Child Molestation: A Silent Killer

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Many children have fallen victim of molestation, most especially the girl child but before I go into details, I would like to define what exactly child molestation is.

Child molestation which is also known as child sexual abuse is a form of abuse in which an adult or adolescent uses a child for sexual stimulation. Child sexual abuse can occur in a variety of setting, including home, school or work (in places where labor is common).

In reference to the definition above, it is said that those who molest children are the adult and who are those adult? The adult are the aunties,uncles, brothers, sisters, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, those who the children are looking up to are the one harassing the children.

The worst part of the whole things is that those children are dying in silence because parents and guardians are not ready to give them a listening ear. Some may be because of their relationship with the perpetrator who called themselves family members or friends.

This shutting of children up when they are trying to talk about how they have been molested by their parent’s friends can be because of position or money while most of it are caused by NEGLIGENCE of the children by parents all in the name of work.

This particular issue of child molestation will take us to a real life experience of one of my dear friend called “OLAMIDE” (not real name), who was molested by a close relatives, her aunt’s husband during an holiday when the man came for a wedding ceremony. OLAMIDE’S aunt husband came for his own brother’s wedding in 2009 and decided to stay at his in-laws place for the wedding.

My friend’s grandparents gave him a room to stay and then my friend was the only one living with her grandparents. So, her grandparents told my innocent friend to stay with him so that he see someone to communicate with, without them knowing that the man is evil, who cannot control his sexual urge.

During the night, my friend said this man ( her aunt’s husband) was touching and kissing her and according to her, she did not know what that means since there is no one to give sex education as of that time to the extent that the man was watching porn videos and shows it to her.

One of the problems my friend, OLAMIDE was facing in her childhood was that she grew up know her father alone because her mother died when she was 5years of age and again her father seems to be the harsh type and he do shout at her at every slightest mistakes her daughter’s made because my friend was not academically sound in her primary school days and unknowing to her Dad that it was because of the pressure inflict on her by him. It was that same pressure that makes her not to spill what happened between her and her aunt’s husband because she already thinks she might be flogged or shout at.

This particular incident has caused this girl alot of damages both physically and psychologically; thereby killing her self-esteem because she has to deal with it alone since nobody cares to know why she’s always on her own which is even one of the major sign a good parent should notice. This particular girl Is now 22 years of age and still finds it very difficult to mingle with the opposite sex.

What exactly do you think cause this? It is called PARENTAL NEGLIGENCE. Some parent do not just care to know what is going on in their children’s life most especially the girl child. They don’t want to care about who they mingle with, their friends, the kind of play they play at school or around the house,the kind of game they play.

According to my own personal research, I discovered that child molestation doesn’t stop at home or school alone but also extends to the church of God where pastors and Reverend father molest both children and adult, elders of the church are not excluded from this act. The following are the few ways to prevent child molestation.

According to my research, there is no foolproof on how to prevent child molestation but these few steps can still be taken:

1. Be Involved in the child’s life

_ show interest in their day to day lives: e.g what they do and who they did it with, their friends, the kind of play they play and with who ? By this, you will know them better

_ know the warning signs: the warning signs come up when your child begins to change either in mood or in act. Whenever you notice any strange behaviour, you should be interested in those changes by asking your child questions.

2. Encourage your child to speak up: According to my friend’s story, if her father is the type that calm down to listen to his child and study her, he would have known what happened because my friend, OLAMIDE would have been encouraged to speak up.With these two point, the parent would be able to know the necessary measures to take in other to avoid child molestation because people can never be trusted including nannies. They are not left out in this act. 

3. Give sex education to your child early : Parents should cultivate the habit of teaching their wards about their genitals, their uses and also let them know how private those parts of the body are early. They should be taught on how to speak up when those ‘private’ areas are touched by strangers, families, teachers, etc. When the child learns about these, it will help parents to detect sexual abuse of their ward early and also prevent against it. 

4. Know what to say when a report is given: Parents should learn to believe their wards when there’s a report on sexual abuse. Know the right questions to ask them, learn not to blame them, this will help the child to trust you as a parent and would not hide things from you, about what they go through in the hands of adults or even age mates. 

Finally, the word “silent killer” will continue to be in existence until the victim are able and encouraged to speak up what have been eating them up.

Just like I was able to encourage my friend then in my secondary school days to tell me the reason behind her loneliness and she was encouraged to open up to me by my words and that is because I showed interest and I also advised her that is not the end of the world and that you be loved again. From that day, she was freed from the psychological bondage she has always been.

Always remember that young children of the world have the right to have their innocence and childhood protected.

– Oloniyo Victoria Francisca
Mass Communication Department,
Prince Abubakar Audu University Anyigba, Kogi State.

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