Earlier this week, Rabi, a friend of mine, posted a story about a three-year girl who was raped by an adult man, putting the girl in a serious health condition requiring surgery. The cost of the surgery was around GHS 15,000.00, the family couldn’t raise the money, so Rabi posted the story on socials to help solicit funds for the surgery. 12 hours after the post, she was able to raise a reasonable amount for the family. Unfortunately, the baby passed on the following day. Sad, right? A moment of silence for this innocent baby who lost her life because a fully grown adult man could not keep “it” in his pants.
This same week, a twenty-two-year-old man was arrested by the police in Wa, Upper West region for allegedly
raping a four-year-old female. Fortunately, this four-year-old did not find herself in a critical situation like the three-year-old. Last month, there was also a popular case in the Upper West region about a man who raped several children. These are just a few of these rape cases that are recorded, but I can bet with my life that there are many more such issues that go unreported because the children have been threatened by the perpetrators not to tell. I could go on and on about these cases, but there are a lot of other issues I want to share in the piece. Rape in all its forms is not acceptable, talk less raping children. These people are referred to as Pedophiles.
As a girl mom, I feel very alarmed when I hear these stories, it gets scarier each time and I ask myself a lot of questions. “What if this were my daughter? What will I do? How will I feel? How will I handle it?” I don’t know the answers to any of these but what I know is that it will not be easy for me at all. Same way I am sure it is not easy for the parents of these children. Anytime a man is taking my baby, I can’t help but think of all manner of things, like what if he tries to harm her sexually. Anytime I wipe her bum while changing her diapers, I can’t stop wondering how people can try to be intimate with such young children. As a concerned parent, I decided to put a few tips for other parents who may be oblivious to this issue to help us all protect our children from sexual abuse.
First, do not trust anyone with your children. I mean anyone, I didn’t say don’t trust your girl child with a man, and I didn’t say don’t trust your boy child with a woman. I did not also say don’t trust your children with a stranger. I hope you already know why, if you don’t know, let me tell you, your baby girl can still be abused by an older female and vice versa, likewise your child can be abused by close family members much as a stranger. Don’t create opportunities for people to abuse your children sexually. There is a popular saying in many ethnic groups in Ghana which translates into English language that when you think positively, and leave a little room for negative thoughts, you can trust people 99%, but leave 1% for some doubt. Sadly, some children are even sexually abused by their parents. We can’t read the minds of people, so don’t give any room for people to sexually abuse your children. When I was very young, I used to wonder what a rapist look like, I have however come to realize it could be anyone at you, including you.
Secondly, as a parent, you want to create a very cordial relationship with your children so that they can talk to you freely. A cordial relationship between children and their parents helps children to trust their parents, it also helps to assure children of the respect their parents have for them. Creating this cordial relationship between you
and your children helps them to open up to you about a lot of things including threats by a perpetrator who has abused them. This is because they trust you and they believe that because of the respect you have for them, you will protect them for confiding in you.
It is also important for parents to have sex education with their children as soon as possible. This is a topic a lot of Ghanaian parents shift to the teachers, which should not be the case. One thing about the teachers teaching children sex education is that the teachers do not have adequate time to discuss these issues with their children. Just imagine a teacher handling about forty to forty-five pupils and teaching them about sex education and a parent who is teaching one or two children the same topic the parents will have more quality time to teach the children. Parents must first teach the children so that the teachers will complement this knowledge with what they are required on the topic to teach in the curriculum. Do not shy away from discussing this topic with your children, teach them parts of the body, what parts they should not allow anyone to touch, what they should do when they are touched inappropriately, and so on, this will go a long way to save them from some of these things.
As a parent, always make sure to report such cases of sexual abuse to the right authorities. This is very important because when people are dealt with by the law, others learn from it and are deterred from repeating the crime. Sexual abuse is a crime, it should not be encouraged in any way, do not try to solve the matter at home because you do not want people to tag your children as victims of rape. Apart from the fact that the perpetrator will be dealt with by the law, the children also get the opportunity to receive the necessary psychological and emotional support they need to recover fully. So, you will not be reporting the crime, but you are also creating an avenue for your child to fully recover and be integrated back into society. By refusing to report perpetrators of sexual abuse, you are putting all of us, including your child who was abused at risk of sexual abuse.
If you are reading this and you are one of those who have tried abusing a child sexually, you need help and you need to find help as soon as possible. Some specialists help people who have this issue and they will take you through therapy and other sessions to help you overcome your challenge. Don’t be shy to seek help, it is better to be known as the person who sought assistance to address a challenge than to be known as a pedophile. Maybe you have not been caught yet but your cup will get full one day and you will face the wrath of the law.
I want to conclude by encouraging everyone to be extra vigilant and watch their children very well, study, and know their bodies so that when there is a change, they will notice it. The three-year-old who lost her life could have been your daughter or my daughter. In as much as all the cases I cited earlier are related to female children, do not think male children are left out. They can also be abused sexually, however, we hear more of such cases involving females than males. If you are a boy mom, do not think you are not part, anyone at all can be a victim of sexual abuse. As parents and guardians, we have a responsibility to keep our children safe from every harm, especially from sexual abuse. Let’s say no to rape. CHEERS!!!
NB: I do not own the rights to these photos