Child abuse is yet to be openly discussed in Nigeria, and most victims who are bold enough to speak out sometimes regret it afterwards. Here’s why.
For many who grew up sheltered in the comfort of their middle-class or rich homes, it is hard to comprehend how a 10-year-old would have to allow abuse in exchange for shelter and probably food.
The sad truth is that the streets of Nigeria are not safe, bloodier even at night. And for a child like Ifan Ifeanyi Michael, enduring abuse was his best bet at staying alive and looking forward to surviving life with no one to cry to at the age of 10.
The popular award-winning filmmaking and fashion consultant, known mostly as Ifan, granted an interview where he revealed that he was incessantly abused from the age of 10 by an older male who took him in and gave him that as the only condition to be sheltered.
The filmmaker broke down in tears as he recounted the disturbing experience which has undeniably shaped his present reality and contributed to his fashion inclination and maybe sexual proclivity.
While there have been unfounded speculations about his sexual preferences and his effeminate style, it is worthy of note that this article seeks to shed more light on the life of an abused child.
Most Nigerians are insensitive to the topic of sexual abuse and its victims. We also have to understand that the life of an abused victim is changed permanently as a result of the encounter. In some cases, the abused would hate the particular sex of his or her abuser and lean towards the other sex.
This means if a man was abused by a man, he grows up and leans towards the women, and in most cases, becomes a womanizer in order to satisfy his high libido and unquenchable sexual hunger.
Others, especially those who suffer abuse for so long, become accustomed to the abuse from the abuser and lean towards the same choice as their abuser.
An example posits itself where a woman is abused by another woman for long and chooses to continue having sexual relationships with the same sex. In some cases, the victims of abuse tend to stay off any form of sexual affinity or completely steer clear of relationships in its entirety.
In Nigeria, there is still a hush-hush system about abuse and even the few who cry out do not bother going for psychological evaluation and therapy afterwards.
It is important that we take on the responsibility of applauding the bravery of those who speak out. It is not okay to castigate victims or make light of the traumatizing experience they suffered at the hands of their abusers.
There have been speculations and tongue wagging from a lot of people about legalizing homosexuality in Nigeria. Although, an unending debate, the conversation continues, the thought lingers in the hearts of many.
In fact, in recent times, many homosexuals completely relocate to countries where they are fully accepted and are able to live their lives openly to the fullest.