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Frances Okoro: Start Calling Out Adults Who Sexually Abuse Children



Frances OkoroI was on holiday after writing my J.S 3 exams when I met brother Desmond again. I met him at the market where my dad sent me to buy some things. He had a shop where he sold baby things or so.

It felt great to meet him again; we had moved from the house where we used to live on the same street. He was a handsome man to my eyes then; you know how young girls used to just look at people bigger than themselves and analyse them, that was the way it was for me then.

Brother Desmond always seemed like a well put together guy and I remember we used to watch movies at their house even though my mom forbade us to do so… ah, those days of disobedience and getting a flogging afterwards.

Anyway, here was Brother Desmond again after more than 4 years and he asked me all the usual questions as I sat in his shop. “How are you?” “Where are you now?” “How are your mom and dad?”

I answered all the questions, and then suddenly he started telling me that his sales girl was jealous because he was sitting with me. I wondered why, with my naive brain. Then, I think he said we should go to the inner room of the shop. I cannot remember clearly, because I tend to bury memories, but I do remember the feel of his lips crushing mine inside the shop. I remember being so afraid. I had no idea what just happened. I was paralyzed for a bit, then I found my voice, made excuses and said I needed to go home. I ran out of there like a flash.

I later saw him again at the market, but when he called my name, I walked faster and melted into the crowd.

I never told anyone about that incident; even though I didn’t know where it was leading, something in it just didn’t feel right. My heart was practically in my throat during those few moments when he kissed me. I didn’t shout; I didn’t know if I should have.

I had another forceful sexual experience when I was in the University, but that was a bit different from Brother Desmond’s own. I was a child when Brother Desmond did what he did; and granted I had fully formed boobs, I know he must have had an idea of how old I was. After all, when we were living close to them, I was maybe 7/8 with dry chest.

I have tried to wonder about men (and women) like Brother Desmond. What exactly is it in a child that gives them the thrills?

I know a boy then, who when asked about a particular aunty would say “she did something to me, I won’t tell anybody sha”.

I never understood what it was till I was older and it was confirmed that it was sexual abuse. With his child brain then, he couldn’t understand what it was. Worse, she probably told him they were doing something good, which was why he could say “she did something to me but I won’t tell you”. Almost as though they were doing something great that he didn’t want anyone to be privy to.

I met another man who was abused when he was little and consequently he grew to have a dysfunctional relationship with sex. Even after becoming born again, he constantly struggled with sleeping with different women.

I met yet another amazing friend who was abused when she was 8.
For crying out loud.

And these things didn’t start with the advent of modernity; when some persons in their fifties tell their stories, you will realize that the perversion that exists in some hearts with regards to children didn’t start today.

What can we do to stop this epidemic?

What can be done collectively by society and individually by parents?

What can we even say when some parents are the ones who perpetuate this act against their own children?

What do we say when society feeds the sexual perversion in men and women? Men are told to “not let a girl go like that if she comes to visit you oh” and women are told to “express their sexuality, you can also have and sleep with whoever you want, it is no longer just a man’s world”.

I wonder if expressing sexuality by being promiscuous or sleeping with anyone you fancy is proof of how powerful you are. What these notions serve to do is to further widen the circle of what is and isn’t allowed sexually and now we have people who love to be sexually intimate with children and give valid reasons for their stand.

What do we do?
What is the solution?

I cannot give one specific solution, but with this article I would love to speak to parents; African parents especially.

Too many parents have an authoritarian relationship with their kids. The child is not allowed to relate with the father and mother as friends. The poor kid keeps looking for love in different places and when hurt, cannot even tell mommy and daddy because mommy and daddy are too busy with other things to bother about them.

There is nothing wrong with cultivating a friendship with your child.

Some African parents raise up children with an unspoken clause – unspoken but it’s there anyway.

The clause is “when you do good we are behind you but if you ever do anything bad, we will wash our hands off of you”-
Unconditional love that makes the child shy away from daddy and mommy when he feels like he has failed.

There are all sorts of reasons that will make a child blame himself if he is abused and when that sets in, he would feel reticent about telling daddy because daddy may never love him again.

God has made children to crave approval from their parents, especially the father.

A child draws something at school and cannot wait to show his dad at home. He wants to hear “well done”. This power God has given to parents have not truly been understood and wielded to the benefit of the child.

If parents would draw their kids closer; if they would ditch the authoritarian mentality that has been passed down from generation, perhaps children would be able to become friends with their parents, enough to tell them anything, including child abuse.

Are you a parent right now? Do you know if you are simply reliving how you were brought up under a dictatorial home with your own child?

What can you do to bridge the gap between you and your child today?

Have you been abused before? Have you found healing? Please share with us on how you worked past the pain.

