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Incest: A great family secret

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By Yetunde Arebi

In the wake of the Elizabeth Ochanya saga (the late 14 year old secondary school girl who was consistently abused for over five years by her uncle and his son), many emotions stirred amongst the populace.

Almost everyone had a thing or two to say about the Ogbuja family and indeed, the perpetrators of the hideous crime they ganged up to commit.

I was one of those who wept and cursed the day Mr. Victor Ogbuja    was born. Not because the thrust of the story was new but the twist to it was most bizarre.

A father and son team of sexual abusers was something many of us had not heard about until then. Don’t get me wrong, I have heard about a son sleeping with his father’s wife and I have also heard about a father having a sexual relationship with his son’s wife.

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What I had not heard about was a man and his son, engaged in a threesome. And with a child. Like a badly written scene from a horror movie.

Discussing the development with a group of women then, it threw up some other angles to abuse and incest which we do not appear concerned about nor looking into for possible creation of awareness and solution.

Many were of the opinion that while all we read about incestuous relationships in Newspapers    today is that between fathers and daughters, a whole lot more is happening between siblings, cousins and other relatives.

Enough is not being said about these other incestuous relationships thus allowing more victims fall prey. Many either go unreported by the victims or undetected by elders in the family. Those that are eventually discovered are hushed into silence for the protection of the family name.

In one of the many stories narrated at the meeting, One woman told of how many years back, grapevine had it that one of her neighbour’s children had allegedly had an incestuous relationship which resulted in a pregnancy.

According to her, the family led a rather excluded and detached life style. It was in the early days of the Pentecostal movement. Most of those who turned born again in then often perceived themselves different and better than others, so they tend to turn up their noses at the ‘sinners’, segregating themselves.

This family was one of them. They kept to themselves most of the time. The children were kept under lock , just going to school and church and never allowed to interact with other children or rather, ‘sinners’.

Perhaps, so that the children would not be corrupted.  A family driver would pick them after school to drop them at home, then leave for madam’s office and then, oga’s before they all reunite with the family late at night.

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Between 5pm and 7pm a lesson teacher comes to engage the siblings and is usually long gone before their parents’ arrival. She was sure the guy came highly recommended simply because he was a brethren.

One day, the couple were shocked to discover that their young daughter was pregnant.    Further enquires revealed that her brother was the culprit. They found out that the children had been at it for a long time while they never suspected such could be happening under their holy roof. Stories always have a way of leaking into wrong or right hands and then make the rounds.

The ‘sinners’ that had been successfully shut out got a glimpse of what was going on behind the doors of the righteous. Of course the pregnancy was swiftly terminated and the boy sent to a boarding school to as a breather of sort. But the damage had already been done.

It reminded me of a conversation I once listened at Abule Egba market where I’d gone to buy some food stuff.    I am a friend at the vegetable stalls of most markets I visit. If you have a penchant for Amala, Ewedu and Gbegiri such as I do, you’ll soon become a friend of the ‘house’, and be able to join in the conversation or asked to give an opinion on issues of discourse on your visits.

If you want to save yourself time and energy of picking the leaves too, you can have it done for a token, meaning you will either wait while its being done or you come back after completing your shopping.    So, I discovered that they were discussing incest and its prevalence in the society.

And so one of the young ladies blurted out that she had a family secret to share on the topic. It involved her elder brother and sister and the first grandchild of the family. My eyes almost popped out of their sockets, thinking it was a bit farfetched. But she went on to reveal how it happened.

According to her, the family of seven lived in one room. While their parents shared the bed, the children slept on the floor after clearing what passed for the sitting room during the day. One day, it was discovered that the eldest girl was pregnant and on interrogation named her brother as being responsible. He denied vehemently and was believed by their parents. The young girl had to stop schooling. She was in Primary six.

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The child looks very much like them and bears the family name since no one ever stepped forward to claim it despite her parents refusal to accept it was her brother’s child. The lady however revealed that she saw her brother and sister engaged in the act one night when she woke. She said she did not know what they were up to at the time as she was still very little.

