My name is Etornam.

I wish that I had time to tell you everything that would help you understand what I want to do, but I do not. All I can tell you is that mine has been a tough life. I lost my father in a car crash when I was little. I do not remember much about him. All I know is that when I think of him, I feel safe. I am pretty sure that if he were still alive, I would not be in my current predicament. However, he is not.

I live with my mother and stepfather. That is the beginning of my many woes. My stepfather is a very strict man. If I am to be honest, I would say that he is unnecessarily strict. I am a university student. I have a hostel on campus. I am only allowed to stay on campus on weekdays, thanks to my stepfather.

On weekends, I am supposed to be present at home. On weekdays, I am supposed to be up at five in the morning. I am supposed to send a message to both parents by 5:05am indicating that I have woken up. I have twenty-five minutes to bathe, brush and dress up. At exactly 5:30am, I am to send a message saying that I have bathed. I am to have my quiet time and pray. I should finish this by 6:00am and send a message to that effect.

I must have breakfast by 7am. I am to send a picture of every meal I have, with a time stamp to prove that I not only ate, but ate at the right time. I am also to send a message every hour to show that I am alive and well. I am to take a picture of my room to show that it is neat. I am also to take a selfie in the lecture hall to show that I went to class. He said this would ensure that I get an education. To me, it sounds like a way to make sure he does not waste his money paying fees.

I cannot tell you who my stepfather is because he is a very important government personality. Not to worry. If I go through with my plan, you will hear of it on the news.

Aside feeling like a caged animal, I feel a lot of other things. I feel pain most. For instance, just last week, the top-secret-boyfriend I had been making plans to elope with broke things off. Did I already mention that I am not allowed to speak to boys? Any contact with a male specimen is to be reported to my step-father. Somehow, if you live like I do, you become really good at hiding things. I have two phones. The one my parents got me is not safe. I surrender it randomly for inspection of my chats. Any chat found to be inappropriate results in taking away my phone privileges.

You may be thinking I am making all this up, but believe me, I am not. I have no reason to lie.

If you are wondering why my mother hasn’t spoken up, don’t. My mother belongs to a society that believes that your husband is your glory. Imagine having a high-ranking government official as a husband. The kind of glory my mother has because of that monster is enough for her to neglect her own daughter. Not only that, she is afraid of him as well.

Last year, when I made the mistake of talking to a boy, my step-father had beaten me to a pulp. I really felt like dying. I had been hospitalized for almost a month. I think she fears he will do same to her if she ever opposes him.

As if that is not enough, the perverted men from my stepfather’s side of the family have been taking their turns with me. They know my step-father and his rules. If I ever tried to report them, he would kill me for trying to destroy the image of his family. I feel like my body is not my own. I have been raped severally. I have lost count.

Back to the purpose of this piece. I write to tell you that I intend to take away my own life. I have had enough, and I know you agree with me, though you may not admit it.

I have been thinking of reasons why I ought to stay alive, and I have found none.

The most amusing I came across was the legal reason. According to section 57 of the Criminal and Other Offences Act of Ghana, suicide is a crime, punishable by up to three years in prison.

This really had me laughing. As if some law somewhere is enough to make me not want to kill myself. And how is jail time supposed to stop me from feeling suicidal?

I am suffering. I want to die. You want to lock me up. For what?

I do not know how you law makers think, but let me tell you how I see things.

All you are telling me is that if I ever decide to try to kill myself, I should not just attempt, but succeed. After all, I am not military. Nobody can try me in death.

Dear lawmakers, if you hoped that one law to lock me up would stop me, you were wrong. All that law says to me is not to fail to take my life. I would have thought you would recommend compulsory psychological treatment, but no, you only want to lock me up.

Thank you for motivating me to succeed at killing myself.