Mama told me to be strong

  • Yélé, calm down baby, tell me what happened
  • I … I am sorry mama, I didn’t want you to be in troubles
  • I know my baby girl but I need you to tell me everything that happened so mommy can protect you. You understand ?
  • Yes mommy.
  • Tell me … take your time.
  • You know how you always tell me I have to be strong ? That a grown girl should know how to defend herself ?
  • Yes honey
  • Well something really bad happened when you went to see grandma last month ago and I haven’t been strong mama

Yélé started crying louder, wiping her nose and cutting the tissue in her hands into pieces. Her mom held her stronger, trying to make her feel better with her contact.

  • It’s okay baby girl. You can cry as much as you want. Just take your time and tell me what is going on
  • I … remeber you asked auntie Jeanne to babysit me ?
  • Yes
  • Her boyfriend was also here that night. She said she wasn’t expecting him cause he was supposed to be out of town. She hadn’t seen him in five months so she was so happy he could spend the night with her... I was … mommy I was so scared
  • Oh honey… please carry on. Mommy needs to know
  • I … I was sleeping when someone came in the bedroom and sat close to me. When I woke up and saw it was him, I wanted to ask him what he wanted but he put his hand on my mouth and told me to shut up.
  • Oh my God
  • Mommy …
  • Baby girl, did he touch you ? Did he hurt you ?
  • He … He caressed me, and he put in his fingers in … mommy it was so painful, I couldn’t be strong then … I am so sorry
  • Honey no … don’t say that. It’s not your fault … baby I am so sorry I wasn’t there
  • I didn’t want to disappoint you mama and I was so mad at myself …
  • I know … I know
  • He told me that if I wasn’t so thin for a 12 years old, we could have done grown persons things … and you told me I was too young for that mommy, remember ?
  • I do baby, I do. Oh my God, that’s why you did that ?

The little girl nodded, her eyes filled with tears.

  • I just wanted to be strong mommy. Last week, I heard when auntie Jeanne said her boyfriend was coming for the weekend, I just thought … it was my chance to make it right. I had to make it right. To defend myself. I didn’t plan how I would do it, I just knew I wanted him to feel as bad as I felt. When I knocked at their door … I saw him standing there, smiling to me as if he was re-living everything he had done to me … so I took the knife out … and I did what I had to do.
  • Oh Yélé … I am going to protect you okay ? No one will blame you or punish you for it. You were just scared honey… they’ll understand

Yélé hugged her mother, frightened and also surprised. Punishment ? Do people punish girls for being strong ? It was so difficult for her to understand. The little girl was lost in her mom’s arms.

  • Mommy, they want to punish me ?
  • Oh … baby
  • For being a strong girl ?
  • No … they won’t. I will make sure of that. Trust your mama, I will protect you.
  • Okay mama …. you know … I just wanted to make it right … to be a strong girl.
  • I know baby … I know

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