March 19, 2019

Watch o, is your child being sexually abused? – Emeka Nwolisa

Watch o, is your child being sexually abused? – Emeka Nwolisa

Yawa dey gas…fire is on the mountain and Kasala don burst. Add ya own.

Bottom line, there is trouble. Childreļn are being sexually abused. Both genders are abused though there is a preponderance of females.

True, it has always happened but the levels  are now unbelievable. It has reached ‘state of emergency levels oh’ and ‘be careful’ levels for parents. News reports are replete with cases of people charged to court for sexual abuse of children but after the initial ‘gragra’ the cases often go into ‘voicemail.’ You hardly read of convictions or early closure brought to the cases.

In 2015 a report by UNICEF indicated that that one in four girls and one in ten boys in Nigeria experience sexual violence before the age of 18 .

In addition, for 31.4 percent of girls polled, their first sexual encounter was rape or forced sex of some kind. Child sexual abuse in Nigeria is an offence under several sections of chapter 21 of the country’s criminal code but it appears not to be an appropriate deterrent. Just maybe the challenge has been appropriate reporting of cases and/or diligent prosecution.

Most cases of abuse are perpetuated by family members, neighbours or people known to the child. There is no divide between the rich and poor, religious leaders and laymen, educated and illiterate when it comes to abuse. The causes of child sexual abuse are complex and not fully understood but a home that is dysfunctional is definitely a contributory factor. Child labour especially street hawking and the likes are also risk factors.

Children who are abused grow up to become adults that have low self esteem and are often angry with society and may exhibit deviant behaviours. Sometimes, they take out their anger and pain on their partners in a relationship or their children. What is important to know though is that it is never a child’s fault for being abused. It is also never a child’s responsibility to end abuse. It’s the responsibility of the parents and by extension the society.

Actions that could reduce the risk of abuse include:
1.Using the proper names for body parts including the genital parts. This way the child can appropriately convey the right information if any abuser attempts to touch any part of the child’s body.
2.Children should be taught that the genitals are private areas and they are not for everybody to see or touch.

Genital areas should not be touched by anyone in any guise except parents and trusted aides. While this is helpful, it becomes a challenge when the abuser is the father.

3.Most perpetrators will tell the child to keep the abuse a secret. Teach your child to share supposed secrets with daddy or mummy.

4. Teach the child that under no circumstance should anyone take pictures of the genitals or private parts.

5. As part of efforts to curb the increasing cases of sexual and other child abuses, the Lagos State government has approved the teaching of safe and unsafe touches to children in the state. This should be adopted by other state governments but importantly too, parents should know their children and be observant.

Hustling for daily living is real and necessary but then …Nwakaego. For parents…be careful no be curse na advice!

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