Nigerian children are victims of sexual abuse as a result of child labour or parental neglect. Families with high conflict and negative communication styles also contribute to child sexual abuse.
For instance, a child that cannot communicate freely with his or her parents may go elsewhere to seek love. Oftentimes, such a child ends up getting it from a person who may take advantage of his or her innocence.
Like many other social problems, cases of child molestation keep increasing in society and becoming more difficult to manage. Child sexual abuse is one of the greatest traumas to happen to a child and the biggest irony is that the child is silenced with threats. Children are constantly frightened to share this experience with anyone regarding this unholy doings. Many of these issues are not reported by the victims.
Children who have been sexually molested may display a range of negative emotional and behavioural reactions due to this abuse. It leaves scars on the victim resulting in low-self esteem, pain, fear, post-traumatic stress disorder, suicide attempts, abusive behaviour, difficulties during adolescence, sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancy among others. It can negatively affect interpersonal relationships and also intimate relationships as they grow older. The problem of abuse is not just limited to street children, it is now a shadow lurking in our homes, where children are meant to be protected and cared for.
Child molestation is not a new problem in our society. It has been sinking its deadly claws into the lives of innocent young people since time immemorial. Instances of sexual abuse may not only be attributed to having sex with a child, it can also include touching a child’s genitals, playing sexual games or putting objects or body parts inside the vagina, mouth or anus for sexual pleasure. Also, showing or encouraging a child to watch pornography or pose sexually can also be termed as sexual abuse.
Ending this deadly and silent destroyer should be a collective effort. Volunteering your time is one beautiful way to halt the trend of child sexual abuse from sinking deep. Help vulnerable children to speak up and also be a confidant and a trustworthy one at that.
Style and manner of discipline should also be taken into consideration. Shouting at children may make them withdraw. Give time to calm down and giving privileges and rewards encourage good behaviour and time-outs help your child regain control.
As a parent, you can also teach your child their rights. When children are taught to value themselves, they are less likely to think abuse is their fault and more likely to report an offender.
Knowing the signs is also helpful. Unexplained injuries aren’t the only signs of abuse. Depression, fear of a certain adult, difficulty trusting or interacting with others, secrecy and hostility are often signs or indicators that a child is neglected or physically, sexually or emotionally abused. Investing in kids is also a great way to stop child sexual abuse. The leaders should be supportive or encourage family-friendly work environments and also for state and national lawmakers to support legislation to better protect children and improve their lives.
Leaders of tomorrow should not be turned into monsters of the future. As individuals, family, state and country, we should make sure our foundation is rocky and not sandy for when the winds blow, we would stand mightily.