Predators lurk in our backyard

She sits on the edge of the verandah, probably reflecting how she feels inside. Constantly on the edge. The six cornrows on her head have tiny pieces of wood and dust in them. She has had them since the second term that ended three weeks ago, but that is not her concern.

Her floral dress loosely hangs on her tiny body. The many colours; blue and red with green flowers flow from the neckline all the way to the dusty floor teasing her bare feet. Mud is tucked underneath her overgrown toe nails that would use a clipper.  The button at the back of her neck, the only one on the dress in undone. She might have forgotten to button it up or she does not care at all.

She furiously picks the skin on the sides of her fingers that are now bleeding. That does not stop her, she continues to dig in. Her eyes are looking at the kids at the far end of the compound playing a game she yearns to join. It involves two children standing at opposite sides with a long black stretched rubber band between them and the other children have to jump in and out of it without touching it no matter how high it goes.

She loves the game but she does not want to play for now. Her little brain is processing what has happened to her in the last one year. She captured every incident of abuse in her foods stained blue diary next to her. It is her neighbour who first touched her where her parents had told her to never allow anyone to do so.

During school days he comes over the weekends at 2pm when her grandmother is not there and he takes her to his shanty and rapes her. School holidays are the worst because he comes just before lunch time when all children eat the food cucu left for them.

It is almost lunch time and she is getting nervous every time the gate opens. In a soft broken voice she says;

“Are you waiting for buch as well?”

“No.” I answer

“Are you waiting for him?”

“Yes he comes at this time.”

“Is that why you are not playing?”

“He says if I tell the other children he will beat me.”

“Have you told anyone?”

“No one here just my English teacher at school, Mrs. Maina.”

“Good because Mrs. Maina sent us here to pick you. Buch will never come again. He will never hurt you again.”

For a moment she stops digging into her finger nails that are now swollen from all the picking and bleeding. Her eyes well up. There is a sigh of relief. I lift her little structure in my right hand to the car waiting for us. Makena is going to see a doctor. Afterwards we will begin the court process to ensure rots behind bars. Her grandmother walks with us thanking us in her native language. That is one life saved, one more girl who can now go to school without worrying about predators in her backyard.

 

To everyone helping alleviate abuse against women, Bless You. A girl somewhere thanks you.


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