As we prepare to celebrate the Day of the African Child, we are still constantly surrounded by the mischief children especially girls are facing today. Among the so many injustices, is rape and early pregnancies. Betty Kamara, 15, (not real name) shares her story on how she was raped and impregnated by her Aunt’s husband.
I dropped out of school in primary three due to lack of schools fees. After a year, my maternal aunt brought me to Kampala to look after her daughter as she would sometimes work night shifts. I stayed home with the baby in the night together with her husband.
One day, my aunt’s husband came to my bed late in the night asking me to sleep with him because Joy (the baby) had urinated on their bed. I wanted to shift and go to another bed but he insisted I stay. That very night he asked me to have sex with him; something I didn’t agree with. “I can give you anything you want, let’s do it only once,” he said.
My mother had warned me against this act so I stuck to my decision which resulted into rape. I was scared of shouting for the neighbors would know I was raped. It was one of the most terrible things any person could ever go through. I tried fighting but in vain.
Before he went for work, he threatened that he would kill me if I ever opened my mouth to anyone about the issue. I lived in dismay for a very long time and had nowhere to go. I then gained the strength after some time and told my aunt. She promised to handle the situation but asked me not to tell anyone including my mother.
But the monster did not stop. After one more month he raped me for the second time. I run out of the house at 3 a.m and didn’t want to go back home.
That day, I slept at a neighbor’s place and continued to Kampala town from Kisaasi in the morning. I couldn’t go home because I was very angry. After reaching town, I continued walking and ended in Makidye. I camped in a church for almost a week contemplating on what to do.
It is from this place that I saw women selling jackfruit which seemed to be a lucrative business. I started going with them to Owino very early in the morning, I would buy jackfruit and greens then sell them in Makindye. I was lucky to get a partner with whom I rented a house and started a new life.
Discovering she was pregnant
I continued doing my business and getting minimal profits that kept me going throughout the entire time. Going back home was never an option again.
After about four months, one of the women I was working with suspiciously told me I may be pregnant, a claim I dismissed immediately not until after we went to the hospital and carried out a test.
I had started to heal from this nightmare; I was ready to move on with my life and possibly may be one day forgive my tormentor.
That was the time my scars turned into wounds again; I cried the entire time and wondered how I was going to survive with the pregnancy. I knew I was going to give birth to the child but wasn’t sure what I would do with it, it’s not something I was really excited about. My baby’s kicks and heartbeat was a constant reminder of how miserable and sad my life would be.
I bought the dullest clothes and only three of them, I didn’t even have a name in mind and was planning to call it “muntu” meaning person. I didn’t want to waste my money on that child. I was in the market the day I got labour pains. Each pain came with a double impact, on the body and the heart, people judged me and called me all sorts of names, but I am sure no one would understand me because they did not know the whole story.
“If she is hard hearted at 14 what of when she grows older, won’t she kill,” one of the women said.
I walked to a nearby clinic where I had a still birth. The truth is I didn’t feel any pain for the loss; and to some extend I think the child understood that he was not wanted. My only worry was where to bury it. We bought a small piece of land from a neighbor at Shs 100,000 and buried the child there.
It has been a year now and I am copying with life though that horrible thought of “I was raped” always comes in my mind once in a while which lowers my self-esteem. None of my relatives got to know I was pregnant and I have never gone back home. I do miss my mother and want to see her, so I might go back home this December.
I advise all girls who have gone through my experience to grieve for what has happened to them and move on. Don’t allow to be used because you may seem as a weaker sex. Stand up for your rights, go to police and report such cases and you will be helped.
Use what happened to you as a driving forced to become a better person in life, work hard and aim to be a better person in life. I have learnt a few handwork skills like plaiting hair and I plan to start my own salon this year.