Eunice Walker | Culture Innovator | A Written Piece | How Many Times?

Ghana

I was brought up in a Christian home, my Father is an Apostle and my grandparents were founders of a prominent Church in Ghana.

I was born in Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana, but then moved to Accra Ghana. Most of my memories are from a stay at a mission house in Accra. This was where my dad was transferred to as part of his ministry at a University.

We lived in a house on the University campus; my household consisted of my parents, siblings, other relatives, and other people I can’t clearly remember.

In Ghana, I attended nursery and a year of primary school I have some of the greatest memories and some of the worst ones.

At the age of 5/6, I was sexually abused, and from this point onwards, I noticed how much sex influenced the mannerisms and behavior of a lot of children my age in Ghana.

I remember being 5/6 years old in primary school and there was an instance when children were playing ‘mummy and daddy’. In playing this game, they resulted to engage in sexual activity that caused a girl to bleed – an ambulance was called and that was the end of that case.

I remember being inappropriately touched by friends at 5/6, I didn’t engage instead I went home and immediately told my parents. They said well-done for informing them straight away but nothing much was done about it. In my innocence and ignorance, I thought it was normal even though it affected me.

Growing Up in the UK

At 7 years old, my family and I moved to a small town called Telford in the UK. My family and I accompanied my father so he could complete a PHD in Theology at a University. Whilst completing his PHD, his church assigned him to pastor a newly established branch. I never once considered that him being in ministry would mean never actually settling in one location until his retirement. Unfortunately, after my dad had completed his PHD, he had to go back to Ghana to carry on his ministry work there.

I had just started year 7 at a highly accredited School and my older sister was at University. My parents had to make a difficult decision and decided to leave my sister and I to complete my education. My other sister and younger brother had already completed secondary and primary school, so they went back to Ghana with my parents.

The next chapter of my life was a very interesting period; my sister and I were left alone in the UK where my sister had to place her social life on hold so she could care for me. It wasn’t easy for her and it wasn’t easy for me – it was the first time we ever had to fully rely on ourselves. I didn’t appreciate it until later in life, but my sister made huge sacrifices for me.

Growing up, I found myself surrounded by friends and not family and it’s been that way ever since. I moved 6 or 7 times in Telford. Each time we moved I felt disrupted and embarrassed, each time I had to change my address and explain my situation to my friends.

Living with people was a new experience, we lived with people I knew well and people I didn’t know too well. Each time it resulted in a lack of peace, freedom, confusion and misunderstanding; my sister and I could never seem to peacefully live with people. I remember hearing my business from outsiders, information they heard from inside our home. It was hard for my sister and I; we didn’t speak about it – we just lived it.

Faith

I grew up watching my sister pray – she carried great faith and this encouraged me. I remember after school visiting her at work where I would find her worshipping whilst working. She endured so much, placing it in Gods’ hands releasing it through song. Whenever I went to see her, we would speak of the future and the good things to come.

My sister and I faced financial hardship. She couldn’t earn enough to provide for us both. I remember that there were times when I would remain in town for long periods waiting for my sister to finish her shift, just so we could walk home together. She was all I had.

When my parents left, the way that my church treated me and my sister completely changed. I resonated deeply with the story of George and Lennie from ‘Of Mice and Men’, I related with how they hoped for a better life. There were periods where my sister and I hoped, praying that she would get a higher paying job, but this didn’t happen, yet we still held on. There were times we would go with only a small amount of food, times we would go with no hot water but we never lacked. Despite there not being much support from a lot of our church community, there were still the few that helped us.

The last place that my sister and I lived was a small flat which often smelt of weed; there was constant shouting and banging from the flats above us. It was such a contrast to what we were used to in Ghana where we lived comfortably in ‘mission houses’ assigned to church pastors and their families. At school I often felt like an outcast, 80% of students from my grammar school came from upper middle-class households. Thankfully my friends overlooked my living situation. All in all, I was happy that I got to live with my sister in our little flat. Although we argued, and fought multiple times, I loved her.

Unfortunately, this was short lived. - Bills got tight, she could no longer pay them by herself, so she invited a family friend to live with us. Again, that initially started out well but eventually arose with its own problems.

Unfortunately for my sister her plans to remain in the UK with me didn’t work out. My sister went back to Ghana. I am thankful for my sister, she made sure I secured a place at University, helping me move in before she left to go to Ghana. From then I have been

living in the UK without any family members, but I have never been alone, God never left me, he provided me with friends like family.

 

My Passion

I love to write. I write poetry and perform it as spoken word; I also create graphics; these are the ways that I express my emotions. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. My parents used to encourage this passion and enter me in poetry competitions and short story competitions, and it was something I really enjoyed. I loved reading and as a child, getting lost in book was my favorite past time, it was a form of escapism. I started to write my own stories, then my own songs and then stumbled upon Christian rap. I then started to write rap lyrics which then turned into spoken word. It’s amazing how God leads us.

I remember a youth leader at church approached me and said “Why don’t you try writing some of your own.” I didn’t understand what he saw in me, but I don’t believe it was a coincidence. He was the catalyst to my writing and till this day, I still thank him for it. After I had written my first piece and performed it, he pushed and encouraged me even further – he saw something in me that I didn’t, that I would later recognize.

