Fathers, uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters, cousins, drivers, teachers, etc have all come under the perpetrator microscope as people who are likely to abuse a child.
But has anyone ever thought to look at mothers?
Because contrary to popular opinion, all mothers are not saints.
Society is so busy harping on the sexual abuse of girls that many boys have been left in the lurch, suffering in the hands of sexual predators. Many never talk about it, because all the attention has been showered on the girls.
This is the same way society has made devils of everyone else and saints of mothers.
“Sweet Mother, I no go forget you…”
“Who sat and watched my infant head….my mother.”
From age to age, mothers have been praised and worshipped and deified in some cases. They can do no wrong. They’re angels. Faultless.
Well, many of them are.
But not all.
What happens when a mother is the one sexually abusing her child?
Before you scream “God forbid”, let me assure that this is happening in Nigeria, more often than you think. There are women who are having sex with their sons and daughters. It’s hard to imagine, isn’t it?
But it’s easier to think of a father as a predator, not so? Because society has told us that men love sex, think sex, breath sex, are controlled by sex. And women are not, shebi?
Well, it used to be for me, especially because of societal conditioning. Then I heard the first case – a nineteen-year-old boy whose father was always away on business. His mother “turned to him for comfort” and soon, they became bedmates.
Then a fifteen-year-old girl who said, “Ma, I’m in a lesbian relationship with my mother. She introduced me to it when I was ten.”
These are just two examples out of many cases.
I know somewhere, someone is saying, “How can a mother who is even supposed to teach her child about sex education do this?”
And I ask, Why is the mother the one who is “supposed” to? What happened to the Father? How many men sit their sons and daughters down and talk to them about their bodies, sex and its consequences?
Not many that I know of. Nearly everyone pushes everything to the mother. Yet, it was two people who had the child together.
Fathers, wake up!
Sometime ago, I had to reprimand a friend. She wouldn’t let her husband carry their daughter. That she’s scared it may lead him to have impure thoughts and abuse her.
And I asked her, “Are you a saint? So you’re the good person who won’t abuse your child, abi?”
When I had a talk with a few of my male acquaintances sometime ago, I realised that nearly all of them, some who were as young as five years old, had been sexually molested as children by female family members or neighbours.
An older aunt, who had kids of her own – who is a mother.
A female teacher, married with kids – a mother.
A married female neighbour – a mother.
These women may also be victims of abuse themselves, who haven’t broken out of that cycle. Some may just be sex-crazed individuals, who don’t know where to draw the line. All of them are paedophiles, no matter the circumstance.
We need to wake up to reality and stop with the generalizations that let our children suffer. Anyone can be a sexual predator. No one’s a sacred cow. If both parents handle sexual education together in our homes, there’d be lesser cases of undiscovered or late-discovered abuse. It’s rare to find a home where both parents are abusers. It happens, but it’s rare. Parents should teach their children, both male and female, the PANTS rule.
P – Private parts are private. No one should have their fingers or hands on or in there, whether mummy or daddy.
A – Always remember that your body belongs to you.
N – No means No! If you say no and the person tries to force you, got to rule T
T – Talk about secrets that upset you. Don’t let anyone touch you and say: it’s a secret, keep it from mum and dad or either. Even if they threaten to kill you or your parents, talk.
S – Speak to someone. Anyone. As long as you’re exposing the perpetrator, speak out.
Written by Eketi Ette