The story of Asiya is one parents should consider before breaking up. Raped at 14 in the Kaduna suburbs, the sociologist has become a voluntary counsellor to youths at organised forums. OVIE DANIEL spotted her in Lagos recently and reports.
Pretty Asiya Abdulmumuni- Jinaidu is a soul caught between two opposing tribes and cultural interests at birth. “My father is from Ondo, mum a Fulani woman; they met in school and contracted the traditional inter-tribal marriage. I’m a Muslim, live in Kaduna and a marketing executive with a Kaduna- based private company.” Her parents did break up eventually which made it even more difficult for Asiya. She said of the experience:
“The Northern people generally have a kind of mentality; they don’t like their sons or daughters getting married to someone who is not of the core northern origin. That was the great battle my parents faced; my mum was daily battling with her in-laws because they never loved her. Much as mum and dad tried to manage the situation, they still separated at the end of the day when I turned 20.”
The first of four children (one boy and two girls after her), Asiya had to leave home and stayed with friends at the vulnerable age of 14, and the more vulnerable society did not spare her. She said of the experience:
“I was just a little girl who grew up in a storm that made growing up very difficult for me. It caused a delay in my education because it affected my concentration and my focus; I was not doing well in my studies so I had to drop out of school. I was in Demonstration Secondary School in Kaduna at the time and I was living with my parents.”
At the peak of her formative years, Asiya did pick up eventually.
“I went through a lot of molestation and stress going up and down; at a time I started fending for myself.”
How did she get into the hand of a rapist?
“I just wanted to get away from the situation when I couldn’t bear it any longer. That was why I went to stay with people I thought were friends; but too late I found out they were not.
“One night when I was alone in the house, one of the boys raped me at the age of 14. Until now I am talking to you, I did not tell anybody; I just returned to my parents and managed the situation until I graduated.” Asiya, who read sociology at the Federal College of Education, Zaria, did not take her grouse out at the society; instead she appointed herself a voluntary counsellor to youths in schools and at organised forums.
“I’m not bitter at anyone, but I keep going round to advice youths on the implications of rape. I also talk to parents on the necessity to watch over their children with deliberate and extra care because if you don’t take care of your kids, they get into the wrong hands and the children become vulnerable to the vices of the society.
“I am not taking it out on the society either; I have learnt from my parent’s complicated marriage which made me a victim of the circumstance I was born into; and that’s why I counsel the young ones and I talk to parents to stand up to their responsibilities. I tell them that whatever you do, please, keep your children within the bound of peace and security. Parents should please tolerate each other no matter the conflict or differences because of their children.”
Now 35, Asiya’s father remarried after the marriage broke up 15 years ago and now lives in Ilorin with his wife while her Fulani mother passed on some eleven years ago, leaving Asiya with the responsibility of caring for her siblings. One of her siblings is studying at the National Teacher’s Institute in Zaria while the other two are in other schools.