So much for family

Prudence Muganiwa  Roaming
I emphasised the importance of the family unit as well as the retention of family values, principles, love, care and respect for each other in the last two weeks’ articles. Some of the readers who have given me feedback on the subject are grateful for the support they have from their loved ones, whilst others have cried foul over how their family ties have gradually disintergrated into nothing.

Charmaine is a 16-year-old who stays with her sister Charlotte and her husband Craig in the city. Her retired parents stay in a small town where they acquired a small farm. They now practice subsistence farming.

Charlotte, having attained college education and subsequently a well-paying job, offered to stay with her younger sibling in the city so that she could have access to better education. So completing primary education, Charmaine left for the city. She only comes back to the farm during school holidays.

Craig had absolutely no problem with that, especially after their twin babies came along and mainini can help babysit here and there. Fair and fine.

But Charmaine has grown into a beautiful and intelligent young lady, much like her older sister. Craig has vowed that if she continues scoring good grades and remaining in leadership positions at school, he will fund her university fees.

It so happened that Charlotte gradually became less and less satisfied with her job and qualifications until she decided to pursue a Master’s degree. Since she still had to go to work while studying, she settled on a block release programme. Coincidentally, Charmaine had just written her Ordinary level examinations and was awaiting her results.

She could have gone back to the farm, but then the twins needed her more. They needed at least one mummy around – and it didn’t help much that Charlotte had never believed in house help as their mother had trained them to manage all departments in their households by themselves.

So as it turned out, every two weeks, Charmaine would be with Craig and the twins – who now called her mummy, by the way. Gradually, Craig began to see more and more of his wife in Charmaine, and started falling in love with what he saw.

He tried to win her attention; wooing failed, promises fell on deaf ears but eventually threats did the trick. He wouldn’t pay her fees anymore and she would have to go back to the farm. He would go to the Avenues and pick a random girl to sleep with and possibly infect her beloved sister with one disease or the other. He would ensure that her life was a living hell basically.

As fate would have it, the timid, shy girl found herself giving in despite her strong reservations about the whole arrangement. How could she tell her sister that her beloved husband was making moves on her, hitting her bum every time she walked past him, sending her texts in the middle of the night, opening the bathroom door while she bathed? Her dear beloved sister, who so happened to have high blood pressure and a heart condition? What if the news affected her health and she sank into depression?

And what would their parents say, after all their “God-sent” mukwasha (son-in-law) took care of their every need, be it fertilizers, medication for their various ailments or groceries. So her dignity and virginity went down the drain, so brutally taken away by a seemingly “loving” and devoted family member.

Rape. There is just too much of it in present-day society. And it is usually by a trusted family member – father even.
You see them in their suits, driving nice cars, wearing church bands and uniforms, looking sophisticated as they give speeches from their dignified desks, sending their children to elite schools and buying their wives nice cars and you are inclined to think that these are caring, considerate human beings with a passion for providing for their families.

But if the statistics that are flying about are anything to go by, these people are disappointing.

Just yesterday I was reading about a father who raped his own two-month-old baby. How or why he did it is beyond me. Some culprits have confessed that some healers would have promised them riches or healing from HIV if they had unprotected sex with a minor. Have our men become that foolish?

Some theories do not even need education for verification, how does a virus that is already in one’s body mysteriously vanish simply by having sexual intercourse with a baby? In fact, l think these are just cruel, heartless men who are not under any ritualistic instruction but who simply rape for the sake it.

To my dear men and boys who are reading this, there are actually many women out there. So many that you can actually get off your seat and find yourself one without having to rape her, as long as you play your cards right. So many good women waiting and praying for Mr Right.

So many other women even accepting payment for your needs. Amazing, isn’t it? It does not have to be the two-month-old baby, I plead. You don’t have to go to prison for foolishly forcing yourself on the helpless child.

It’s sad that just like in Charmaine’s case, most girls are suffering this abuse in silence to preserve the family values and structures that seemingly cannot be destroyed.

“Vanhu vanozotii, iwewe chingonyarara. Unonyanyawo kupfeka zvino vakweva maziso ivo babamukuru vako” (what will people say, just keep quiet. You bring this upon yourself anyway, why do you wear such attractive clothes in front of your uncle?).

This is a statement that most rape victims have been told after reporting to their mothers and sisters. Some Charlottes of this world even go on to defend their husband and disown their flesh and blood for trying to woe their husband and breaking their precious marriages.

Does anyone at all care to hear Charmaine’s side of the story? Why are the Craigs of society treated as saints in all this? So much for family.

[email protected], Facebook: PrudieNatsaiMuganiwah

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