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Rape….the human disease and shame

It was raining heavily and Tinu, driving in the rain felt the beginnings of a headache coming on. She sighed and the phone rang, one cursory look confirmed it was Banji on the phone. She stretched out her hand to pick the phone, saw the girl and stopped.

The girl was obviously lost as she seemed oblivious of the rain, gathering her tattered clothes about her. Her blouse was torn, eyes were swollen and as Tinu stopped, got out of the car, she knew it was much worse than being lost. The girl had been beaten and she bled.
Tinu simply took the girl into the car and drove to the doctor. She was enraged and had a murderous glint in her eyes.

Thirty minutes later the doctor came back to the consulting room. Tinu gave the doctor a questioning look, there was also an appeal in those eyes as it silently asked for answers.
‘Rape my friend, by more than one person, she doesn’t seem to know the assailants. They dumped her at the bus stop when they were done with her.’ The doctor replied her silent query grimly.
Tinu unclenched her fists and asked to be taken to the ward to see the girl.
‘Now they dump them in the streets’ she said through clenched teeth as she narrated the story to her husband Banji much later.
Anike, the girl who was raped had been lured by the promise of a job in a neighboring town so she was completely lost and didn’t know where to go when those who called her for an interview simply grabbed her.
Are you shocked? That is just one scenario, there are several. I will share as much as my anger, disgust and bewilderment will permit
Where do you place your sympathy, in the midst of the calamities befalling the human race?
That is not the end of Anike’s problem you know. Her mother simply refused to accept that Anike was not to blame, and there was horror at the mere fact of letting the law enforcement agents come into the picture. She felt she would be blamed because she had not been strict enough with her child.
In the African tradition, a good child belongs to the father and any misbehavior of the child is placed at the doorstep of the mother.
Where does that leave Anike? Nowhere.
What kind of parents are we? Is there any form of support system in this country that helps someone like Anike? She sits and stares, I heard she was given a rape kit, a government lawyer came to talk to her and after much persuasion, her mother went with her to the police station. The officer gave her a lewd look and yawned.
She has refused to make further visits to the Police, the lawyer says she is busy and there is growing terror in the eyes of Anike as I watch her each time I visit.
I read the book of Robert Uttaro TO THE SURVIVORS’ and I ask myself questions.
I ask you now, Rape has been an issue right from Biblical times. Are we as humans so defective that we have been unable to resolve this type of murder?

I read from the good book that the commandment said clearly Thou shalt not kill.
We murder or we are accessories to the act before and after when another human being is raped. We take without permission the fundamental human rights of another human being in the act of rape.
There are so many types of it and starting from today, each week on this day, I will send you posts about rape.
Why?
I hope you will help in your own way to raise a voice against rape, and domestic violence.
Let’s do something, please.

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DO I HAVE SIX STOMACHS?

It started innocently enough, one of my girls insisted I love one of her sisters the most of my children and she really lashed out in pain. We always argued and I tended to keep asking her to get her act right. Then she told me I was trying to put her in a mould and very sharply told me she is different. ‘Do what grandma told you, have space in your stomach for me but not in the same space with my sister’

My mother had always said she had six stomachs, that is where the stomach talk came from.
I remember staring at her stomach often. How can you have six stomachs?

I did not understand for a long time until my understanding of my language made it clearer that what mum meant was that she had six different understanding of her six children r did she mean love or favour?

Can parents favour one child over the other? I really do not want to answer that question even for me. But I understand my mother after I had six children myself. Do I favour one child over the other? Please don’t ask me the question again. I am reluctant to ask myself and I refuse to answer because you see, I really don’t have an answer
In my race, we tend to check for the origin of an incarnation, so we might understand the manner of invitation or mission of the child thus invited. I remember I wondered about my first son and knew well ahead about the others some part of the manner of their incarnation. No I am not being fanciful.

How do you see your children? Could they really be friends?. I watch my friends sometimes when they try to impose a religion on their children and they generally support these impositions with plentiful quotes from the good books. So how did I become such a rebel?

I hate being pigeon-holed and generally leave an association once it begins to stifle me. Almost all my children have picked these traits.

Do I have six stomachs? Do I view my children differently?, rate them differently? Yes of course, because they are six, uniquely different from each other. Then I understood mum. Yes you can have six stomachs. Yes you love them differently. Equally? Ergh, can we compare love by volume? Quality? Love? That serves, nourishes, strengthen? I doubt. What is the measure?

