Sexual abuse: When participants were minors

Baba Ijebu: What’s our policy on sexual abuse involving minors?

Me: It depends. If the perpetrators were older, jungle justice or a brief visit to police station followed by a bail, just like the case of these two toddler sisters

Here both participants were minors. Baba Ijebu heard the story from his househelp followed by a short video clip. As a father of a teenage boy, he felt compelled to share the story to other parents.

The little boy looked like 7 years old and the girl about 12 years old. The environment in which the film was shot looks like any of our city slums – buildings all crammed into tiny area with dark alley in the back. One could hear two adults chatting in the background – likely to be the one that took the video.

They did nothing to stop these children.

The scene was set as if the girl was going to give her little brother a shower but what happened was pretty much the fear of any parents – it was beyond believe. Sickening as it leaves nothing to imagination.

Me: What do you think will happen to these kids? I asked Baba Ijebu.

Neither of us knew answer to this but there is a likelihood that their parents had no idea of their mental state. Obviously something is wrong at home – beyond poverty.

So young, so broken.

How did these children even know so much? Are they siblings or neighbours? I asked Baba Ijebu.

He did not know what the relationship between these children were. My suspicion was that they are siblings. A family who could afford a preteen as househelp likely would have enough money to not to live in a slum.

There are many possible explanations for how these children got to this stage, one thing that I have witnessed and often point out to friends and family is the importance of age appropriate film especially when children are around. If a film says PG – it means just that and I tend to stick to it.

Also I realised getting hands on any film is very easy on our streets, they are mostly pirated and as cheap as 100 naira.  I once was at a newspaper stand in Lagos (it could have been anywhere) and was gobsmacked that I could easily pick up adult film – this is by the way on what one will assume a decent street.

Easy access to internet has broadened our knowledge immensely, but before the internet child sex abuse has been around, internet in my view can not be blamed for all.

While incest is frowned upon, it is hardly surprising given the way family settings are for most Nigerians. It is very common practice to have teenage children of mix genders sleeping in the same room, for some reason the assumption is that family relation is enough of a deterrent for teenagers to nurture any attraction, this is true but not for everyone.

My sister’s neighbour years ago was a man in his mid 40s. He had 3 wives and five children – Four grown adults and five children lived in a room and a parlour – things can not get insane than that.  The drama in this particular family is enough to keep anyone amused daily and yet their lives to them was okay as they lived in Lagos. After I left my sister said the last wife had one more child making 10 people in two rooms – toilet, bathroom, hallway are all communal.

I think we need some reality check here.

While the story of these children is sad, it is hard to see anything improve if we don’t talk about prevalence of incest caused by overcrowded family and possible damage to children.



Categories: Family, Nigeria

Tags: , ,

18 replies

  1. People there take it for granted that such things can’t or won’t happen to them, this is a mistaken belief as you pointed out given the right circumstances anyone can fall victim to incest and or child abuse. Parents have to be conscious of their environment and plan their families accordingly in line with their current situation.
    People will have to raise their eyes beyond ‘survival mode’, to flourish.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s the key – ‘plan their families accordingly in line with their current situation.’ We love being in survival mode so much we coined a phrase for it ‘e go better’ but it hardly got better, not for the majority and definitely not when one started out with 4 children in a cramped environment, this is where miracle prayers come in.

      If we can give ourselves a chance to ‘think a little’ I bet most parents will behave differently, this makes me think that maybe most parents really do not want large family given their current situation, but it happens anyway due to limited options/education. Here the whole of the country will be better off by subsidising family planning for both men and women – kill two birds with one stone.

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      • Thanks for the reply. How do you propose to overcome the suspicion and resistance to using contraception especially amongst the more ‘religious’ and more conservative folks.
        Making contraception readily available is a good thing that can be done. But the second part about encouraging the uptake or use of it would be challenging, when free will is involved.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Remember the Polio case about a decade ago? At the time the main focus was educating the head of the family in this case men, these men heard the ‘sermon’ then turned around to inform their wives that there is conceptive pills in the Polio drugs so their women must not agree to get their children vaccinated – big drama. Thankfully, the country is reportedly polio-free now after strategic education.

          Now, I believe we can learn from that incidence, what I would do is make women the centre of training, they are the one affected most, pull in sensible men too. And use local examples from within Nigeria to show how life is better when women don’t have to spend all their given lives rearing and raising children – people will come out to share experience. It would not be easy but can be done.

