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Sexual abuse of children

We are continuing with our series on sexual violence as we chat about sexual abuse of children.
Do you watch the news? Remember the doctor who by the last count had sexually assaulted more than two hundred young people from as young as six. These children were under his charge as gymnastic doctor
What did you feel? when an enraged distraught father made a lunge for him. Okay, he was sentenced to more than a hundred years, but what about the damage to the children? These stories come to us almost daily.

You hear of children sexually abused, and do you sigh or just change the channel so you could watch a less disturbing story. How much have we lost that which makes us human even as we rush to our concept of civilization? We all talk about the freedom to express, freedom to be whatever sexual deviant we fancy.

Excuse me while I breathe the foul air of what our freedoms have done to our essential humanity. I am not an activist screaming equality for one vice or the other.
Let us take a look around and ask ourselves what type of world do we really truly live in, and what type of humans are now being incarnated into the world.
I am not interested in changing the world order, but I ask questions and I wonder. Let us read about Folake and her story.

‘I always wanted to be a doctor, not because it was the usual thing girls of my age expressed while in primary or secondary school. There was even a song that children sang and we would shake our waists in the moonlight as we all told our listeners our future ambitions. Even when I got admitted into the secondary school, I was clear about wanting to be not just a doctor but a cardiologist. I faced my studies really seriously and maintained an academic level that encouraged my parents that I really wanted more education.
Disaster struck in my third year in secondary school when Mr. Galadima came in as the Physics teacher. I was a science student and actually loved the subjects. I had maintained pretty good grades and maybe that was what got the unwelcome attention of my Physics teacher. My hand would shoot up every time in class, so he took notice. I didn’t understand the looks he would shoot my way until one evening at prep when he sent for me.

I innocently responded to his invitation that he wanted me to get him something from the physics lab. I got there and kept searching for what he had asked me until a pair of hands grabbed me from behind and spun me into his arms with such force that I almost screamed in fright. He covered my mouth with his hands and held me tightly. I was terrified. Mr. Galadima tried to calm me down by running his fingers all over me and kept saying I should calm down. He kept apologizing and said he had asked me to come to the lab because he wanted to talk to me in private.He said he had fallen in love with me I was an unformed 14-year-old.

I was tense in those masculine circle he had made with his hands and I felt my heart was going to jump right out of my body. It was beating so loudly. He kept pinching my breasts as I squirmed to get out of his reach. Then he begged me to kiss him. I had never been kissed so I gave a horrified no and tried to fight free. There was thus a silent struggle as I tried to duck from under his arms. He smelt awful and had bad breath as he roamed his face all over me. I was by now sobbing and doing everything I could to be free. I was scared that he was going to do something awful. Mercifully I heard the principal asking who was in the physics labaQuick as lightning, he pushed me under the table with a fierce whisper for me to stay still as he raised his voice , telling the principal that he had come to pick his lesson notes. He stepped out and went on the inspection with the principal.
I crept out and ran to the hostel, fetched water and scrubbed away at my painful unformed breasts. I did not go to my physics class the next day, and from then on failed my physics test. I lived in silent terror of being touched by a man because I always felt dirty.

Years later when almost forty I married. Of course, I never became a doctor as I moved away from science subjects. My principal would look at me and sigh. He would ask me if there was anything that bothered me. He used to say I was one of his brightest students. Each time I tried to say something, I would remember mum saying in real bitterness ‘Never put your trust in man, there are more like pigs’ she always ended the sentence with distaste.
I am four times divorced woman now. Gave up on the idea, my second husband did all he could to stop me cringing each time he touched me.
I never liked physics again and I keep wondering what I will do if I ever set my eyes on Mr. Galadima.

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Thank you, Grandma


I read the book SURVIVED THE JOURNEY by Memuna Barnes. It is a story of survival. A story that can inspire our young persons today. Captured and held by rebels, this remarkable young woman walked through the emotional mines of her teenage emotions of infatuation, confusion and was able to hold close to her heart and head lessons she had learned from a grandparent which helped her retain a sense of herself. When we started this blog, I wanted to have her share with us. She is African and comes from the value systems we hold dear, how mush of these values was impacted to her became evident when she was captured as a teenager. I feel that we could learn as parents the benefit of her impressions and how the relationship she enjoyed with her grandma became a source of inspiration during those terrifying times with the rebels.

Please meet Memuna Barnes Author of SURVIVED: The Journey.
Growing up, I lived with my paternal grandmother for a period of my childhood and whenever anyone of her grandchildren were treated unfairly and went running to her in tears or if she found one of us in a corner in tears she would sit beside that child and say, ‘Nothing lasts forever…..if life which is created by God inevitably ends, then there is nothing that can be inflicted on you that will last forever.’
This is one of my favourite of my paternal grandmother’s sayings. She used these sayings in raising her us with unbreakable emotional strength.
This saying of hers along with a prayer – Psalm 23, taught to me by my parents were instrumental in keeping me sane when myself, one of my younger sisters and two female cousins were taken from our family by the rebels of the Revolutionary United Front in Sierra Leone and held captive for almost two years.
I have always been an outspoken individual, although in my teens this aspect of my personality was not always encouraged from my family – as in most African settings.
I was born in Liberia and so my parents along with one of my younger sisters and I lived in Liberia. We lived there till the civil war broke out in 1989, where I witnessed the atrocities humans are capable of inflicting on others humans on the more vulnerable side of life in the absence of law and order. A year later we were able to leave on the Sierra Leone army ship to my father’s side of the family, as he is Sierra Leonean and Sierra Leone was at peace at the time.
For some unexplained reason I would not curb this, I spoke my mind almost always during the my time in captivity. I was brave enough to tell the rebel commanding officers who showed sexual interest in me that I wasn’t old enough. As this was some of the advice my grandma gave me. That a girl must be past her teens before she can be sexually active or it would affect her fertility.
Most importantly, however, I always remembered where I was taken from (my upbringing) in order to keep my mind on where I want to go in life.
Another one of my granny’s advice.
So what do you think?
Let’s have your comments please.