Some nights I just lie awake agonising over a child who seemed to me to be so different from me that I wonder how we happen to have woven a thread that necessitated us sharing another incarnation together. I wonder, agonize and sometimes am at pains to understand. I am not the only mother who does that you know.
It was one of the reasons that helped me talk to my mother again. I could finally understand and empathize with her confusion over me. I think I gave her the most cause for headaches. I was so different that we hardly could have a meeting point.

Now as a parent and grandma, I remember and sometimes nod in silent acknowledgement of my mother’s comment over six stomachs. I probably have six stomachs too.
How do we navigate the parenting waters and be able to bring each child to shore safely and move on without leaving scars or scarring them too negatively?

I do seem to have a lot of questions right? And you must have assumed I have forgotten all about parenting.
The invitation is still open to visit the parenting forum on the site and do let me know what you think.
How many stomachs do you have?
Talk soon

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Learning Lessons

Hello everyone,
I am sharing my fortieth year as a writer. It was a bit surprising when my husband noted thatthis year makesit the fortieth year of my writing experience.
So I had to ask myself a few questions. what has been my experience. I live in a country where the reading culture had been bastardised.
What have I achieved in all the 40 years? Is it worth celebrating?
Given the country I live in,I have grown a lot, my writing skills has improved. In recognition of that length of time, I changed the look of my website. made a conscious effort to reflect on what has moved me through the years.
I am bit surprised to note that I have always been socially conscious, from my romantic plays, to my detective series as well as so many other stories. I even wrote horror stories which recently changed forms to religious and fantasy.
I have published quite a number of novels, poetry and produced plays.
I am musing today and will share in the weeks to come my stories, rationale and lessons learned.Meanwhile let me share this with you
TREAD SOFTLY

Don’t get lost
In the weft of threads
Don’t swim west
From the heat of sweat
Don’t make mounds
From life’s hounds
Search through the chaff
From the flowing stream
Each clap of thunder
Each sighing hiss
Of the fierce lightning
Evidence of streaming light
Follow the rainbow stream
And friend, you’ll be home.

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Can we talk about sexuality?

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There have been arguments for and against starting early to talk about sexuality to your child. In the wake of the rising abuse against young children, I have always believed that no time is too early.
We all know that as first educators it will be a bit much to expect your child to get educated about sexuality from outside your home. You are horrified at the very idea of that. It is therefore imperative and urgent that you ask yourself the questions and have answers ready.

Let’s look at this way, when your child was on the way, you took steps to get all the proper information that would be necessary, you went to ante-natal classes and the expectant father followed you the occasional time right?
So why would you not prepare your child for that phase in her/his life that might become bewildering if your child does not get proper briefing?

HOW DO WE START?

Sexuality is not simply about sex, so we don’t need to be embarrassed.
Tell your child that the expression of his/her sexuality is a normal component of living. The reproductive organs have their physical as well as emotional uses and a proper understanding is necessary. Children need tobe taught how to take responsibility for their body. As you teach the child how to bathe , clean, and brush you also start in age –appropriate language to show to the child that it has to take responsibility for his/her sexuality. It is not good enough to tell a child who asks you innocently what is the bump you are carrying, with the curt embarrassed words “ wait till you are married”

My daughter when she was little will watch me breastfeed her younger sister, one day unable to contain her curiosity she asked me why her sister was always eating my chest!. I stared in total surprise then I realized that the act of her sister puzzled her. I told her I was giving her younger sister milk. She piped in that there was milk at home why would I hide her sister’s milk in my chest? I explained as much as I assumed she could grasp that it was not just a chest but that I was given her sister the natural milk that nature had prepared for her through me. I let her know that I had done the same thing for her when she was her sister’s age. I explained being very small, her sister might not be able to chew as she does and Nature had planned things in such way, that what her sister needed was food that contained everything. I took the opportunity to tell her that as she gets older, being a girl, she would develop breasts too and she could give her own baby food that way. Of course like a child, she would not leave it at that, every parent knows about the endless questions of children! What I do when I am stuck with a barrage of questions like that, I offer to find out the answers. Sometimes you get respite that way. However, saying you are going to help look for the answers does two things, you get the respite, and you also show to the child, that no one has all the answers all the time. You build trust that way.

THE PARENT IS FIRST EDUCATOR
Parents are naturally the first socializing agents for your child. Your child will ask you the questions first. It is your chance to establish core family values. Your opportunity to bond and establish a relationship. You will find that as time goes on this relationship becomes fluid and changes form and substance but then that is life, and you flow and are fluid with it. You have the chance to transmit love and understanding. You thus need to develop communicating skills when it comes to issues of sexuality. You seize every opportunity looking for the right moments. Definitely, you are not going to be discussing with your six year old, what is best discussed when the child is entering puberty.
Parents must learn age- appropriate answers to give.

