The World’s Worst Fathers

Image: LA Progressive My mind keeps flitting to this year’s Father’s Day and an incident that happened on Twitter. While most people were praising their fathers, this girl (whom I won’t mention) shared a thread about her abusive father and how he isn’t, for lack of a better word, shit. She wished her mother a happy father’s day for being both father and mother to her and her siblings and prayed her father rots in hell. People were angry that she deigned to say such things about her father. One guy in particular was so mad, he started a thread of his own. The crux of his thread was that he didn’t want to hear about her father being horrible, that she should have kept it to herself and worse, that she was a useless child for airing those things about her father. I was livid at the guy (and other people like him) for bashing the girl. I wondered why it was okay for them to praise their fathers on their own timelines but it wasn’t okay for the girl to call out her father on her timeline. I remember tweeting along those lines and saying that everyone had a right to whatever emotion they had and it was wrong to shut people down because they do not look or think like us. Today however, the incident has me thinking about the reasons why that girl spoke about her father like that. I played all the scenarios of fathers I have met and been told about and I couldn’t help but conclude that there are some really horrible fathers out there. So…here is my list of the world’s worst fathers;           1.     THE ‘BREAD LOSER’: If the bread winner is one who takes care of the family, the ‘bread loser’ is my word for one who doesn’t. People know that in many homes, the mother is the breadwinner of the family. She works or trades to ensure the family is catered for while maintaining the ruse that the father provides the money. Now, I am not hammering on men who cannot take care of their families – probably from illness, disability or recent job loss – but men who won’t take care of their families. There was this time in film school when we were doing emotional exercises and one of the acting students shared her experience. In her words, she was glad her father was dead. Many people balked at that statement but I wanted to know why. Thing is, her father had been a deadbeat father. He never provided for any of their basic necessities, choosing to spend whatever he made on himself. It was so bad that at his death, they had nothing! They were forced out of their house and their properties reclaimed to settle his debts. They had to live in an uncompleted building for months until someone took pity on them. Hearing her talk was about the hardest thing I could do. The pain was so raw that there wasn’t a dry eye in that room. And though some of our course mates said she should never have said something like that, I understood. You cannot imagine how horrible it is to have a father who lets you go hungry while being the man-about-town in bars and clubs or who makes you suffer the shame of being driven from school every term for school fees; or having a father who spends money on clothes and cars but doesn’t care that you are wearing rags; or even having a father who spends money eating grilled fish with cronies every night while the family eats Miyan Kuka every day.  These kinds of fathers deserve to be on the list of the world’s worst fathers.           2.     THE CASANOVA; These are the fathers who chase and date anything in skirts; or trousers. Everyone knows they are philanderers, flirts, womanizers or just plain licentious. Their wives and children bare the shame for these men who seem to have no shame. These are the ones who bring in their side pieces into their matrimonial homes and beds when the wife takes a simple two-day trip. They are the ones who dishonor their children with their unabashed lack of restraint and strength of character. There is this friend of mine whose father is a professor. Each new academic year brought him a bevy of fresh undergrads for his taking. When the guy was in 300L, he met a girl who, coincidentally, was one of his father’s side pieces. After the initial anger, he and the girl became friends. I was shocked when he told me that. I wondered at his decision until he explained. ‘My father doesn’t care two-bits about us. He gives us a basic allowance and when something new comes up and we need more money, he tells us he has done his part. I know he spends a lot of money on his girls; they even brag about it. So when I became friends with the girl, I told her how he treats us. She came up with the idea that whenever I need something, I could pass it unto her and she would get the money from my father. And true to her word, when asking for her allowance from my father, she would add the amount I needed and that was how I got by in school.’ Horrible, right? No! This guy needed to get basics for school; basics that his father wouldn’t give him but would give a girl he was fucking seeing. No wonder he had to do what he could to get some money. Some of these men may not openly disrespect their families but they are still Casanovas. How do I know? I have been propositioned by men whom I knew were married and whose children could be my age and even older. I have hung out with friends at bars where obviously married men were

