Series written and edited by Peju Akande, based on true stories

I’ve known our pastor since I was five years old.

He used to visit our house when I was young. He was a friend to my father and even when my father packed away from our house to marry another woman, Pastor was still coming to visit us and pray for my mother and us the children. So let’s just say, I’ve known him for 11 years. I don’t see him as a stranger.

The trouble started when I fell sick. My mother said maybe I had malaria, so she bought me some drugs from the chemist on our street but after taking the drugs for three days, I was still not feeling better so my mother then said I should go to the Health Centre at Randle. She always goes to Cotonou to buy frozen chicken every Wednesday that was why she couldn’t go with me to the hospital.

At the hospital, they told me I was to do a blood test and after waiting for many hours, I saw the doctor and they gave me some drugs and injection. That day, I vomited all the food in my stomach, even before I got my injection, one of the nurses then told me to buy Sprite before taking the injection. I did. I just felt like sleeping but I knew I had to get home. I was still standing at the bus stop not far from the health centre when I saw pastor coming. He asked me what I was doing there and I told him I was sick.

He then helped me get into the bus and even paid my fare. I fell asleep the moment I got into the bus. Maybe it was because of the drugs they gave me at the hospital.

The pastor woke me up when the bus stopped. I was too sick to ask questions when he told me he was taking me for prayers. All I wanted to do at that time was just to sleep.

But the place he took me to was his house, though I didn’t know at that time. I just know that he put me in a room with a table and a bed. I went straight to lie down because I was too weak to sit up. He later brought me a plate of rice which I ate and slept off again. He kept telling me my enemies want to kill me but he would pray for me.

I woke up in the dark and felt as if a heavy weight was on my chest. I was struggling to push the weight off but I couldn’t. I wanted to shout for help but my mouth was stuffed with something, so I was struggling to free myself because apart from the load on my chest, all my body was as if fire was on it.

When it was morning time, I woke up and pastor was there, he told me I had started my menses and that I should go and clean up. I was surprised because I was naked and all my body was just aching me. I don’t know how long I was in the pastor’s house. I just know I woke up one time and saw the pastor lying on top of me and that was when I knew I was in trouble.

“Pastor! Pastor!” I was just shouting his name.

I suddenly realised what was happening to me and the first thing I thought about was ha, this is like an Africa Magic movie. Pastor has spoilt my life, he has spoilt my life for me, I was just crying.

I think some people in the house heard me crying and started banging on the door until pastor opened the door and I ran out. I was crying and one woman from the compound took me inside her room. She gave me her wrapper to cover myself and then she gave me a phone to call my mother.

My mother was crying when she came there and she said she had been looking for me for three days. We were both crying when I told her what happened.

So, the people in the compound now told my mother to go and report the pastor to the police but the pastor was begging my mother. He said it was the devil that pushed him. He was crying and begging my mother and saying he will repent that my mother should remember he has a new born baby, who will take care of her if he goes to jail?

My mother forgave him and was about taking me home but one of the women had gone to call an aunty from that centre where they help girls who have been raped, because, what the pastor did to me was rape.

That aunty came and took me to the hospital; they tested me and later brought me to the police station.

Now, the pastor is in detention.

And I was not the only woman, so no need sugar coating it. That is why I called the Pastor a sex pervert.

See, there were three other women; we all knew Pastor was having sex with each of us; we knew we had been shamed by society over and over again for being barren. If this man could get us pregnant, it was a small price to pay for silence.

Once we hear ‘Rreceivaaah! rreeeeeivvvaaah!! takittaaa! It means one of us is ‘specially annointed’ by pastor Ken, Oh we all knew!

Then I became pregnant! I knew this was no miracle, I knew mine wasn’t the holy child. I just kept asking God for forgiveness because I didn’t know what else to do. I continued worshipping at the church but stopped going for vigil.

I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl in the UK and I was over the moon with joy.
Then one midnight, my husband started his own wahala, he told me he couldn’t be the father of my child. He told me he knew he can never father a child and that I should leave his house with my bastard.

I said whosai! So, it also means those children you have been parading in front of me all these years are not yours? It means you will pay me back all the money I have been lending you for the upkeep of the so called children. It means I will have no choice but tell the world that you are not a man!

The man calm down, sharperly!

You see, for men; their manhood is the centre of their universe; my husband couldn’t afford to be shamed because at this time, after years of being humiliated by him, I was finally a mother, financially able to care for myself and child and him being in our lives would have been a small bonus not necessarily the most important thing.

At this point, as a UK citizen, I was already prepared to relocate to the UK to raise my child. When I brought it up, my husband followed me like a sheep and he kept his gob shut until he passed away from cancer six years ago.

So when they say, my daughter is a ‘miracle’, like I overcame some barrenness, no, she is a product of a sperm donor named Pastor Ken who probably still lives in Lagos.

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