I was young and very naive, all I had was an Ethiopian best friend who I absolutely adored, asides from the fact that her hair was long and she was really pretty, she actually always really got me, as young as we were.
Sadly, we don’t talk anymore, in the last year, I actually tried reaching out to her but she seemed a bit distant and almost like, “I’d prefer we didn’t get close anymore”. So I respected that and I refrained from texting her. I thought time might have healed us a little, but obviously, like I put up a few days ago on my Instagram, “it is not all things that time will heal, sometimes, you will heal when you’ve decided to, however much time passes.”
I’ll tell you what got us here.
I’ll name her Laila for the sake of this post, just for confidentiality purposes and because neither of us was at fault, it just so happened that it was through our best-friendship that justice got served.
Laila and I were close for the most part of primary school, our closeness was so strong that it got to a point where I was spending weekends at her luxury house in Nigeria. Her dad was really affluent and young as I was, I really enjoyed all the luxury that came with hanging out at their house.
They were atheist and so they didn’t go to church, but because of the Mother I have that uses every avenue for evangelism (God bless my mother), she used our friendship to reach Laila’s parents, so she started by asking if we could be picking Laila, her sister and their help every Sunday to go to church.
Our parents had become friends too so I was not shocked that they did not decline, they allowed us pick them up for church every Sunday and then we’ll drop them back off after church, stay for lunch or something before we went back to our house.
This continued for quite a while so I was not shocked when we became one big happy family, open with any and everything. I should add that Laila’s help was also really pretty, she was also Ethiopian as they had brought her from there to help out with taking care of Laila and her sister and so even though we were all somewhat grown at this point, she still remained with them, helping out with some tasks in the house.
I should add that none of these things made much sense to me until I had grown to a certain age and was able to connect all the dots because my mum was attempting to shield us from the reality of that truth and so didn’t speak much about it to us.
After a couple of months picking and dropping off Laila and her people at home, the help had become very free with my mum and had confided in her about the state of the house, but even more, how she had become a sex object to Laila’s Dad. Yes, you read that right.
Laila’s dad had made the help his toy and he would sneak out of his room at night and have his way with her.
When she had confided in my mum, I did not know, but I know that frequency of visiting the house suddenly changed. My mum somehow had an excuse as to being busy when I was supposed to go there, or found me something to do when I was ready to go over, but we never stopped going to take them to church on Sunday’s. My mum had planned an escape with the help in the night because the help had told my mum that if Laila’s parents somehow sensed that this had got out, they would send her back to Ethiopia almost immediately and knowing Laila’s Dad, I know that this would be as easy as breathing for him because Money had never been his problem.
So yes. The plan worked. My mum got her and she began living with us. I didn’t understand it, I just knew Laila’s help was in my house one night and the next day, my mum is telling me not to say that the help was with us when I go to school. I was young, I did not understand anything but I obliged, going to school the following week, I did not say anything, and funny thing, Laila also never mentioned anything.
Laila’s mum probably coded it all and one afternoon, I came downstairs and found her in the lounge of our house with a very stern face and moving just a little further so the window was in my sight, her car was parked outside with 2 police officers there. LOL.
She was convinced her help was in our house but my mum wasn’t giving in. So she left that day, without the help or any certainty that the help was now staying with us. But I assume she went back and gave her daughters stern instructions about relating to me and my immediate older sister because the following week, Laila would not even look at me in school.
At this point, I kid you not that I still did not understand what was happening.
Laila’s help stayed with us for several years, she was age mates with my oldest sister so we all got along quite well. It was hard explaining to people though why we had an Ethiopian with us but yea, that was no ones business. My mum also changed our school, I don’t know if it was because of that, but the following session, we started somewhere else.
It got quite heated as time went on because Laila’s parents were now convinced that she was with us and they were trying hard to get her back and send her to where they got her from and so my mum was forced to send her to A clergy’s house, just to take cover there till things died down a little. It remained heated still, so they took her out of town and she stayed out there for a couple of years.
My mum still never said the real reason why she had stayed with us or where she was but my little mind knew something was up and as I grew older, hearing her retell the story to close family, all the puzzles fit together.
What really killed me, I should state now, is that Laila’s mum knew. She knew that her husband had made their daughters help a sex slave and she never said anything about it, not to the help or to her husband. She was aiding and abetting silently.
Till tomorrow, Laila’s help is my big sister, we recently started talking again. My mum is still her mum and she’ll forever be a part of our family. Life didn’t deal too kindly with her even after these events and somewhere in my heart, I nurse little thoughts that a part of her was taken by what Laila’s dad did to her in her teenage years.
What is the point of this? I realised that the phase that we are in now as a society echoes the reality that has existed in times past, these things are not new I promise you, because the events highlighted above happened about 10-13 years ago, I was a witness and did not even know it.
These social vices that are rocking the society and even the church have long existed before now and I can say for a fact that even after this wave, it will remain.
A lot of things happened with the clergy where Laila’s help went to before we decided it would be best she left town, things that I cannot disclose. At least not now, maybe some day in a book.
But here’s my truth and my conclusion; The best of man is still man. Don’t ever exalt a man to the level of God. Secondly, lets be willing to speak and also be accommodating of other people when they speak.
Laila’s help could have died in that house for all we know if she had not confided in my mum and on the other hand, my mum could have dismissed it without doing anything, but she didn’t, despite the risk of the relationships that were lost in the process.
Finally, my heart goes out to every woman who has been sexually abused in whatever form or shape. You don’t deserve it and it was not your fault. I don’t want you to find solace in the shouts of the media or the arrest of your abuser. I want you to find your rest in God. That’s the only true place that you will heal of your past.
We can rally and protest all we want for you but if you do not heal yourself, it will all be futile, so please, after our protests and rallies are done, make sure you get your own closure and heal, if not for anyone, for your own future.
I stay praying for you and I know that healing will come.