There are so many articles, orientations, seminars, and campaigns on sexual abuse. But yet the victims still keep mute. Why? we may ask ourselves. The reason is simple we have allowed strict moral principles push the victims away even before the predators attacked.
As parents, guardians and protectors, you have created fear in the mind of the ones you are supposed to be protecting. This is why, when the predators attack, victims prefer to face their problem alone, rather than be subjected to your judgement. They would prefer to endure the trauma in silence, than to face the look of disappointment on your face when they finally speak up. You have already traumatized them with stories about virginity, and how non-virgins are considered a taboo. You filled them up with such stories, that when the predator stole what you told them was their greatest treasure, they rather judge themselves in silence than to do the walk of shame, while you ring the bell of shame on them, and the predators enjoy their loot.
I would list seven reasons why victims of sexual abuse would rather keep quite than to open up to anybody.
What would you do if a young teenager, an adolescent, or even an adult came up to you and told you that the person who hold with so much respect, that man or woman of God, community leader who seem all wise and perfect had violated him or her? Would you believe them? Would you go the extra mile and investigate, to know if the story was true? Or would you toss it away and yell blasphemy? 70% of us would yell blasphemy even before the story is completed. Seventy out of hundred is majority.
A lot of guardians and parents don’t know how to handle issues like this. Just imagine is your little girl comes back from school to tell you, she has been inappropriately touched by a teacher. What’s your imagination? Are you boiling with anger? Do you imagine matching off to the school with a knife to stab that teacher? If those are your imagination then you are wrong. Your focus at this point should be your child not the predator. She is probably scared and you are going to scare her more by taking drastic actions. You would only bring attention to her and traumatize her even further.
3.BLAMING AND SHAMING OF VICTIMS:
Many people would rather blame the victims and defend the predator. You blame the victims dressing. You blame her looks “She is too beautiful. She called for the attention. Her body is too developed for her age.” Shame on you. The only person to be blamed is the predator not the victim. No matter what the predator is to be blamed.
4.LACK OF TRUST:
Victims of sexual abuse will only communicate their experience with people they trust to handle the situation well. Not someone who would see it as an avenue to gossip or spread rumors. It’s a sensitive topic and should be handled as such. Most victims don’t want their stories published in the newspapers, or their pictures all over the social-media.
5.NOBODY TO CONFIDE IN:
Most victims are all alone because the ones who they should confide in are too morally strict. As parents everything is not handled by corporal punishment. So you found a love letter, or even a condom in her bag and you believe cane is going to enlighten her, then you need to think again. Because she would get enlightened without you and her teacher might be the predator.
6.FEAR OF THE PREDATOR:
Most times the predators threaten their victims. We need to teach our ladies, girls, children how to defend themselves. Most time yelling and shouting NO is not enough. We need to teach them how to defend themselves. Martial art, pepper spray, pocket knife anything just to defend themselves.
Sexually abused victims are often stigmatized when they come out to share their story. Instead we need to help them by being strong for them. Don’t look down on them. Encourage them.
This is why, we at mahogany.com.ng have decided to start the social media campaign with the hashtags: #BeHerFriend #Listen2Her #ProtectHer.
Remember it’s not until sex is involved before it becomes sexual abuse. Any form of sexual activity without consent from the other party is sexual abuse.
#BeHerFriend don’t traumatize her.