Today is a very good day and sad one too. We have received a beautiful girl who is a victim of sexual violence and abuse. She was defiled by a close relative. Because her case is ongoing, I will not reveal much of her details.
I thought I should share this with you because, we are facing peculiar times in history. Times that our movement is restricted, and schools are shut down because of the global pandemic, COVID-19.
This pandemic has seen us shelter in place when curfew times get us away from home and has seen many people stuck in places, they are not comfortable. Naturally, that ends up being a trigger of sorts depending with one’s background.
In Kenya, George Magoha, the cabinet secretary for education gave a directive that says that all students will repeat a year as schools had closed in Mid-March the first quarter of Kenya’s school year. Colleges and universities are to reopen in September if they abide by the strict guidelines put out for them. This news was not received well by some students and Kenya has already recorded 1 suicide case of a high school student who was looking forward to complete high school studies end of this year.
Parents need to remember that some of the children prefer being in school for various reasons but today we want to tackle the sexual abuse angle. Guardians in this season are urged to watch out for perpetrators. Many times, we look outside the four walls of our homes because the last place we expect our children to be unsafe is in our homes. Unfortunately, the recent reported rape cases globally, are said to have been committed inside the safety of the four walls. This cases have come to light mostly because the victim fell pregnant and the perpetrator did not know to procure an abortion, sometimes the victim contracted an STI and at times the child was able to communicate to a guardian on what happened.
In this season we need to have open conversations with our children as we teach them boundaries. Some parents might think their children are too young for such conversations, unfortunately the world has taught different. The rapist sees no age but instead strikes at any given opportunity and on whichever gender. Having this candid talks will help children be able to know what is wrong and at the same time be able to report smell of sexual advances since this conversation is no longer kept for the adults and yet children are introduced.
I urge families to normalize these conversations and have them around dinner table, or before family devotions or a set time. Bottom line is this, our children need to be heard and not once but severally. Let it stick and sink in with our children.
During a support counseling session to parents of an abused 5-year-old girl, the dad never wanted to attend any of the sessions. This brought strain their marriage as the wife felt the husband was not supportive to their child. After 4 counselling sessions and the father giving last minute excuses not to attend, the mother decided to give ultimatum which forced the man to attend the next session. In this session I realized that the man was too quiet which is not abnormal since different people deal with trauma in different ways. What I found strange however the father was in the meeting but completely detached. Until I suggested the importance of sitting down with their daughter and speaking as a team as they show her their support. The man vehemently refused to be a part of that conversation. While that is in Africanism as the man put it in many households, but the job of the woman to have such conversations, the anger the man displayed was worrying and how he refuted with so much strength. In the end he said he will have his own time with her daughter and the mother should have her own time with her. After all the drama, we later got to know that it is the father who was the rapist and whenever he had sometime with her daughter, he would threaten her.
What I’m I trying to say, please talk to your children as a family, start eliminating these thoughts in guardians if it starts coming because you have both invested in what you are telling them and they will see something is a miss.