In the last few weeks, you’ve all read about scandal after scandal of men demanding for DNA testing and finding out that their children are not theirs. You know this sort of news is very un-nerving for me because it is so close to home.
My sisters and I; we are four, our youngest sister is 18years old, we are also children my father disputed and it was a long and arduous tortuous journey for us all. I still feel anger; I am still pained that the man I called daddy for years had doubted he was my real father for years!
Let me start from the beginning.
My mum decided to divorce from my dad after almost 30 years of marriage!
Theirs was the type of marriage I have vowed never to enter into; I watched my mum be the ever so submissive but diligent and hardworking woman; she sacrificed everything for my dad and he took it all as his right.
They built their businesses together, the houses they had were jointly owned. When we needed to go abroad to school; they paid our fees from a joint account. There was always tension in the house whenever my father was around; I was the only one who got through to the man. I look like him; I talk and walk like him, too.
On the outside, we looked like the perfect family, inside ewas a terrible place; my father serially abused my mum and right from when we were kids, we had told my mum to leave him but she kept saying she was staying because of us. We didn’t understand it.
My father not only abused my mum, he also was abusive towards us; except me, of course. I mean, he was very strict with my other siblings, he let me get away with many things, that still didn’t stop me from hating his guts as to the way he treated my mum.
He was a mean to my mum; he was the type of dad we all ran away from sight when he approached. Yes, he was like that. We could never go to him for anything plus I also think he resented us for being all girls, he wanted a son and had always told me I should have come as one.
Anyway, my mother waited for our youngest sister to finish secondary school before she decided she had had enough of my father’s abuse. She moved out of the house into one of their joint properties and asked for a divorce.
As for me and my two elder sisters, we were abroad then; I was in my second year in College and my immediate senior sister was in her final year; same College. Our first born was done with College and had only just began to work. So you see, we were well grown and we supported our mother’s move for the divorce.
Then the battle started; my father wanted all the properties my parents jointly owned, he wanted to strip our mother of everything and to cap it all, he told his lawyers he would not fund our education because he doesn’t believe we were truly his children!
At first, you know, when my mum called to tell us, it sounded like an insane joke.
What did the man mean? We were his children; I in particular look like him; I have been told I behave exactly like him but I truly hated the man’s guts.
I called him, I said, “Come daddy, what is the meaning of this DNA testing you are demanding for? So you want to now deny us because you are mad at mum?”
He said I should get my sisters together to go do the test or we would be out of school for long!
He is my dad but he can be a real prick, pardon my French!
Before we knew it, he had demanded that the account to our schools’ fees be frozen; so my mother had no access; you know and with court cases that go one because of disputes like these…
My mum of course fought it but the court insisted a DNA had to be carried out on all of us…this you should know would take a bit of time, the kind of time your school fees can’t wait for. That’s how come my sisters and I and to cut school. We had to come together to go do a DNA at the place the courts determined…yeah, we did it abroad.
Ok, so, you can imagine the anger, the humiliation, the pain we all felt.
Of course I never doubted that it would turn up anything surprising; the surprise was my father saying he didn’t want us; he said he wasn’t going to contribute to our education anymore!
Can you imagine, that!
This was just typical of my dad being a mean human being he wanted to punish my mum and us for supporting her. And of course we all backed my mum after the humiliation of going through a DNA test.
But you know what? A part of me wished the results would be that we didn’t belong to him, after all. I so hated his guts!
Unfortunately for him and for us, too; we belonged to the man! All four of us and by this time, I had been away from school for almost two semesters, that’s almost a year, same with my sister. My younger sister couldn’t even write her exams; she was with our mum in Nigeria.
What was most painful was our dad knew we would miss school, knew we would be devastated to learn that he questioned our identity as his children…and yet he reused to accept the outcome.
I was mighty, mighty pissed at him and to be honest, I fell into depression. I am sure my sister’s too felt some kind of sadness. I mean, yeah the man is mean but he was our dad. He was the one we loved despite his meanness. I mean I can’t go call another man my dad. You know?
It was really callous of him to make us go through that test and afterwards say he wants to hands off!
I just didn’t know how to relate with him; a man who doubted his parentage over me, same man I had called dad for all of my life, now he says he doesn’t want anything to do with us!
I can’t remove the fact that he almost dumped us simply because he wanted to deal with my mum. Why drag us into the mess?
So, when I read all the stuff on paternity, I know several children are also hurting.
(Series written and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories)