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My father-in-law raped me

With Agatha  Edo, Email: womaneditor@independentngonline.com gataedo@yahoo.com or agatha.edo@gmail.com, 08054500626

Dear Agatha,

 

Two months ago, my husband of 18 months travelled for a six-month course abroad. Since I was with a little baby and nobody to stay with me, his mother told him to allow me come stay with them pending the time he would come back from his training.

My mother-in-law was the second wife and was hardly at home due to the nature of her business. The first wife too also had a business to run so I was left on my own most of the time. But it was better than staying in our flat all by myself.

The first time it happened, I was all alone with my father-in-law at home when he raped me right on my mother-in-law’s bed. There was nobody to talk to and besides who would believe me?

It became a pattern for him to force his attention on me anytime he so desires. 

I didn’t even know I had become pregnant because I was still breast-feeding my baby. It was my mother-in-law who discovered my state and demanded for an explanation.  It was then I opened up to her about what has been happening behind her. To my surprise, she believed my story just as my father-in-law didn’t bother to deny being responsible for my pregnancy. It was at that point I discovered that he is the father of his first daughter’s child; a reason why the first wife and her children hate him with so much passion.

I am so confused and don’t know what to do. Though I have aborted the pregnancy, I am not so sure about my stay in the house and family anymore.

Despite the fact that my mother-in-law has begged me not to tell my husband, there is no way I would feel comfortable anymore knowing what I have been through in the hands of my father-in-law. 

I haven’t told my family and don’t know if I should inform my husband about the incident. In my part of the country, what the father did to me is considered a taboo. I am afraid for my child. What if I allow my husband get close to me and he dies or my son for that matter?

I really love my husband and would have loved to spend the rest of my life with him but given this shameful act, how can I allow my husband get intimate with me when I now hate all men? 

He is due back any moment from now and I still don’t have a clue as to what to do.

What should I do? Do I tell my husband the whole story of what his father did to me? 

Distressed Wife.

 

 

Dear Distressed Wife,

Honestly, your story is very pathetic. But you acted childish by not telling your mother-in-law the first time he raped you. By not saying anything, you gave the impression that you liked it hence his nerve in coming back to rape you whenever he felt the urge to sleep with you.

Had you fought him, threatened to tell the whole world, he might not have continued till he got you pregnant.  In a way, by your silence you gave him the confidence to. Even if you couldn’t tell your mother-in-law, you could have reported the incident to your husband or insisted on going to stay with a friend or your family pending the time your husband comes back.

Since his father has the record of having raped his daughter, without you even telling your husband the entire story of what transpired, he would have guessed your reasons through your action.

Also, your mother-in-law and husband share in the blame. Since your husband knew his father has the problem of sleeping indiscriminately with women, including his daughter, he should never have agreed to his mother’s suggestion that you come to stay in the same house as his father while he was away. Any man who can father a child through his daughter, is capable of sleeping with any woman. Your husband should have either insisted you stayed alone in the house or with your own people if he didn’t want to tell you the nature of his father. By allowing you stay without putting you on the alert, he indirectly helped the situation you are now in. No matter how hard a leopard tries, he can never change its spots.

Your mother-in-law as an elderly woman, should have devoted more time to protecting you from her husband. Knowing the nature of her husband, she should have pended her business since she was the one that invited you to come and stay. As it is, it is only a matter of time before your husband hears the full story. If he doesn’t hear it from his parents, he would definitely hear it from one of his siblings especially from his stepsiblings who would joyfully give him all the details since the shame isn’t only on their side of the family anymore.

Since his course is nearing completion, move out of that home immediately. You can go to your parents’. For now, don’t tell them anything, just give them an excuse as to why you want to come and stay with them until your husband comes back.

Once he gets back, tell him everything. He deserves to know. If you decide to leave him after telling him, at least he would know why. After that, you can tell your parents if you so desire but be sure that you are convinced that you are through with the marriage because no sane parents would want their daughter to continue in such a family.

Frankly a lot depends on your husband. Even though you are the victim, some men would have this habit of making the woman feel like the offender when it comes to rape cases. The simple fact that you didn’t speak out when it first happened is enough reason for him to adjudge you guilty but like I said, the direction your home heads would depend greatly on how much he loves you as well as his level of maturity.

The fact that you got pregnant in the process and had to abort is another high point of worry. But at this delicate stage, commit everything to the hands of God.

As for your customs and tradition, let your husband worry about that. Since he isn’t oblivious of it, he will certainly know the steps to take. And if he isn’t, point it out to him of the consequences of both of you not intimating elders in your side of the family of the spiritual implications of what his father did to you later in life.

Even if you don’t have such cultural norms, it isn’t right for both father and son to have sexual relationship with the same woman. The fact that you got pregnant in the process of it is enough reasons for you and your husband to seek spiritual help from a pastor. Go before an ordained man of God who is in a position to intercede on your behalf to ward off any spiritual consequences of the abomination your father-in-law committed with you.

Whatever happens, be rest assured that God is a fair judge and would at His time and season wipe away the pains, humiliations and abuse of this moment. And one of the ways you can rise above this challenge is to refuse to take the blame of being responsible for it.

God is your strength and reason for being alive.

Good luck.

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