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Talking about sexuality… Ready or scared?

Will you really talk about it?

Your child at any given point needs to be reassured that they will not be judged, distrusted when they tell us things. You know how it is that we are suspicious of most things they tell us. We sense that that they have the edge over us and in our helpless recognition, we suspect every sentence they tell us. Right? I know because I have experienced it too, with my mother and with my children. One would assume that if you had experienced the pain of telling your mother the truth and she stares at you withat look that tells you, she is wondering if you are normal, obviously she doesn’t believe a word you have said. Remember the inward helpless sigh and then you gradually go quiet as you experience that sinking feeling of despair and you ask yourself, “why bother?”

The most difficult subject to discuss amongst parents and children is their sexuality. Both sides of the divide never really feel comfortable talking about sexuality. As parents we know everything and nothing. We speculate, are worried and mask our concern with threats, dire warnings, hold conversation in our head with the child and we are shocked when we know deep within us that we are anxious. There is a longing to have a dream child, who knows exactly what we want and like some automaton simply fits into place.

We seem to forget that we were not dream children to our parents and had given our own parents anxious moments too.

Most times children can’t bring themselves to discuss their sexuality issues with us, because they don’t want to be teases, punished, or judged  if they ask most of the questions that keeps them awake. Yes, just like you , children do want to know they have your goodwill . Children want to feel they are trusted. But how are they tomanage the peer pressure that they experience?

So how do we make effective communication between us and the child we love so much and had prayed for?

How do we know what to say, when we should say it?, correct misinformation, and even use the teachable moments?

Making effective communication is a requirement every parent should learn how to do always.

We will still continue on this subject next time.

Please send questions

Here are some of mine

How much will be too much?

Can we talk about this?

Am I making my child promiscuous if I mention the word sexuality?

Do I really know all the answers?

When is the right age to talk about sexuality?

How do I start?

Watch out for the next post

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Who is the adolescent?

Who is the adolescent really?
Have you ever felt real frustration talking to your child and she looks at you blankly for as long as you were ‘yakking’, then she sighs and asks you what is the next thing you want?
Both of you know at that moment that you have wasted each other’s time. There is a tiny sense of despondency within you for you know the message you want to pass is very vital but you just can’t seem to get it through her thick head right.?
Don’t give up, and assume that a demon may have possessed her or you ascribe the issues to a relative or the other.
Every parent at some level needs to be an effective parent and as much as it is instinctive for some, it is for the most part an art you need to acquire too. I know most parents really need to be communicative in teaching the child the different realities of life and you must teach it well before you assume you have done your best. It is not going to be enough to put your hands up in the air, give up and consign your child to the influences of others who really don’t care.
Why do you need to talk with your child anyway? How about considering these reasons?
• As a parent, you have the most influence over your child
• Your child trusts you
• Your child needs to know facts about its sexuality very early in its growing years, we hear cases of child abuse, young girls taken off and married off. We must learn what they should know, and it is now urgent
• Children particularly teenagers face a lot of peer pressure, it is not enough to just bark orders, you must learn to talk more, listen and guide.
• It is an opportunity to help the child build values, and ethics that will serve the child. If you have family values, this is the time to start passing it on.
• You must have the facts, not the myths always so that your child can trust the information you pass on.
• You will need to pass information in teachable and comfortable way, to allow your child understand that the information is in the child’s best interest. Don’t fall into the temptation of giving dire warnings and issuing threats. It does not work.
• Children are naturally inquisitive and will explore things, test your facts and your value system against what they read, pick up from the internet, learn to be one step ahead as much as you can.
• Your child need to know that you are always seeking for information that will be helpful for it and it creates trust if you are willing to tell your child that you will find out about a subject. Don’t act the ‘know it all’ parent.
• As a parent, you should be the first to educate your child about sexuality issues. Remove the mystery and simply be factual so the child builds self respect and personal value system
• Know your child, it is important to be aware of the child’s weaknesses, concerns and let the child know you trust the child to overcome these weaknesses and give your child the sensing that you know the strengths and highlight those strength often to the child.
• Negative media messages are threats to your child’s self esteem, counter these messages by always giving the correct facts. We all have different body shapes and a girl watching ultra slim celebrities will be under peer pressure. Explain to your child that the body evolves and there are different body shapes for different personalities.
Contrary to what we think sometimes, not all adolescents are on the make and getting through to them, discussing their bodies with them in a relaxed and easy manner helps them over their confusions and might also give you a handle on living with your child. It is not okay to give very dire warnings every time or threaten that you feel the child is going to come to grief one of these days. We should show faith, constant trust and be ‘available ‘ always.
On one last point, our shop will open soon and you might want to browse through to pick up a few things.
We will talk very soon and if you do like what you have read so far, why don’t you subscribe so we simply drop our next chat in your mail box and you can remain current.
Finally we will love to have your contributions and comment as well.
Remember, every parent was once a child.

