By Ozioma Onyeweaku
It is no longer news that greater number of sexual abuses happen in the homes. We all weep at the fact that the homes are no longer safe for the children. One other case of serious concern going on in homes is sibling incest.
This happens where an older or more powerful child bullies or seduces the younger or weaker sister or brother into sexual acts. This, I must tell you, is on the increase; more so with the effect of internet.
Many children have access to nasty sites on internet where they are exposed to sexual acts. These children, after watching the ugly sites, tend to turn to their siblings to practice what they have seen on those sites. This is in addition to all other incest that go on in the family with uncles, fathers, cousins and so on.
Another frightening one is where house helps, as a way of getting back at their employers would force the children to engage in sexual acts with one another. One such instance was brought to my attention where a house help, a young man, made the children of his master to engage in all manner of sexual act with themselves.
He had the whole episodes recorded. He turned around using the videos he had made of them to blackmail them. It was later discovered that he was having his way with the underage girl. The girl’s siblings were forced to keep quiet to avoid him releasing the videos to their parents. Imagine the agony of the children and their parents.
It is said that prevention is better than cure. Some situations don’t even have a cure thereby making prevention the only option. Child sexual abuse is one of those situations that we must prevent as there is no cure. Once the damage is done, it is done.
Creating and maintaining a safe home environment is a sure practical way of safeguarding the children from sexual abuse.
One good way of starting off creating a safe home is by creating a loving family with open lines of communication. A family where members treat one another with love, kindness, respect and dignity; and everyone is there for the other. Such a home inculcates true values to the children, and does away with traditional notions of masculinity which gives boys the idea that they can take what they want, and when they want it. Both sexes are raised with a balance view of each other. No superior. No inferior. A home where there is constant and loving communication, every member, particularly children, feels very free to speak from the heart. When a member is hurt outside he or she runs quickly home knowing that he or she would get sympathy, support and care from the home.
It is difficult to convince a child from such a home to keep secret from the parents.
To create a safe home, parents must be involved in the affairs of their children. Monitor what they do; and provide safeguards in the areas of TV and internet. Relationships are defined, and limits drawn.
To further create a safe home, I always recommend this practice session for the family:
The scenario to paint for your girl for the practice session:
Let’s say, Rose is a 7-year old girl. Her favourite uncle comes visiting. Rose mother has gone to the market. Rose is alone with this her uncle that she is very fond of. While alone with Rose, the uncle tries touching Rose’ private part. What do you think Rose should do to keep safe? If you were Rose what would you do?
Then demonstrate for her how she can boldly say “No! don’t touch me!”, and how to run away while screaming. Let the children demonstrate the escape route several times.
Every member of the family and all in the family, both males and females, should be present and participate in this practice session each time it holds. The benefit of having everyone in the family present at the practice session is that by participating, all in the family are assuring the children that they too are concerned about their safety; and that they will not molest them. And should anyone in the family attempt to molest, the child will be quick to remind the person of the practice session. Try it today.