Child Abuse: A Nightmare Facing Most Children across Kenya

I never had a normal childhood, nor did I ever experience my teenage. This was a luxury that I couldn’t ever afford

By Amina Faki

I lived in hell from one day to the next, but there was nothing I could do to escape. I didn’t know where I would go if I did. I felt utterly powerless, and that feeling was my prison.

I never had a normal childhood, nor did I ever experience my teenage. This was a luxury that I couldn’t ever afford.

Peace at home is a term I could only get to experience when my father was in a good mood or is it? Every single issue would erode a violent reaction, and it got me thinking was I always doing everything wrong, was I an outcast, was I adopted or what could be the cause?

John Burnside best describes my father, he was one of those men who sit in a room and you can feel it: the shimmer, the sense of some unpredictable force that might at any moment break loose and do something terrible.

My father if he ever was is the worst nightmare any child could have, if I had one wish in life I would ask for a better dad.

I joined the school at a tender age, three years to be precise. You must be thinking I was intelligent, brave enough to be in school at that age. The funny thing is that back then my teacher asked me to touch my left ear with my right hand; if able to touch it I would be enrolled in school. I was pretty small back then; I knew in my heart that I wouldn’t reach it so I challenged her to let me calculate a mathematical sum.

My courage got me admission. This was the happiest moment of my life. At least I would get away from my father, at least that’s what I thought. I never knew my small escapade was to make my life far much worse and miserable. Doing take-away assignments was a tussle; I had to try to work out tough mathematical problems while being belted at the same time. This happened on a daily basis, from pre-school to high school education.
Tears, tears and more tears were the norm in our house; we were a family living in a house and not a home.
I could take all verbal and psychological abuse, the worst moments were when he belted my mama, siblings and I just because one of us failed in school, lost a book, asked for money to pay for tuition. You must be thinking that’s petty, right? But that’s the story of my life.

I hated myself; I thought I was different, not good enough, and useless. This is how my father brought me up, no friends just cooped up behind closed gates if not in school.

When I was ten, I would always pray that my parents should get divorced. But my mom chose to stay for my brothers who were so young then. I was too scared to leave home and too scared to stay.

I started to live at my late-twenties on the streets of Nairobi; I got to experience life, love, friendship, peace, and much more than I had in my tender age only witnessed others live. Life became a class, a class I still take to date just like learning the alphabet, or a baby learning how to walk or talk. The excitement of having the chance to live far away from violence made my world light up; it was the light I expected to find at the end of the tunnel.

Through it all, the violence killed most things in me but it never killed my hope of living a better life.
Now sitting by the side of the pool in my Porsche compound, sipping from a glass bearing my best expensive wine, I realize that I was actually alive then but never really lived.

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