My parents got divorced when I was barely six years old, and my mum blamed me for it. I remember that they always fought, separated, and got back together. One day they had a big fight. It was so messy that I started screaming for them to stop. As was the routine, they separated after the fight. During that period, I overheard my mother’s family telling her, “You’ve been gone from your husband for too long now. It’s time to go back to him.” My mother replied, “He had his hands around my neck. If our daughter hadn’t screamed, he would have finished me there and then. I don’t think I can forgive him for that. If care is not taken, I will take him out when I set my eyes on him.”
When I heard that conversation I became worried that my mum would try to hurt my dad. So I told him everything they discussed. He confronted them and they denied saying anything like that. But my dad believed me over them and he divorced my mum. My mother and her family got angry with me and called me all sorts of names. “Evil child” was what they used most. I even heard that my mother cursed me. My relationship with her was marred. She left me and my brother with my dad and moved on with her life. My dad on the other hand did everything to take care of us. He prioritized my needs above my brother’s, and everyone knew I was his favourite. He set up a private school and put it in my name. And he always told me, “I will send you abroad to study medicine if you keep up your good grades.”
Our relationship was really good until I completed SHS and my dad married a fourth wife. The new wife was two years older than me and she envied my relationship with my dad. She did everything possible to turn him against me and it worked. She treated me like a rival, and he supported her most of the time. She would tell lies about me and this man would hit me. One time, I even ended up in the hospital but I couldn’t report him. A lot happened that damaged my self-esteem. The house that was my home all my life became a living hell for me. To add to my troubles, my father withdrew all forms of financial support.
I started selling toffees, and other sweets at my dad’s school just to feed myself. Later, he stopped me from selling there so I asked him if I could teach at his school. He paid me GHC80 a month, that was around 2016. As time went on, my relationship with him only got worse. There were times he told me I was possessed. He even brought in Mallams to perform exorcisms on me. When nothing happened he would say, “You are an evil child, sent from hell as punishment for my past sins.” No matter how hard I tried to stay out of trouble, he found a reason to spite me.
By 2019, I had saved up some money and applied to the university. I gained admission but I didn’t have money to pay my fees. So I went to my dad’s friend and begged him to talk to him on my behalf. He was able to convince my dad to pay the percentage of the fees required for me to start classes.
I had to struggle to pay for accommodation, food, and handouts. I was able to get a part-time job and I had some generous friends who also helped ease my financial burden.
I realized that I was happy when I was away from home. And my dad treated me better when we were apart. He even sent me money for food sometimes. Then 2020 brought in the COVID-19 pandemic and school halted. I lost my part-time job too so I had to go back home. The moment I arrived at the house, my dad switched back to being angry and bitter toward me. I wanted to leave home again but I had nowhere else to go. My mother’s family still didn’t like me. So I was stuck at home till school resumed.
Due to a lack of financial support, I had to defer my course for a year. In 2021, I applied for an online job and got to work as a freelance writer. I made enough money to take care of myself and saved some to buy a laptop. I took some online courses to polish up my writing skills. I also reached out to my mum in an attempt to mend our relationship. She currently has six kids from her second marriage, which also ended in a divorce. I helped her out with some money for food once in a while and visited them regularly. There was still tension between us, but it was better than before. She called regularly but only to ask for money, but I didn’t care as long as I could help.
At the same time, I won a scholarship that I had applied for during my first year. I didn’t think I would get it so it came as a surprise.
The scholarship covered only school fees so I started saving money for food and accommodation. But unfortunately, three months into my writing job, I lost it due to some operational issues.
Two weeks before that, my mum had called to ask for money. I only gave her half of it and told her I didn’t have enough because I was saving some for school. “Didn’t you win a scholarship?” She asked. I answered, “Yes, I did but I need money for accommodation and other things.” She was quiet for a while and then hang up. The next day she called to apologize for hanging up like that, and I told her not to worry about it.
I didn’t know how I was going to manage school but I went back all the same. At the end of the semester, I started talking to a guy I had met in my first year. He wanted us to date when we first met but I didn’t have the mind for a relationship. So I told him, “If we date, there will be no shuperu until marriage.” He ghosted me after that. I thought I wouldn’t hear from him until he texted me a few months ago. He said he was ready to date me on my given terms. And that’s how we started talking. Along the line, he asked me to visit him but I was reluctant. Then he said, “Nothing will happen, I promise. I just want to spend time with you.” Maybe I was naïve or just so lonely that I believed him.
By the time I finished my chores at home and got to his place, it was past 9:00 PM. He lived in a single room in a compound house and was doing his national service at Jumia. He told me the place belonged to his uncle, and he had stayed there ever since he was a child. The first thing he did was hug me when we entered his room, and I felt his joystick poking me. I stepped back to look at him in shock, and he assured me that nothing would happen. There was nowhere to sit but his bed and this guy started kissing and touching me the moment I sat down. I became confused and curious and didn’t know how to react. I had never been touched by a man until that moment. The next thing I realized, things were getting out of hand so I panicked and screamed. He stopped and quickly apologized to keep me quiet.
Then he went to buy me food. After eating, he tried to convince me to spend the night with him but I refused. It was almost midnight when I stepped out of his room. It was a busy neighbourhood so I figured I would get a car or a motorbike. But I saw a bunch of rowdy boys coming in my direction and I got scared and ran back to Mustafa’s house. I told him, “You were right, it’s too late for me to go home. Promise not to do anything inappropriate when I spend the night here.” He promised to behave himself and again, I believed him. At dawn, this guy pounced on me. I was awoken by a sharp pain to find him halfway inside me. I told him, “If you don’t stop right now I will scream.” It was almost time for dawn prayers so there were people around and he knew I would scream so he withdrew himself.
When I left his place, I blocked him everywhere. He even called me with a different number but I blocked that one too. School has resumed and I am back for the second semester, perching with a friend around Madina. I noticed I had missed my period for two months and was experiencing symptoms of pregnancy. I went to the student’s clinic and it was confirmed that along with a urinary tract infection, I am also pregnant. I was asked to go for a scan to confirm how far along I was. I acted calm about it but I was terrified. I know my dad will disown me if he finds out. As for my mum, she no longer calls me because I don’t have money to give her. And I also want nothing to do with Mustafa. Strangely, he started chatting with me again on WhatsApp with a different number just as I found out about the pregnancy. I used the opportunity to share the news with him.
His reaction was appalling. He mocked me and told me, “You didn’t let me do the thing. I had to suffer the pain of blue balls and now you are telling me that you are pregnant?” He claimed he didn’t get to come but I know he is lying. How else would I have gotten pregnant? He sends me laughing emojis and lewd GIFs when I try to talk to him. I have sent him the results of the scan, which says that I am fourteen weeks pregnant. He is still denying responsibility. He says I don’t have proof that he did anything to me. I have threatened to report him to his uncle. But the thing is, his uncle knows my dad and I’m worried they will force us to get married.
I have grown fond of the baby but my situation is not ideal. I have my school to think about and let’s not forget that I am broke, and I don’t want to have anything to do with the guy. My dad will definitely kick me out and I have nowhere else to go. I rue the day I visited this guy. I don’t know what to do right now. I am wondering if I should indeed keep the child because it seems like the right thing to do, or if I should do the convenient thing and get rid of it. Please I need your advice, I don’t have anyone to talk to.