H-A-P-P-WHY?

YemayaI was about 9 when my family was visited by armed robbers. I am going to leave a lot of details out, which is unlike me, but some memories never completely fade. The day after was one of the unhappiest and scariest days of my life, naturally, I suppose. 

I didn’t want to go to school, but my parents wanted me and my siblings out of the house, not just because there was too much going on in the neighbourhood, but because only sickness and death could save you from not going to school in my home. Even if someone was fatally ill or they died the day before, as long as it wasn’t you, you were expected to be in school the next day, no compromise. 

I remember that I was matching back to my class that morning- the morning after the attack- singing “WE ARE H-A-P-P-Y” back to class, on top of my lungs.

“We are h-a-p-p-y,
we are h-a-p-p-y,
we know we are,
we are SURE we are [sure? wtf?],
we are h-a-p-p-y,
happy!”

I wasn’t singing it on top of my lungs because I was excited, I was, because I was extremely livid- angry about many things. I wasn’t happy, I didn’t know if the person in front of me or behind me, all of us in matching uniforms, tiny, little juveniles, were happy, but I had to sing it anyway, to avoid being picked on or flogged.

I’m going to leave the name of the school that I was attending at that time out. The whole system itself is messed up; it’s not about one school.

Why would you flog a child for wearing old socks, or pick on a child for not bringing food during the end-of-the-year party? You don’t know the condition that the child is living in, you don’t know the trauma that the child is going through, you don’t know anything. Flogging a child because their school fee has not been paid is even the most fucked-up of all.

Now that you have flogged me- 15 strokes, have I vomited the 15 000 naira for the term? Ehn? You have not only completely embarrassed and abused me, you have injured my self-esteem a little, or a lot. 

I’ll stop here. I cry “ugly”, and I don’t want to shed tears where I am. I just STILL feel sorry for many of the children that I met when I was their age, and the millions that I didn’t get to meet.

As far as education is concerned in Nigeria, many things have to be corrected. Many things. 

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It’s Still Rape/Abuse If You Enjoyed It

Bus Stop

“Bus Stop” by Larry “Kip” Hayes

Many men and women (who were probably first abused as children) find it difficult to agree that they were abused. They think “well, I enjoyed it; is it still abuse then?” Your little “peepee” was pulled or rubbed against your consent by an older person or your breasts/vagina were touched against your will, whether or not the abuser had sex with you, and you think it’s alright then. Actually, it’s not.

Don’t think- “well, it was just a little stimulation”; it was abuse, whether or not penetration was involved. I have spoken/had chats with a couple of men and women who were abused as children. Their innocence was taken away by older persons, usually, and they were convinced into thinking they were enjoying some sort of secret, pleasurable activity.

Forever-Friends----Larry-Kip-Hayes----Folk-art_art

“Forever Friends” by Larry “Kip” Hayes

In some cases, they believed the other person was helping them become an adult or become more mature. In a few of those cases, they had a crush on that older person at that time. Even if they wanted to report the issue or tell someone else at some point, the older person- the abuser- would convince them that they were going to be blamed instead, and so they would not.

Well, it’s still abuse if you enjoyed it. It’s still abuse if, as a child, you had said “yes” to being touched because you were naive and innocent, unaware that it was wrong and it would result in psychological trauma and regret. 

It’s still abuse, and you should never ignore that. Don’t tell yourself otherwise, so you can find healing, if need be.

Who Sat and Watched My Big, Fat Head?

Who sat and watched my big, fat head,
when sleeping on my queen-sized bed,
and tears of sweet, planned revenge shed?
My brother.

Don’t Forget My Children

Little children who can’t pronounce war yet;
children who shouldn’t know what it is.
Running, their bodies plagued with beads of sweat,
with kwashiorkor and tuberculosis.

“Uncle, where is mama? Where is papa?”
Parents’ bodies are lifeless on the farms.
“Mama, why did you leave me here with master?”
Babies are starving, dying in their own arms.

Don’t try to make me shut my mouth
when I get possessed by pain and cry.
  
But if we return to the past, we’re going south.
Can brothers forgive other brothers if they try?

Take flowers to the sea for my children,
who could’ve been all they wanted to be.
At least, admit it was not okay for grown men
to snatch my children away from me.

hunger

Biafran War (6 July 1967 – 15 January 1970)