Though it barely makes newspaper headlines as a number of Nigerians are more seriously concerned with the question of who gets what, where and why, the stark reality before us is that child molestation and sexual abuse in Nigeria is as prevalent as a number of other social vices.
Sadly, our response to this has been a speedy or noisy reaction in our homes or on social media against the growing trend of pedophilia in Nigeria. Now, much as I may recognise this inclination of ours, the newsworthiness of such stories amidst the calls for justice are indeed welcome but we seem to be short sighted as we are neither attending to how we can get help for the survivors, as well as use such cases to protect more helpless children from becoming victims.
Like Alexis de Tocqueville did once say, “we cannot stop children from been sold into slavery but we can however reduce the amount of children being sold into slavery. “ Now, child sexual abuse is akin to slavery! Ask any survivor or victim, it largely goes beyond the physical, leaving psychological scars on the abused who are not equipped to deal with it.
Child sexual abuse is a tragedy and a trauma we ought not to let our little kids grow into, if we say these children are leaders of tomorrow, why stand and watch while a number of them pass through this harrowing experience?
Statistics on this growing prevalence has been hard to come by, this is owing to our culture where parents tend to quickly dismiss such claims by the victim as silly and even tend to help to want to cover it up when they find out that such absurd acts did occur owing to the perceived stigma they believe will befall their ward should they deal with the matter appropriately. They tend to quietly close the chapter but forget that the child’s life is not a book as well as allow a pedophile to keep doing his thing.
Besides, these parents and guardians seem not to be prepared to acknowledge the fact that children are prone to becoming sexually abused by people we care about, close relatives, family and friends and not the assumed stranger. This way parents are wrongly on guard while that close relative is wreaking havoc on these innocent wards. Now, since child sexual abuse is a crime of access, it is commonsensical to note that the abuser needs access to the child to carry out such crimes without arousing such suspicion.
When our society comes to terms with the numerous fangs and consequences of child sexual abuses, when we assess the very measures by which childhood sexual assaults can be better handled via recognising the importance for listening to our children, allowing them to express themselves as well as conversing with them about such matters and finally exposing the predator mostly within with the determination to prevent other innocent children from falling victim, only then can we be said to be proactive.
This is the message of Mrs. Juliet Anagor who runs the Action Against Child Sexual Abuse Initiative (AACSAI).
Mrs. Anagor’s passion is beached on the belief that child sexual abuse cuts across all ethnic, socioeconomic or religious boundaries of our society, no one is immune to it she says.
However, Anagor believes that using public education, interaction with policy makers, large scale campaigns and the use of social media, we can do more to keep our children much safer.
It is to this end that AACSAI is organising a walk to raise awareness about the subject matter with the theme: “You Can Protect Me”. The walk which will occur on the 27th of May, 2017, will commence from Eagle’s Square to Unity Fountain from 10.00am to 12.00 noon, seeks to largely serve as a wakeup call to all adults, parents, guardians and policy makers to speak up for every child that has been sexually abused and to protect others from such menace.
Lagos @50, Eko Oni Baje O
How does one write about a place where he was born, raised and lived much of his life in? How does one pay tribute to the city of excellence, the city of hope, the state of many success stories and obviously Nigeria’s melting pot.
I am talking about the Centre of Excellence, Lagos State, largely Nigeria’s commercial, intellectual and formerly political capital?
Eko for show! Eko Oni Baje O!! Brings back the nostalgia to an Igbo man like myself, born to a clearing agent who came to Lagos on the 13th of February, 1976 and like many others, made a life from what the state offered.
At 50, I join other Lagosians to celebrate the state that has made a tremendous impact on my life via its culture and I pray that youths like us will simply carry that “Lagos culture“ where excellence is nurtured and celebrated into every sphere of life in Nigeria.