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PASTOR'S DAVGHTER: I WAS BORN AND RAISED IN A RELIGIOUS HOME BECAUSE MY DAD IS A PASTOR, MY SIBLINGS AND I WERE RAISED WITH GREAT LOVE, RESPECT AND DIGNITY. AS THE NORM OF A CHILD COMING FROM A GOOD RELIGIOUS HOME, EVERYONE HAD LOOKED AT ME AS A PASTOR'S CHILD, I LOST MY NAME TO THE SOCIETY AND I LOST MY IDENTITY, BECAUSE TO THEM I WAS JUST A PASTOR'S CHILD.

I was expected to behave holy, serving the community, attending church services. Growing up I felt that society had denied me humanity, the ability to fault and have fun like any other child. Coming from a Christian home became more of a disadvantage for me, I could not part-take in normal activities like other children did, I could not go swimming because for God sake your body is a temple of God, you shall not expose yourself, I could not go to dance classes, or listen to the songs that I loved, I mean Satan has dominated the music industry unless gospel, but which 14-year-old enjoys listening to gospel? I had a talk with my dad, and down the conversation I gathered all my energy with confidence and I told him, "Dad, stop trying to raise me like a perfect child because you are a pastor." At 14 I understood that all that my dad was doing was to paint a perfect picture to the society that his children are Christians and perfect, he received that pressure from the congregation as he preached to them, "Groom your children to be children of God and not of the world." He had to practice what he preached, and as a result I suffered horribly.

My misery began at home, but I continued to suffer in the community and in my own church. When I was a lot younger like at 9 or 11, I always looked at how pretty the girls were, the skirts they wore and short little heels, they looked amazingly beautiful, I never for a second stopped thinking about them after the church service, especially Marta who always smiled at Sunday school. When I turned 15, everything made sense as to why I always thought of the girls, I realised that I was attracted to girls, I had no interest in boys, I never even imagined kissing a boy, and even when we played house and house, when I played the mother role, the father of my children was always a girl, so it was girl to girl, and it fit so perfectly. At 16 years of age I felt the need to be in a relationship, and I thought to myself, okay, why not ask Marta, maybe in her smiles she has been meaning to communicate the same feelings as me. Marta also came from the house of a church leader, everybody in the congregation saw her as a child of good faith and that is what I also believed about her, until the Saturday evening when I called her and confessed my feelings towards her, I had not asked her to be my girlfriend then, I just wanted to let her know how I felt. Had I known Marta's qualities, I would not have bothered, she was worse than the devil.

The next Sunday I went to church as usual, in the congregation we always hugged, cheek-kissed and showed love and affection, but that Sunday everyone had given me a cold stare. I heard weird whispers as I walked by, but I didn't understand what was going on. A Ndonga lady behind my seat said it out so loud, I knew they were talking about me when she said, "Tala keshenge lyaandja pastoli ndi lya li ta li thikama Maita, Mhm uunona otawu ningi iikumithalonga." That statement loosely translates to, " Look at the lesbian from pastor's house that was proposing Marta, what an abomination!" It felt as though the meeting for that day was specifically arranged for me, my dad looked straight into my eyes as he preached and said, " Homosexuality exists, and it has no place in the church." Everyone applauded, I could not stand the humiliation, I was shocked by how Marta managed to convey my sexuality to everyone in the congregation, and it has reached all ears just like a death notice. I told myself that if I am sinning, so is everybody in the congregation because the bible verse they are using to judge me speaks out against sexual immorality, idolaters, adulterers, thieves, drunkards, and swindlers, and nearly everyone in the congregation fell under one of those sins, but mine was the greatest of them all, mine was not only sin in their eyes, it was abomination.

I was banned from church, my father who always encouraged us to love has despised me, and the congregation mocked my dad for raising a rotten apple. He also had it hard, and I blamed it all on me as I cried myself to sleep, always asking God if he has also abandoned me like everyone else did. Two weeks after the incident, a 22 year old man from the congregation had instructed himself to correctional rape me, I told an uncle of mine that I thought could help me after the correctional rape, but I was consequently disappointed when he told me that I asked for it . Today at 25, I still weep over my virginity lost to a man whom I do not know.

The last time I went to church was on 26th February 2015, it is a choice I made, because I was extremely shocked by how Christians behaved in my congregation, they judged, hated, gossiped, disowned, treated me inhumanly, I was an outcast, they torment me with hurtful words, I suffered at the hands of apparent Christians. These Christians failed to see that before my sexuality, I am just as human as they are, they failed to refrain from judging others, from treating others with justice, they did not act like children of God because they were filled with prejudice, and for me I call those pretentious Christians. Love for all humans must be the greatest equalizer, we must love and care for each other in this world, Christians or non-Christians because we all fall and rise under human beings, and no one is greater than the other in the eyes of the Creator.

by Idda Amunime (*) photographs Pexels

(*) A fictional depiction of everyday real stories
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Title Annotation:SPECIAL REPORT
Author:Amunime, Idda
Publication:Sister Namibia
Geographic Code:6NAMI
Date:Jan 1, 2019
Words:1005
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