Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sexual Predation

Sadly enough, this is not at all as uncommon as we think, regardless of where we are from and how we were raised. Personally, on doing some introspection this morning, I realized I was also guilty of personal forgetfulness with regard to this. Culturally, a Nigerian female does not talk about molestation or rape or anything like that because like Monica Lewinski, your chances of someone ever marrying you diminish the more you talk.

When I was ten years old, my one legged music teacher used to try and go up my skirt with his hands. I started to wear jeans to my music lessons. Finally, I quit music lessons. I switched to badmington and other stuff instead. My parents were easy. I could quit some things, as long as I wasn't quitting everything! But I never told anyone the specifics. I did hear whispers from other young ladies then but that was all it was. Whispers.

When I was in my late teens or early twenties, my youth pastor under the guise of praying for me tried to get under my skirt and I stayed away from him henceforth. You could never find me alone in a room with him after that and when it all blew up years later, I was not shocked.

In my early twenties or so, a fifty something year old supposedly celebate by choice "uncle" (my father's friend) staying in our house tried to kiss me and I ran. The man had not even brushed his teeth. He used to always hug too long and I had wondered about that.

But I never really made a big deal out of these. Nothing happened to these people to make them pay for it on my account. Of course I know better now. Thankfully, I was strong enough as a person even at age ten that I knew it was wrong and I didn't have to stand for it. It didn't go far enough to scar me for life though it made me angry. But what happened to the people who were not as strong or whose parents would not hear of them quitting music lessons because they just had to see it through? And you can bet if I had some of these experiences as someone who grew up in a two parent stable home with protective parents, worse happened to other people.

When I heard about the allegations against Eddie Long Yesterday, my heart sank and I immediately went into denial mode. Even now, I just hope it isn't true but I want the truth to come out, whatever that is because the truth always sets us free, albeit unpleasant at times.

I had a conversation on facebook with a mentor and she told me how her pastor who she reverred that way is in jail for having sex with a minor. An author friend of mine also wrote a book about breaking free from the effects of sexual molestation in childhood and young adult life and it made me think about things I had locked away that I just shared in this post.

Now that I have a three year old daughter, I cannot imagine what I would do if any male or female tried to molest her. All I can say is, whoever is doing these things needs to be brought to light. But if anybody is making false accusations of this calibre, I also hope it catches up with them. Let us also listen to these kids and pay attention to any changes in them. They need us to protect them.

We will just have to stay tuned. We also need to uphold our leaders in prayer. It is all well and good to point fingers at the Catholic church and pastors when they fall but when was the last time you got on your knees and upheld them in prayer? Rather than talk, I will pray more for pastors and leaders that they do not get so big that they lose sight of what is important and become exactly what they are fighting.


1 comment:

  1. Facebook comment:


    Folake, let's look at another perspective. Being Principal of a mission school and a school counselor has exposed me to realize the silent war most, if not all girls go through virtually throughout their lives; a war I never, ever thought p...ossible. I took a poll sometime back, and one of the questions read: Has anyone ever tried to take advantage of your sexuality before? I had a 100% return on that question out of 43 female respondents! It shocked me. One of the girls I interviewed actually laughed and said it was a NORMAL thing for men old enough to be their father to make sexual advancements at them.

    Funny enough, a poll I took of boys, though lower, 63% out of 51 respondents, proved to me that boys also go through this form of harrassment. Auntys that give baths and play with their peepee, older cousins that wants to teach you how to kiss or make you touch here and there... I will keep my own personal experiences as a kid to myself.

    However, and ironically, there is a new twist to it. Maybe this is restricted to the North where I am, but do you know that sometimes these little girls actually flaunt their sexuality and literally make passes at teachers, mentors, pastors etc?! I dont see myself as a hunk, and I do realize the old fashioned little kids crush on their teachers (Heck, I had a crush on Mrs. Campbell and Mrs. Raji) etc but when kids of form two tells me "my eyes are calling them" (a Hausa phrase or "turning them on") to my face, it makes one wonder. This may be subject to translation, but translate this: the Hausa word for 'eat' is the same as to 'bite' and can be translated as to spend money or to have sexual intercourse. Well, once, in my then poor Hausa, I told some girls hanging around my door waiting to see me to come in as I was not going to "bite them". Then, I wasnt aware of the double meaning. They aahhed and laughed at the double meaning which I was oblivious of, then squealled when one retorted in Hausa that even if it is what I wanted (to have sexual intercourse), she was available! They didnt really reprimand her, rather their response was like "Oh! you too". These are JSS 2 (form 2) kids. I leave it to your imaginations what occurs in the senior classes (remember, this is a mission school that has a remarkably higher level of moral stability than other private schools in town).

    I have experienced several of such cases from students, church members, proteges etc.

    Like I said, this may be isolated to the north but the point I am making is the "predators" are no longer the old sugar daddy or hunky teache or frivolous the situation is no longer restricted to little girls (and little boys, remembr Joseph in Potiphar's house?), the wind is raging all over. We hear this kind of case and automatically assume the naughty old man was taking advantage of the innocent virgin, without looking over our shoulder to see the smirking vamp who may have actually initiated it. It scares me that this is the environment I am going to bring my kids into and have to raise them in.

    The truth be told, we need more than ever to forget judging and start praying, before we are preyed upon. Forgive the pun.