EVER since the inception of my campaign “Demystify Abuse Campaign”, I have become more aware about the many happenings within and around the home front as regards how many parents treat or react to rape and sexual abuse related stories. To be frank, it is rather too sad a discovery for me. I had least expected some of the things I have heard in the past few months.
I do not know who or what to blame for the things I hear. The entire thing often leaves me confused. Who do I blame? Do I blame ignorance or the non-chalant and I-don’t-care attitude of our parents?
The most annoying part of this discovery is the fact that our mothers are most guilty. I often wonder what their concerns are. What really interests our mothers these days?
So, I have been opportune to listening to stories of rape and sexual abuse from teenagers and from adults too of which I am inclusive, and many of them when asked what their parents did upon hearing of their ordeal, eight of every 10 reply in ways that reflect the ways we treat our children when they bring up serious issues to them.
They were heart-breaking stories for me. They were revealing; they left me in doubt about the challenges that are ahead for the campaign. I write these things to express my concern; I write to create awareness about abuses, I write so that parents can learn.
Ours is a changing world that keeps shocking us daily. Some of the responses are enough to tell us that we are far from showing adequate interest in the affairs of their children.
“I told my mum, she flogged me for accusing her brother wrongly,” the girl her uncle raped said. Her voice had traces of her sadness.
“I told my mum, she said I am lying,” another said. How does one deal with this one? I wondered to myself how mothers have fallen to such levels of little care for their children. Who would the children talk to, who would they trust?
“I told my father, he shut my mouth with his hand, and asked me never to say such again”. The girl who had this story had thought that her father would have felt her pains and acted.
“I told my aunt, and she said her husband can’t stoop as low as sleeping with me,” another girl said. I often battled with confusion at this type of response. How do wives know the ones their husbands would stoop low to sleep with them?
“I told my aunt, she starved for three days, before threatening my life, and warning me never to say it to another person”. There was always a chance that the victim could be punished, from beatings to starvation, and almost guaranteed, stigmatisation.
All these responses and much more came from adults who were supposed to be caretakers of these children, yet they who are supposed to be the first listening ears to the cries of these young ones, end up making life a living hell for them.
While we are trying so hard to put a stop to rape and its related offences, all hands must be on deck to make this dream a reality. It is a collective responsibility for every one of us, and most importantly parents.
These findings have gone a long way to show us how damaged and how unhealthy our homes are. We have a generation of parents who do not care about their children’s wellbeing.
We have a generation of parents who do not know their responsibilities as parents do not end in child bearing and provision of food and basic necessities like clothing, shelter and school fees. We have parents who are destroying their children by not caring.
We have a generation of parents who have become so encumbered with accumulating more wealth and looking picture perfect for the public rather than pay closer attention to their homes and their children.
If we are to record the kind of success we envisage, then everyone MUST be willing to contribute a quota to the demystifying of abuse and rape. It is a long journey that starts with the commitment of each of us.
Attention is not so expensive that we cannot pay it to our children. They are the same children we claim are our future.
If we would listen more, we would record a massive decline in juvenile delinquencies caused by psychological traumas abuse victims experience.