#Opinion: Child Rape – How many more?

#Opinion: Child Rape – How many more?

Mfonobong Akpan

“Bad child”, “seducer”, wayward” – these are the names she heard being spat at her with glaring eyes as she stood in innocently in their midst, without a clue.

It’s become a norm, just like power outage in Nigeria, the news of children being molested and raped every other day by people who are supposed to be care givers. It’s really disturbing because I wonder what sexual gratification a clueless child could possibly offer a grown man/woman.

I recently heard the heart wrenching story of a woman, who as a child, was molested repeatedly by close family members and when it came to light she was tagged the “bad child”, ” seducer”… the most shocking was the mother’s reaction, “how many abortions have you had?” It beats my imagination what a 9/10 year old could possibly know about sex and abortion… Gawd! She was indiscriminately snatched from the cradle and exposed to it.

But as I marvelled at how far she has come from that harrowing experience, I realise sadly not many kids get that far, some end up leading lives plagued with psychological and emotional trauma.

This brings me back to the very unacceptable reaction from her mother – weren’t you meant to protect her? I do understand the fact that parents need to work to provide for their kids, but that’s really no excuse to neglect your responsibilities of  talking to them about these issues and protecting them either.

A playmate, trusted family, friendly neighbour, caretaker, loving parent, the kind lap offered on a bus… these are the perpetrators, the child knows them, you know them. The abuser would usually look nothing like one. He/she is educated, successful,married, a parent, goes to church/mosque on the regular, he/she is not the tout on the street, they live, work and laugh with us.   They tell the child “its normal”, “its a tradition”, it’s your fault”, “if you speak it will break up the family”. The perpetrator in most cases is  someone you’ve known a long time and grown to trust, which often makes it even harder to notice.

Child sexual abuse isn’t always easy to spot since there is no mark or visible sign written on someone’s face that he or she is a rapist or an abuser of young children, but it’s predisposing factors most definitely can be reduced.

Parents must nurture relationships that allow their kids talk to them about every and anything. Most of these kids cannot talk to their parents about certain issues and that is why these molesters get away with their crimes.

The fight against child sexual abuse which is the root of many societal problems shouldn’t be left to professionals – physicians and therapists, the police or the courts to take care of because they come on the scene too late; by the time it gets to them the assault has occurred, reason why I’m calling on parents and guardians to put in a little more effort into bringing this menace to an end – be the eagle; get there in time.

We are tired of these reports, of children being wickedly lured into the arms of some obviously mentally deranged human for sexual gratification. Parents, mothers  – You can stop it. You  have access to your kids before any abuser can get to them; before any damage is done.

Happenings Media