Opinion: Paedophilia: Beware of ‘Men of God’, others
By Azuka Onwuka
Sexual molestation of children seems to be on the increase. One cannot say if this perception is due to increased openness in our society, increased publicity given to it or the fact that more people now engage in paedophilia. Nowadays, the metro sections of most Nigerian newspapers are daily filled with stories of how adults sexually molest little children. Some of these stories even expose parents molesting their own children or step-children.
Serial killers, paedophiles and the like know that their greatest weapon is the trust reposed in them by their victims, whether adults or children. They, therefore, choose vocations and jobs which will confer the greatest amount of trust on them and bring them in close contact with children. But the reality is that when it comes to sexual molestation of children, a parent should not trust anybody 100 per cent, no matter the professed piety, profession, status, age, honesty, et cetera, of the person.
Paedophiles build trust first and strike when they realise that the parents have let down their guard. Therefore, as a parent you need to beware of the following categories of people:
- Men of God, – religious leaders like pastors/priests, imams, alfas, evangelists, ‘brothers,’ ‘sisters,’ among others
- House helps
- Lesson teachers
- Instructors (sports, music, dance, etc)
- Uncles and aunts
- Private drivers.
Men of God
The most trustworthy people on earth should be religious leaders. Because religion preaches high morals, they are seen as possessing a high degree of moral integrity. Paedophiles are aware of this and they always strive to mix with the religious fold and display a great deal of piety. That way, the unsuspecting members of their flock trust them and leave their young children in their care.
As a parent, beware of ALL religious leaders – caution is not a sin. Don’t leave your child or teenage girl alone with a so-called pastor, prophet, imam, evangelist, brother, et cetera. If you need to send your teenage daughter to a ‘man of God’ for prayers or counseling, please go with her. Discourage any private visits by your daughter to such a religious person. Religious leaders have a great influence on young minds and can easily lure them into sex – heterosexual or homosexual.
Paedophiles also seem to have found a perfect hiding place in the teaching profession. Teachers spend more hours with children in a day than their parents spend with them. So they are in close contact with the pupils. Pupils usually respect and fear their teachers more than their parents. In the eye of a child, whatever a teacher says is right. Drum it into your child’s ear and mind that if his/her teacher or any person touches him/her in any private part of his/her body, he/she should shout immediately and run away and report to the nearest person available. In the same vein, if an adult tells the child to touch any private part of the adult’s body, the child should shout, run away and report the adult immediately. Also warn your teenage girls and boys against helping their teacher to take things to the teacher’s home, or going home to help him/her with domestic chores. Birds of passage – teaching practice students and National Youth Service Corps members – are to be avoided most. The reason is that since they are in a place where they will not stay permanently, there is less restraint.
Lesson teachers and other instructors
If you hire a teacher who comes to your house to teach your children, be very careful. If none of the parents is usually around during the period the teacher is in your home, ensure that you have a reliable adult at home throughout the duration of his stay. In the same manner, if your children attend any coaching in sports, singing, dancing, acting, choreography, or any of the young people’s organisations, such as the Boys and Girls Brigade, Boy Scouts, etc, put measures in place to ensure that your child is safe from abuse at all times.
Uncles and aunts
If you have relations who visit you occasionally or live with you, you need to be on the alert. If your neighbours come into your home in your absence or your children visit them when you are out, watch it. Your kids can be easily sexually abused. First of all, ban all visits to your home by adults or teenagers when you are not at home. Also confirm where your kids are at all times. Monitor what goes on around your home.
Your sex-starved or randy house help may convert your kids or teenage children to sex partners. One weapon they use is blackmail, “If you let me play with you, I won’t tell your daddy that you stole his money.” Make a firm promise to your child that anytime he/she does any wrong and reports himself/herself to you – no matter the gravity of the offence – you will not punish him/her. Please ensure that you fulfill your promise always. That will help the child not to easily succumb to blackmail. It will also help to increase the child’s honesty rating.
Just like house helps, drivers who take your kids to and from school every week could exploit them sexually, given the right opportunity. If possible, let another adult always accompany your kids to school. It may also be necessary that of the two parents, one is available most times to accompany the kids to school and back.
Things to note
- Remove all forms of fear from your child.
- Encourage them to tell you of any plan by anybody to exploit them.
- Talk to them regularly on how to react to any sexual abuse intent.
- Teach your child as much sex education as possible, depending on the ages.
- Ask them questions always of happenings between them and adults they deal with.
- Personally bath them now and then, no matter how busy you are. Observe their body and ask them questions.
- Don’t be too busy for your kids. Career growth is good, money-making is great, but a child that is sexually abused has a psychological scar that may haunt him/her all his/her life. Paying a little attention may help avert this menace.
– Twitter @BrandAzuka