I am Vivian. I am a Becheve girl from Mangblan in Kwande local Govt Area of Benue State. I was privileged as a girl to be among the ones chosen to be sent to school by Faith House Missions. My father has always said it was total waste training a girl in school. When I was in Primary three, some men visited our compound. One of them registered serious disapproval regarding my being put in school. Since I didn’t know what was happening or why he had such boldness to speak, I only assured myself that nothing was big enough to deny me the privilege of education. I continued with going to school.
One morning, an elderly man came in company of two men. My father welcomed and entertained them. In the course of their discussion, my father call me and asked me to stand in front of them. “Vivian” he started, “you know I am your father and I know what is good for you. Though I have not told you this before, you are now ripe for what man can do with woman. Na your husband this” pointing to the eldest of the visitors. “Jesus!” I shouted. I felt the ground should just open for me to enter … “Papa! How? When? Where have I gone wrong?” I asked with tears rolling down my cheeks. I could not well up enough questions in my confused state. “My picken, you no do no nothing. Na so wa people dey do am. Na im I don chop this man im money say make I give am my picken. E be na good man!” He added.
At this point I made for the opening I saw but one of the young men suspecting my moves quickly held me by wrapper and dragged me to a standstill. All my struggles to break loose only attracted beatings in the name that I was being stubborn to my father. “Is that what you are taught in that your church?” they bellowed at me. That was how I was dragged out of my compound and beaten along the road any time I protested. In the man’s compound, life was not too different from what obtained in my community. Poverty and misery seemed to be a next door neighbor. I was kept under watchful eyes. I refused to enter the same room with the man. He made several attempts to talk with me but I would not just listen. I pretended as if I was settling in with the family – he already had two wives each old enough to be my grand-mother.
One of those days, pretended to be ill and did not follow them to the farm. When they all left, I ran into the bush and tried to straighten out my calculations on the way I was brought in to the community. A few minutes was enough, I did not look back. It took me over four hours of running, making hurried attempts to rest and scooping water from the streams on the way, before I arrived our compound in Mangblan. On seeing me, my father let out a shout, “ah heeeee (ahh hay)! You are here. Is there any problem? Did your husband send you? Why have you come” He queried?
I cannot explain all the kind of abusive words my father used on me that day as I told him of the hardships I had faced for the period I was in that man’s house. He wouldn’t want to hear any of that.
A few days after I arrived my village, Pastor Richards came. He heard the story and visited my father. He discussed with my father to let me be, especially since I was being forced into the marriage.