Dear My Father,

I would prefer you to sit down before you read this letter.

Growing up, I would envy kids whose fathers carried them on their shoulders in the shopping malls. When I asked my mother about the whereabouts of my father, she would always find a way to avoid my question and if I insisted, she would tell me that he went on a business trip.

I could see in my mom’s eyes, that my nagging pierced her heart. I was doing grade 5, when she got the courage to tell me that my dad was called to heaven by father Jesus. I was an infant when he left. I cried so hard but my mother comforted me. She told me that my father was called to secure our spot in paradise.

Then you came into our lives. My mother told me you were a man, sent by my father to take care of us and I had to call you ‘father’. I was just happy, I finally had someone to call father, like some of my friends at school. When we went shopping you carried me on your shoulders and bought candies for me. You were my ideal dad.

Father, you did not want to see your little girl hurt. Do you remember the day I came from the Spaza shop dusty and crying? You sat me on your lap and wiped my tears away. When I told you that Elabo had pushed me from the crate I was standing on while I was buying biscuits, you promised to lash her with your belt the next time you saw her. You always knew what to say to make me smile. I was your little princess.

Father why did you stop seeing me as your little girl? When did I cease to be your daughter? Or is it because we are not blood relatives?

I lucidly remember the day you began committing lewd acts on me – 24 October 2014. I had just reached puberty. I was doing my grade 8 English home work when you called me to your bedroom. You took away my innocence. I felt hurt, dirty and disappointed, that my dearest father out of all people in the world, did that to me. You said it was our little secret. You said you were preparing me for the real world.

My mother came back from work. I told her what you did to me when you went to relieve yourself in the bathroom.

“How could you say such a thing about your father?” she lashed out at me.

Mom was very angry at me. She asserted that I slept with a boy and I was pinning it on you to divert my misconduct.

Mom told me to never say such things about you again. She told me how much you loved me as your daughter. However, in your eyes I turned to be an object that you would use to quench your lust.

After three years of torture, I am breaking free. Yes! Father, you will never get to taint my body again. At first I thought of taking my life and live in paradise with my real father but the pastor had said, “Those who commit suicide have no place in heaven.”

I have confided in my teacher and unlike my mother she believes me. I am at her house waiting for the police to come take you away.

The daughter you’ve defiled,