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THIS HAS GOT TO STOP!

Today is not a good day, not a good day at all. I’m so angry, I could hurt someone! ‘Calm down’, I can hear you say, ‘you know you’re a Fairy’. Today is however not the day for calming down…..maybe I should tell you why I’m upset.

I’m not upset because of the environmental disaster the BP fiasco has become (279 sea turtles, 658 birds, etc have found dead.....and counting); I’m not angry that Dimeji Bankole is under some heat from his colleagues; I’m not even angry that Cameroon (which has a bigger farce called democracy and is just as corrupt as Nigeria) had uninterrupted light supply for the 12 days I was there, and not half or quarter current either!

I’m angry that the rate of child molestation/abuse is rising, and at a very alarming rate! My friend Hajo says it’s not higher than it’s ever been; people are just speaking up now. I’m angry that the innocence of little children is being stripped crudely by the very people the Fairy Godfather put in charge of them; you and me. More despicable are the biological relatives that abuse these little ones.

From the beginning of the year, the stories began to trickle in. As a matter of fact, from January 2003 when The Sun started as a weekly in Nigeria, they told us Nigeria was slowly but surely becoming the next Sodom and Gomorrah but no; we said it was The Sun’s style to be alarmist and sensational (and I agree that they can be). Our people however say that when more than two people pass and look at you strangely, it’s time to find a mirror. I strongly believe Nigeria needs a large mirror, the largest she can find because our children are no longer safe.

Forgive me for not wasting my fairy ink on definitions of words like paedophile (paedophilia), molestation, abuse, etc. Sometimes I think that’s one of our major problems; defining, finding synonyms etc when we know exactly what is being discussed. I also won’t bore you with like happenings in Europe, Asia, the Americas, etc because honestly, it’s not our business; our house is engulfed in an inferno; it would be plain silly to checking the strength of the fire (if any) at our neighbours’. Ok?

Starting from the Yerima case a couple of months old now, almost everyday I have seen in print one case of abuse or the other and I must tell you, the gap between the ages of the children and the adults can almost rival the distance between the heavens and the earth! http://allafrica.com/stories/201003160576.html

There’s the case (currently in court) of a 4year old who has been defiled repeatedly her 45 year old uncle who is the principal of a nursery and primary school. What? A 4year old is still in the babbling stage; what kind of pleasure can be found there?

An 8year old also defiled by this pervert was taken to the hospital by her mother after the case blew open will not be pressing charges because of possible stigma. When the good people (young people like you and me) went to the hospital to visit the 4year old, the doctors asked, ‘which of them’?

A 9year old won’t be getting any justice soon because the police station where the 32 year old who violated her was reported said the little girls’ statement is missing so they cannot do anything. And they let the man go. What is this world coming to?

There’s also the case of the 7year old defiled by a 49year old. When he was arrested, he told the Police that he’s a widower. So what? He also said he used his fingers not his penis, like it makes his crime any less vile. Contradicting his story are medical reports plus the fact that the little girl now has a foul odour and discharge from her privates. Quick question (for the guys); can the fingers under any circumstance produce sperm or other seminal fluids?

Most distressing (and the reason I started writing this) is a report I saw on 234next of a Mr. Phillip Benson whose 12year old daughter is now pregnant or him. Guess who found out? The little girls’ teacher. The father (who is separated from the girls’ mom) said the 12year old seduced him, that it started the day he woke up in the middle of the night to find her beside him, naked, so he touched her. How on earth can a 12 year old seduce a 49year old and her father at that? The girl on the other hand says that it’s been going on for two years and her father always threatens her with starvation and death; giving her drugs and hot drinks after every sexual encounter. Haba! Did I add that the Police said they will conduct investigations in to the case of ‘alleged abuse’? Alleged? The 12year old is visibly pregnant, the father has confessed and it is still ‘alleged’? God save us, but please start from the Police force!

Good people, what do we do? Why is this happening over and over again? This is the height of depravity, the lowest anyone can sink to. What is the pleasure to be derived from a child? It’s complex enough with a fellow adult; why go to a child? And mind you, statistics show that for every case revealed (brought to light), there are thousands unreported.

In Africa (especially), it is believed that if a HIV positive person sleeps with a virgin (and the younger the more potent), he/she will be cured; in the year 2000, this fact contributed immensely to the over 67, 000 new cases of HIV in South Africa alone. Uganda passed a law in 2007 making it a crime (punishable by death on conviction) for a HIV positive person to wilfully infect a minor via sexual intercourse. Germany and many states in America are working on approving chemical castration using the drug Depo – Provera (besides stiff incarceration) for offenders. http://www.csun.edu/~psy453/crimes_y.htm

In Nigeria where the Convention on the Rights of the Child has been domesticated to become the Child Rights Act (2003), punishments for rape have the option of fines. Imagine a N100, 000 fine for a man who used a screwdriver to poke around a girls’ vagina! Also, there are no punishments for forced oral and anal sex, finger insertion etc. Note also that 49 out of 50 victims are hushed by their parents for various reasons so I’m referring to the tiny percentage that actually comes forward.

While we wait for our government to get their act together (starts from harmonizing and passing the 13 bills relating to the rights of women and children, which are pending at the National Assembly), we can protect our little ones thus. By the way, these bills are pending yet our lawmakers are lobbying to increase their take home to 42 million naira per quarter? I digress.

We can protect them by
1. Teaching them about their body parts, emphasizing that they should resist unnecessary touching by anybody.
2. Teaching them to yell or run if they are faced with an uncomfortable situation, even if it’s by ‘uncle’.
3. Show any gift given to them by uncles, aunties, teachers, anybody to mommy and daddy.
4. Teaching them to talk to mommy or daddy about anything they are unhappy or uncomfortable about.
5. Teaching them acceptable behavior; sitting with the legs closed, etc, so they don’t put themselves at risk unnecessarily.

While we do that, as many as can be present at the Nassarawa High Court, Mararaba on the 23rd of June for the hearing on the case of the 4year old, please be there, this has got to stop!

*Originally posted on my blog in 2010...

This story was written for World Pulse’s Ending Violence Against Women Digital Action Campaign.

World Pulse believes that women's stories, recommendations, and collective rising leadership can—and will—bring an end to gender-based violence. The EVAW Campaign elicits powerful content from women on the ground, strengthens their confidence as vocal grassroots leaders, and ensures that influencers and powerful institutions hear their stories.
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Comments

mystika802's picture

Thank you for sharing. I am

Thank you for sharing. I am disgusted by the rate of child abuse! And worst of all, by the inability for perpetrators to be held truly responsible for these acts. Like you mentioned, so many cases go unreported because of the stigma attached, and this is why raising our voices together is so necessary. We must advocate for those who's voices are too small to advocate for themselves. We SHOULD be talking about taboo subjects, because
how else can change happen if we don't make these injustices public?

Chioma Agwuegbo's picture

Hello Mystika!

Thank you very much for the comment; it's absolutely horrible what children go through, especially in the hands of people who have been placed over them to guard, teach, and protect them! To my mind, it is the worst form of betrayal/disappointment/depravity/sin ever!

Sadly the government in my country cannot come down as hard as it should on offenders because our laws are porous, and taken advantage of, even by the lawmakers who should normally upload them.

I have to keep writing to stay sane, and to hopefully, reduce as many new cases as I can, and I'm really grateful for your comment.

CNCA
@chiomachuka on Twitter

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