When her four-year-old daughter first told her that she saw her brother sucking the breast of their domestic help, Mrs. Favour treated it with a wave of the hand. The boy was six years old then, while the domestic help was fourteen years old. Mrs. Favour, however, decided to take give attention to the issue when her daughter said again that she saw them again doing the same thing.
For three days, Mrs. Favour was at her wit’s end with all the persuasion techniques she could imagine to get her son to talk about it without success. Her house help denied knowing about it with a calm and confusingly naive disposition.
On the fourth day, Mrs. Favour took her son out, stayed for hours and returned to the house without him. On arrival, she acted a drama which was the trigger in unraveling the mysterious nature of her daughter’s story. She tricked her domestic help into believing that her son had confessed to sexual assault by her.
She got the shock of her life when her domestic help knelt down and pleaded that she should please forgive her! She said she was sorry that he used the little boy to fill the vacuum she felt when Mrs. Favour’s nephew, Bob, who was staying with them relocated. Bob was sleeping with her before his relocation.
Mrs. Favour’s six-year-old son later confessed that for a whole year, he was taught how the play with some parts of the girl’s body. He also said that the domestic help told him not tell his parents about it since they would not be happy with it.
Sexual Abuse of Children
Sexual abuse of a child includes all kinds of play with any part of the child’s body with the intention of deriving sexual satisfaction. It will also be abusive to expose a child to pornographic materials or erotic scenes.
The perpetrators of this evil
- This evil locates children where they usually stay: at school, at home, in the neighbourhood, at their play ground, in religious gatherings and in their holiday homes.
- The perpetrators are almost always the people children look up to for care. They include close relations, friends, neighbours, teachers, school administrators, religious leaders and children workers. It is possible that children who are victims have yielded because they felt obliged to reciprocate the care they have received from those perpetrators.
I marvel at the skill with which the victims of sexual abuse of children have executed and protected the ‘oaths of secrecy’ they swore with their perpetrators. Parents should understand that children are really gullible! I can imagine how cheaply blackmail would get them into making compromises. ‘I will deal with you when your parents go to work tomorrow.’ Or ‘Your father will flog you very well today when I tell him that wrong thing you did yesterday’. Or ‘When I fry plantain tomorrow, I will give you small’.
Sexual abuse of children has no good result. It is out rightly sinful. The reproach of this sin is made worse because it is committed with children! The victims are exposed to psychological trauma, haunting secrecy, sexually transmitted diseases, teenage pregnancy, perversion and other things which negatively affect their healthy physical, cognitive, psychological and social development.
The perpetrators of this evil have a very weighty rod to grapple with. “But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea” (Matthew 18:6 NIV). They should immediately repent and ask for forgiveness.
Parents should, therefore, take measures to protect their children against this evil.
- Parents should please get closer to their kids, spend more time with them, talk more with them and listen more patiently to them. The bond of love between parents and their children has an insulating effect on abusers and blackmailers. Healthy parenting relationship is therefore a strong weapon of attack against sexual abuse of children.
- It is very important that children are told and encouraged never to keep their activities at home, in the school or somewhere else secret from their parents. They should understand that it is unsafe to do so.
- Children should be kept within view when they are playing. Dark and isolated places should be avoided.
- Parents should be visibly positioned in the lives of their children to censor the closeness of any one with the children, especially those who have sorts of pet names for the children such as ‘my darling’,’my wife’and ‘my husband’.
- Parents should avoid dropping their children at school too early in the morning or picking them too late after school.
- Families who live in large family houses should define the rooms which are safe for their children to stay in. It is safe to disallow children from entering the guest rooms when they are occupied. Guests should also be told not to stay in the children’s rooms. The sitting room should be the acceptable meeting point.
- Families that live in large compounds should consider the safety rating of all the houses in the compound going by their location and occupants. Children should not be allowed to visit homes that are unsafe or wonder off to corners that are isolated, dark or excessively noisy.
- Parents should watch over their children always, even when they are at religious gatherings.
- Holiday making also exposes children to sexual abuse. Parents should consider the safety of any intending holiday home. Safety of the children should never be compromised, no matter how attractive the holiday trip is.
- Parents should be in control of the films, TV stations and electronic games their children watch. Some of them are subtly infested with sexual activities.
- Education to protect children against sexual abuse is a necessity. It need not necessarily mention sex. It is makes children protective of their privacy and emboldens them to resist abuse and immediately report sexual advances. Parents who are not sure of how the give this education should refer the seminar guide in our devotional post of December 3rd, 2015.
- Parents should always pray against sexual abuse of their children.
Passionate parents are proactive in handling challenges.
-Uchenna N. Nduka