In my early teen years on a sunny day in Lagos, Nigeria, West Africa, my mother had bid me farewell, to the home of a male family member, to take up guardianship. Thinking she was leading her little girl to safety turned out to be a gift of burning sulfur in the hands of my guardian. I was forced to grow up a woman, as I experienced womanhood before the dawn of time. I was trained through pain how babies are made, and how babies are killed. My stomach saw babies, but the babies never came to life. The man with the white coat over his suit knew how to flush them out with knives and scissors. Imagine a child undergoing abortions! How do you explain that? How do you overcome such scars? How do you break the taboo of a culture entrenched in such acts? How do let out a public cry? Who will listen if you do?
The intent to keep the sexual mutilation concealed resulted in intense physical abuse and endless threats, a way of keeping me in constant fear of disclosure. The memory of having a father whom I looked like, sounded like, and laughed like brought resounding pain to a broken soul. The pain of having an emotionally absent father was unbearable. There were no shoulders to cry on; no one to share my grief with, but one thing I resolved to do was to seal the pain in the fortress of my mind. A mind which bore so much pain that I was consumed with the thoughts of inflicting pain on others to compensate for my troubles.
The chaos of my life gave me a resounding determination to be hateful and vengeful. It gave rise to a resignation to hurt others. I saw no hope in being good because life was wicked to me. I walked around with intense feelings of grief, pain, loneliness, and rejection, believing that life is worthless, you love when you feel like, and kill it when you are ready. In the quest for destruction of self and others, it became obvious that freedom begins with letting go of the past. Letting go of the past for me was breaking the silence and shame that had clouded my sexual abuse. It was forgiving myself and resolving to assist others through whichever way possible. It was getting the splinter out of my finger. It was accepting that forgiveness is a process that happens over time. It was accepting that life is beautiful and so must desire the fullness of it.
The life of a journey of a child with behavioral disorder can be traced to a life of pain and bitterness, which lends to the onset of violence. The youngsters attain these deadly identities from internal fractures left unattended, which emanates into deep hurt and resentment of authority figures within and around them. The societal search for the reasons of violence amongst children cannot neglect the smoke while trying to put out the fires. Hurting people have no remorse in seeing others hurt or bleed, rather it creates internal satisfaction.
The children engulfed in the sense of hopelessness have no regard for self and others. They then become victims who are entrenched in a culture that is embedded in drugs, alcohol, gangs, and all related societal ills for their survival. For this reason it becomes the responsibility of all to seek ways of bridging the gap between nothingness and achievement for our children. They need to know there is light at the end of the tunnel, whatever the tunnel they are caught up or enslaved by.
Today, I am experiencing the beauty of the other side of the tunnel. The light has come. The internal structures once broken are being reconstructed because I have released myself from the bondage of anger.