Stop The Loud Silence and Protect Children from Sexual Abuse – Justice for Ochanya

I was with a young gentleman the other day. He shook his head after he heard a young lady share that she was first sexually assaulted at 4 years old. He turned to me and said “almost every woman I come across has been sexually assaulted at some point” and seemed quite bothered by it and shook his head.

I had so many emotions and questions playing in my head. Why do these things happen? who do people do this to minors? are they depraved? sick or don’t understand what sex actually means?

Recently too in a conversation with other men, they were asking, if this idea of #MeToo isn’t too much. Their comments included is it not over played? Can it really be true? is sexual abuse this rampant? I told him it can even be more rampant that he thinks. We need to get boys and men in on these conversations.

loud silence

Stop the Loud Silence and Protect Children from Sexual Abuse – Justice for Ochanya

The case of Ochanya is sad, heart breaking and horrifying! It brings tears to my eyes as a woman, as a mother, as a human being. I have so many questions and not sure how I will get any answers. I pray and desperately hope that she gets justice and stand with the Justice for Ochanya movement. We need more people to actually face the dire consequences of such crimes. No matter what it will not make up for the pain she went through, nor bring her back.

You have to wonder – did her aunt in the house not know what was going on? This young girl was abused for 5 years! 5 whole years! Could her aunty not have known or is this just a case of Loud Silence? were there no other people in the house or in her life that she could have told. Was she too scared and could not tell anyone else? Was she so thankful that they took her in that she did not want to cause trouble? Did her mother not see her during this period? was the fear so much?

The minors testimony

In her statement to the court, she disclosed that her guardian’s son first raped her in 2013 and warned her never to disclose it to anyone.

She said: “It all started in 2013 when I  turned five and came to live with my mother’s sister in Ugbokolo because there was no school in my village. So when l was eight, the son started sleeping with me. When the sister caught him, she reported to their father and he scolded him.

“From there, the father also started doing same thing by sleeping with me and l told my mother. Then my mother told my elder sister who later took me to Makurdi for check up. So last year September when l went to school and l felt sick and l was taken to Federal Medical Centre Makurdi where l spent two months and five days before l was discharged. In the hospital, they checked me and discovered that what my aunty’s son and his father did to me was actually affecting me and responsible for my condition. My mother went to confront my aunty and the husband but they did not take the matter serious and that is why we brought the case to here. I want my health back.”

The reports say that she went to stay with her aunty’s family because there were no schools in her village. What a price to pay for wanting to be educated. She ended up getting inflicted with VVF and died from the complications. The accused persons repeatedly abused her for so many years that her little body was unable to take it all. My questions continue – did her mother return her to this same home after the young girl reported? I just can’t fathom.

Protect children
Are you Guilty of Loud Silence?

We can all ask this question now after the fact, but in reality how many people are actually guilty of Loud Silence? Loud silence is when people know something inappropriate is going on; when they know or suspect that there is a case of abuse going on and they say or do nothing. They ignore it either because of fear, indifference or worse they don’t think there is anyway out.

You are also guilty of loud silence if you do not talk to your children about sex early enough. Please parents stop saying you find it uncomfortable to speak to your children about sex. It is irresponsible to say this! If you don’t teach them about sex, tell them what is right or wrong; please tell me whose responsibility it is?

I see parents squirm and say they cannot talk to their children about the proper names of their private parts or about sex. Would you rather be a victim? Your child is going to be exposed to sexual innuendos and sex way before he or she becomes an adult.

Majority of the movies, songs, video games, advertisements, internet searches today exposes your child to the world of sexuality on a daily basis. So if you do not take charge and have the conversation with them who is going to? Do you wait for them to learn the wrong way or worse yet be a victim? Many parents say ‘God forbid”and leave it there…yes God forbid and Amen to that but what about also empowering them to know how to protect themselves?

12 ways for children to avoid sexual abuse
Tips on How to Protect Your Child from Sexual Abuse

Do they know what to do when someone tells them to keep a secret? This is usually how someone grooming a victim starts. The fact is that most cases of abuse are from people the children know.

Can they talk to you when they have questions or do you scream down the walls if they ask you questions? When they ask you what does virgin mean? Or why does my penis stand up sometimes, where do babies come from? Parents do you answer or do you shut them up?

When they tell you that a particular family member makes them feel uncomfortable do you tell them to keep quiet or do you take it up? Ask more questions and confront the said person if need be and keep your children away from such people?

When children go for play dates do you know who is in the house? Do you send your children for sleep overs in homes that you don’t know what goes on after dark?

We are all saddened about dear sweet Ochanya, she was a victim of abuse, of betrayal from family members, she was a victim of not being heard early enough and I desperately hope that justice is served!

However there are many walking around daily who are victims of sexual abuse, and there are many who can be saved early. How can we equip them to know what to do and how to recognize the signs of inappropriateness? Many times it starts with the parents! Please get over being uncomfortable and talk to your children about their bodies and about sex. The word is not dirty and neither is it bad.

Sex is God’s creation – however there is a right time for it and there is a right way for it. Parents If you do not talk to your child and empower him or her to know what is right then you are being irresponsible and exposing them unnecessarily to predators.

[Read: How to Protect Children With the Underwear Rule]

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