(Continued from edition of 09 August 2017)
Sensitisation and education
MANY parents are still naïve as to what to do when their children get raped or abused, this is so because they have not been properly educated. I believe we should take a look at ways of bringing this knowledge to mothers, fathers and guardians.
New and improved strategies should be in place so people can know where to get help, what help they need and how soon they should get the help.
Also, people need to know that rape and every form of sexual abuse has an adverse effect on the victim, especially if helps is not given.
Implementation of the Child’s Rights Act
I am glad we are talking about the Child Rights Acts.
We already have the law in place, but then it seems as though we are always jumping the broom when we should act. It is unbelievable that this federal law, meaning that it should apply in parts of Nigeria, was enacted in 2003, 14 years ago.
I have seen and heard stories of how children were maltreated and often, the perpetrators are not brought to justice and the vicious cycle continues. And alarming is the rate at which these crimes are on the increase. I believe if punishments were duly meted out, they would go a long way in curbing most of the wickedness we record daily.
We already have a law we should implement the laws for EVERY CHILD –irrespective of religion, status and origin.
We should come to the point in our lives where we understand that we have children under our care and so we must take care of them bearing it at the back of our minds that “that they are leaders of tomorrow”. I see today as the tomorrow we spoke about yesterday. So where is today, tomorrow and yesterday since the Child Rights Act of 2003?
Most of us, if not all of us, have not seen the need to protect our children and our wards until something goes wrong. We do selective protection. It should be stopped. Every child deserves to be protected from harm and every form of danger and it is a societal responsibility, meaning we all have a role in it
As individuals, we all have to see children for who they really are and never seek to harm them. Failure to do this will result in more cases of juvenile delinquencies. Of course, when children are not properly taken care of, they grow up to become damaged and broken teens and then adults who end up as perpetrators of many vices of which rape is a major one.
This is killing and damaging more persons than the actual experience they had. We should stop every form of making victims feel like they were the cause of what befell them. We should also desist from looking at victims as though they are damaged goods or human beings. Instead of stigmatising them, we should be more supportive.
We need to sensitise people too on the issue of stigmatisation and how it affects the healing process of a victim. If we are to have victims come out to declare they were victims, then we need structures that would curb stigmatisation.
At about 11, an uncle constantly abused me sexually.
On 16 November 2016, armed robbers broke into my house and I was raped. I know how I was stigmatised especially after sharing my story and launching my campaign. I am sure that if I wasn’t sure of what I wanted to do with my life, I would have regretted sharing my story.
If we have a healthy society and if we follow the structures put in place in protecting the child, I believe the many people who are victims of rape and various forms of abuses would also not have had those painful and damaging experiences, and also we would record less of these crimes against humanity as we would have less or no perpetrators.