Once upon a time, I would always avoid getting involved in topics that are extremely sensitive so as to avoid being put under blast by people of the social media world but as I grew, I began to put myself in the shoes of the people on the receiving end of these issues and it made sense more than ever for me to get involved. Even if it was to speak about it, I was doing something.
Something I always avoided were talk of sexual crimes; rape, molestation, abuse and the likes and this was because it is closer to home than I would like.
I recently realized I have a platform and that means I should not shy away from certain discussions because, I never know who is paying attention. By speaking, writing and talking about it, I’m making an impact no matter how small.
This is MY story.
I was 7 or so when it happened and the encounters literally changed the dynamics of my childhood.
I had a wonderful, regular childhood up until this happened and I think in a way, it has contributed to a lot of my life choices.
In a space of some months of that year, I was abused by two men who were known by my community. Once, under the staircase in our residential block in front of his bosses door; and the other, in a garage beside our block where he eventually ended up starting a family and lives there till date. I went on to discover he had done the same to another girl in our neighborhood. Unfortunately, she was not so lucky, she got pregnant and was sent back to the village because of the ‘shame’. As for him, he went on to live a very ‘fulfilling’ life with his wife and children.
It didn’t start off this way as they both, in their own individual times, put up a very friendly front and gained the trust of everyone in the block including me and took advantage of that trust.
I blamed the members of that community who knew what had happened to the other girl and had
said/ did nothing because if they had, maybe, I would have not suffered them.
Only a sick mind would see a child and feel the need to engage in sexual acts. And because of this, I have very strong opinions to what the penalty for rape and sexual crimes should be.
For the longest time, I carried a lot of anger towards them and towards myself but, I have forgiven myself and know how it is in no way my fault or the fault of all the other girls and boys that have gone through such.
I survived, thank goodness, and I will not let the actions of others towards me define who I am and what I become.
6 out of 10 children under 18 have experienced some form of physical, emotional and sexual violence, according to the National Population Commission in Nigeria.
Child sexual abuse is one of the most traumatizing forms of violence against children, and it’s usually committed by a person in a position of power and trust in the child’s life.Jane Augoye for Medium
Recently on twitter, there’s been a lot of table shaking where the offenders are concerned and the one that is really making waves is of the two young men who drugged and raped a girl in a hotel and ended up being released from jail thanks to their reach in ‘high places’. Funny how Nigerians and the social media community is going on about this when this happens a daily basis to girls everywhere.
Who is taking the “matter on top head” on behalf of those girls and boys? I feel we need to start conversations that will start up the wheels for change. Sexual crimes can only be eradicated if the laws guiding the penalty are revisited and modified AND from the grassroots. From the way the new generations are raised and how we allow certain conversations carry on and not wave them off as ‘boy talk/ girl talk’.
We need to start taking sexual crimes seriously because they’re happening everyday and for every scenario you hear, there are more that will stay under wraps. You don’t have to go ‘looking’ for the stories but you need to lend a voice whenever you can.
Looking for how to start? Social media is the easiest way to get involved.
Not everyone is willing to share personal stories, so movements like #MeToo make a lot of impact and help us see what is truly going on.
Thank you for reading this far.
What are your thoughts on sexual crimes?
Do we need to do more about it?
Let’s talk in the comment section!
If you have experienced any form of sexual crimes, there are a number of support groups that provide anonymity and closure. Or, you can start with someone you trust.
Love and light,
Photos courtesy of Dear World.