It was the end of my first day at school and Miss Chichi had asked us all to hug each other.  I don't like hugs because it is always painful, and I didn’t know why we had to hug in school, but I didn't want to disobey Miss Chichi and be perceived as a bad pupil.  So I turned away from the class and began to remove my clothes.  After removing my clothes and also my pants, I looked around for a clean space to lie down. I found a comfortable spot, laid down and spread my legs wide open.  I wondered why everyone was taking time to get ready for a 'hug'.  I figured that someone had to take the lead.

 

My teacher didn't look very pleased, judging from her expression.  Some of the kids covered their faces.

Poor kids, I thought, still lying on the floor, they don't even know what a hug is.

My teacher approached me with an angry expression.  I could tell because my Mum's face would usually look the same whenever she was washing my body and I said that my "bum-bum" was paining me. Her expression would flicker between angry and sad, or some strange mixture of the two.  Sometimes she would cry and not say a word, because she couldn’t express her pains of being wilfully deaf and dumb.

Innocent me… what did I know?

I don't want my teacher to cry, so I got up.  I was beginning to worry because I was still the only person who has no clothes on.  I still couldn’t understand why my whole class did not know what a hug was or how to do it.

Just this once, I thought, maybe this once, I have to believe my Daddy.

"This is a special kind of hug," he would say as he sweated, "It's only for special girls."

As my teacher descended upon me, I thought: Maybe I really am special.

"Here! Put on your clothes and follow me," Miss Chichi said, her voice an angry shrieked.

"Big Mummy" was the school proprietor.  She asked for an explanation for my behaviour.  So I told her and Miss Chichi about how my Daddy hugged me every other night.  They were both in tears as I explained that the part of hugging that I hated the most was when he tried his fingers, one after the other, until one fit inside my bum-bum.

By the time I finished explaining, I realized that school had finished, and I was late.  I knew my Daddy will be mad if I didn’t wait in my classroom like he had instructed.

Big Mummy gave Miss Chichi a look and picked up her desk phone.  As she dialled a number, Miss Chichi took me outside.  She puts her arm around me and it felt so good, so safe.

"That is a hug," she whispered, breaking down in tears again.

How can this be a hug? It wasn't painful, I thought to myself.

Miss Chichi found my father.  He was waiting for me.  She told him that Big Mummy would like to see him and I waited in the classroom.  Shortly after, 2 police officers arrived, entering Big Mummy's office.

Through the door, I could hear my voice. Big Mummy must have recorded it on her cell phone.  My voice sounded so funny, I let out a light chuckle.  Shortly after, the police came out of the office with my father.  His hands were tied behind his back and he looked angry.  I knew I was in trouble.

We didn't go home.  Instead, Miss Chichi and Big Mummy took me the hospital in Big Mummy's car.  Miss Chichi sat beside me for a long time, until a doctor asked me to follow him.  We went into a little room and he removed my pants, collected a torchlight from the nurse, and looked at me.  I closed my eyes, expecting pain, but none came.  He did not touch me the way I had expected.  Like what I had thought was a hug.

The doctor turned off the light and talked to the nurse, who jotted down what he said.  He helped me back into my pants and took me back to meet Big Mummy and Miss Chichi.

Back in Big Mummy's car, Miss Chichi directed us to my house.  When we arrived, my mother didn’t say anything, as usual.  But somehow, she must have found out what happened, when we arrived, my mother rushed out of the house in tears, grunting and chanting inaudible words expressing pain, anger and frustration.  It was obvious my she couldn’t help me during those times I complained about the pain in my bum-bum.  Big Mummy and Miss Chichi started crying again, and my mother followed suit.  I was too overwhelmed to understand what was happening, so I joined them. A few months ago, my father pleaded guilty to the offences, he was sentenced to number of years in prison and was made to sign the sex offenders register for life.

This story is based upon the real-life experiences of countless people molested during childhood.  It has been written because child molestation cases are endemic of a true curse in our society.  We can find the demons everywhere in Nigeria.  We now as a nation needs to get up and raise our voice against it to ensure safety for our children.

Every parent must educate their children about child molestation, just as every state must make it mandatory for schools to provide proper education regarding child molestation.

 

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