The cases of children being sexually abused by Paedophiles(an adult who is sexually attracted to children) is prevalent in the society we live in today. Research has it that 1 out of 3 female children, is sexually abused before the age of 18,while 1 out of 5 boys suffers the same fate. Therefore the need for child’s protection against sexual abuse in the world today cannot be over-emphasized.
Parents always tell their children “don’t talk to strangers” to prevent issues like sexual abuse, kidnapping ,trafficking etc., but the irony of this statement is that most perpetrators of these acts are mostly the people we know or trust. There’s an adage from the western part of Nigeria(Yoruba dialect)which says, “Kokoro to je efor,idi efor lo wa”.This simply means that “the insect eating a vegetable is just at the roots of the vegetable”.
There was an incidence that occurred some years back ,an Adolescent girl who had just finished her JUNIOR WAEC(West Africa Examination Council) Exams,was asked by her parents to go spend time with her Dad’s sister who was well to do while she awaited her results. Few months later,she was rushed back home by her aunt,that she had attempted suicide. It was later found out that while she was with her aunt, her cousin(her aunt’s elder son)always came to her room every night to sexually abuse her.Few weeks later she became pregnant and her aunt secretly did an abortion for her and asked her not to tell anybody.The incidence with the cousin still continued until she became pregnant a second time and then she attempted suicide. Fortunately for her, the aunt had been around on that faithful day.This was how the parents got to know and the girl almost lost her life. The incident was closed, because the girl’s father said, “It was a Family matter”.
MEANING OF CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE:
This is also called child molestation,this occurs when an adult engages in sexual activities with a child.It can occur in a variety of settings,including home ,school,or work(in a place where child labor is common).
SIGNS OF A CHILD THAT HAS BEEN MOLESTED
There are two major signs a parent would have to look out for :-
1. WITHDRAWN: A child that has been sexually abused will be withdrawn.A child that is normally vibrant and extroverted would suddenly start keeping to himself or herself.
2. DEPRESSION : depression is also a tell tale sign of a child that has been molested,sudden unhappiness that spansfor a long time.
3. NIGHTMARES: this kind of incidence is traumatic,children could have series of nightmares.
4.HOSTILITY : the child could become uncharacteristically unfriendly and rash.
5. UNEASINESS WHEN THEY COME IN CONTACT WITH THE PERPITRATOR: If the criminal is within the environs,the child will always be apprenhensive when the individual is around .
I.SWELLING AND REDNESS OF THE GENITALS.
2.BODY PAIN AND WEAKNESS
3.SEXUAL BEHAIVOUR THAT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE:
4.RISK OF INFECTIONS vaginal yeast infections in children
HOW TO HELP A CHILD WHO HAS BEEN SEXUALLY ABUSED
1. Listen to them and believe them ,when they confide in you(70% never open up)
2. Do not be judgemental,support and show them love.
3. Continue to reassure them that they are safe.
4. Seek medical help and counselling for child.
5. As much as possible,bring culprit to book,if you finally discover them.
HOW CAN I PROTECT MY CHILD FROM SEXUAL ABUSE:
1. TALK TO YOUR CHILD ABOUT THEIR BODY PARTS EARLY AND THERE SHOULDN’T BE ANY BODY SECRETS: Start early to tell your kids about their body parts,(not in a vulgar manner)as early as 2-3yrs.They should know that some parts are private and should be covered and not to be touched by anyone with exceptions to Mommy ,Daddy or a Doctor. Moreover they should not touch anyone’s private parts too .Furthermore if any one touches their body parts in an offensive manner,they should report to you immediately.Some of the paedophiles are very very sly,when they start the gradual sexual harassment by touching kids secretly,they will always tell the child,”make sure you don’t tell your mummy and daddy or anybody about our play, or our play would stop and all the goodies I do get you”.
2. DONT NICKNAME THEIR BODY PARTS: Their body parts should be said,the way it is.Some parents will nickname their body parts,example the penis as “Pipi”,this is wrong,don’t get them confused as they grow up.Some parents might find this awkward ,but its for their own good.
3. BE YOUR CHILD’S CONFIDANTE: Learn to always ask and know how their day went at school and home even if u are not around.The bottom line is that you should be your child’s best friend.Make them know that they will not get into trouble if they tell you something serious.
4.YOU SHOULD DO A PROPER SCREENING OF HOUSE HELPS AND DRIVERS :There should be a thorough background check on care givers and drivers before you absolve them into your home.Make sure you know them up to their homes.21 home safety rules for children
5. MAKE SURE HOME TUTORS ARE SCREENED AND POSSIBLY HIRED BASED ON REFERRAL: Most at times parents are not home when home tutors come around, so make sure you get a trusted and well screened tutor.
6.THE ISSUE OF YOUR KIDS SLEEPING OUT SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN LIGHTLY: before you allow your kids sleep over a neighbour’s,friend’s or relative’s house make sure you know the sleeping arrangement and be sure of who you are handing your kids to.
7.ALWAYS KNOW YOUR CHILDREN’S WHERE ABOUT : Don’t allow kids wander like sheep without a sherpherd.At all times, try to know your kids where about.
8.BE GROUNDED ON SEX EDUCATION,SO YOU WILL BE ABLE TO EDUCATE YOUR KIDS : You can only give what you have, so in order to properly educate your children on this issue, talk to other parents and professionals to be well grounded.
9.BE PROACTIVATE AS A PARENT : Learn to read “in between lines” as a parent , especially mothers. Women tend to have strong intuitions on matters relating to their families. They should be able to have sound discernment of people around them.
FINAL NOTES: It is not the duty of a child to fend away molesters because they are still young,highly impressionable and innocent.It is the duty of parents to make sure their children are shielded from every harm .