Revisiting Child Molestation

Revisiting Child Molestation

Tuesday, November 25, 2014 11:08 am

By Akunna Ejim

Like a plague that keeps on multiplying as it rears its despicable form in different places, the issue of child molestation all around the world, but specifically in Nigeria, seems to have assumed a more brazen dimension. Several cases of this unholy and unlawful act have surfaced in the media in recent times, but the case that necessitated the writing of this particular article is that of the 16-year-old girl, widely reported, thanks to print and online media, who is a victim of this condemnable act.

Reportedly, this child was brought to Lagos from Abakiliki at the age of nine by her brother, with the aim of improving her lot in life. The brother, who was single at the time, consented to her living with his friend, who happened to be married. Barely two years after she started living with him and his wife, the man started molesting the young girl under his care. From the ripe old age of 11, the man raped the girl practically every night, according to the account rendered by the girl of the events during that tumultuous period in her life.

Fast-forward to 2014, and this girl is now the mother of a child fathered by the “uncle” who had endeavoured to thoroughly traumatise her, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. An interesting factor to note here is the way such cases cause an initial uproar, then disappear from the collective consciousness of the populace. It would be highly gratifying to hear that the “uncle” did indeed get the punishment that he richly deserves, which would ideally include castration to ensure that he never inflicts the same damage on another child. History has shown repeatedly that people with such a bent tend to maintain the same predisposition throughout their lives. The true measure of a man or woman, is not what they say or how they act in public; rather, it is the way they comport themselves at all times.

Sadly, this is only a drop in the bucket compared to the number of reported child molestation cases, not to mention the unreported ones. In a country where those in authority seem to selectively apply how and when to punish reprobates whose currency of choice is the innocence of children, it is no wonder that new cases keep popping up like those annoying moles in a Whack-a-mole game.

Who shall make laws which will stick and who will actually adhere to those laws when the very lawmakers who ought to be custodians and proponents of the law engage in wanton pedophilia, such as the case of the senator who married a young child from Egypt in a very visible case while still in office. How does a nation that is deeply fragmented along religious lines, and apparently confused as to the general definition and application of the law for all Nigerians, actually make laws that will garner nationwide respect? If what is good for the goose is not good for the gander, how do you make the distinction as to who gets punished for any offence when there are very prominent violators of the law walking about and still perpetrating the same degenerate acts unhindered.

While it must be noted that there are outstanding men and women who will never abuse any child in their custody, it must be said that the chief underlying factor which serves as a breeding ground for a considerable proportion of the child molestation cases is poverty. A significant number of the victims of this injustice are children who seem not to have a voice due to their socioeconomic circumstances. If families had enough to take care of their children, there would be no need to send them out to the four corners of the nation and beyond in the name of giving them “a better life”. It is only in rare cases that such children escape either physical abuse from the madam of the house, her children, husband and relatives, or evade other forms of mental and emotional abuse.

As members of the media, it is a call of duty to draw the attention of those in authority to the this sorry situation, with the hope that more stringent punishment will be clearly spelt out, within the ambit of the law of the land, and most importantly – fully enforced, to serve as a deterrent to other reprobates with a similar animalistic mindset.

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