It was not my fault
Was it my fault to be born a girl? Why has it been so difficult to be me? The battered life I now live is the relic of age-long discrimination and subordination of all women in my community. Countless numbers of girls are suffering through the same ordeal shoved down my throat . Why the loud silence to such a disease with conspicuously devastating effects?
I was only eight years old, if I can still remember. Or perhaps even younger when men (very old ones) started investing in my sexuality. Men older that my father, my uncles started bringing gifts saying jokingly “ mother-in-law, this money is for my new wife’s nappy.” Or perhaps, as it turned out to be, it wasn’t a joke at all.
As I grew up, more gifts, money and favours took a different pace. My mother and father seemed proud to have been the parent of such beautiful fruit. I experienced the title of ‘wife’ at a very tender age. This all seemed so ‘normal’ in my village that I also started conceding to be ‘happy’ and looking forward to it!
The opportunity cost of staying and working hard in school and the very frail possibility of reaching to university as a ‘girl’ was thoroughly contrasted by the ease with which I reaped the fruits of my sexuality; of my just being a beautiful young girl; ‘a fine pikin’ as they would say. And even better, my parents prefered the quicker profits of giving birth to a girl to that of tedious education.
It was the same all over my village. And even the surrounding villages that I get to visit lumor days (market days). Everyone of us seemed to enjoy this immoral predatory tendency.
At the age of 11, as the ‘my wife’ logo started to get more serious practical, I started giving up on the tedious work at school. I came to prefer learning take my rightful and perhaps only possible place in society; a wife. This seemed and was made more natural by the norms and traditions of my society.
At 12 years, it all cracked open as I was informed that I shall be marrying the Pa Komrabai the regent chief of the neighbouring village of Kamabai. I was asked to bring honour to my family, and I dared not defy the sacred word of my parents lest I become disowned. It was less devastating that I accepted.
I was very well taken care of by my husband as the ‘batheh’ (sweet heart) as I was called by the chief’s friend and kinsmen. I became very effective in my office of ‘wife’ (and batheh for that matter). I gave birth to many children in no time!
Clearly the new role of ‘mother’ withered away my beauty and my grand title of ‘batheh’ and started looking old and saggy. While I suffered, my ‘husband’, the chief, went out to look for another ‘batheh’ to add to his growing football team of farming and child-bearing slaves.
Now, here I am, looking at, a young lawyer. How I long to be like her! I heard she is 27 years old! Society failed me and it was not my fault.