It was a cold Monday morning when I was woken up by the sound of shattering glass, screaming and what seemed to be running people. I jumped out of my bed and as I was about to open the door to check out what was happening. It hit me. The noise was familiar. It was my dad beating my mum. Oh wait, I didn’t tell you the story?
You see, my dad was a violent man. He used to beat mom, my siblings, neighbors and me. I grew up seeing the horror my mum went through but I was helpless. My dad was a doctor and we had a comfortable life to the outside world. But behind closed doors. Terror is all I knew.
When you are raised in a violent household. Feelings and emotions are foreign to you. Anger, a high temper and fighting are your three quick responses to many situations. I didn’t even think it was a problem. After all, my dad was a successful doctor and he did worse.
I had a sister. She was my dad’s favorite person in the world. In my dad’s eyes she never did anything wrong. I was 4 years older than her and we weren’t spared from the sibling rivalry. We fought a lot, like a lot. We never discussed issues at hand or find solutions. We did what we knew. Fight!
My dad was a man of few words and occasionally asked me to be a responsible man, advance in my studies and make money. I wish the case at home were different because my violence cost me a lot. I lost friends, opportunities and education.
My 18th birthday left a mark on my heart, destroyed my dad and mentally ruined my mother. It was a great party. I had invited all my four friends and one neighbor. My sister and parents invited the rest. I had turned into a man.
The next morning it was business as usual. My sister had taken my hoodie without my permission and she had to get a beating. I remember calling out her name on top of my lungs to let her know war was coming. She stormed out running hoping to flee from me but I’m a good runner. She stood no chance.
As I started running after her, I passed in our kitchen, grabbed a knife and ran after her. She ran around the compound for sometime zigzagging and when she slowed down I pushed her to the ground and forced her to remove my hoodie. She fought back and accidentally punched me on my left jaw.
That was it. She had crossed the line. I grabbed the knife firmly and stabbed her on the right lower side of the stomach. She screamed so much in agony with tears running down her face. I had never felt fear like this in my life. Panic took over and I felt a knot in my stomach. I felt sick instantly and fell on her side shaking.
I don’t know if the knife had pierced her kidney, pancreas or liver but her bleeding was too much. It wasn’t stopping or reducing. My parents heard the noise and came rushing thinking it was our usual fighting but this time my sister was dying.
My dad started screaming and calling for help. For the first time, I saw my dad vulnerable. He was crying. He was afraid. My mom struggled to breathe to the site of her daughter dying and she fainted. I was very confused and in shock. I had seen my parents fight before. I had seen my mom bleed from fights with my dad. I had seen her bruises and broken bones. But why was my case different. Had I gone too far?
Time had passed so fast that neighbors had arrived and called an ambulance. Doctors tried to stop her bleeding and stabilize her condition but it was all in vain. She died moments later. Our dear neighbors jumped me and held me on the ground calling me a murderer. Ayoung man i had never seen before suggested they beat me to death but mob justice is illegal in my country. I felt betrayed. None of them had ever confronted my dad when he was hurting my mum. Yet here they are, ganging up against me.
The police finally came and started taking notes, interviewing people and talking to doctors. They took pictures of the scene and interrogated my parents. None of the officers asked me anyy question. Moments later, they cuffed me. I always had a feeling I would get arrested but not like this. Who kills their own sister?
Mom regained her consciousness and wept for her daughter. Neighbors joined in and cried too. She called me a monster, an animal, a murderer. I felt numb.
The police officer who seemed superior to the rest walked towards me asked how old I was and I told him I had just turned 18. I saw pain in his eyes. I saw a concerned person that I didn’t even know. He told me that it was a shame I was about to spend a minimum of 30 years behind bars for manslaughter.
That police officer gathered everyone and conducted a small meeting on violence and how it should be prevented. Everyone had something to say but no one had intervened when fights between my parents happened. They had gotten used to it. My dad was a woman beater and a violent man but he never paid for it.
The meeting was adjourned. It was time for me to face reality and go to jail. As the police officers walked me to the van. I locked eyes with my dad. He was broken. He had lost two children in one day. He had shame on his face. He could have prevented it by seeking counseling for his anger. He could have stopped the fighting. He could have been a better example but he never did. At that monet it was too late. All his "manliness" could not save me.
Our family knew no peace. Violence was the norm of the day. Foul language was how my parents communicated. Medical bills were as much as our household bills excluding rent. If only someone had reached out to me. If only my neighbors had called concerned authorities earlier. They saw it and did nothing.
Children dont listen to what their parents or guardians say. They watch them and imitate their actions.
Speak out against domestic violence.