But when the issue of pregnancy came up, thing became clearer to her. A few years after the incident, the lady said she summoned up courage and revealed what she thought she saw that night to their mother.

She was swiftly rebuked for making up stories and warned never to say such a thing to anyone ever again. No one, especially her mother, believed her.

If these two stories happened many years ago, Austin’s is not too long gone. The young banker who now volunteers at the Teenagers department of his church recently shared an unnerving story of his sexual relationship with a cousin which almost ruined his life.

“I had an affair with my cousin. It sexual experience began when I was in Primary school. One of our landlord’s daughters lured me into a relationship with her. I was almost 10 years old then.

The affair stopped when we moved out of their house. We were never caught, so I cannot say if anyone knew about it. She was older than me anyways and was the one that imitated almost all our meetings.

By the time I finished Secondary school, I had learnt more about sex through one pornography book I came across by chance. And though I did not have any girlfriend at the time because I was rather shy, I already knew what to do if the opportunity came to handle a beautiful girl.

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As luck would have it, I have this very beautiful cousin who lived abroad but always came home for the holidays. The whole thing started while we were watching a programme on the Television one night.

She was wearing a transparent dress and the two of us were laying down on the rug behind the sofa which provided coverage from anyone that might look our way. I don’t know where I managed to get the boldness from, but something told me to try. So I started fondling her breasts.

To my surprise, she did not say anything, so I continued. Then she got up and went to her room which I took as a sign that she was interested. I followed her to her room and we started all the dirty game. Unfortunately, her holiday was over and she was returning to England the next day. She made me promise to stay with them when I come over for my holiday.

I could not believe my luck and so I convinced my parents to send me over even before my younger siblings were ready. I had just finished my WAEC and was awaiting admission for the University, so they had no problems sending me ahead. When I got to England, we quickly took off where we stopped. We became so close that people who did not know we were cousins always mistook us for a couple.

I fell in love with her and was blindfolded by my desires to propose marriage to her, believing that she was the best for me and it was possible to marry my cousin. And since we shared the same room and bed and my aunt, her mother thought nothing was wrong about, I guess we were convinced that nothing could happen.

We would have fun throughout the night sometimes. But things came to an end when I received a call from my brother in Nigeria that I had been offered admission to a university in Nigeria.

The day I was to leave was a sad day. After my return, we would contact each other on the phone every day.    It affected me so much that I could not stay on the campus. I rented a room so I could have all the privacy I needed and to prepare for when she would visit Nigeria.

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She would call me every day, speaking lovely, sexy words into my ears and how she missed me and wanted to be with me. She had also resumed college too and the affair continued as we both shuttled between Nigeria and England at every opportunity.

It was as if indeed, we would end up marrying each other. But one day, a friend managed to persuade me to accompany him to a special church event.

There, it was as if the message was specially written for me. I got arrested by the holy spirit and gave my life to Christ. I became born again and realised that I was deeply engaged in an evil act and I eventually had to tell her it was over.

It was not easy from then on between us. She began threatening me that she would tell the family what we had been doing. She even threatened to tell them that I had raped her while she was on holiday in our house and subsequently forced her into an affair with me.

Later, she told me that she had gotten pregnant for me at some point and had to abort the baby because she did not want to put me into trouble.

She said she would not allow me to dump her after messing her up. But you know that when you have God on your side, nothing can shake you. I informed her that I cannot deny doing all that we did together, but that at the time, I did not realise that it was a sin in the eyes of God and an abomination in the eyes of man.

And even wickedness on the part of the boy as Joseph said in Genesis Ch 39: 9. Eventually, I had to confide in an older cousin who is also a Christian. I was convinced in my spirit that he would understand. With his help, I confessed to my parents who then called her mother and the matter was resolved as best as they could.

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Unfortunately, it has damaged the relationship between my father and her mother who are first cousins but were so close many always thought they were siblings. We both do not talk despite the fact that I have tried to make peace with her many times. She also does not visit Nigeria again”.

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