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Are We Failing Our Daughters?

Every now and again, one hears bizarre stories of fathers sleeping with their daughters, step-fathers sexually abusing their step-daughters, (and yes, sometimes killing them to prevent being exposed) uncles violating their nieces, brothers sleeping with their sisters under their mother’s nose and she finds out like everyone else when the daughter becomes pregnant by the brother. And when I hear such strange stories, I can’t help but wonder, are we failing our daughters?

If I have heard it said once, I have heard it said a million times that women possess strong intuition. When a man picks up the phone to speak with a woman, no matter how casual he may sound, his wife can immediately tell if her husband has a platonic relationship with the caller or something more. A woman knows instantly if another woman is interested in her man; she knows if her husband is having an affair, or about to have one, and she is almost always right.

Now, if women can detect infidelity in their husbands sometimes even before it begins, how are fathers able to get away with abusing their daughters? Where was the woman of the house? Where was her intuition? Didn’t she see it coming as she would have seen an affair coming if her husband began to spend too much time with a certain Lucy at work?

Where was she when her new husband began to sexually abuse her daughter from her previous marriage whose stepfather he is? Didn’t she see the handwriting on the wall? Was she blinded by love to all the tell-tale signs? Wasn’t her women’s intuition working? If the same man was sleeping with the children’s nanny wouldn’t she have known?

How about when her brother came to live with her, and she entrusted him with the care of her precious little girl, and he began to abuse the little girl sexually?

And what about her son? Didn’t she suspect anything when he began to abuse his little sister sexually? How is it that a girl is pregnant by her own brother and her mother finds out the same time as everyone else?

Ladies, are we failing our daughters? How is it that we can’t read between the lines? How is it that we do not pay attention to our daughters’ unusual reluctance or excitement to be with certain people? Why do we trust blindly, so blindly that we can’t see the signs even when they are glaring? How is it that our daughters are unable to come to us to report abuse, whether by their father, step-father, uncle, brother, etc.? Are we unapproachable, preoccupied or absent?

Are we aware of our daughters’ plight and are in denial until the truth is out in the open and we can no longer bury our head in the sand like the Ostrich? Do we see the red flags but pretend not to see them because we are afraid of losing a man, a marriage, challenging a family member, or calling our children out? Or do we truly not see? Are we truly ignorant? Is our intuition only good when it comes to detecting a chick out to get our man? But is completely dead when it comes to sniffing out a predator on a mission to devour our precious baby girls?

Ladies, are we failing our daughters?

In the Name of Love!

This happened a few years ago, while I was still attending Bible school. One day, I was sitting in class waiting for my lecture to begin, the lecturer was running late which was very unlike him, and I did wonder what the issue might be. Eventually, when he showed up, he explained to us that he had been caught up in an emergency and proceeded to tell us what had transpired.

A young man, who was well known to everyone in the class because of the privileged position he occupied as a Personal Assistant to the General Overseer of the church the Bible school was affiliated to had just been arrested. We all gasped in horror! What had he done? We wondered, but before we could ask, the story continued. He had been stealing money by falsifying records and what was done in the dark for over a year had finally come to light. This was very shocking indeed as the young man did not seem capable of anything that had been said, but we also knew our lecturer was not the kind of man who would say such a thing about anyone unless it was true. As we tried to recover from the initial shock, another followed closely behind.

The young man had not been acting alone. The General Overseer had a beautiful young niece who lived with him. She was like a daughter to him as he had no daughters, only sons. He took very good care of her and lavished money on her. At the time, she was an undergraduate in a private university. Well, it seemed that somewhere along the line, the PA of the General Overseer had begun to date his beautiful young niece and introduced her to his sharp practices. They soon became a team or a crime duo like Bonnie and Clyde (I will talk about that another day). They stole together and falsified documents and figures to cover their tracks until they were caught, beginning with the young man. When he mentioned the role played by the General Overseer’s niece, no one believed him, but when they searched her room, large sums of money were recovered from under her mattress and inside her wardrobe. Needless to say, that she was also arrested. I never knew what became of her, but your guess is as good as mine.

The reason I share this story is that too many times, women throw away their lives in the name of love. What kind of love is that that sets you back instead of moving you forward? What kind of love is that that moves you from law-abiding citizen to criminal and sends you to jail or an early grave? What kind of love is that that sets you against members of your family? What kind of love causes you to drop out of school? Don’t be deceived; the right man will make your life better not worse. He will add value to you and not subtract value from you. Discern.

So, He’s Asked You to Marry Him?

Before you jump for joy at the marriage proposal and give thanks to God for answering your prayers, think about this; are you both going in the same direction? This is an important question because one of the fastest ways for any marriage to fail is for two people travelling in different directions to try to come together as one, the Bible says that two cannot walk together except they agree. Are you both in agreement? You won’t be able to answer this question unless you know who you are. In my latest book, Preparing to Cleave, I stated that knowing who you are is prerequisite to knowing who to marry. And only a few days ago I realised how right I was.

Early this year a man I have known casually for about four years popped the question. I asked him to give me time, not necessarily to pray about it but more to think it through. After giving it some thought, I got back to him. I began the conversation by properly introducing myself to him, and I don’t mean my name, where I’m from, or anything like that, he already knows all that. But I let him know who I am, as in what my purpose is, where my operational base is, and what my plans are, as already revealed by God. When I was done, he expressed some concern that my base being in the United Kingdom and his base being in Nigeria meant a long-distance marriage and that it worried him. I said I completely agreed with him, it should worry him, especially as I had no plans to relocate. Then he asked a very important question.

