The female child in Nigeria: A call for protection

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I am sorely grieved by the Falomo and Ireti secondary school students report that surfaced a few days ago. The report is the account of a lady, Michale Mathews, who allegedly witnessed a heinous crime perpetrated against some of our young girls. Her account stated she witnessed the sexual harassment and attempted gang-rape of these girls.

My heart is indeed heavy at the thought of what those poor girls were subjected to.Being a woman, in addition to having female children, I can imagine the palpable fear those young girls experienced as they were being chased, harassed, shoved, as their uniforms were being torn, with different hands prying into the most intimate parts of their bodies, as these deranged boys were trying to have their way with them, while being surrounded by other excited cheering boys who were obviously ecstatic at the events unfolding before their eyes.

These young boys’ alleged action of celebrating the end of exams by molesting and sexually harassing girls is highly deplorable. Is there no other way to express your joy than to cause grievous life-altering harm to another human being, more so a female? Is this how low some young people in our society have sunk?

How could these adolescents, leaders of tomorrow, have given in so wantonly and shamelessly to their animalistic desires, without a thought for the pain and shame they were meting out to these girls? Without a thought to the repercussions of their actions? Are we now living in a world where everything is free for all, a modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah?

Furthermore, how could these girls study for their exams with the fear of being raped or harassed looming over their heads because we understand from Mathews’ account that this situation was the norm for the students. In a similar vein, how could the boys concentrate on their studies, while they were busy strategising on how to terrorise girls? Little wonder our children are performing poorly in school.

However, as condemnable as these delinquents’ actions were, most deplorable was the inaction of passers-by and the security men who were allegedly recording the dastardly acts, instead of helping protect the girls. Apparently the screams and fear on the faces of these girls didn’t even move them to do the right thing. Now my question is: What exactly was the purpose of to recording it? Was it to watch again when they got home? Or could they be the sponsors? Or maybe they were recording it for the real sponsors?

The point is that they did nothing when something could have been done, when their help was most needed, when they could have made a difference in someone’s life.

And please where were the Principals and staff (both schools) in all this? Is it that they weren’t aware of these abominable acts being perpetrated? According to one of the girls in Mathew’s account, these boys started harassing girls a week before their final exams.

There must be justice for these girls. That our young girls are being molested and being de-humanised in the full glare of everyone should spark public outrage. It will be a sin for us as a nation to be silent and watch this matter die a natural death as many others before it. Evil triumphs where good men sit and do nothing.

I read a man’s comment on social media regarding this issue. He said it was the girls’ fault for dressing indecently. Pray, how in heaven’s name can one dress indecently in uniform while writing exams? Whilst I do not condone improper dressing, there is absolutely no justification for rape or sexual molestation. If a woman is dressed provocatively, please look the other way. You are not under compulsion, neither are you obligated to look at her. People who think this way are as guilty as molesters and sexual harassers.

A debt of gratitude is owed Michale Mathews. We must celebrate her for her bravery, compassion and patriotism. We all have a thing or two to learn from her on being our brothers’ keepers. Hers is the type of act truly deserving of national honors and I implore our government to seriously consider it.

As for those degenerate boys who participated in this abominable acts, including the cheering boys, they must all be dealt with accordingly to serve as a deterrent to others. In addition, I’ll suggest they undergo some kind of psychiatric therapy.

As a result of this gruesome experience, the girls should also undergo psychiatric therapy and be enrolled in mentorship programs.I, therefore, appeal to the relevant government agencies and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) to take up the responsibility that these recent disturbing acts have brought to fore and deal with them promptly in accordance with the law.Our Young Ones Are Our Future.
Ronke Sonowo writes from Lagos.

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