The first time I was asked to touch someone, I had no idea what I was doing… I was 4 going on 5 if my memory serves me well. She invited me to her room has she as always done, she was going to rock me to sleep only this time as I climbed into her bed, she instructed me to touch her breast – the issue is I grew up obeying instructions. I had no idea whether the act was good or bad and then sometimes she would touch me too, other times she taught me how to touch her breast.
There was no one I could speak with, I didn’t even see the need to tell anyone at the time… I mean who would listen to a child, my parents were mini-gods, only their voices were heard and I learnt that very early.
I can’t remember how she stopped but it did, she left our house and that was the end, she was an aunt.
The first time I was touched, I was going to have my bath. I was 10, my butts were as flat as a wall at the time, I was walking from my room to the bathroom when he smacked my butt, I stood at a standstill the very minute it happened, I have never felt so much humiliation as I stood staring at him.
I stood and gave him a long stare and he returned the stare with a look that said what can you do. I felt helpless as I walked into the bathroom asking myself what in God’s name just happened.
He was an uncle.
The first time I was touched, she carried me on her legs and fondled with my penis. At the time, I didn’t even know it was called that my mum called it a funny name. She would carry me on her legs bouncing me as an adult usually does with kids, I felt funny at the time, like I was being tickled but thinking about it now, I know I was assaulted.
She was a neighbour.
The first time I was touched, she invited me into her room and stroked my penis on her vagina. She said it was nothing that it was a kind of play adults play with kids and so there was nothing to be afraid about.
It continued for 3 years and in this part of town parents believed relatives and strangers over their own children.
I was 10 and she was our maid.
The first time I was touched he took me to a corner of the school, instructed me to pull out my trousers and he inserted his penis into my bum. I was in secondary school and it was a senior who was known to intentionally terrorize junior students.
It lasted for a year because he was in his final year at the time but the incident changed my life forever.
The first time I was touched it was by a trusted neighbour. I stayed at his house after school because he was always around after school hours, I and the rest of the kids in our compound would usually just stay there, doing our homework and playing after. Most times, our parents would leave our lunch boxes at his apartment so there was always food waiting for us kids when we got back from school. He was like the yard uncle, the one that was always around during the day and nowhere at night.
I was 13 when he touched me, I had come back from school earlier than the other kids, was having my lunch when he came from behind and grabbed me… He didn’t just touch me, he raped me. I screamed and fought the best way I knew how and then I passed out.
Luckily, another neighbour was in the compound that fateful day, heard me scream and rushed into the uncle’s room (as I was later told) but the deed had already been done… I woke up on the hospital bed with my parents by my side, later I heard my parents discussing with some doctors that they would like to settle the case at home and not involve the police because the situation was already bad seeing that everyone in the compound knew of the incident.
My life changed, needless to say, I became an outcast and my parents forbade me to never talk about the incident as I had already brought enough shame on the family. I’m not sure what became of the uncle but I was a stranger living in my own body.
Why are we telling these stories now, you ask?
That’s because Child Sexual Abuse has become a pandemic and because there’s never a good time to start having these conversations.
Also, statistics say one in every child who is sexually abused will still get abused up to 4-5 times in their lifetime and no one is talking about it and in society like ours, where we have a long-standing history of being silent about the abuses that ravage our families, we are taught daily that speaking up about our dark experiences means we are bringing shame on our family so we hold it all in.
Another reason why we tell these stories is that a lot of times the victims are always blamed Instead of antagonising the perpetrator, many wills, either consciously or subconsciously, imply that the survivor is to blame for their own assault.
Listed below is a list of suggestions by social researchers that can be helpful in preventing Sexual Child Abuse:-
1. Be very selective about who you allow to spend time with your children, especially alone with them. Keep in mind that everyone is guilty as such don’t trust anyone around young children.
2. Talk to your children openly about sexual abuse. Teach them about molestation, inappropriate touches, and privacy when dressing and bathing.
3. Make sure they understand the proper and improper ways to show affection.
4. Make sure your children feel comfortable talking to you about anything. Let them repeatedly that they can tell you anything no matter how scary or confusing it is. Always believe your children, no matter who it is, let them know they come first and that they will always have you in their corner.
5. Be a safe place for them.