 

Speaking Out

Despite coming from a pastoral home, there were so many questions I had growing up regarding my sexuality, because of what took place when I was young. I was 5, it was such a blur; Even the whole scenario of it till today is such a blur in my mind. I wanted to deny it ever happening and so at time, I suppressed the memory. In my mind, I vividly remember the who, and where but not the what.

Afterwards I remember that at the early age of 5/6 I began sexually exploring myself – I had no idea what I was doing as a child and the implications of it - all I knew was that something was done to me and I had to react the way my body was telling me to.

At such a young age, I did well to hide it from my parents and everyone else around me – no one ever noticed. The only incident that may have raised questions was the time when my cousin and I played ‘mama and papa’ as we called it and engaged in extremely inappropriate behavior. His mum – my auntie - realized and immediately scolded me as the older child - it was tense from that moment and I realized the discomfort whenever she came around me from that time; This is no longer the case with our relationship but this would be the first of countless occasions where I would continue to explore myself sexually with the game ‘mama and papa’ to the extent where I would have vivid and sexual dreams.

I was curious and this later led me to porn. My head and thoughts were completely clouded with perverted thoughts, sex, porn, and masturbation – I rarely thought about anything else. Not once did I ever relate it to what had happened to me as a child; I was no longer playing victim. I only began to realise it was a struggle when I found a relationship with God for myself. I realised that God was displeased – and that’s where the real battle began! I was suffering in chains and yet no one knew. I was 10/11 when I finally brought it up to my older sister. I trusted her and told her what happened when I was younger. She advised me to tell my parents and I did but again, nothing much was said concerning it and as quickly as I had brought it up, it died down again. The only change I saw was that my parents were now wearier of me being around guys or being

friends with guys – they became much more protective but that was as far as I saw them go with the matter.

Again, the issue arose whilst staying with a family friend when my parents had left. I had used her laptop to search sexual content and had left it on her laptop. She found out and scolded me not knowing the root of the story, but my dad had told me to stay quiet and not open up to her; with best interests to protect me from opening up to the wrong people. In doing so, this family friend then took this information and told people in the church, including the mother of a close friend who then advised her child to stay away from me. And yet again, just as quickly as the situation arose, it died out.

But I only tell this story because it led to my very first spoken-word piece. It was called ‘How many times’ and it was the first time I would sit down to confront this ongoing struggle. It was a huge battle of cycles, lies, secrecy, and trying to understand who I was as a Christian, living in bondage.

How Many Times?

Lord, how many times How Many times must I sin Non stop Unend - ing right Before I start again To crawl back into your presence Once more I know we've been here before I asked for forgiveness Lord I said I wouldn't do it again But I went back despite my word, No self-control, partaking in the worldly desires, pleasures, treasures not pleasing to you I said I didn't mean to Sin that got the best of me I thought I was free, rid of the chains, bondage untied But the sin’s still there So here I am again 1, 2, 3, my fourth time I went back Where's the spirit Lord The spirit I thought I had, falling short, burnt out Heart shut, mind shut, Body in motion No thoughts, mind infested with the intention of sin, To see what I should not see Do what I should not do Hear what I should not be hearing An action I feel regret in doing Like Jonah I want to hide

I cannot abide under your righteousness Inside I feel unclean, guilty, It’s as if you all know What I did the night before

With my greed, my lies, an act of sexual immorality, pride, adultery This makes me unworthy to be in the midst of thee In thy presence How can you even forgive me for doing such,

Such filth Even despite the life that u gave I still find myself digging my own grave I know I've been saved by your grace So why am I still in this place 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us To cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

So here I am confessing Again Asking for forgiveness Again Missing communion Sunday Again But Lord I don't want to dwell in this sin I want to be like you Do what you do For you also suffered once for my sins For the righteous and the UN-righteous That you may bring us to God Being put into death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit Wait Didn't I say this the last time I spoke to you? Lord I'm only human, but give me the strength To go to lengths where you'll help me endure Be secure under your presence To push away sin To belong to you again The lamb that was slain In all you reign Please forgive me oh Lord For its me again Remorseful I stand In attempt to depart from this sin Although we have the Grace, We should not still be sinning For we ought to work out our salvation with fear and Trembling So cast out the temptation, seek His salvation Only then shall we surely reach His holy nation

God Always Wins

Despite the pain, hurt and hardship God ALWAYS WINS. I thank him that I was not consumed and did not remain in the bondage. 14 years later, I can boast that God is taking control over my mind, freeing me from perverse thoughts, I can boast in God and the freedom I have in Him. It is still a daily battle and an ongoing war, but I acknowledge that I fight in God’s strength! And although this was something I did well to keep from my parents, I can’t help but acknowledge their hearts and deep love for Jesus Christ and raising me to know Him for myself in all other aspects of my life which has made ALL the difference in my journey.

 

This journey has taught me a lot so far, the biggest thing I couldn’t comprehend was that God’s love chases after you. That God takes you from a pit to a palace. Glory to God because of my experiences I can speak out through my work.

2 comments

Dupe Olakunle-Olabode

What a courage to share your story but I know when we are in Christ, our past doesn’t define us it‘s JESUS who does only if we let him. Your story resonate with me and I know and understand. It is very well with you my sister and you’re totally free. Arise and shine for your light has come. Hallelujah xx

Andrea

Thank you for your bravery. Beautifully written.

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