In order to try and battle the blues, I'll write on a topic I have been meaning to write about for some time now.
I was in Abuja visiting my aunt’s family one summer while on vacation from Uni. My aunt has two daughters and a son, with the son being the youngest child. There was a subordinate of my uncles' who had been assisting my aunt with car issues due to the fact that my uncle was away on a business trip. I'll call him Max here.
Anyway, uncle Max came visiting one day when my aunt was away at work. As I returned into the sitting room with a tray of soft drinks which I had gone to bring for uncle Max, I was alarmed to see him holding first one of my female cousins, then the other and telling them to come sit on his laps, and sitting them on his privates. These were a ten and an eight year old – and you know how fast children develop these days. Their respective bums were bigger than mine, their 19-year-old cousin! Under normal circumstances, if he had wanted to show affection by hugging a child, the logical choice would have been the five-year-old boy, or at least all of them, but he ignored the little boy apart from an absent minded pat on the head. I did not feel comfortable and sort of cunningly managed to send the girls into their room to tidy up in order to get them away from this uncle Max. When my aunt got back from work, I told her about what I had observed and advised her to be careful about leaving older "uncles" around her daughters.
I am sure that after reading this story you probably think that I was a teenager with a dirty mind. Unfortunately, the reason why I felt so bothered about my observations that afternoon was because I had been the victim of attempted assault by a houseboy. In fact, I was literarily saved by the car horn. If my mother had not arrived at precisely the moment she did, I would have been disvirgined by Godwin our houseboy at eight years old. As it was, he ejaculated in my hands, destroying my innocence forever. I was too ashamed to tell my parents about it, because I thought it was my fault. We had been playing a game with my other siblings and I and Godwin, who must have been around eighteen at the time, somehow ended up together in the kitchen, away from the other kids. I cannot recollect clearly exactly what happened, except for the fact that I was left with a tiny hand full of disgusting gooey stuff as he went to open the garage door for my mother.
This experience, as well as some others which I won’t share today, is what makes me laugh derisively when people claim that such things as pedophilia do not happen in Africa. They so do!!!! It is just that parents are sometimes too busy to notice what is happening (like everywhere else around the world). Sometimes, in order to avoid a scandal, people also just decide to keep quiet. There are also cases like mine where, due to fear of strict parents, you are afraid to disclose something, which to your childish mind is wrong but which you fear you'll be blamed for. We need to wake up and realize that such things have happened in the past and continue to happen in our societies Here are just a few examples, although these are not exactly A-list news sources: a father who raped his own daughter, or this case of rape at a quranic school . Lets not even go to the ever-ongoing sexual harassment of female university students by male lecturers. Pedophilia and/or rape go on in our schools, in our places of worship, etc.
It is time to begin to speak out and to stop the business of saving face.
Rape is a crime and rapists must be punished. The very lowest on the ladder are those who defile children! Parents need to take steps to protect their children, by educating them on how to get away from potentially dangerous situations, and at the very least ensuring an atmosphere where dialogue is encouraged in the home, so that a child does not need to carry the emotional torment alone in case the child is abused in spite of all efforts to protect the child.
As for me sha, I will do my utmost to ensure that no uncle comes near any daughter of mine in my absence, if I have a daughter that is.