expecting a downtrodden person. Yet her smile invites me in. As she narrates her story, she tries to hide her hands. Looking closely, I could tell that they had marks. On a closer examination of her face, beyond the layer of makeup, more scars are thinly covered.
I ask her how she got the scars. She tells me that the father was always brutal towards her. He would whip her with electric wires, cooking stick among other crude weapons ever since she was a baby. At a slight provocation, the father would unleash his wrath on her.
She always wondered why. She always asked herself several questions concerning why she was treated differently. Could it be that it was because she was the firstborn? But why was it that her two other siblings never received this kind of beating?
In the midst of our conversation, her phone alarm rings and she reaches out for her purse. She tells me that it is time to take her Antiretroviral therapy medication. In primary school, she was constantly sick and when they took her to the doctors, they found her to be HIV positive. She was in denial for a long time. But now she has made peace with the incident. Only that justice has never been served and this bothers her.
She looks outside the window as if she is in her own trench of troubled thoughts. Trying to draw from the reservoir of pain that has been her life. Tears freely flow down her cheeks. “He isn’t my biological father and that’s why he hated me. My mother got me from a previous relationship before he got married to him,” June says with a faint voice.
According to her, this is the genesis of all her troubles. And since the father knew how much June loved her mother, he would threaten her that if she said what happened in that bedroom, he would kill her.
The mother was quiet because she was also a recipient of kicks and blows. She could occasionally hug June and tell her that everything will be all right. That God would fight for them. Yet the more she lived in that house, the more she was abused.
On October 31st, 2010 when she was in form three; she got news that her mum had rested in peace. On the burial site, she wished that she had told her all the issues she was going through. She heard her aunties say that the mum had died of AIDS. That’s when she connected the dots.
“If I only I could have opened up to my mother, maybe she could have helped. But she was also living in fear. My dad always manipulated and controlled her. He used to beat her up,” said June while struggling to contain the deluge of tears that was coming from her eyes.
She vaguely remembers the first incident that she got raped, it’s just that she didn’t know what had happened. She was home with the father alone, the mum had gone to work and her siblings had gone to school.
She was in class five & that day she wasn’t feeling well. At around 11 am, the father invited her to the bedroom to go and sleep. He gave her a drink in a glass that contained what she remembers as soda. She passed out thereafter.
When she woke up a few hours ago, she was naked and on her mum’s bed. There was blood all over her lower body. She tried to get up but she couldn’t. The father then walked in and told her that she had been injured. He took her to the bathroom and washed her. He disposed the bed sheets and gave her some money. He bought her silence by warning her not to tell the mother that she got injured while playing. And he also bought for her crisps.
The man was a security officer who wielded so much power in the family. He was the alpha and the omega of the home. His word was law. But he was also a pervert. According to June, his stepfather was a man who needed help. He allegedly tried to rape even close family members.
Right now, she works as a promotion model for a local company. And she also goes to the matter hospital to offer peer counselling services. The counsellor tells me that she is bold and inspirational. She is not ashamed of her status and in the process, she has inspired many others.
As the stepdad walks freely, she asks whether it is possible for justice to be served almost a decade later.