My mother’s face was covered in tears.

‘Dupe I trusted you with my daughter for just a week.’

‘Get out of my house!’ Aunty Dupe shouted.

My mother knelt before me and kissed me on my cheeks.

‘Angel you know I love you and I will keep you safe from that man. Tell me, what did he do to you?’

My mouth suddenly let loose and I began to narrate how he dragged me from the living room to the bedroom, how he covered his mouth with mine and pulled down my pant. I showed her the place I was experiencing sharp pains.

I had not finished talking when my father pounced on him. My aunt just stood there speechless. I hid behind my mother, afraid my uncle would kill me but then I felt a soft hand grab me up and press my head to her teary face. We left the house.

The nights that followed came with nightmares as I saw my uncle appeared in my room several times, threatening to kill me for speaking out. Every time I screamed, I would find my mum beside me praying.

Over the years, I became familiar with the pattern of waking up in the middle of the night to find her on her knees, her eyes lifted upward. She and my father would place their hands on my head and pray, calling out my name and speaking soothing words to my ears. I felt safe but I still couldn’t talk much. I had moved from the fun-loving, charming damsel to a melancholic chap.

The three weeks I spent at the hospital, with mum by my side. It was later I found out from my Father that she’d quit her new job after that incident. I began to heal gradually.

That was some thirty years ago. Now I am a mother with three wonderful kids and as I sit in my study room, writing this short article which I hope to present tomorrow at the Christian Mothers Conference where I have been invited as a guest speaker, I see clearly the roles of mothers in the life of their children. I wouldn’t have gone far without my mother’s love and affection during those trying days.

As she has passed on the spirit of true motherhood to me, I am hoping to do the same to my daughter who interestingly will turn five tomorrow. I will be her best friend and confidant. And just as my mother has done, I will teach her to speak out.

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