The last thing I wanted was to see fear of my father in my siblings’ eyes.
As a child, I loved my father dearly because in my mind he was everything a child might imagine a father could be. He slept in my makeshift forts with me, he sat me in his lap, let me steer the car when my feet still dangled high and always took my side when I was in trouble with mum.
I was shaping up to what certainly would’ve been a real daddy’s girl.
Until one day I realised no one else’s father took their children to sleepovers with other women while their mothers were in school.
And, they certainly didn’t subject their wives to domestic violence, for being angry over their extramarital affairs.
I can still remember the countless times I stood, shaken up and frozen, not knowing what to do. I felt confused and useless — this was my mother. While I knew she had been hurt, the man who hurt her was still my father.
As young as my mother was at the time, she found the good sense to get out of the war waged against her in her own home. But for me it wasn't over. My father eventually met another woman and the cycle continued.
My tears and distress continued but this woman wasn't my mum so I no longer had to worry about defending her honour. This woman had a daughter and soon, my step-sister's pain would be enough.
What I didn't realise then was that not all women have the same courage and perseverance that my mother had. How was I to know that this new woman would never leave him?
Time went by and they had kids. First my brother, followed by my sister a couple of years later. It was as if them having kids, suddenly made me a parent. I had goals for their lives and an emotional tie like no other but it stemmed from fear - my love for my siblings stemmed from a deep-rooted terror.
There was so much I still didn't understand. Why in the hell would two people, who couldn't make it a week without putting their hands on each other, procreate? Why would God give me so much of this burden at such a young age? I needed answers but there was no time to look for them.
I spent time worrying if my little brother would grow up raising his hand to women and whether my sister would allow that treatment from her lovers.
I'm still emotionally tarnished from watching my father abuse his longtime girlfriend every two weeks during my visits. I didn't have to witness my father's painfully sore love every day for my entire life, but my siblings did ... and still do.
My fear for their future ran so deep, so young. It was unimaginable.