          Reportedly, Lokoja is the fastest growing city in the world – it’s insane.
          http://www.wsj.com/articles/for-a-growing-africa-hope-mingles-with-fear-of-the-future-1448632865

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          • I read the article and most of the comments.
            It talked of a gradual decrease in population, but still the women have to get contraception ‘ covertly’. Others who are overt, have their husbands go take a second wife, to have more kids. Your method seems the most effective, but still only chips away at the problem. The rate of population increase, will more than likely wipe out those ‘gains’.
            The male mindset to having children seems to be ‘the elephant in the room’ that remains unchallenged. Failure to do that will condemn the whole nation to an unenviable existentence of wretchedness.
            Lokoja doesn’t look pleasant, not only because it is growing rapidly, most Nigerian urban settlements are characterised by unpleasant living conditions but this seems to be the norm that people are prepared to live under. Order and planning have been thrown out onto the streets and rivers like the rest of the household waste.
            Some of the comments made me laugh, what is regarded as the norm for living in Nigeria, attracts, disdain, derision, contempt and disgust. I wouldn’t extrapolate the fate of the rest of the continent to that of Nigeria’s. Nigeria is land hungry and is densely populated, the same can’t be said for much of sub-Saharan Africa, hopefully they will heed the warning signs or go the same way as Nigeria.

            Liked by 1 person

            • I am incline to think women are the ones to be educated the most. I could be wrong but I think for most men the ideal is to have children of both genders after that it is all about coitus.

              For the women encouraging their husband to take on more wives, this I think is due to equating intimacy to more children. Even in the south where folks are more open minded to birth control, options on the market is quite small, affordable ones have serious side effect such as weight gain while reliable ones with minimal side effect is only for up market.

              Not that Nigeria is serious with population control, but if we decide to, this is one area I’d invest so women can experiment until they find one that sit well.

              For the die hard men, I’d offer free vasectomy after four children. And free ogogoro.

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              • No doubt women are the most knowledgeable when it comes to child birth etc, but from that article. The impression I get is that the decision is taken out of their hands (we can put this down to being due to the actions of the husband or God’s will). There isn’t much we can do about God’s will, but for the husbands – there is considerable scope to operate in. We need to target both parties.
                I failed to explain myself properly, the woman Mrs Audu was a rare example of people practicing birth control, she put off child birth until she was into her thirties, shortly after her husband announced he is taking a second wife ( a teenager), because he wants to have a lot more children. Mrs Audu (senior) didn’t encourage this, but it is the result of her husband being unwilling to compromise.
                People are wary of going into Nigerian hospitals (even when they no other choice), so I can’t see them volunteering and endangering their health (willingly) for the concept of population control. A lot more reassurance would be required to counteract the popular view that ‘more (children) is better’. Ogogoro and burukutu have limits to their appeal.

                Liked by 1 person

                • Thank you jco.

                  I know I will never understand the need for polygamy especially in our society where many in that situation struggle to raise the family properly. It’s all about God’s will…uhmmn

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                  • We’ve gone some way in examining the issues related to family planning and it’s consequences, yet still it remains a significant problem that isn’t so easy to solve due to societal inertia. Though from what you’ve shown in the case of Lokoja, ignoring the subject is disastrous – which seems to be the track that the nation is currently on.

                    Liked by 1 person

  2. These kinds of stories make me really MAD and very SAD. I’m not sure what I feel right now…3 and 5 years! So what did they do to deserve this? We would often hear, she wore skimpy clothes…what has a baby to offer. Some people are just demonized and will not stop this abuse. Is there a worse judgment for them? I think one or two should come up.

    As for many children and crowded homes. hmmmm…no comments. Incest amongst siblings and cousins will continue as long as the children aren’t taught better (parents have their own share in the matter). There are organisations that have materials on preventing sexual abuse. For one, in our church each age grade is taught about it in terms they understand. My Heritage already know “you don’t touch anyone PP and don’t allow anyone touch yours. It’s your body and it belongs to God and you.” As they grow, we go to the next level of that training.

    This is sickening, but I’m glad you talked about it my President. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My dear sister this is one very difficult and serious issue to take on. The prevalence these probably not just due to poor income of folks to provide better living quarter’s for their children but also the alarming drop in sexual norms and pornography available at the click of a thumb.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Serious business and serious issues. They are difficult to talk about but it needs light shed on what is going on. Good post Fola.
    Leslie

    Liked by 1 person

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