Eketi Edima Ette writes in Eket/Ibibio, a language spoken by Eketi and Ibibio people of Akwa Ibom state, Nigeria. She throws emphasis on the need for openness and communication between mother and daughter.
IKWO MMA AMMIH ANYAHA
Ata akpa ini aninianwe ake ki mbied mi idi, ikwo ekeh ammi ake anyaa mi. Nke de isua me nte ite, me nte iniang, ata etuk aju; ufan ada amakpu anwe, nte isua edip. Anye akede aju ufakh ayid.
Ekeh mi amakan ame adikpeb yide akpan mkpo nte mbede. Mkpo kiang anye ake kpebke ami mme ndito ekeh ammi akede ke efod ayid ideke itighe mbede. Ndien anye akungho atang ate ke inagha nte ayid idup anye mkpo nte kiang; ke anwe akpe adoho ate yak idup nkpo, yakh ayid itang isin anye me utong.
Ufan anim, yak ibong anye Bassey, aketongho aditang ndiseme ini anye amaki jih yide idi.
“Mbufo emdiongo se esi kama efud enam?” anye ama abup ammih mme akpe-ekeh ammi. Nte ndughu-utin ayid ikiide, ayid iboro se ayid iki idiongo.
Iboro ada amakan anih anye tutu, koro anye anyak sak immeh nte edokho ke se ayid ikiboro ada anih immeh tutu. Ndien anye ama ake sak ama, anye ayadokho ate ke usu kiang, imo iya ikpeb yide se ekan ekana efod ene.
Ammi nkimeke immeh esi, sia akeba nte ammi ndionghoke mkpo; ndien ini ada, mmasua yak anwe akede ke ammi ndionghoke mkpo. Ammi mma diomo m’esit ammi adibup Mma ammi me ns eke esekana eka efod ene, me ikpideke utok ikim. Ade, usu m’usu, mma nkere mma, ndien Mma ammi anyong utu adi, nya fere. Nnekeke ntuyo, ade aba nne mbummo anima ma ka isii mkpo nte udua kiang.
Akedikem usu kiang, Baa ammi mme Mma ammi emadakha utum. Suk Bassey, ammi, mme akpe-ekeh ammi ikiba mme ufakh. Nkesuk nde ide, ini nkuuho naa anwe adip asike me ikok. Ide ama anyoho anyih, mme ntak ada ammi nkpaakpa idi aditad anyih ini anye ansikeke mi iba. Nditad anyih ini anye ake anwanake adisin akpuhwo efod esi meakim.
“Bassey, tere ke ambiak,” ammi ntang, ndien nnwana nangha nkpesio me ukuh esi.
“Mbok, ima mmi, tad ukod. Nyem isin ata etuk etuk. Tad ukod mfo.”
“Iyo. Tiide ke ambiak,” ammih nke tang.
Bassey ama ka isii anwana adiduk idi ammih, ade sia anye imiki kemeke, anye ate, “Ima, kufuna. Nkpong, nyakama nnun mmi tutu anye umeghe. Ndien nnya kama nkpo utok ikim mmi.”
Usu ada, Mma ammih akenyong utum adih, ammi mmaka mbine anye me ufak ubum.
“Mma, nse ke ekan ekana efod ayid ene?”
“Ekama etok ikim. Nsimam ambip?”
“Bassey akebo ke anyie nkpo mfen se esikama enam. Nyem adidiongho man ami ndoko anye.”
Ekeh ammi ama adaha akpong itighe anye akedaa, adisoro me isih ammih.
“Abo ke Bassey akebo so?”
“Akebo ke anyie nkpo mfen se esikama mkpo utok ikim nnyin enam. Ubakasen ami, anye ama anwana adisin mkpo utok ikim ammo ke akemmi ado ikimagha adiduk. Ndien anye ate ke mkpong iya ikamma nnun ammo tutu anye ammeghe.”
Ekeh ammih ama anfeh mi annung andokho mi ate ke mmane ata atik mkpo adidokho anye. Akpere Mma ammih iki inkpebke mmi mkpo anim ndien ufan ada nmbied mi idi, ndionghoke nte mkpe ba mfin. Mmekom Mma ammi etietih, sia anye ama ankpeb se ide akpan mkpo. Anye amane no afo tutu. Abasi aka isih adiong Mma ammih, Aniema Ette.
MOTHER’S WORDS TO THE RESCUE
The very first time I faced sexual molestation, I was about three or four years old and it was my mother’s words that saved me.
The perpetrator was our help and he was about twenty. One of the first things my mother ever taught my siblings and I, was that our private parts were just for us and no one else was to touch or play with those parts of our bodies. She also taught us to keep no secrets from her; if anyone asked us to keep a secret, we were to come whisper such secrets in her ears.
This fellow, let’s call him Bassey, began grooming me during bath times.
“Do you know what your vagina and penis are used for?” he asked my brother and I one say. Being the innocent children we were, we gave the only answer we knew.
“We use it to pee-pee,” was our reply. This answer always amused him, for whenever we gave it, he would throw back his head and laugh uproariously. Then he’d say that one day he was going to show us what it was really used for.
I was quite displeased by his amusement, for it made me feel like I didn’t know something. And at that age, I didn’t like not knowing something. So I made up my mind to ask my mother what other use our vagina and penis had. But each day, when she returned from work, I would forget to ask. I’m not so certain of the duration, but this question and answer sessions must have gone on for about a week.
Then the day arrived when he was ready to move in for the kill. My parents were away at work and the only ones at home were myself, my brother and Bassey. I was sleeping, when I felt arms lifting me from the bed. Still half-asleep, I didn’t bother opening my eyes, not even when he pulled off my panties and sat me astride his lap. However, I came almost fully awake when I felt his member trying to force its way inside my tiny vagina.
“Bassey, stop! It hurts,” I said, trying to shimmy off his lap.
“Please, my love, open up,” he said, “Just let me enter a little. I just want to put it in a little. Open your legs.”
“No. It hurts. Stop it,” I said.
When he tried a couple more times and couldn’t penetrate, he said, “Don’t worry, my love. I’ll use my finger from tomorrow until you’re ready. Then I’ll use my penis.”
That afternoon, when my mother returned from work and was in the kitchen chopping vegetables for lunch, I went to meet her in the kitchen.
“Mummy, what’s our pee-pee used for?” I asked.
“It’s used to pee. Why do you ask?”
“Because Bassey said there’s another use for it and I want you to tell me, so I can tell him.”
My mother stopped in her tracks and came to where I was.
“Bassey said what?”
“He said there’s another use for our pee-pee. This morning when I was sleeping, he carried me from the bed, put me on his leg and tried to put his pee-pee in my own. Mummy, his pee-pee is big and it was painful. But it didn’t enter. So he said that tomorrow, he’ll use his finger until I get used to it.” All this I delivered without pausing to take a breath.
My mother hugged me and said I was a very good girl; that I’d done the right thing to tell her. Because of what she taught me, I was able to skirt that first episode of sexual abuse. If my mother was negligent and that fellow had had his way, perhaps my life wouldn’t have turned out so good.
I celebrate my mother today. She did right by me and didn’t shy away from teaching me what was necessary. God bless my mother, Aniema Ette.