Gina's Cross episode 1

Gina's Cross (1) I was born into an average family. My father worked in the construction industry as a Supervisor. He worked for several years with a foreign firm and made enough money to take care of my three siblings and I.

Due to the nature of his job, he travelled a lot and was hardly at home. When we were much younger, my mother used to take us with her to stay with him for a while wherever his job took him. 

But as we grew older, she stopped moving us around, saying we needed more 'stability' especially when we started attending school.

My mother did not work, she was a housewife who did a little business of buying and selling of fabrics like 'ankara' wax print to make a little extra money to supplement the allowance she got from my Dad. I had a normal, happy childhood and my future looked bright. 

I had just turned fifteen when the incident happened that changed the course of my life, turning me to what I am today. 

It was late evening and I was returning from an errand my mother sent me on. I remember I was passing through a short cut to our house; it was a narrow path near our street with a lot of bushes and a few uncompleted buildings.

It was often deserted at that time of the day and our mother had warned us not to pass that road at that late hour. But I was in a hurry to get home and watch a favourite programme of mine on TV that aired in the evening so I ignored her warning and took the path. 

I was walking quickly and was nearly half way down the path when two men suddenly appeared as if from nowhere. They grabbed me and dragged me into the bush. 

I was screaming and struggling but they overpowered me; I was just 15, what could I do against two strong men in a lonely spot where no one could hear my screams for help.

Those 'animals' raped, defiled me and when they were done, left me half dead in the bush. I managed to muster the strength to drag myself home. My mother wept bitterly when she heard what happened. 

My Dad was at his base in another town- it was an uncle of ours who lived with us that organised a group of young men to search for the two thugs that had raped me. But of course they had long gone and could not be found.

My father when he came home wanted to report the incident to the Police but our relatives advised him against it. Their argument was that it would cause embarrassment to the family 
and also put a stigma on me.

"This child will grow up one day and marry. What suitor will be happy to hear that his bride was a victim of rape?" they pointed out. So, based on that, the matter was buried. 

But that incident left me with a lot of emotional and psychological scars which I believe never healed. 

Worse still, the rape resulted in pregnancy which caused more problems in our family. My father started blaming my Mum for what happened to me, that she abandoned her responsibilities as a mother to face her 'stupid business' as he put it.

"I try to make enough money so you won't have to work, so you can stay home and look after these children. But what do you do? The minute my back is turned, you start running all over town selling your stupid fabrics, neglecting my children! 

See the result now! Gina is now pregnant at her age! 15 years old and she's already going to be a mother, when she's not married!" he stated, fuming.

"But dear, it's wrong for you to blame me for what happened to her! I only sent her on a simple errand and she took the wrong road.." my mother said, defending herself.
But my Dad was not in the mood to listen to her, insisting that my pregnancy was her problem and she should look for a solution.

"You caused all this mess. So, clean it up!" he stated before marching out of the house in anger.

What my mother did was what any caring mother in a similar situation would do- she took good care of me, assuring me that as long as she lived, the unborn child and I would not suffer. 

"Gina, my child, what has happened can't be undone. We just have to move on and cope the best we can," she said philosophically.

And she kept to her words. When the pregnancy started showing, I had to drop out of school and remained at home. She took me to the hospital for antenatal care, ensured I ate the right foods, took my drugs and had enough rest. 

She was wonderful. Unlike my father who made it clear I was no longer welcome in his house and wanted me out. 

His attitude got worse after the baby, a girl was born. Whenever he was home and the baby cried, he would complain of the noise or some other thing. 

It got to a stage that he gave my mother an ultimatum: it was either I left the house with the 'little brat' as he called my daughter or he would no longer visit home to see the family from his base.

My mother ignored his words and I remained in the house. That was until one day, he came on one of his visits a few weeks later when my baby was a few months old. I was in the sitting room feeding the baby when he arrived.

I greeted him but he ignored me and went straight to his bedroom. Shortly after, he came out and seeing my mother said:

"So, this girl and her brat are still here, in my house! I thought I left specific instructions that they should both leave before my return! So, what are they still doing here?"

"Of course, she's still here! Where do you want her to go? She's just 16 for God's sake!" my mother countered.
"Thank God, you remember her age. Ask yourself this: how many young girls of her age do you see around having babies? While her mates are in school studying to better their lives, she's here playing baby nurse! This is what your negligence has caused," said my Dad.

"Dear, this is not the time for that now. Whatever has happened, she's still our daughter. We can't throw her out because of something that was not her fault," my mother stated.

"Ok. It's now my fault. Instead of owning up to your mistakes, that you did not play your motherly role properly, you are here sprouting rubbish. 

"Anyway, I don't have time for all this. Since you have bluntly refused to obey my orders in this house, I will leave the house for you so you can enjoy your new born 'brat'," he stated before leaving."

My father refused to return home for nearly six months after that. To avoid the situation deteriorating further and affecting my parents' marriage, my maternal grandmother suggested I should come to stay with her until things calmed down. 

So, that was how I ended up moving to the village to live with my Grandma. It was while there that I completed my secondary school education and also met the man who will become my first husband...


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