Demystifying Sexual Abuse, Shaming the Abuser

Oluwatoyin Olabisi
Posted November 18, 2019 from Nigeria
Demystifying Sexual Abuse, Shaming the Abuser
In recent times, there has been an upsurge in reports of Sexual Abuse by persons who are very much supposed to be guardians ranging from Pastors, Imams, Fathers, Uncles, Teachers and Brothers to mention but a few. Defined as the involvement of a child in sexual activity that he or she does not fully comprehend, is unable to give informed consent to;

In recent times, there has been an upsurge in reports of Sexual Abuse by persons who are very much supposed to be guardians ranging from Pastors, Imams, Fathers, Uncles, Teachers and Brothers to mention but a few. Defined as the involvement of a child in sexual activity that he or she does not fully comprehend, is unable to give informed consent to; Sexual Abuse is a gross violation of human rights and a contemporary social problem of endemic proportion that if left unaddressed would have serious negative and social consequences for children who are the leaders of tomorrow, their families and communities at large. It is exacerbated by silence due to cultural and religious stereotypes on issues pertaining to sex and other bodily assaults. According to the 2018 statistical report on Women and Men in Nigeria published by the National Bureau of Statistics,  revealed that the national rape incidences for Women and Girls is on an increasing tender as in year 2017 alone 84.29% females aged between 1-17 were  raped at home, 98.82% females aged 1-17 were raped at school and 75.95%  Females aged  1-17 were  raped in other places even as Section 31 of the 2003 Child Rights Act, Article 34 of the 1989 Convention of the Rights of the Child and Section 1 of the 2015 Violence against Persons and Prohibition Act decry  all forms of Sexual Abuse. There is crucial need more than ever before to address the issue of sexual abuse through Awareness-Raising programs for Adolescents to combat the erroneous perception that Sexual Abuse is acceptable, Comprehensive Sexuality Education aimed at educating Adolescents on Life Skills, Sexuality, Sex Education, Gender Roles and Relations, Power Relations, Responsible Sexual Behaviour, and educating Teachers, Care Givers and other Professionals on what constitutes child sexual abuse. Gender Equality is central to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals even as Target 5.2 recognizes the need to eliminate all forms of violence against all Women and Girls in public and private spaces. Promoting Gender Equality is essential in order to effectively tackle sexual abuse as it is perpetuated by structural gender inequality including unequal power relations and discriminatory norms around the value of Girls’ their sexuality and role in the society even as eliminating gender inequality and empowering young people requires the fulfillment of their basic needs and rights such as the right to live a life free from violence and exploitation.

As the Executive Director of Women and Girl-Child Capabilities and Empowerment Organization (WGCCEO) I am constantly training Adolescent Girls’ on what constitutes Sexual Abuse, effects of Sexual Abuse and how to recognize it. This is because a number of times, Sexual Abuse occurs subtly. I personally was sexually abused by my uncle growing up, I remember one time this uncle of mine would kiss me and squeeze my breast and then would tell me not to tell anyone, he would then buy me lots of suya and sweets. This continued for a very long time until I opened up to my sisters and started running away from him. I am happy and grateful to the Nigeria Country Office of United Population Fund for supporting my NGO Girls’ Safe Space where Girls are equipped with knowledge and skills on advocating for their rights and other issues pertaining to their Sexual and reproductive Rights. The issue is just like me growing up, Sexual Abuse like other Gender Based Violence thrives in Silence and Shame; It is when Women and Girls begin to openly talk about these issues using the new and traditional media would be an effective way to address it as well as shaming the perpetrators who are usually men supposed to protect us Women and Girls.

Through the 16 Days of Activism, I would educate Women and Girls in my community about all forms of Gender Based Violence as well as use social media to engage civil society organizations and policy leaders and even religious organizations on how to effectively tackle Gender Based Violence in which Women and Girls are the most vulnerable while also urging them to take advantage of every opportunity which seeks to ensure that they are empowered so that when they are empowered they would become agents of positive change as they would be using their voice to lead a movement which seeks to lead to the  emancipation of Women and Girls and in the end contribute to the actualization of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and African Union Agenda 2063.

 

This story was submitted in response to #IStandWithHer.

Comments 11

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Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Nov 18, 2019
Nov 18, 2019

Hello, Oluwatoyin,

I can truly feel your passion for raising awareness against sexual violence. Great job on plan for the16 Days of Activism. I'm glad you are a force so strong to prevent violence against women and girls. May your tribe of courageous women increases. Please keep us posted on your activities. I would love to see the photos. Keep up the wonderful movement you've begun!

Wusufor
Nov 18, 2019
Nov 18, 2019

Hello dear,
I can't believe what an irony this is, people who are suppose to be protective are rather the abuse ones.
Are those figures for Nigeria alone or global? Those are alarming figures.
Thanks very much for sharing.
Regards

Anita Shrestha
Nov 18, 2019
Nov 18, 2019

Dear
Thank you for sharing. Keep it continue

Jill Langhus
Nov 18, 2019
Nov 18, 2019

Hi Oluwatoyin,

Thanks for sharing your concerning update, stats, and update. I agree that the key is awareness and training girls on their rights. I totally agree, too, that perpetuation of GBV is thriving due to silence and shame. I know all about that from my own experience, too, unfortunately. My family still doesn't talk about it. And, I've blocked most of it out.

Keep up the good work, and please keep us updated.

Hope you have a great week!

XX

lizzymark
Nov 20, 2019
Nov 20, 2019

Thankful that you made it out and strong too and today you are saving a greater generation of women, keep on the good work thank you for what you do for girls.

ARREY- ECHI
Nov 21, 2019
Nov 21, 2019

Thank you for raising this up. Victims are usually the ones shamed while the real culprits often go scoot free. It is a sad irony that protectors have become predators.

Spiritedsoul
Nov 22, 2019
Nov 22, 2019

Im sorry to hear about the deplorable treatment you sufferedat your Uncle’s hands. Hugs.
Education is power, keep up your wonderful work!

ANJ ANA
Nov 24, 2019
Nov 24, 2019

Dear Oluwatoyin,
Thankyou so much for sharing very informative posts with figures and data and also supporting standing with the most vulnerable population. It's so painful when a perpetuator is inside a home, where as we teach our children to be safe with strangers.
I wish you a very best for achieiving your goal addressing violence against women and girls.
In solidarity,
anjana

otahelp
Dec 13, 2019
Dec 13, 2019

thank you Oluwatoyin. seriously we need to demystify all perpetrators and do away with all perverts so that we have a freer street, homes, malls , market and workplace for women and girls. #SpeakOut #SilenceIsNot Golden

Kabahenda
Dec 19, 2019
Dec 19, 2019

Oluwatoyin,

You are a phenomenal woman doing phenomenal work in raising awarenesss about the silent epidemic of sexual abuse in your society.

You join a myriad of so many other women whose work is making a very loud statement: "Enough is enough."

I believe that through your work and that of other women all over the world, we shall soon see positive changes.
With the Pope strongly speaking out against sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and in society, you are on the right track and keep p the good work.

All the best to you.

lemonadelemon
Aug 31
Aug 31

great sharing. good job sister.. keep up the good work