By Francis Ewherido
In the 80s the story was told in Warri, Delta State, of a girl who got pregnant. It was a mystery how she got pregnant because the father was very strict and deployed monitoring spirits around her 24/7. The girl refused to disclose the person who was responsible for her pregnancy.
The father threatened to kill her. When the tension and drama had reached feverish pitch, a family meeting was called. In the presence of her parents, uncles, aunts and other family members, she dropped the bombshell: her father was responsible for the pregnancy.
She reasoned that her father did not allow her out of his sight, so there was no way any other person could have been responsible. Many of the family members believed her, but she was only paying her father back for his “wickedness” (over protectiveness). It took a lot of begging and “bribing” before the truth came out.
Why this short story? About two weeks ago, news broke out of another over protective father, a retiree, who was sentenced to death for the killing of a 22-year-old man in 2015 on SUSPICION of a romantic liaison with his daughter.
What could have put this man in this mess? Lack of self-restraint; he did not control his anger. It was a strightforward matter. If the daughter was a minor, he should have warned the young man to stay away and if he persisted (contacted the law enforcement agents) whatever their shortcomings are, or the parents to tell their son to back off. But if the daughter was 18 years and above then, she was legally an adult.
If the relationship was consensual, he had no business with the young man. He should have focused on his daughter and let her know why he disapproved of the relationship. As far as I am concerned, even if he caught them having sex in his house, as long as it was consensual, his business was still with his daughter. After all, na the house rat invite the outsider. The youngster was his daughter’s guest.
If he had a great father-daughter bond or strong influence on her, he should have applied it and might just have succeeded. But fathers should always remember, because they can relate to it, that a young girl – even older women – in love (lust) is like a man with an erection; her brain goes on recess until her head is clear.
This takes us back to parenting. Without sounding like a broken record, the first 10 years of children’s lives are the best times to mold them. Parents might be lucky to get three extra years thereafter, but by the time children turn 14, peer and external pressures become pervasive. The seeds you sowed earlier and subsequent advice are what work for you thereafter. Our man should have relied on those earlier seeds and advice.
If they are strong enough, he would have won her daughter over. If not, or if the young man had a strong hold on his daughter ( if he hold am for bad place, as we say it in Warri), he should have taken it to God in prayers or/and used legal means to break the relationship, certainly not taking laws into his hands. Now, unless an appellate court overturns the judgment, or he gets a reprieve from the Cross Rivers State Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, he is going to die a painful, shameful and miserable death by hanging.
All of us, who have daughters, should learn from this. We instinctively want to protect our daughters, which is perfectly normal. How we go about the protection is the issue at stake. I believe protecting our daughters starts with molding and giving them a solid foundation in the early years of their lives. These days, paedophiles sexually abuse children as young as two days, so sex education should start early. Schools start sex education quite early, why not we the parents. Our daughters might not fully grasp everything initially, but they would grow into anything they do not understand subsequently. Also, let us train our daughters to have an acute sense of right and wrong.
Our daughters should also be acutely aware of the odds against them as they get into puberty. This is something that is often not talked about because people do not want to encourage promiscuity, but the fact is this: if an infected man (HIV virus or other sexually transmitted diseases) engages in unprotected sex with a female, the chances of infecting the female are much higher than if the reverse is the case. This is because women are receptacles. No matter how much they clean or drain after sex, some of the seminal fluid stays in their bodies.
This increases the chances of infection. In the case of a man, provided there is no skin break on his penis (some skin breaks, especially those caused by tight pants, might not be visible to the eyes), a good bath, especially with antiseptic soap immediately after intercourse greatly reduces the possibility of infection. That was how many men avoided being infected with gonorrhea in those days. This also applies to some other sexually transmitted diseases.
We should also remind our daughters that while a male and female engage in and enjoy the sexual intercourse, only the girl gets pregnant, bears the excruciating pains of child birth, drops out of school, has her plans disrupted and ends up with a stigma. We should also help our daughters (all our children) early in life to find their purpose, unearth their talents and potentials. When they discover what they are good at, they become focused; their passion consumes them and takes much of their time. A busy mind has less time for the distractions that come with natural sexual feelings and urges. We should also make them to be self-assured and give them good value orientation.
This will help to counter the bad peer influence that will inevitably come, because at certain points, their peers will laugh at them, tell them they are “missing something,” they are “fake girls,” etc., just because they are still virgins or because they are focused.
Some “helpless” parents now encourage their daughters to either use the less popular female condoms or encourage their male partners to use condoms. This arrangement, like the condom itself, is imperfect. One, many young men are impatient; they just want to go ahead with sex, no time to wear condoms. Two, some young people, due to anxiety, will ejaculate and “ruin” their day even before they manage to put on the condom and so do not use condoms. Three, due to inexperience, the condom might burst or slip off and when it does, they just fling it aside and continue with their thing, skin to skin. Four, makers of condoms acknowledge that abstinence remains the best form of protection to avoid infections. We encourage our children to come tops in class, go for the best in life; why should we now encourage them to go for bronze (condoms), when gold (abstinence) is available, just because it is difficult? How many good things in life come easy?
Use every legal means to help your daughter navigate the landmine that is the lot of young girls, but do not let your anger lead you to sin/crime. Many of us love our daughters to bits, and without self-restraint, we can easily kill for them. We should just remember that, annoying as that young man toasting your daughter is, he is somebody’s son.