Fatima Ishiaku, the Nigerian author, says her father started defiling her at 7.
The girls’ rights advocate was speaking in an interview with Chude Jideonwo, TV host.
Ishiaku, the author of ‘I Called him Dad’, said the abuse started before she clocked five but her mother wouldn’t hear her out when she complained.
“The rape started at age seven but he was actually using his finger on me for two years. I remember vividly when he said to me, ‘you’re not a small girl. you’re going to be five. If you tell your mother, I’ll kill you both,” she said.
“Friends dumped me. Nobody wanted to be with me. Some will say, ‘don’t go out with her. Don’t be her friend. She’s a cursed child.’ They said I’m a taboo and that I would bring bad luck to them. It cost me a lot.
“You should know your child, why she is this and suddenly became that. Don’t say, ‘oh, you’re wayward. You’re a prostitute. Cut her vagina.’ Do you know how many times they had to tear my vagina and put pepper?
“Sometimes it’s not the rape that affects or kills people. A lot of people have committed suicide. They want to speak but society would inflict more pain on you. You often find a series of a 70-year-old raping a five-year-old girl.”
Ishiaku spoke of the role of mothers in raising girl children.
She said certain attributes predispose female children to rape.
She also said her mother used to cut her in the vagina as punishment — something that hunted her into adulthood.
“The day you speak out, you’re broken. When I tried to tell my mother what was happening, she pushed me. Why did she hate me so much? It’s not the rape that’s affecting me. I’ve helped a lot of young children,” the author said.
“I look at it as my destiny. I looked at the scars I got through my mum, how she cut my vagina; put pepper. Those are the things that affect me till now. She said if my children asked, I should tell them she scarred me.
“I was tired. I had to go and report to an officer in the barracks. I was scared so I didn’t tell him the full story.
“My mother was still in the mortuary and this man was defiling me. He said no one could protect me anymore, threatened to kill me like he killed my mother. He raped me, beat me, and locked me on the balcony.”