Abandoned by Mother, Abused by Dad: How 14-year-old Survivor Aisha Found New Hope in WARIF

Abandoned by Mother, Abused by Dad: How 14-year-old Survivor Aisha Found New Hope in WARIF

Like every young girl in Lagos suburb, Aisha (not her real name) was born with towering dreams to be great. She was exceptionally brilliant, but before her innocent world, those dreams appeared to be vanishing like smoke in the thin air when life took a nasty turn on her family.

Badly bruised and bitterly battered, she was left with a cross too big for her age and naivety until life ushered ease and light into her life through WARIF.

Victim of a shattered home

Born 14 years ago into a family of three, Aisha never envisaged life could be unfair. However, the reality first emerged when her mom left her and her siblings in what could be described as an abusive marriage.

Aisha found new hope in WARIF
Aisha was abandoned by her mum when she was 7. By 14, she became constantly abused by her dad before WARIF intervened.
Source: Getty Images

Her father, a roadside mechanic and “abusive drunkard”, had been struggling with the financial upkeep of the home, and most times, the family could not afford a three square meal per day. So quite often, they went to bed hungry at night, waiting for a miracle to happen the next day.

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Before leaving the marriage, Aisha’s mother, a petty trader, was engaged in selling household commodities to help the struggling family. But, of course, she also was a victim of constant beatings and gross domestic violence from her husband, Aisha’s father. One day, she packed her loads without the knowledge of her children and left.

Aisha was barely seven years old when she left. Since then, nobody knows her whereabouts, and she never cared to check on her children– that is, if she is still alive.

“After an intense altercation that left my mom bleeding from her face because of a series of beatings, she decided to leave the marriage for good. It was a few weeks after I had turned 7, we got home from school and found out that my mother had taken her belongings and moved out of the house to an unknown destination. We waited for her to return but up till now, we have not set our eyes on my mother. My siblings and I were left alone with an abusive drunkard,” she narrated.

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The road to brutal abuse

Aisha’s mum leaving the marriage gave the devil the power and opened the way for constant abuse.

In the hands of a poor and fear-personified father, Aisha and her two siblings were left with no hope other than to wake up and take what life brought in terms of grace and misfortune.

And as the first born of the family, she had to quickly adapt to life bigger than her age and play the role of both guardian and mother for the younger ones.

“I was suddenly thrown into a world of chaos with two younger siblings to look after and a father who did not care. It was a very difficult time, but because I am smart and hardworking, I was able to adjust to our new life quickly. I learnt how to bathe my siblings, prepare meals, and clean the house,” she narrated.

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One night, the worst happened when her father summoned her into his room for a chat after everybody had slept. It was a night of terror and overbearing agony as her father forcefully had canal knowledge of her without remorse.

He perfected his plans with the devil and had his way. Then, as if that was not enough, he threatened to harm her if she dared to tell anyone about the incident.

Narrating how it happened, Aisha said:

“He placed me on his lap, and before I could understand what was happening, he started fondling my breast. I was in shock and confused. He then opened my legs and inserted his finger into my private part. I tried to shout but he covered my mouth.”

Suicide thought amid repeated abuse

The following day of the first abuse, what first came to Aisha’s mind was to kill herself. The pain was unimaginable for a young girl of 14. And she had wanted to end it all. But she had to think of her siblings whose lives might be wretched in the hands of their father.

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She decided to shelve the plan to kill herself and bear her cross alone, in silence.

Most times, when the abuse happened, she would not go to school the following day, or for a couple of days, so that nobody would know what occurred.

Aisha was subjected to constant sexual violation by her father till she gained admission into secondary school. That was the beginning of a breakthrough.

Noticed by her teacher: a tiny road to breakthrough

Aisha’s life could have been shattered and miserable if not for a brave, godly, caring and very observant teacher who noticed that the 14-year-old was not always happy and often recorded poor performance in her result. Mrs Tolulope was more than a teacher; she was a mother and God-sent angel in Aisha’s life.

One morning, she noticed that the young girl was exhibiting abnormal behaviour. That was a day after one of the abuses, leaving Aisha with abdominal and private part pain. When confronted by Mrs Tolulope, Aisha told some lies to cover up her father’s misdeeds. But when she was pushed further with an assurance of hope, safety and protection, she let out the struggles.

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“Mrs Tolulope immediately reported to the school authorities who in turn alerted the Police who then took my father into custody for being a perpetrator of rape,” she added.

That extra push by the teacher ushered ease into Aisha’s life. And she will forever be grateful.

And then came WARIF with renewed hope for Aisha

After her father's arrest, Aisha’s case was immediately brought to the notice of Women at Risk International Foundation (WARIF), a non-profit organisation incorporated in 2016 in response to the high incidence of sexual violence, rape and human trafficking amongst young girls.

At the WARIF Centre, tests were carried out on her by the medical practitioners, and she could access psychosocial counselling for free to heal from her trauma. She was also taught the coping mechanism by the WARIF team.

“My counselling sessions with the counsellors have been very helpful. WARIF centre facilitated my move to a safe place. My siblings and I are now in a safe house free from the perpetrator,” Aisha said as she enjoys a transition from fear, poverty and abuse to a new life of rekindled hope, all thanks to WARIF.

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She would always be a strength for other victims facing the same challenges as hers.

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WARIF’s involvement in restoring young girls to better lives

Here is what you should know about WARIF, the non-profit organization that saved Aisha’s life.

WARIF was established to raise awareness and address the prevalence of sexual assault, rape and human trafficking occurring among young girls and women across Nigeria. The foundation leverages a unique holistic method called the “WARIF Approach” for tackling Gender-Based Violence. This approach involves the development and implementation of a series of initiatives, targeting both the intervention/treatment of these affected women, as well as providing preventive measures in education and community service to reduce the high incidence of sexual assault and other vices that WARIF is addressing in Nigerian societies.

The foundation seeks to re-dress the adverse effects seen as a result of Gender-Based Violence both immediate with health and psychosocial risks to survivors such as new cases of HIV/AIDS and unwanted pregnancies, as well as in the long-term societal problems that subsequently occur such as higher incidence of illiteracy and the adverse impact on girl learning and the social development of a nation.

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If you have been raped or know someone who has, please visit The WARIF Centre at 6, Turton Street, off Thorburn Avenue, Sabo, Yaba or call the 24-hour, confidential toll-free helpline on 0800-9210-0009. For questions or more information please contact: info@warifng.org

Get Involved

Like 100 other survivors among a million others whom Legit.ng Charity has chosen to support, Aisha is just one with another chilling story that hits you at the core. Just like Aisha, there are other abused girls and women who do not know where to seek help in their environs.

These are girls whom you talk to, the ones who live around you yet it's hard to tell. Imagine the toll this takes on their mental health and their physical well-being, the fear they live in and the urgent need for protection.

Join us in reaching our goal of raising six million, six hundred thousand nairas (N6,600,000) to improve the medical condition of a hundred girls and women who come to the WARIF centre for restoration.

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Misfortune does not get the last word.

Donate to save the lives of women and girls at risk via Legit Charity Patreon.

Source: Legit.ng

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