My father was an engineer while my mum was a petty trader. Their jobs were polar opposites but somehow that didn’t cause problems in the marriage. My dad was the primary provider of the family and my mother supported him with her little. This imbalance in their earnings affected the financial stability of our home. The weight was mostly left for my father to bear. Because of this, when my elder sisters completed secondary school, they couldn’t further their education. There was not enough money to pay for tertiary school.
However, when it got to my turn my parents did their best for me to go to school. There are four of us and I am the third child. I hoped that I would complete school uneventfully, get a job and support my parents to take care of my younger brother when he gets to tertiary school, but life had other plans. When I got to my second year at the university, misfortune struck in my home and I lost my father. It wasn’t easy for us at all. Besides the fact that we grieved the loss of a man we dearly loved, we also had to face life without our provider.
I was the first person among my siblings to enter the university so quitting was not an option. I had to join my mother to do petty trading to raise money and add it to whatever amount my sisters raised in order to stay in school. It was even more challenging because I was in a private university. Then my mum became ill and could no longer work. So now it was just me and my sisters going through thick and thin to see me to the finish line.
After school, I was posted to a region far away from home. I didn’t like to be separated from my family but I didn’t have the money it took to get a reposting. So I left home for my service. The one good thing that came out of it was that I got a job in the same region after I completed my service. The salary was not much but it was enough to cater for my needs. My plan was to do the job for a while, gain some experience, and then apply for jobs that came with better benefits.
Things seemed to be going well until disaster struck my family again. My eldest sister got very sick after giving birth to her third child. Her husband was unemployed at the time due to the COVID crisis. I spent all the savings I had in my account and even went to borrow money just for her to survive but the Lord called her home. Another loss, another grief had stricken us. While we mourned her we thought about my dad and mourned him too. It was a particularly difficult time for my family and it hurt me that I had to be away for most of the period because of work.
After all, was said and done and her body was laid to rest, it was decided that my sister’s children come and live with my mum. They were too young to live with their father who didn’t have a job. My two other siblings with their high school certificates didn’t have good jobs so seventy per cent of my mum and the children’s upkeep became my responsibility. Just around that time, my boss started making advances toward me. You would think the higher powers were working against me.
I ignored my boss from the moment he started his things but he is not a man who takes no for an answer. One day when I rejected him he asked me, “Do you want to keep your job? Or do you want me to fire you?” I thought he was joking so I continued to ignore and reject him but that didn’t work either. One time things got physical. He groped me, and I got angry and shouted at him, “I don’t like that, stop it.” He ignored me and got extremely touchy so I pushed him away and it turned into a fight. He was so angry that he told me, “Go home. I no longer need your services.”
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I couldn’t afford to lose my job so I begged him, “Please, I am sorry I reacted that way. It’s just that you startled me. I wasn’t expecting this so I reacted defensively. Give me some time to warm up to what you want.” Fortunately, the hope that I would give him what he wants kept me from losing my job that day.
I thought it would be best if I quit but then I am also the financial pillar of my family. I couldn’t do that. I went around hunting for jobs but none of it gave me any positive feedback. While I was doing that my time with my boss was running out. I kept telling him, “This is difficult for me to do. Please, give me time to warm up to the idea.” Eventually, he gave me an ultimatum, “You know what I want from you. Give it to me now or go home and never come back.” I was caught between a rock and a hard place and in other to find my way out, first, I had to survive.
That day I tried to conceal my disgust as he pushed my skirt up and bent me over his desk. I wish it only happened that day or that he treated me kindly after that. He didn’t even give me a bonus or any extra money on the side. All I gained from pounding my body to him was the job he was already paying me to do. All he had to do was to poke his head out of his office and signal me to come. And I would have to swallow my revulsion toward him and show up and do whatever he requires of me.
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He has warned me, “The day you end our arrangement or try to expose me is the day I fire you, do you understand?” I just nodded and quietly muttered, “Yes sir.” I am sick and tired of him and his hands touching me, and the way he threatens to fire me when I reject him. The painful part about all this is that my responsibilities keep piling up and I am drowning in debt. By the time my salary gets paid, it is already finished. So I ask myself, “If things are this hard with a job, how will we survive when I quit or lose this job?” I wish I could start something of my own but I haven’t been able to save anything for capital. I am just here venting because I am tired of being a sex slave.
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