Jennifer Alupo was twenty years old when she was married to Nathan Amoloi. According to tradition Nathan paid Jennifer’s parents the bride price of two cows. And that’s where the trouble started. One of the two cows given to Jennifer’s parents was the cow that gave the milk that Nathan used to feed his hunting dog. Deprived of his prize cow, Nathan did what any sane person would do and started practicing an ancient tradition of his village – a belief that when a dog is breastfed human milk it becomes a better hunter. So after the birth of their first child, when Jennifer was rife with milk, Nathan started forcing her to breastfeed his dog’s puppies. This went on for a little over seven years.
“At first I thought it was the child suckling”, Jennifer says of her ordeal, “but my husband had removed the baby and replaced it with a puppy. I cried out in alarm but he threatened to strangle me. He bribed me with 5,000 and promised to buy meat so that I don’t tell anyone. He also told me I will eat food before the dogs.”
But Nathan was lying and his treatment of her got worse. Periodically he’d come in and force her to feed his puppies from her breast.
“After my fifth child was born I reported to my father.”
Jennifer’s father arranged a meeting between himself and Nathan’s parents, during which Nathan agreed to treat Jennifer better. Predictably this bastard beat his wife after the meeting and refused to let her eat for a week. Luckily Jennifer’s father had kept a close eye on proceedings and contacted the authorities, but that’s where this story took another sick turn.
Firstly Jennifer was repeatedly accused of being insane or delusional. The police tried to send her back to her husband but, at her father’s insistance, they eventually relented and opened an investigation, sending her to a women’s centre. The investigation led to an arrest and a case at the magistrate’s court. Here again Jennifer was accused of being delusional by the magistrates and the case was almost thrown out. Pressure from the Actionaid charity and testimony from the chief of police eventually persuaded them that this woman needed help and that they were obligated to give her that help – no mean feat in a country that has no laws protecting women from such abuse. Nathan is currently being charged with child neglect due to depriving his children of their mother’s milk.
“For over five years he’s forced his wife to breastfeed his dogs.” said a neighbour who prefers to remain anonymous, “I’ve seen it and it’s part of this villages mentality.”
Another anonymous neighbour confirmed the events and said that Nathan had killed the dogs afterwards. This neighbour said that village elders had forbidden them to talk about the incidents due to the shame it brings the village. As they didn’t do anything to help Jennifer one can only assume that the complaint is the shameful part for them.
Jennifer Alupo is 27 years old now and lives in a single room at the Women Wont Wait Domestic Prevention centre. At the centre she is undergoing therapy to help her overcome her ordeal and is being trained to work a sewing machine to help her find work. She is able to smile about the future now but dares not leave the centre as her husband has threatened to bring her home.
“I paid my brideprice,” says Nathan, “and if they don’t refund I’ll have no choice but to bring her home.”
Of course, Nathan not only wants his cows back, but the profit that the family have made on the cows since they’ve had them. He has already taken three of his children back from Jennifer’s family.
I have an offer for Nathan Amoloi. Come visit me and see how we treat people like you in my country. It also involves feeding dogs.