When we preach forgiveness without punishment, we strengthen abusers. Stop enabling crimes against humanity.
It is obvious that at the mention of marriage, religion, and ethnicity, the average Nigerian loses their sense and humanity.
It has become a daily occurrence though under reported how fathers, bosses, relatives, grown men and women sexually molest children in their care.
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A 9-year-old girl committed suicide recently. She killed herself because when she reported to her mother that her father was molesting her sexually, she was hushed. She was equally shamed, called a seductress and home breaker, while her father was protected. The little girl committed suicide a few days later.
The recent case that has left tongues wagging is that of Elizabeth Ochanya Ogbanje, a 13-year-old Benue girl who lived with her mother’s sister. And her aunt’s husband and son took turns to sodomize right under the same roof.
They had unlimited sexual access to her for years, digging her from both sides. They started molesting her when she was 8 years old and continued till she developed Vesicovaginal fistula (VVF) and later died from the complications of the disease.
I have had wives call me on phone to complain that their husbands are sexually abusing their daughters and they don’t know what to do. How can you not know what to do when your child is living right under the same roof with her abuser? And you call yourself a mother!
Most women would rather look the other way just for marital longevity. They would prefer their child or the house help dies, thrown out or hushed into silence than report or even leave their husbands who are nothing but pedophiles and sexual predators.
“God hates divorce’ such women claim. They would ask why should another ear hear that a father raped his own child? Marriage is their pathway to heaven.
Instead of dealing with their pedophile husbands, they would beat the child and force her to be silent.
They would make excuses for the man by claiming the child seduced him. He couldn’t have raped her with his senses intact, something came over him and they would finally blame the devil for the crime. It doesn’t matter if the abuse continues. It is a family matter and should never ever be mentioned anywhere else.
Only few of these women even involve their parents, Imams or pastors, who come preaching forgiveness and blaming the devil. The wife is asked to forgive him and stay to shame the devil and their detractors, while the violated child is left in the dark. There would be no counseling or psychotherapy to heal the abused child.
It’s always about what people will say, it has always been so and it’s pathetic. This is why many domestic violent victims remain with their abusive partners. They endure torture, pain and even death because of what people will say.
Their marriages must work. Parents will ask their daughters to go back using themselves as example of how they endured and survived the same violence from their fathers. An abused woman is admonished to endure abuse for the sake of her children.
We shame and call battered women all manner of names if they eventually walk away for their own safety. Some people even insult them to the point of going back to their abusive partners.
We don’t want to even know why they left the marriage in the first place; they should just go back and remain married. It doesn’t matter it is obvious their partner needs serious psychiatric evaluation or is so violent that the woman’s life is in constant danger.
When a victim of domestic violence survives and tells his or her story with picture evidence, we tell them to pull it down, to move on, to shut-up and cry in silence. We tell them to stop disgracing the abuser and stop trying to destroy them.
If a rape victim calls her rapist out, we ask her how she was dressed; why she visited his house unaccompanied wearing skirt, and why she didn’t respond to his insults politely?
Even the law enforcement agents blame victims of rape. They tell her she deserved what she got. The shaming and name calling is even worst when the rapist is a Pastor, Imam or native doctor. Their followers defend their religious leaders, the victim a liar and the devil that is out to run down their religion.
We tell men who were molested sexually by adults when they were younger to shut-up and toughen up. They are men and must have enjoyed it after all, if not they wouldn’t be erect while they were defiled. If they ever mention how the abuse affected their self esteem and relationship with women, they are made a laughing stock.
Our law enforcement officers are the biggest black mailers, they shame and intimidate victims into silence. They die the matter down in their offices and in few cases opt for dialogue, and the offender walks away with just a fine, while the victim lives with the shame and fear of unknown.
Daily we watch as our neighbors and wives dehumanize their teenage house helps, most of us just speak in hush tone and never call the abuser to order or report them appropriately. We just hope that somehow a miracle happens.
When we refuse to report offenders, and insist that appropriate punishment be meted out to them, we become enablers. When we shame victims, call them names, we only embolden and protect their abusers. When we preach forgiveness without punishment, we strengthen abusers. Stop enabling crimes against humanity.