The highest prevalence rate of child sexual abuse is in Africa (34.4 per cent).Most child sexual abuse is by men, 30percent of which are the Child’s relatives – brothers, fathers, uncles and cousins. About 60 percent are other acquaintances such as friends of the family, baby sitters, or neighbours while strangers are offenders in about ten percent of child sexual abuse cases.
An estimated 7.9 percent of males and 19.7 percent of females globally experience sexual abuse before the age of 18. Europe showed the lowest prevalence rate of 9.2 percent while America and Asia had prevalence rates of between 10.1 percent and 23.9 percent respectively in 2011. South Africa has the highest prevalence rate for men (60.9 percent) and women (43.7 percent).
As a result of this alarming rate of child abuse cases, it is very important to protect the girl child’s privacy by installing secret security cameras in the house to monitor all activities while you are away. Technology has become so advanced that you can monitor from your office everything going on in your home. Therefore, investment in security cameras is very essential and compulsory especially when you have infants and children at home.
There was a reported case of a mother who left her children in the care of a male steward and he abused them for months unnoticed enticing them with sweets and biscuits until he was caught by a neighbour in the act. There are cases too numerous to mention but the use of a camera will reduce incidences like this as parents will be able to monitor their children although it is not advisable to leave the girl child with any male domestic staff like cooks, security man, washer man-, steward etc. An adult female must always be at home with the children. When the mother is travelling, a trusted relation or friend should be contacted to check on the kids from time to time in addition to the mature housemaid and husband’s supervision.
Parents must teach the girl child to reject gifts politely from strangers even when they are given by close relations, neighbours and friends and to promptly inform you of all such gifts. Sweets and chocolates are the most common gifts used to entice little girls. The acceptance of any such gifts must be reported immediately to the parents who in-turn should thank the gift giver and politely advise that such gifts be given to the parents directly.
The girl child must be taught from the onset never to enter into a pact with anyone to keep a secret from her parents. The word “Do not Tell” should go off as a red flag and should not be acceptable. Always probe in a subtle and intelligent way to make her feel comfortable to talk to you about everything. Be her best friend and confidant.
The girl child must be well dressed at all times to cover her under- wear and private areas of her body and must be taught to sit with her legs crossed at all times. She must be dressed according to her age and not over or underdressed. Where she has to wear a short dress or skirt, she must have on nice tights underneath in order not to expose her underwear. That way she learns to dress decently from childhood to adulthood.
As much as possible, separate the girls from the boys. In the event that there are insufficient rooms, the girls can stay in the mother’s room under very close supervision. Every girl child must be taught that there are some areas of their body which are very private and should not be touched by any other person. Examples are the breast, buttocks and genitals. Any infringement on those areas should be promptly reported to the parents. This also includes oral genital contact, masturbation, sexual penetration, pornography, exposure/flashing of body parts to the child and verbal pressure for sex. Teach them not to sit on the laps of the opposite sex.
Parents, please do not expose any part of your naked bodies to your children or allow them to see you in any uncomfortable position with your spouse. Children should not be allowed to watch adult movies without parental guidance, or accompany parents to watch comedy shows where the use of inappropriate adult language is common. On no condition must a girl child be taken to school by the driver or any male relative or staff unaccompanied by a female adult where the parents are unable to do so themselves. The girl should always be seated at the back and well strapped.
There was a reported case of a driver who went to pick up the daughter of his boss from school, took her to an uncompleted building, raped her and abandoned her in the building. She was mentally battered and physically damaged for the rest of her life as her hips were dislocated and she now walks with a limp remembering this evil act for the rest of her life. It is also very important to pick up the girls from school promptly at the close of school hours. Some parents are used to leaving their children in school for two to three hours after the close of school at the mercy of the security guards, male teachers or headmaster.
There was also a case of a woman who forgot her daughter at school for hours only to find her dead in an uncompleted building close to the school. She had been raped to death by the security man who fled the scene after committing the dastardly act. Another case was recently reported in Abuja where a five-year old girl was constantly being abused by the proprietor of the school because her mother would drop her in his care very early in the morning before school starts, and pick her up very late after school. Whenever she returns from school, ensure she does her home work promptly and check her school bag for any foreign items which do not belong to her and if such items are found, enquire from her where she got it. Do some investigations and ensure she returns them immediately.
Every girl child must have supervised lessons at home, that is, a female adult must be around her whenever the lesson teacher is at home.
School visits and open days must be attended by every mother, questions about your child must be asked to know her weaknesses and strength. Do not scold her in the presence of her teacher or friends if you get a negative response but go back home to counsel and encourage her and make her talk to you. There may be some other external factors responsible for her poor performance at school.