“Are you willing to have more children seeing as your life is so very busy?”

I responded that I was willing to have children however, with my dreams and visions, I could only accommodate two more children as I also had to make out time to care for them not just give birth to them.

“And why do you think you will be caring for them all alone?” He asked.

I immediately understood that he was trying to say he would be by my side to provide for the children, and I appreciated that. It’s always great when a man can provide for his family but as I pointed out, caring for children goes beyond leaving money on the table for their food, clothes, tuition, etc. As a mother, more is expected of me even from me, and two is the number I believe I can reasonably look after. Moreover, I made him aware that at my age, two is a more realistic number if I didn’t plan to spend the rest of my working life nursing children, or as I jokingly added to myself, if I didn’t want to be nursing a baby when my older daughter married and had her first baby.

He wasn’t very pleased to hear that, and as he very reluctantly agreed that I was right, I realised that he had not given enough thought to the whole marriage proposal business. If I had been excited, I would have said yes, we would have married and then started to fight and blamed the devil. I quickly brought the conversation to an end by stating the obvious; our lives were going in different directions and so there was no possibility of a future together. Each one of us required a partner who better fit into our marriage and family life vision. And of course, I thanked him for his interest in me.

Now, ladies, I have shared this story, so you understand that not every marriage proposal is an answer to your prayer and not every marriage proposal must be prayed over. With this one, there was no need to pray. I know who I am and where I am going, the man meant for me will not take me off course, he will be on the same track, and as we travel together, we will support each other. So, bottom line, know your purpose, as it is a prerequisite to knowing who is right for you.

You Are Not Any Man’s Plaything. You Are a Dignified Woman

He said: Hi, how are you? I will be in your city next month.

She said: Splendid! I am looking forward to seeing you again. He was an old friend from her childhood, and she had not seen him in more than two decades. It would be nice to catch up.

He said: Can I officially be your guest?

She said: Yes, you can. But she is thinking, is that a good idea? Does your wife know you plan to be the guest of a female friend who is unmarried?

He said: What is your living space like?

She said: It’s a two-bedroom flat and nothing massive like you’re used to.

He said: I can work with that. So, what will the sleeping arrangement look like?

She said: Oh, you can have my bedroom, I’ll just move into my daughter’s bedroom. It’s the usual practice when we have house guests.

He said: I don’t like uprooting my hosts from their norms.

She said: Oh, it’s fine. Don’t worry about it.

He said: Would you be uncomfortable or is it the impression on your daughter? By now she knew where he was going.

She said: It’s neither. It’s that I am not available, and neither are you. Is he really proposing to come and sleep with me under my roof?

He said: True. I respect that. But how will he feel if you hosted me?

She said: I intend to host you as an old friend visiting town, and before God and man, there is nothing else in my heart, so I have no problem.

He said: If I was he I would not be comfortable with it. She had had enough; it was time to stop the foolishness

She said: Duke, I think that I am now over my initial surprise and anger and in a better frame of mind to set the record straight. When I said that I am not available, I did not say that I have a man in my life, you assumed that. When I said I am not available; I simply meant that just because I do not have a man in my life is not an indication that I want one. I am not looking for a man, and I certainly do not want one who thinks he can take advantage of my being single to have a little fun on the side while away from the wife for a few days. I am not a plaything for you or any man to amuse himself with. I am a woman who left a marriage empty-handed and by the grace of God has been able to build a decent life for herself and her daughter and I am using my story to inspire and empower other women to do same. That you would disrespect me by suggesting a fling under my roof and in front of my daughter strips you of any respect I had for you. Please do not contact me again as I do not wish to have your kind in my life as a friend or acquaintance.

Ladies, you are no man’s plaything. You are dignified women. Carry yourselves with dignity always.

Yes, You Can!

On the day that I left my ex-husband’s home, I was distraught. I had lost my marriage which had barely even taken off. I had no money, no job, no means of income, no parents to support me, emotionally and otherwise. I had a toddler to take care of but all I really wanted was to curl up and die! Literally. As a matter of fact, may times I prayed to die.

I returned to live in my late father’s house, the house where I had grown up. I was all alone with my child. I had no idea what to do next. No idea what to do for a living and how to care for my child. God had promised me a great future but I couldn’t see it and had no clue whatsoever how to move from where I was to the future He was showing me, or trying to show me. So, as far as I was concerned, it was a pipe dream.

My ex-husband had promised to send upkeep for the child regularly but I knew I couldn’t bring myself to ask. Once, I did ask. I sent a text requesting money to get a few things for the child as she was very quickly outgrowing clothes and needed a little more than diapers and food. He responded thus; “Thief! If you like, don’t look for something to do with your life. Keep looking for ways to use the child to extort money from me.” I never again asked for his help. He never again sent money. Two and a half years later, I was working and earning seven times what he earned.

You can do it! You don’t need a man to be the woman God has created you to be. You don’t need a man to succeed. If you are blessed to have a good man by your side, that is a good thing, be grateful. But if not, don’t despair, you can still make it. Stop chasing a man about for your daily bread, you are too loaded to sit at home doing nothing but waiting for a man to work and bring you food. Even at home, there are things you can do to earn a living. Your value is not in what you receive but what you give. What are you giving? What is your contribution? And I don’t mean to your family alone, but to humanity.

The woman was created primarily to help the man, and she has been loaded with the potentials to help the man succeed at what he does, while also doing her own thing and succeeding at it. Don’t reduce yourself to the one who needs help. And more importantly, don’t let anyone or any circumstance keep you down. You are created to be a blessing and not a burden! Go and live your dream!

Yes, you can!