All children have dreams. Ideas of what they want to become when they grow up. Sometimes these dreams end. I was once this child, full of happiness, but all his changed. This is how my dreams ended and all I got were nightmares.

I never had a father. It was just me and mum for the longest time ever. Every night I would pray to God to send me a father. I wanted to be like all the other children in my class. To have stories of adventures with my dad. To have a complete family. I cried myself to sleep when my prayer went unanswered.

After years of waiting and hoping, Jack came into the picture. He was my mother’s friend, they said. He was very nice to me, read me stories, took me to the park and played with me. My prayer changed, I asked God to make Jack my father. He was perfect in my eyes. My prayer was answered, mum and Jack got married and my family was complete. All my childhood dreams were coming true, nothing could go wrong.

Soon after the wedding, things changed. Mum was no longer happy, she worked too much and was hardly ever home. I was worried, but I had Jack so I ignored it and enjoyed the feeling of being his special girl as he called me.  He told me loved me and he wanted to show me how fathers show their love. That night, he came to my room for the first time.

I was scared but he promised nothing bad would happen. He climbed on top of me and all I could feel, all I could remember was the pain. My little body fighting to get him off me as he threatened to leave if I didn’t lie still. When he was done, he told me this was our little secret and if I told my mother he would leave for good. I wanted him to stay, so I said nothing.

Night after night, he came. My body was used in ways I had never imagined. At times he would hit me. But he was bright enough not to leave any bruises on me. I kept wondering if this was how all fathers showed love. Things between him and my mother had improved, they were now happier. She trusted him with me and never worried about leaving us alone all night as she worked.

I was scared of everything. Every footstep would make me shiver, every hand that touched me made me cower in fear. I cried in my room and asked God to end his pain. I asked Him why he sent me a bad father. After months of torture, I decided to tell my mother.

She was angry and hurt, but the anger was directed at me. She said I was a liar and I wanted her to be unhappy. I should stop saying bad things about Jack. I was beaten and locked in my room. As usual, Jack was back that night. He laughed at me for telling what had happened. He told me if I tried it again he would kill me.

I lost my dreams that night. My mother had taken the word of a stranger and turned against me. I was all alone. I no longer dreamt of roses and ponies, all I had were nightmares of being used over and over.  Night after night as he used me, I cried out with one thought in my head; Mama help me.