Child Sexual Abuse: A Personal Observation
By: Matthew Shotola
There are myriads of things happening in our world today that needs to be addressed. So many writers out there have written beautiful essays to address vital issues, most of which border around societal concerns. Among other things that writers do – they are able to warn the masses of impending calamity, enlighten people with little or no knowledge about particular subjects and most importantly they proffer solutions to challenges we are faced with as humans.
This is no time for quiet. Therefore I have sought the best means to convey my deep concerns for young girls who are being molested sexually on a daily basis. This piece has to be one of the most difficult I have to write. This is not owing to want of words. I dare say that in this clime, little to nothing has been done to obliterate this menace of sexual abuse, especially with minors. Parents have their share of the blame while the society does too. The insensitivity and laxity some parents show towards their children’s upbringing is quite befuddling. While some parents have failed there are others who have taken parenting seriously but unfortunately their efforts has been frustrated by the unbridled sexual urges of sexual predators.
Luminous Jannamike in November of 2020 succinctly defined what child sexual abuse thus: “Child sexual abuse is a form of molestation in which an adult or older adolescent uses a child for sexual stimulation… Forms of child sexual abuse include engaging in sexual activities with a child (whether by asking or pressuring, or by other means), indecent exposure (of the genitals, female nipples, etc.), child grooming, and child sexual exploitation, including using a child to produce child pornography… These assaults are usually targeted at children who are aged 15 years and below. Innocent and vulnerable, such children are violated sexually by neighbors, relatives, school teachers, and sometimes strangers who take undue advantage of them.”
Before I proceed to share the incident that stimulated me to write this piece, permit me to mention that the nature of my current job puts me in a vantage point where I get to learn about the past of teenage girls ranging from thirteen years to eighteen. Therefore, what I’m about to talk about is not my own conjecture.
Sexual abuse is not novel. According to UNICEF, in a recent survey, six out of ten children in Nigeria experience emotional, physical or sexual abuse before the age of 18, with half experiencing physical violence. However, lately, there has been an upsurge in sexual abuse especially with minors. It is sad to mention that it has metastasized to the point where boys who are not of age are now perpetrators too. This is a huge problem for/in our society that is not much talked about. We cannot deny the fact that our present society is one that is morally delinquent. I said in paragraph two above that I would blame parents partly for the rise in sexual abuse. Mr. Segun (not real name) does all sort with his wife in public. He fondles her breast right in front of their children. He kisses and caresses her in public and he does all these things unashamedly. Fast forward to three years later, their oldest girl, a teenager became a mother. I need not talk about how her parents caused her woes. This is not fiction. It happened in my neighborhood.
The social media is filled with videos of boys and girls averaging age four and five diliancing and twerking at birthday parties and one is left to wonder who the parents of these innocent children are. Parents ought to be guides to their children. If we would have a morally stable society, then we must look into the issue of parenting. I have often said that parenting is far more than just providing shelter, clothing and food. Useless parents often produce delinquent children who then go ahead to form a trouble-filled society.
The incident that prompted this essay happened a few days ago. A teenage girl had gone to a partly locked shop to buy something. Unknown to her, there were two siblings in the shop. The one is five years old while the other is less than three years old. The three year old upon hearing the voice of the teenager ran out crying. “Why are you crying?” asked the teenager. “He (her brother) is inserting his finger in my vagina”. The teenager, who is my own student, in her attempt to secure the young girl brought her into the house and I asked why she would bring in the child without my permission. She shared the story and I was heartbroken.
I would like to make an aside for the consideration of my readers. We may try to make guesses as to how, where and when the five year old learned such a terrible practice, I think there’s a bigger problem, which is inherent sin. One thing is clear from the story I shared above: each man is born totally depraved. Sin does not know age. Therefore we read in Psalm 51:5 – “I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me”. Unless our hearts are transformed and renewed by the Lord, each one of us is also capable of such evil.
The very essence of this essay is not only to raise an alarm but also to proffer solution to this evil practice. First off, parents should do more when it comes to protecting their children, especially the girls. They should be their watchmen. Girls are mostly the target of sexual abuse. It is true that parents may not be around their children every single moment but that is not an excuse compared to the damage that can be done to the girl child. Parents should take sex education seriously. They should teach their children how delicate some parts of their bodies are. What should be condoned from the opposite sex and what should be frowned at.
Parents should not have sex in the same room where their children sleep. Also, there are other means to express your love to your each other in the presence of your children. Fondling of the breasts and needless caressing is a presage to an inevitable trouble on your children.
Parents should also ask questions and speak to their children from time to time concerning sex. Who knows the number of girl children that have been molested but cannot speak to their parents about it? Parents, ask questions!
The culture of silence has in no small measure fostered this evil habit. Offenders should be prosecuted by the law. And such laws must be enforced. There are cases of incest whereby the extended family do not want the issue to escalate. This attitude to sexual abuse offers no help in curbing the menace.
I will end my essay with this advise. There are some of my readers who at some point in their lives have been guilty of sexual abuse. I sincerely hope you seek forgiveness and find pardon. Also, there are may be some who are still steeped in this evil practice. My counsel to you is to desist from this evil and join in the cry to abolish child sexual abuse.