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Dorathy's story

Betrayal of trust

My Name is Dorathy. I am from Ugbakoko II. I was a small girl growing up happily in the village until the day they announced to me that I was going to be taken to my husband’s house.
Apart from the fact that I was very young, the age of the man I was going to be married to was more than ten times my age. I refused that I was not going to agree to that kind of marriage.
Inspite of the beatings and pressure from my family and distant relations, I told them I would rather die than marry the old man.
A woman came visiting and asked to speak with me. She promised she would take me away where the man would never see me again. I felt I was free.
She took me to a community in Boki. By the following evening, the old man arrived the house. Once he arrived, I ran into the bush through the back door. I slept inside the bush for the night and ate palm fruits during the day for food. They found me the evening of the and took me back to the house. I hated that woman for lying to me.
By that evening, the woman called me and was saying she was sorry for what had happened. She claimed she had no idea the man was coming that way. I was in the room with her when three other
Women entered the room. They didn’t say a word; even the woman talking to me became quiet. Their eyes were fixed on me. Could it be they want to punish me for running away? They are my tribal women but their quietness was so suspicious and hurting. I began to sense something was seriously wrong. I stood up. “Thank you, mama” I muttered. As I took a step to leave the room, someone stepped across the threshold, blocking the light that filtered in through the door. I adjusted my eyes, wondering what was happening.
It was Philip. The old man!

As if a whistle was blown, the women rushed at me, raised and laid me on the mat, removed my clothes as they held me down. My hands, legs and head were held down as the old man came and had sex with me. The pain was so excruciating. My cries and plea couldn’t find a place to anchor.
This act of rape continued before the man went back to the village.
A few weeks later, I began to have strange feeling- vomiting and nausea.
The woman I was staying with asked how I was feeling… By the time I told her, she jubilated and announced to me that I was pregnant.
That was how I was ‘humbled’ and today; I have five children for him. The children are not properly spaced. Some of them are suffering from malnutrition. This man is old and can hardly do any work.
As a money wife, you can’t run forever; the man can harm you through the ‘rope’ (tied during the day the girl is officially handed over. The rope serves as an effigy-As the girl’s name is mentioned seven times, the knot is tied. Whatever happens to the rope, translates to the girl wherever she is).
As a money woman, where will you run to- your family? They have sold you already!
Even if the man kills you physically or otherwise…nobody will ask him. You are his ‘money’ –his property.
We are often told that we are like fowl bought from market and can be slaughtered any time as the need arises.
I am responsible for providing for both my children and my husband.
It is not an easy life.
...The end

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