The month of April has been set aside as Child Abuse and Sexual Awareness Month in order to create more awareness on the prevalence of abuse both in children and women.
Child Abuse is could be conceived as any intentional harm or mistreatment to a child under 18 years old and this could take different forms as physical, psychological, sexual, and medical abuse or neglect.
In 2015, it was reported that one in four girls and one in ten boys in Nigeria had experienced sexual violence before the age of 18. Besides, six out of every ten children in Nigeria experience emotional, physical or sexual abuse before the age of 18, with half experiencing physical violence.
Despite the fact that child sexual abuse is a serious offence under the various laws in Nigeria, only few prosecutions have occurred. It is even pathetic that in most of cases, child abuse has been perpetrated by someone the child knows and trusts — often a parent, guardian or a relative.
There are some symptoms a child who is being abused would exhibit and most times he or she may be afraid to tell anyone about the abuse, especially if the abuser is a parent, other relative or family friend and this is why it is very important to be an involved parent in your child’s life.
Some of these signs to look out for include;
Poor bonding or relationship with parents.
Knowledge of adult issues inappropriate for their age.
The month of April is dedicated to helping raise voices and awareness for childhood abuse, and it is tagged “Child Abuse Awareness Month”.
Parents and guardians are advised to give their children age appropriate sex education as well as build an enabling environment for children to confide in them when there’s an Abuse and or exploitation.
Reports show that some perpetrators of these acts are persons very close to the family such as the father, an uncle or even neighbors.
Ensure that as a parent you set the personal boundaries and do not be too trusty with just anyone when it comes to the wellbeing of your child.
‘If you suspect child abuse, ensure to report the abuse to the appropriate authorities’.
-A true story
Uncle D usually invites children into his house. We went there to watch cartoons and animations, then there were rumors of what he did to little girl children, and one day, it was my friend who was the victim.
He tells you not to come with anyone on such occasions, then offers you sweets and biscuits, my friend was touched in ways she wasn’t comfortable with, he told her to sit on his lap and caress his private areas.
As little as we were, we were scared of telling our parents because we didn’t know what would come out of it, but it took a negative toll on my friend, she became reserved and quiet and would always hide whenever she saw uncle D.
It went on for a while until her parents became very worried, but she refused to talk, this affected her even up until her late twenties when she got to open up to a therapist.
She now advocates against child abuse and Rape in general.
Uncle D was caught when he tried his heinous act on another little girl he lured.
He was arrested and that’s the last we heard of him.
Written by Aishat D. Abdullahi