My life was a simple one, I was a girl from a humble background and like every girl I had my dreams of the future until I met Ibrahim.
My name is Bilkisu Garba and this is my story. I am from Dukku local government in Gombe state and I am the eldest of 8 children.
Ibrahim was a son of Alhaji Yunusa a business man turned politician in our town, Alhaji Yunusa is an indigene of our town and was a man of the people, for years he who helped to empower youths and fed the poor. He usually came to town from Gombe one Friday’s, he visited his extended family members and friends, gave out money, gave sadaqah on some occasions and during Ramadan gave out food stuff to the people who needed it.
In 2008 Alhaji Yunusa was nominated to run as candidate a house of representative in the 2009 election and that was when he decided to bring his family more often, he set up a foundation that gave scholarships and built boreholes, the people were very optimistic that they found someone who would work for his them.
Alhaji Yunusa who used to come and spend a few hours now renovated his house, both him and his family started spending more time here especially when kids were on holidays. I was in my SS2 and although my father was passionate about politics I never paid attention to what was happening until girls in my school started gossiping about Alhaji Yunusa’s wife and children especially Ibrahim, who was a university student and a good looking guy.
I met Ibrahim when he attended a program at our school during one of his father’s campaign, he was friendly with a lot of girls which automatically made me tag him a flirt. We kept on crossing paths as our town was a small place and Ibrahim showed interest in me though I wasn’t interested but you know guys, the more you are not interested the more they tried to get your attention, Ibrahim finally got me to give him a little attention because my friends kept on talking to me about him being a nice guy and more but unknowingly Ibrahim had more than one love interest.
With time I started giving Ibrahim more attention and he was ecstatic, he came with many gifts whenever he came to town, he would come with his friends that would call me “amarya”, insinuating that he wanted to marry me and sweet talk me until I let my guard down, to cut the long story short Ibrahim he got my complete trust and then he betrayed it by raping me. One day I agreed to go out with him to buy suya even though I never agreed to go anywhere with him before the first day I was the day I regretted the most. He and his friend drugged me and he had his way with me and that was the end of our romance.
I was devastated and I was scared of my parents finding out, I had never had a boyfriend and wasn’t even thinking of marriage till I was done with school but it seems my fate was about to change because I find out I was pregnant a month after the event. I cried for days and I tried my best to hide it from my parents, I didn’t notice that I hadn’t had my period and was showing pregnancy symptoms until my paternal aunt Adda Asmau who was a nurse noticed it happened that she had been observing me but I wasn’t aware until one day she called me to her room and asked me the question. I had been hiding the rape from them, I was so ashamed of myself because according to Ibrahim I lead him on, I enjoyed his attention and his gifts so I had it coming. I had kept this secret for over a month and never thought one could get pregnant from doing it once but after my Adda’s intervention I let it all out and the flood gates opened especially when we confirmed I was pregnant. This news made me even more depressed, where do I go from now, what will people say? what will my father say, will he disown me? I had always been a good girl, my father’s pride and joy, I wanted to study hard and be a doctor but that dream is over now.
My aunt understood my pain because she was a part on an NGO and had worked with abused women, she hugged me and wiped my tears as she also shed hers, “Allah Ya Isa Miki mamana” she said as she reassured me that she will break the news to my family, she wanted Ibrahim to pay for what he did because apparently I wasn’t the first girl he has raped or abused within in our town. Ibrahim had been going around lying to girls, promising marriage to those who won’t give him attention and getting his way with them or forcing himself on them, later we heard that he even abused a 13 year old security guard’s daughter and the father had to settle the family to make the problem go away.
In my own case I was the 2nd girl he had gotten pregnant, the other girl he impregnated was forced to abort but my aunt said she will not make it easy for them.
My aunt told my parents about everything and advised to go to the police but my father automatically opposed it and suggested we talk to the Alhaji yunusa first. My parents went to see the family the next day and came back looking beaten, I was so curious to find out what happened but both my mum and dad didn’t say anything until when my aunt got back from work that evening and they told her what happened “Inaa!!, wallah bazai yiwu ba” I heard Adda Asmau say, “this boy always gets away with what he does because everyone is afraid to speak out, so what if his father has an election coming up?”, she argued heatedly, I heard my father argue that Alhaji Yunsu was a good man, he helped the community and he deserved to get this seat, so they would take me to have an abortion and move on with life but his sister was adamant, she then stormed out of the house. .
