As we went to bed, hours later, my mother’s words kept ringing in my head.
My Ruth. Yes, the very same Ruth.
I wondered why I never noticed anything was different about her, on all the occasions that we spent punching the keys to the piano after lunch at my father’s house. She never showed any signs of being violated or being tampered with.
Or maybe she did and I just never noticed.
I visited Ruth’s parents’ house, the next day. I tried to look past those cute eyeballs, to see what laid beneath. But I didn’t see anything.
I hoped my parents would make sure that both Emma and Ruth were taken for counselling or some therapy of some sort. It was so obvious that the 16 year-old needed help. His thought patterns needed to be analysed, his psychology examined.
When I travelled back to school few days later, I made a mental note to keep in touch with my sister for the latest news on the issue.
“Babe, how far?” I mouthed into the phone, as I walked home from class a week later.
“Aunty, I’m fine, oh! you just forget sumborri!” she replied.
“I hear, how’s everyone? Gimme gist biko,” I said to her.
“Tatafo!” she screamed. “Okay, headlines! One: Emma was caught in the evening of the same day he escaped. Two: Mama Mine crase have cure after the incident. Three: Emma …”
“Issokay, biko! Ruth, nko?” I asked. Those were the details I really wanted to know.
“Well … after they caught Emma,” she said, “They made him confess to the prayer warriors and ask for forgiveness. Even his mother, too. She was protecting her son till she saw the key and his phone, as proof. So, they did deliverance for him the next day and since then he’s been sitting in the back of the church. He’s on suspension, I think … till the church is ready to welcome him back. His mother have humble ehhn, I even pity her sef. As for Ruth, the mother took her to the clinic for check-up and all … that’s all oo, aunty,” she told me.
I was happy that Mama Mine had seen the light, even if it had been in a hard way. More than most, she deserved it. But what about Ruth? No mental or psychological help for her? Her mother said she wanted her family issues to be private and they’d prayed for her too, so she’d be fine.
But, I don’t want no deliverance for my Ruth, I told myself. I wanted her to be examined by a capable hand; I wanted her to be given help, counselling, therapy. Something to help her understand and cope with the trauma she experienced for months. And I realised that even though I still hated Emma, he needed more than deliverance sessions. He needed to be examined and taken off this vile path to prevent future re-occurrence.
“No! Such should not be mentioned among us,” my dad would say. So, all he got was deliverance session and suspension and “the blood of Jesus wiped everything as snow”.
That was when I began to see how inherent self-denial is, in most Christians in this part of the world. And even though I reached out to Chioma Nnani, who referred me to a capable hand, Ruth’s mum refused to let her be helped …
A. Rebelle is a 20-something year-old African lady and these are her adventures.