‘I called him dad’ author Fatima Ishaku recounts how stepdad defiled her from age five

“I was tired. I went to report to an officer in the barracks, but I got scared..."
‘I called him dad’ author Fatima Ishaku recounts how stepdad defiled her from age five

Fatima Ishiaku, author of the bestseller ‘I called him dad’, revealed in an interview with Chude Jideonwo that she endured over nine years of sexual abuse by her stepfather.

While recounting that the abuse started before she clocked five, Fatima said, “He started using his finger on me first. I remember vividly when he said to me, ‘you are not a small girl, you are going to be five.”

To make matters worse, her mother never gave her a listening ear. According to the author, her mother mutilated her based on the instructions her stepfather gave.

In her words, “She will cut my v#gina and put pepper in it. She will break my head.”

Feeling she had no support, Fatima claimed that she endured the abuse until she got tired of it.

“I was tired. I went to report to an officer in the barracks, but I got scared. I didn’t tell him. I told him [the officer] that he [her stepfather] wasn’t feeding me.”

The officer she reported to saw beyond her story of her stepfather not feeding her.

Continuing, Fatima disclosed that the officer probed further to find out what was going on.

When she did not respond to any of his questions, he said, “I know this man is defiling you, but since you don’t want to say it I know what to do.”

Two months after this, her stepfather was posted out of the barracks. It was at this point that her mother realised what had been going on.

“My mother took me out of the house to stay with my uncle”, she said.

Fatima stayed in a safe environment until her mother passed away. She disclosed that she moved back to the house when her mother passed away because she felt a duty to be present as the first daughter.

This decision on her part led to more abuse from her stepfather.

Discussing this, Fatima stated that her stepfather began raping her at that stage.

“He said to me, ‘Nobody can protect you anymore. If you do anything, I will kill you and your siblings the way I killed your mother.’’

Due to this threat, Fatima, who was seven at the time, endured constant s#xual abuse till she turned fourteen.

After her stepfather died, Fatima wrote ‘I called him Dad,’ a book that chronicled her experience.

She stated that she wrote the book to speak up about abuse and to let the society know that stopping the abuse “is not about carrying a banner and saying ‘say no to rape’. It is deeper.”

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