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Does your child respect you

Honour thy father and Mother
“When you hear the words “Thou shalt honor thy Father and Mother” how do you read it as a parent?” I asked my friends this question early in the week and asked permission to use the replies of two of my friends to use as lead in for this topic.

Layi Ademokoya: Notwithstanding that God did not give condition for obedience of this command, a parent should live an honourable life that will encourage their children to obey the command. A man in an incestuous relationship with his daughter does not deserve that honour even if it is given on compliance with God’s command. Afterall, the holy scriptures in Ephesians 6:4 enjoins fathers ” And you fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the discipline and admonition of the Lord”.
Adebimpe Akindele: No, all elderly people ni o. Gbogbo awon to ba ju ni lo.(Translation, it applies to all elderly people anyone that is deemed as older) Even a times those who are anointed by God even though you may be older than them. There is need to always respect those younger to oneself because no one knows tomorrow, another reason is, respect begat respect. And the respect your parents law has a rider”that your day may be long”. It’s very important, because automatically it becomes a curse when one disrespect an elder and without the elder laying any curse.

So what do you think? Is that commandment actually meant for the children or the parents? Let’s look at a couple of situations.
A father who comes in drunk every night cannot be said to have done anything to honour the concept of fatherhood can he? How will a child honour a father who goes into rages every once in a while and has bad language to boot and belts everyone he can lay his hands on? Could we really ask the child to honour father in that regard?
My friend Adebimpe seems to sense that it meant really that we should honour the elderly. Would the elderly have honoured the age that they are as to make the children honour them?
Let me ask our mothers, how will a child honour mother if she is a slave to any type of fashion whether it suits her person or not? You know the kind of mother who seems to be perpetually competing with her daughter and is always wanting to wear the same clothes as her teenage daughter. The kind of mother who is willing to allow other men paw her skin while her daughter is around and notes it. What is there to honour in such a mother?, I ask.
There is no such thing as a perfect parent and we all know it but we do get guides from higher sources if only we listen.
That commandment is directed more at parents than the child. When we as parents in our activities create an environment of the high qualities we are endowed with we are likely to make children honour father and mother.The conditionality attached becomes possible because in seeing our parents as potential role models we learn how our days may be long
You might think I am preaching but if you give a few thoughts to the idea I am sharing with you, we might see how we are flouting that commandment. There are societies in the world that have evolved a healthy respect for their elderly citizens.

I have come across parents who have encouraged the demoralization of their children because they gave the excuse of being very poor. Poverty does not preclude us from decency. When a mother looks the other way as her daughter brings home all types of men and accepts gifts, from those men twice her daughter’s age. She has precluded herself from all honour and it will be hard to ask the child to honour motherhood .
What we really are looking at is our responsibilities as parents. Fatherhood brought to a level that inspires respect from the child and helps the child to see you as a role model and mentor guiding the child into maturity.
The same applies for motherhood, a womanly chaste nurturing, that ennobles all those who come into her orbit. The woman we have learned determines the spiritual outcome of a nation through her very nature. Let’s look at it this way and think about it.

The world is full of swindlers, thieves, reprobates, bad politicians or any manner of negative people, but they are children to some parents. Do you get my drift?
Where will you place your child? When next you hear the words or the command, “thou shalt honour Father and Mother” please think about it and ask how much of it have you given as a father or mother.
The Creator by whatever name we recognize Him, knows we came imperfect, and must thus make our weal or wealth as human beings. However, when we take on the responsibility to invite another human being into our circle of experiencing, we have the job to make it right. Every child that has come is the right child for us and we learn and grow by the passion and care we put into making ourselves the right parents
We can change the world only if we imbue our children with the right mores and ethics. If we make them look at the world through our lenses and if those lenses portray a decent world to the child.
It is easy to be despondent and cynical and ask ourselves that what is the point?
The point is we all are responsible for the mess the world is in right now because we are the parents.
Next time remember, “Thou shalt honour Father and Mother”. It is an order we should obey.
Chat soon