BusinessDay

Our man in Suleja and twelve tips to protect your children from rape

I am starting this column with 50-year-old Peter Ayemoba who has been having an incestuous relationship with his two daughters for six years after his wife died. While this is heart-breaking, it is not new. I looked at the picture of the man searching for his reasons and I shuddered. This piece of trash actually slept with both his daughters now 20 and 22 years old and I am shattered. He threatened to kill them and commit suicide if they denied him as if he was asking for sweets. He defiled them, threatened them and destroyed them. How are they now to function in the real world? “You slept with your father” is a comment that will trail them for the rest of their lives. The shame. The stigma… He wanted to feel warm, he said, as he had missed his late wife, the mother of the said daughters.

My mind is unable to fathom what kind of punishment to reserve for an evil man like this. Peter Ayemoba has destroyed his family. His current wife did not know and his sons did not know. Sometimes a girl has nowhere to turn when facing abuse. And when it’s your father, a man you trust, a man who is expected to protect you, how do you look at him, where should you go? I have met many women who have been guillotined by their father since they were children, by an uncle, by a brother, because really when you rape a girl, you have decapitated her and when it’s a family member, its double tragedy. Ask Oprah Winfrey. She has succeeded irrespective of that abuse by a family member when she was young. But many young girls never go past their pain. They end up doing drugs to deaden the pain, they run away from home or they become women of easy virtue. It’s a hard road.

We are surrounded by so many broken women whose journeys we do not know. Some women resort to food to forget their sorrow, too much talk or even fundamental religiosity. Today with the spike in rape cases, the nation should worry. What’s going on with our men? It’s time for national psychotherapy. What is going on? What are the underlying issues? Why are toddlers being raped? What is the psychological evaluation of these men? Also remember that within our semi-culture are herbalists and spiritualists who advise men to commit incest and it will make them rich or as they do in South Africa, take a toddler to cure HIV Aids or as they say in other climes, be the first to sleep with your daughter.

Utter garbage. Sick, sick, sick! What about law enforcement who re-victimise the rape victim by raping her in custody? Our issues are numerous and all stakeholders must come together to address this disaster gripping us by the jugular. Who has been punished appropriately with regard to all of the above? This is the big question that is yearning for answers. While we are pondering and thinking through who should act on all of this, let us now look at tips to help your children. I have five birth daughters so I am like an eagle and some of these tips I have applied them in my home. Hope they work for you.

We are surrounded by so many broken women whose journeys we do not know. Some women resort to food to forget their sorrow, too much talk or even fundamental religiosity. Today with the spike in rape cases, the nation should worry. What’s going on with our men?

Educate your daughters and sons about inappropriate touching whether its uncle, daddy or even Mummy. Sons have been known to be destroyed by stepmothers as girls have been known to be destroyed by stepfathers even by their fathers as in Ayemoba’s case.  Tell them what part of their body no one should touch even as a joke and they should tell the person to stop it in no uncertain terms and report it. It is harder when that person is your father. Who do you report to? Your mother who may not believe you and if your mother is late in the case of the Ayemoba sisters, a relation.

How are you with your driver? Drivers tend to be unduly familiar with your daughters as they go to school and when it is an only daughter can take advantage of your daughter. Do the needful. Let the help go with them. Follow your daughter to school at least once a week and pick them from school yourself at least twice a week. Allow them to be free with you, so they can tell you anything.

Let your male workers stay outside your home. Always give them money to go and eat rather than allow them eat from your Pot. Except it’s a festivity, that’s how it has always been in my house.

None of my daughters were allowed to answer the door alone. When they were growing up. You go to the door in pairs. Children have been groomed by friends of their father or an Uncle at the door especially when they are alone. When its late, only an older person should answer the door.

Teach your daughters to be familiar with their environment and be suspicious of even their best friends who can set them up for gang rape. Their boyfriends can also be culpable. Caution should always be the key.

I am anti-rape, anti-sexual abuse whether it’s a boy or a girl and anti-emotional abuse. There is no excuse. And I do not subscribe to it is the fault of the girl either because of how she is dressed or what she said. But I am a decent dressing protagonist. Point to be clearly made is there are very sick persons out there and it may even include your father. Please do not give reason to them to hurt you. Let decency be your children’s hallmark.

Tell your daughters not to put themselves at risk by going to dingy places or meeting people up surreptitiously. Rapists are afraid of shame and therefore if they know that people know where you are going, they then are less led. Tell someone. Do not be alone with strangers in a dark alley.

Let your sons and daughters know that someone who gives too many gifts wants something in return. Not all gifts are worth it. Remember that boys are also victims.

Do not place cousins of different sexes, or brothers and sisters in the same room to stay the night when one has hit puberty. Children experiment. They are watching TV and seeing porn on the internet. Don’t make them do stuff you can’t see in the night.

For men, not all your friends are not so stellar. Send your kids from your presence when they are visiting. Some of them are serial lechers. You will be shocked what they can get up to.

Tell your children to tell you what happened in church as much as you can. Do not donate your daughters at fifteen to go and help a Pastor. Not all Pastors are pastors. Beware of lesson teachers, houseboys and house girls. Beware of teachers. House girls can take advantage of your girls and many a man lost his virginity to a house girl and vice versa. I never kept a houseboy. I have five daughters. Be careful.

In the end, always listen to your children. Hey are innocent. They are open. Watch out for unusual behaviour and change in character. Please know that a child can be destroyed by rape. Let them speak up. Let us shame the rapist and predators. Be vigilant!

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