I weep over the increasing rate in child sexual abuse in Africa. Except if you’ve chosen not to notice, there’s always a story or the other on a child who was sexually molested by a family member, a family friend, a neighbor, a friend, a stranger/strangers, and on and on.
Daily reports from the media keep us aware that we have an epidemic on our hands; infact, it is as rampant as the Ebola scourge, and each time I read a story, or I attend to a child who was sexually abused, I’m filled with anger. Worse part is most of these abusers have STIs (including HIV), and go on sexually molesting this child without any protection!
” IMAGINE A NINE YEAR OLD BOY WHOSE ANUS WAS BATTERED BY A GROWN UP MAN, OR ANOTHER SMALL BOY THAT ONE GROWN UP WOMAN FORCES TO DO ALL SORT OF UNIMAGINABLE THINGS WITH HER DIRTY SEXUAL ORGANS. IMAGINE A YOUNG GIRL LOSING HER VIRGINITY AT A TENDER YEAR OF TEN. THE PAIN,INFECTION AND THE PSYCHOLOGICAL DESTRUCTION THAT USUALLY HURTS FOR A LIFETIME .”
Why would someone so evil and so wicked, go and sexually abuse a child that is innocent, and naive? How will you not rot in your own created nemesis, when you decide that an underdeveloped child is your only source of sexual satisfaction? How could someone just even think of it in the first place – even to the point of sleeping with your own biological child and showing no regret or remorse? How? Just how?
Don’t you know you are destroying the life of that child-And you will forever be cursed?
Terrible wickedness. Horrible evil!
I have read. I have heard. I have seen. That is why I am writing.
Do you know that most African countries have no law that provides adequate time to prosecute offenders?Things such as lack of forensic evidence, inability of parents to allow their wards to testify and social stigma are the major constrains in prosecuting offenders.
Do you know that some of the effects of child sexual abuse are unbalanced/retarded growth and development in the child, severe distress, fear, shame, stigmatization, discrimination and other physical and psychological health issues? Including death?Worse still, some of these children grew up with rage against the society that failed to protect them and eventually becomes a danger to the society in their adulthood as they may seek revenge by carrying out some monstrous act.
Do you know that up to one-third of adolescent girls and boys report their first sexual experience as being forced?What of the unreported cases?
Do you know that society, tradition, religion and culture have prevented such cases from being appropriately addressed and ultimately taken seriously?
No wonder our leaders can gallantly marry child brides without batting an eye!!!
We need to stand up against child sexual abuse. You and I. Child sexual abuse can only be stopped when we realize that this is a joint effort, whether the child is yours or not. We are the ones to prevent and stop this evil and nip it in the bud, before it eats a good percentage of our psychologically and physically healthy adults.
Because, if we decide to ignore, the next victim could just be yours.
Here are a few tips:
1 . Study your child/ward. If there are changes in verbal or non verbal communication, you’d be able to pick it up easily, simply because you’ve studied your child.
2. Radical Sex Education. Nigerians tend to shy away from sex education. Yet evil has been thriving in our ‘shyness’. Educate your children /wards at a very very early age, using words, pictures and actions that are commiserate with their level of understanding. E. g, A 6 year old could be taught on reporting to her parent, if ANYONE touches her genitals, except her parents.(especially her mother).
3. Observe. Listen and Look. Watch out for ringing bells and yellow alerts. Follow your instincts. For instance, a neighbor who constantly calls a child ‘My wife’, or ‘My husband’ ; someone who is suspiciously extra nice to a child; and so on.
4. Be at alert- with family members, house helps, domestic staff, friends, strangers, and everyone. It is the ones we trust the most that are the criminals.
5. Regulate what is been watched at home-TV programs, movies, music, and all that. A lot of these things pass salient sexual messages in form of innuendos.
6. Dress your child decently and moderately. Correct those who don’t. We do not want our children sending a sex pervert or pedophile, hidden sex messages.
7. Listen! Listen!! Listen again! Don’t be too busy for any child or too strict, that he or she cannot communicate to you, as a friend. Be their friend, counselor, reliable companion. Keep their secrets.
8. Answer all questions honestly and with wisdom. Because if you don’t, the Internet, peers and media will give more distorted answers ; and your child will never trust you again.
9. Child hawking is dangerous. Please, do not send your child alone to the home of a spinster or bachelor you barely know or trust. Because even the ones you trust, are unreliable.
10. Upgrade yourself with the happenings around the world. Go for seminars and events on child training. Because they grow faster than you can ever imagine.
11. Do not be quick to judge them, or quick to answer them. Seek for help from a child counselor where necessary.
11. Pray for them. Ask the Lord for wisdom to train them. Because, where your strength might fail you, the Lord is sure to protect.
AND FINALLY, IF YOU FIND OUT THAT YOUR CHILD HAS BEEN SEXUALLY ABUSED, DO NOT KEEP QUIET THINKING YOU ARE PROTECTING YOUR CHILD. CRY TO THE HIGHEST HEAVEN UNTIL THE WHOLE WORLD HEARS YOUR VOICE AND ENSURE THAT THE CRIMINAL IS NAMED, SHAMED AND PUNISHED FOR THEIR CRIME. YOU WILL BE DOING THE CHILD, YOUR CHILDREN’S CHILDREN AND ALL THE CHILDREN IN THE WORLD MORE HARM IF YOU KEEP QUIET.
Please add what measures you think can be used in curbing this epidemic.
LNA Media Director