Good Christian People II

Add caption Tolulope has been facing abuse from her family and boyfriend because of a mistake she made. She is about to be pounced on by her brother in-law and her sister. Would she escape the beating she is sure to get? Will her life get better? Find out by continuing the story. Remember, all the events of this story are based on true events. Only the names have been changed. If you haven’t seen Part 1, start off here. *** For 2 days they beat Tolulope, punctuating each slap or kick or punch with the Bible thrust into her face, reminding her that she could be free when she swore to give up her boyfriend and their child. She lost consciousness several times and as soon as she came to, the threats and subsequent beatings continued. By the third day, she couldn’t take it anymore. She went to them while they breakfasted and knelt down. ‘Uncle, Aunty, I have come here to apologize. I have been a fool. I have been a disobedient child and I have been sinful. Today, I want to swear before you and God that I have repented and I will never see Femi or Ayo again. I will obey you with the whole of my heart and do anything you want. If you still want me to swear with the Bible, I will do so.’ Aderopo smiled. ‘You have done well. If you had agreed since, you wouldn’t have suffered all these things. But you know that God told me to do that. Anyway, go and eat.’ For a week, Tolulope was the picture of the perfect niece; waking up early, cleaning the house, bathing the kids, prepping them for school, cooking the household meals and doing the dishes and laundry. For one week Tolulope didn’t speak to Femi or her daughter or anyone else for that matter. She was not allowed to go out of the gate by the express instruction of Aderopo but she didn’t even attempt to. Until her opportunity came. Friday, the gate man, left the house every day at 1pm and 4pm to play draft at the top of the street. He would return after 30 minutes and continue his work; like clockwork. He usually locked the door from outside with a piece of stick instead of the padlock. Her sister had gone to the market and Tolulope knew she had time. Her uncle was not due back until 6pm. This had to happen today or no other day. As soon as it was 1pm, Friday set off for his game. Tolulope gave him 5 minutes. She ran out to the gate and started shaking it. Gently, gently she did to see if she could dislodge the stick. She continued on for 15 minutes and with each push-and-tug, she despaired at getting caught. Finally the stick fell! She opened the gate and looked out. There was no one on the street. She got out of the house, put the stick back in place and walked away. The street was a typical upscale street in Abuja. There were no hiding places and getting a bike or taxi was hard. She had to walk long distances to get one. She walked as calmly as she could because she didn’t want to arouse attention. She nearly died when she saw a car coming her way. Was it her uncle? His wife? Was she about to be caught? Her heart was beating faster than was healthy. Her legs couldn’t carry her further and she just stood there. The car inched closer…and closer… …and then it passed. Phew! It wasn’t her family! That was her cue. Damn any attention she would draw to herself. She had to run! And run she did! When she got to the top of the street, she saw a bike and used all her desperation to flag him down. When he stopped, Tolulope saw, from the corner of her eye, the unmistakable red of her uncle’s car and before she could tell the bike man where, she jumped on, and shouted ‘Go! Go! Go!’ The bike man roared with speed and passed Aderopo who wondered at the rough rider and continued home. There were two car parks close to the estate and Tolulope asked the driver to take her to the farthest. Her heart was still racing and she knew she was not out of the loop yet.  When they got to the park, she saw a vehicle going to Kaduna and they needed just one person to fill it. She jumped into it and the driver collected her money. As he went about looking for change, Tolulope kept praying she would escape. She just wanted to leave; she just wanted to live. When they finally got on their way, they got caught in traffic. Maybe God wasn’t going to help her after all. She knew that her uncle would come after her and he would not stop at anything. She kept praying and praying until the red jaguar rolled up and stopped right by their side; by Tolulope’s side. It was her uncle. She was in the back seat but if he looked, he would see her in the rearview mirror. Tolulope ducked, hitting the Muslim woman beside her. The woman asked what the fuss was about. ‘That man in that car is my uncle. He has been raping me for years and beating me. I just escaped today. Please, help me.’ The woman looked at him and looked at her. She looked at him again. She made up her mind, took off her veil, covered Tolulope and put her hand on her. The man in the car looked at her and she could almost feel his malevolence. He looked away and inched closer in the traffic lane. After 15 minutes, the gridlock opened and they were on their way. Smooth sailing to Kaduna. And all through, the girl she had just helped cried and cried. *** When Tolulope

