Fathers as sexual predators
Let’s quit feigning ignorance about this benumbingly shameful fact. A vicious form of paedophilia is rapidly creeping up on our country. Fathers have become the sexual predators of their daughters. So has the neighbour; so has the employer; and so has the admissions officer in our institutions. The cocktail of our national challenges is getting progressively more complicated. Sorry.
And so, the girl-child, the mother of our future presidents, governors, Senate presidents and 37 speakers of the federal and state legislatures and justices faces a bleak future from the sexual trauma suffered in childhood. She is condemned to carry the heavy burden of sexual shame for life. Some of the abused girl-children find it difficult to live normal lives after being so traumatised. It is horrible.
Paedophilia is not particularly strange to us – as if that is any consolation. We are used to men preying on adolescents and under-age girls. Our country, like other countries, is home to quite a good number of evil and depraved and morally bankrupt men who prey on the girl-child for their sexual gratifications. The Daily Trust of August 9, 2019, published its investigative piece on the increasing cases of paedophilia in our dear country. It found that “paedophilia is on the increase in Nigeria (and that) it is gradually becoming a norm to see media reports of cases of child rape and molestation. A growing trend shows that the girl-child is mostly affected as men old enough to be their fathers raped them, inflicting physical and emotional scars on their victims.” You are not hearing it for the first time, I should think.
According to the newspaper, UNICEF reported in 2015 that “one in four girls and one in ten boys in Nigeria had experienced sexual violence before the age of 18; and according to a survey by Positive Action for Treatment Access, over 31.4 per cent of girls said their first sexual encounter had been rape or forced sex of some kind.”
The girl-child is regarded as the new sex object who must willingly or unwillingly minister to the sexual demands of old men, some of whom, ironically, have daughters within the age brackets of the girl-child they love to ravish and whose future they have no qualms in destroying. And now, horror of horrors, comes the father of the girl-child as her sexual predator, perhaps the ultimate in the depravity of men in deficit of morality and a sense of responsibility.
Last week, the police in Akure, Ondo State, arrested a 48-year-old man, Femi Onifade, a welder. He was accused of defiling his two daughters, aged nine and six years. I am afraid I am not man enough to repeat what the police alleged he did to his two daughters. It is just too shameful. This sort of sexual molestation of daughters by their fathers is becoming the norm in paedophile cases in the country. Fathers rape their adolescent daughters and molest their under-aged daughters, some of whom are literally in diapers. One man with a straight face, once admitted to the police he had been sleeping with his daughter because she was too beautiful. This is not the sort of charity that should begin at home.
What does a man find sexually attractive in a two or three-year old girl? For these depraved men to go that low is much more serious than you might think. Their lust has no boundaries. Anything called a girl-child is game; therefore, every girl-child is in danger of falling a victim to these sexual predators.
The internet has complicated paedophilia globally. This important social and business communications tool has been turned into a tool in the hands of criminals of all hues – rapists, paedophiles, 419, etc. The Daily Mail Online reported recently that “police around the world have taken down a global child abuse ring in which paedophiles in at least 38 countries gained ‘loyalty points’ for uploading abuse videos.” The police found that “more than 250,000 videos stored on a computer server in South Korea…were sold to paedophiles around the world.”
The U.S. justice department and its counterparts in Europe are fighting this global scourge of child abuse. Nigeria too should join in the fight. Europol reported recently that Belgian authorities working with it to crack down on the paedophile ring, probed “into a paedophile ring that abused children just a few months old.” Some of these children are boys. Four men were convicted by a Belgian court for their crime.
My reference to these reports is to show that given the reach of the internet and the freedom to access sites of one’s choice, our country is not safe either from these sexual predators within and without. I am willing to bet that there must be local sexual abuse rings collaborating with other global sexual rings and luring our unsuspecting young people into their trap. Give some thoughts to our girls trafficked to Italy and other European countries. Their search for gold using their bodies often turns awry and they are stranded.
Here is the rub. The Daily Trust story referred to earlier, reported that “some of the conditions that increase the risk of the girl-child to sexual abuse can be found in schools, baby factories, child labour, poor parenting and poverty. This is in addition to a growing number of girls in the rural areas who drop out of school to avoid being raped on their way to or from school via lonely footpaths.” These problems always boil down to poverty and lack or abbreviated personal opportunities.
Child abuse, sexual and non-sexual, is a serious problem in our towns and cities. There is the problem of child labour. Big madams turn their house helps into hawkers, under all kinds of harsh weather conditions, in defiance of the labour laws. The law turns a blind eye. What the law does not see, it cannot act upon. Dubious employment agents recruit young girls from the rural areas and farm them out as house helps. It does seem attractive to them and their parents that they will be paid wages to support a life different from the hard scrabble they escaped from in their villages.
But the lot of many of these children is anything but rosy. They are subjected to all kinds of harrowing inhuman treatments by their madams, including starving them, pouring boiling water on them, setting their hands on fire, chaining them and flogging them, often for being suspected in minor cases of alleged theft of food or little money. Some of those who cannot bear it, run away only to end up as child prostitutes and sex slaves because they are too ashamed to return home to their villages empty handed.
The situation raises a fundamental question: Who will protect our girl-child? Not the father of the girl-child because he is a predator, forcing himself on his under-age girl-child. Not the family relations and friends because they too are all sexual predators. Not the neighbour, because he is a predator, waiting in the corner to corner the under-age child of his neighbour and subject her to a mindless sexual abuse.
We can turn to God. But I suppose it is more practical for us to turn to federal and state governments for a meaningful response to this consuming menace. Governments have both the legal and the moral duty to protect the girl-child from the sort of harm that abbreviates her right to a better future. Our governments at all levels are working hard to build a better future for our country. But if they neglect to protect the girl-child and give her a future, they would only be busy building that promised rosy future on fine sand.
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