Footprints of a Survivor is a weekly column written by Kim Mukwa, a survivor of childhood physical, emotional and sexual abuse. Each week, she reveals the layers of pain she lived through, the damage it caused and the steps she is taking to heal emotionally.
I am Kim Mukwa, born in 1988. I am a mother and wife and also a survivor of childhood physical, sexual and emotional trauma. My story is one of pain, horror, disbelief and a thousand questions without answers. And so, I really try to go through life the best way I know how, and that is to seek a place of healing and understanding. Basically, I’m taking it one day at a time, riding the wave of my emotions as I experience them.
By the time I was born, the foundation of my family was already shattered. There were multiple stepmothers, which led to constant conflict. To make matters worse, my mother made the drastic decision to basically dump me as a baby. As the hypothetical elephants fought, the grass which was me suffered because, as they say, when elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers the most.
I was tossed to and from homes as no one wanted to deal with a baby whose mother just decided that she had had enough of her baby.
The whole fiasco landed me in the hands of a stepmother, my father’s wife at the time. The house we grew up in was always filled with people as my father had sired quite a number of kids. I was one of the youngest kids but bore the brunt of my stepmother’s fury.
From as early as I can remember, I was always afraid because anything, no matter how minute, would trigger one hell of a beating. These were not the normal few spanks on the backside but vicious beatings that would leave me sore for days. As my story unfolds, you will realise that I was trapped in a cage of unexpected violence.
I remember one day she ordered me to bring her her shoes, help her put them on and then lace them up. Somehow, I knew she was up to some cruel scheme. The thing is she never liked me. To her, I was an unwanted intruder who had come to disturb her already suffering marriage.
Now back to the incident. Because I was shaking from fear, I failed to perform the task, and so she kicked me in the mouth, just like that. Who does that? I always go back to that time, and I feel so much pity for the young Kim who just cried with her hand on her mouth. By that time, she had already broken me. Even though I do not remember the earlier incidents, this one has stuck with me because that’s when I knew I was hated and unwanted.
I call that house the haunted house because just when I thought the beatings were bad enough, things took a twisted turn that forever haunts me to this day.
I will continue to recount the events that transpired in my life at the hands of my stepmother, which to this day get me so furious and extremely sad.
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