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After Children’s Day, then what?

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By Joy Isi Bewaji

On May 27, we marked another Children’s Day. With the alarming number of child rape and molestation cases, it is important to remind parents of their duties of protecting their wards. Some measures may seem extreme because of our attraction to communal living. However, it is time we begin to question our parenting. Do we have our eyes and ears firmly on nurturing our little ones?

Here are a few things to note:

Parents, do not leave your children with your neighbours. Do not place your child in the front seat on an okada, away from your gaze.

Don’t approve private tutorials without proper supervision. Do not permit any pastor to carry out any kind of deliverance on your child.

Extended family members are largely strangers. Your father’s uncle’s wife’s son is a stranger; do not let him into your home where you are raising girls, especially.

Encourage your daughter to talk about the journey to-and-from school every day; know the activities of the driver who brings her home- what kind of music does he listen to in the car/bus? What kind of conversation or phone calls does he have? What are his quirks; what type of jokes does he make?

Single mums, if you have a boyfriend… the dude is dating you not your kid. Take your man-business away from your child. They don’t need to meet anyone, unless you plan to remarry a particular man.

Married mums, if your daughter ever complains about her father, don’t shut her up. Take action. Report to the police. And let all the relatives who try to talk you out of it burn in hell.

A vagina is a vagina. A penis is a penis. No pet names. Call it what it is. Let your children identify properly with their body parts. Unless you can vouch for the character of the men in your life, do not leave your child unsupervised with anyone. We can reduce cases of child rape. Truly, we can. It is not rocket science – watch the people around your children.

Child rape is as a result of trust. If you monitor “trusted people”, there’ll be very few cracks to worry about. Build your child’s suspicion. Caution is not such a bad thing. Paranoia in 2017 can save your life.

Not all men are rapists, but the numbers are alarming. Let us stop acting like we don’t know how bad it is. There are “nice” uncles everywhere, “full of love” for children, and they are going to want a little “favour” at some point.

Do not let your children get carried away with communal activities; dropping by neighbours’ houses, looking for what is not theirs to have. Take care of your own child. It is not your neighbour’s responsibility to feed your child.

A five year old lost her fallopian tube after months of being raped by the neighbour, who was also daddy’s good friend. A friend’s older sister was raped by the relative their father invited to live with them. The stories are many as they are shocking.

When we talk about teaching your children contentment and people try to push aside the alarming number of child rape and molestation committed under communal setting with retorts suggesting it happens to only a few – question their motive.

There are more paedophiles amongst us than we would allow ourselves to admit.

Keep your children safe.

Joy Isi Bewaji is the Managing Editor/Director of Happenings Media: Happenings Magazine (www.happenings.com.ng); and Happenings Radio (www.radio.happenings.com.ng); email: joybewaji.blog@gmail.com

This post was first published in Daily Independent

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