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Tuesday, 28 May 2013

How safe is your child? Part 1.

Smile on a child's face = Priceless.

Coming back from school that day like any other, I was seated by the window, just as I liked it, we ‘town kids’ usually scrambled to sit by the window, and If those seats were taken, I wouldn’t mind waiting for the next bus just to get that window seat, but on this particular day, that was the wrong seat for me.

I noticed that the man sitting beside me kept shifting and turning. Initially, I thought he was uncomfortable because I was ‘lapping’ my little sister and my big school bag with a lot of junk in it, was also taking a little space just at my feet. So I shifted to create more space for him, only to have him place his hand on my thighs. I didn’t know how to react or if I should react. I didn’t understand but I knew something wasn't right, I was just an 8 year old in primary 4 and just wanted to get home.

 So this man kept touching my thin thigh and rubbing against me. Finally time came to pay our fares, I paid mine but he took his time searching his trouser pockets and leaning so closely against me and that’s when I saw the bulge which he practically pressed against me before he brought out his money.

Shortly after, I got to my stop and flew out of the bus, jeez it felt like ‘wiliwili’ was at my tail.

I never told my mother about this incident, or any of my siblings. I kept mute about it, because, I didn’t think my mom would believe me, being that she was so strict, I was afraid of the beating I would get for allowing a stranger to rub against me. What did I know? I was 9 or 10, I forget.

I decided to write about this, because the other day while surfing the net I saw the story of the Tia Sharp murder, then the story of  ‘the disappearing pregnancy’ where a school principal and a young girl featured in, and also got reminded yesterday when I saw something about ‘sexy kids’.

So I ask, parents, how well have you protected your children from paedophiles (a person who is attracted to, and abuses a child sexually, could be male of female).

A paedophile's cycle is usually :  Monitor and surveil children--->Lure Child--->Groom Child--->Sexually abuse child---> Discard child.

Though the man I encountered at that age was a total stranger, or so I thought, I wonder if he had studied me previously, I would never know, nor do I care to know.

If you think child predators are perverts who lurk in bushes, hang around schools, and scope out kids at the shopping mall or market, or random strangers, you have a false sense of security. 90% of the time a child is molested by someone they know, 68% of the time it is likely to be at the hands of a family member.

 These days, they don't have to hide because the internet lets them into your home at any time. Knowing the warning signs and how to help your child is important. Research has shown that a high percentage of paedophiles are actually close to the family, while some may be strangers or meet via internet, what steps have you taken today to protect your child or your loved ones?

The effect of childhood sexual molestation has a lot of consequences, we see them every day, and in our hearts, all we say is this “e don tay wey dis one spoil” or “who spoil am?”

Through educating children we can help them understand they have the right to be safe, have a voice, and access help. We must as a society recognize that child abuse is an epidemic and put as much time, money, advocacy and training into teaching all how to protect our children. Then and only then will our children, the future leaders of the world have a chance to be safe.

Due to the Length of this topic, I decided to break it down to  three segments, the next post will be on how to recognise warning signs.

Thanks for reading, if you have any suggestions, you can make use of the comment box, or send me a direct email:

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  1. U ar very right sex education is actually the key, cos they hav to be aware dat dey hav a right to their safety. I know of a guy who was sexually abused by a close family aunt and now in his mid 20's, he still feels d world around him is not safe so he is always isolated even from his family.good job!!!

  2. Good one. Can't wait for part two

  3. Very important topic,so we know how to protect our kids. Waiting for part 2

  4. Nice piece...God Help our children from these scavengers,Gigi keep up the good work,a very educative write up,more grease to your elbows.