Good Christian People

Based on true events. Girl crying.Image: Women’s Net Tolulope Brainard sat in front of Dr. Kikelomo with bated breaths. Everything seemed to be going in slow motion. She was sure that the result in that envelope would change her life forever, yet she dreaded what it would say. She wanted to pray but knew that whatever prayer she sent now was too late anyway. It was either positive or negative. ‘You are pregnant Tolulope.’ Dr. Kikelomo said. She didn’t just say it with finality; that would have been nice. Dr. Kikelomo said that with cynicism, seemingly mocking her predicament. Tolulope got up to leave. Dr. Kikelomo stopped her in her tracks. ‘I must say that I am ashamed of you. How could you have been fornicating all this while? What a shame you are to the church! You do know I am sending the report to the pastor so you can be disciplined right?’ Tolulope looked back at her and turned the door knob. She walked out of the consulting room and out of the hospital. As she wandered the streets in a state of confusion, her life’s choices began to flash before her. *** Tolulope was born into a strong Christian family. She was the youngest girl of four siblings; one brother and three sisters. Her father died when she was five and her mother took up the responsibility of taking care of them. They were poor; not piss poor, but poor still. Her mother, if anything, became more religious. She spent all her time reading her Bible, attending church services and doing evangelism. Tolulope grew up on nothing but the Bible, its edicts and its teachings. Her mother drummed morality into all her children, chief of which was staying away from fornication. Tolulope knew by heart all the Bible verses about sexual sins. Her oldest sister – Shayo – was married off to the church choirmaster, Aderopo Bolaji, when she was 17. He was a middle class man who worked in the government. He took the load off Tolulope’s mother by paying most of her bills. As he got promoted, his burden increased; he became the chief financier of Tolulope’s family. He trained Tolulope’s siblings until only Tolulope was left. When Tolulope got into the university, she maintained her Christian life. She studied hard, prayed a lot, never missed campus fellowships and completely stayed off boys. She did all that until she met Femi. Femi was handsome, intelligent and dedicated to the things of God. He was, in her definition, the perfect man. No one taught her to understand her body and its urges so when she started feeling things for Femi, she chucked it up to being ‘sinful’. She prayed to God to deliver her from her feelings and when that didn’t happen, blamed Him for them. She found out later that Femi also shared same feelings and they started dating…or more appropriately, courting. They never spent any time alone together. They always had a chaperone or a friend. They didn’t want to tempt the devil to cause them to sin. When they had dated for 2 years, Femi proposed and Tolulope said yes. She was elated! She couldn’t wait to share the happy news. She called her mother and sister Shayo and they seemed genuinely pleased. God had sent them a good man. When Shayo told Aderopo, he flew into a rage. How dare Tolulope date someone? Who gave her the right to date anyone he had not first approved off? Shayo was surprised at the anger but since the Bible urged her to submit to her husband, she soon began to see things in his light. Aderopo began to make life harder for Tolulope. He told her to choose between Femi and continuing her education. When she didn’t listen, he threatened to stop sending money to their sick mother. Tolulope told Femi everything and they decided to keep their relationship secret until Shayo’s husband was more cooperative. Well, she couldn’t hide it any more. *** Carrying the pregnancy was the hardest thing Tolulope had to do. Aderopo beat her every day, maybe hoping she would lose the pregnancy. Shayo joined her husband in the beatings. When they weren’t beating her, they were piling house chores on her. They prevented her from going to church because she was, in their words, a disgrace to their family. The only time Tolulope was happy was when she returned to school but even that was a drag. Her course mates gave her that how-can-you-be-born-again-and-pregnant look. She couldn’t explain that she had had sex with Femi in a moment of weakness and the result had been the baby. She couldn’t explain that she had prayed to God, begged for His forgiveness and felt that she deserved the suffering she was facing at the moment. Femi’s mother, who had been so loving when they were introduced, suddenly became a monster when Femi told her about the pregnancy. She swore that Tolulope was the corrupting influence on her very Christian son. She swore that when Tolulope gave birth, she would take ‘their baby’ and be done with her. Tolulope was afraid she would lose her child. So every day, she prayed, hoped and begged God to let the child be okay and to be able to keep it. Maybe God finally took pity on her. *** Tolulope had not seen her sister’s family in two years. Since that day when she took out the IV line from her hand, took her baby and walked out of the hospital, she had not even thought of them. She was happy with her beautiful child and even though she had to hide the effects of Femi’s physical abuse from the inquisitive eyes (and hands) of her daughter, she was happy. Oh! She didn’t tell you? Femi was abusive too. From the moment she turned up at his door, he took every opportunity to beat her. And he had many excuses; she was a temptress, she

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