A week after this conversation Ibrahim’s mother came to our house ,only my mother and I was at home then, it turned out that while I was battling with nausea and morning sickness my Adda Asmau had taken my case to the police although my father didn’t allow me to accompany her, she also called a meeting and rallied women in the community to protest and see the Hakimi of our town, this movements scared Alhaji Yunusa and knew that he needed to come to a decision before he lost his chance becoming a member so he sent his wife. The lady came in looking at our us with disdain, she asked to see me privately first, she asked if I was sure that it was her son that got me pregnant, she refused to even acknowledge that he raped me, my mother was acting as if she did us a favor for coming, she came with cartons of provisions and bags of rice, then gave my mother bundles of 500 naira and said I should just try and get rid of the pregnancy for my own good, she said people were envious of her family especially her son because he was very intelligent so they came up with stories, I was boiling with anger while my mother accommodated her nonsense LUCKILY enough my Adda came in just when the woman was about leaving, she took over the conversation, she told the woman to carry the things she brought because we didn’t need them and told her we will meet in court. My mother tried to discourage Adda Asmau, saying my father had told her to let things go but couldn’t do anything.
My aunt finally stole me away and got me to officially file a police report and court summon was issued to Ibrahim who apparently has gone to umrah, everybody started telling her that this case wouldn’t going to go far, that Alhaji Yunusa has enough money to waste on the case and they will eventually win but that did not stop my aunt, she decided to look for a way to go on air at the local radio station, a few days later Ibrahim’s family came back again, this time around asking for marriage because Alhaji Yunusa was worried that his opponent will take advantage of this given his son’s bad track record so he wanted to settle quickly and that was how I ended up marrying that monster Ibrahim.
We got married when I am about 3 months gone and unlike other brides it was the saddest day of my life, I hated him with a passion and I tried to run away but my aunt talked me down, although she wasn’t happy about the marriage too she said it was for the best, which obviously wasn’t. Our marriage was like that in a movie and after the wedding I started wondering how we were going to live together but luckily enough for me Ibrahim kept me in our town and traveled to Gombe the day after, I lived alone for more than 1 months all I had was a house help and my family who came around to see how I was faring, for the first few weeks when he came to town he would stay at his parents’ house and this worked perfectly for us until his father found out, for some reason he wasn’t happy about this and insisted the son come and stay at his “wife’s” house.
After the primary which the father won Ibrahim visited more frequently in preparation for the main election , he visited for a few days then left and came back again and within a week of his visit he gave me beating that made me have a miscarriage, in the beginning he acted as if I wasn’t even in the house, which was fine with me, for 2 days he would just bark orders at the house help, making demands even waking the poor lady 12 midnight to cook for him and his friends then on the 3 day he came to my room and asked that I make tea for him, I refused, he later asked the maid, from then he decided to make my life a living hell “kinsan Ina da haqqi akanki ko?”, he started barking commands at me, telling me that as his wife I need to do my duties, asking for his lunch, his dinner and the rest, most of the times I hear him come in I lock myself in my room since he usually spent most of his time with his father as they planned for elections.
During this days he would come home late, he would wake everybody up, the security guard, the house help and me, but this fateful day he came back around 1, as usually he was shouting, calling the house helps name loudly then I came out and told him his food was on the dining table, at first he ignored and kept calling, when it was apparent she wasn’t around he asked where she went to and I said she was sick so I gave her a leave, she has gone home for today but will be back in the morning and that was it, he started calling me names, insulting me and asking if I paid her salary before I could say anything he started hitting me, he beat me till I passed out, I came to at the hospital.
My marriage ended the next day and I was relieved because living with him was a punishment, I was sad lost my baby too but what can I say, Allah knows best. The NGO my Adda worked with took up my case, they sued Ibrahim and his family and although it took awhile, in the end I was compensated for the damage and I even got a scholarship but unfortunately Ibrahim was never really punished for his crime that he committed against all these girls because his father the power to buy people’s rights but I know karma will catch up with him one day.