To former child abusers: I know that we have most of you who are sorry. The kind of life I have lived makes me unable to condemn anyone. If you have ever abused anyone sexually in the past.. if you are now a changed man/woman… I know society tends to crucify you, but today I pray you open your heart to receive forgiveness from the Lord for your past sins.
God loves you and I believe that there just maybe a way you can help tone down the menace of child abuse with your experience.

If you ever find a way to do this; please don’t hide under condemnation. You can help other people, who trapped in this epidemic, find healing.

Hephzibah Frances is a Lawyer and author currently based in Lagos Nigeria. She is an author of more than 15 books including the best-selling book “Prayers for your future husband”. She is a Voice for the Lord. She proclaims God to the Nations through her songs, books, podcasts, talk-shows, movies and the new media. Carrying God’s word to her generation on the wings of the wind. She is the founder of two women ministries, The Women At The Well and The Deborah Generation She is also the founder of Awakening Youthful Seeds For Christ Initiative a Non-Governmental Organisation focused on raising purposeful youths. She runs a business to help authors and aspiring authors BIRTH THEIR BOOK DREAMS at Beautiful Feet Publishing - Email: [email protected] for help with all things publishing and marketing your books. ***** KEEP IN TOUCH: Email her at [email protected] Follow Her On Social Media: On Facebook: HephzibahFrances On twitter @Hephzibahfran/ On instagram @hephzibahfrances Listen to her Podcasts At: Podcasts By Hephzibah Frances Watch her videos on her YouTube Channel at - Hephzibah Frances Read her blog at Download FREE eBooks written by her from here


  1. Akara Pancake

    June 7, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    Child abuse has been an issue for years in our country, sadly. I remember growing up in the 80s, when it was common to see girls of pre-teen age hawking produce like groundnuts or orange from street to street.

    Some of these girls would be propositioned by male customers with the sly and creepy lines such as these:

    – I go buy these ya gra-nut, but I no take any. How far na?
    – This your orange done dey big o (*as the perv is sizing up the seller’s chest areas*)
    – Oya drop this your tray jare. Come inside house, make we go jiggy jiggy

    Some of these young female sellers were barely 11, 12 or 13 at most!!!
    Crimes like that should come with a death sentence or something!

    I remember once grabbing a pounded yam pestle and going in search of a neighbour who had cat-called my 14 year old baby sister, as she was walking home. The idiot neighbour denied the act, but I gave him a stern warning. Armpit!

  2. Weezy

    June 7, 2017 at 3:09 pm

    Frances, you’re making a big mistake to link paedophilia with sexual promiscuity!.

    Please understand, pedophilia is a psychiatric disorder in which adults are attracted to little children and they groom and carry out violence towards children (this is why in civilized countries ANY sex with a child is rape, it doesn’t matter if the adult claims the child was begging for it). It has nothing to do with the sexual behavior between two consenting adults. Pedophilia is a CRIME in every country. If a man or woman is going after an 8 year old that person is an abuser and a danger to society.

    I’m quite disappointed to see someone with your level of education would not investigate the cause of the problem you are pointing out. Sex between consenting adults (male or female) has no link whatsoever to child abuse. A woman who loves sex with several guys doesn’t just think “hmm let me try children”.

    • slice

      June 7, 2017 at 5:21 pm

      That’s rubbish. Your point is entirely the sane. She called it sex abuse. You called it paedophilia. There’s no difference. Your term is just more specific. Children are not only abused by adults. Sometimes the abuse is from fellow children that are just a little bit more grown.

    • Ajala & Foodie

      June 7, 2017 at 5:44 pm

      @ Weezy, I was at a discussion sometime last year, where sexual psychology disorders was the topic, Disorders such as pedophilia, exhibitionistic disorder, fetishistic disorder and many others were discussed. The truth is many of these disorders as classified by DSM 5 may be classified act of promiscuity, which is by some definition, just a term for immorality, or licentious. With this definition in mind I can see why the author might link promiscuity with pedophilia. My guess however, is that the definition you are going by is the one of being indiscriminate about one’s sexual partners, but I hope you can see that while your definitions may be different, you can see where she is coming from (I.e her link) and understand you are both on the same side of the fence.

  3. Weezy

    June 7, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    I apologise if my tone is harsh. It is good that you speak out about these things. The stuff about promiscuity though doesn’t fit.

    • Ada L

      June 7, 2017 at 4:47 pm

      Your tone is fine to me. Thanks so much for shedding more light, and educating those who do not quite understand it. I hate Child Sexual Abuse. God bless.

  4. FifiLa

    June 7, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    Our culture of not addressing abuse and victim blaming makes it conducive for these men and women to abuse others.
    As a resut, a toxic cycle is what we’re faced with. Abuser survivors can’t speak out for fear of reprisal and shame. Its never the perpetrators that have shame.
    The high levels of sexual abuse in African homes is sickening. Almost everyone has experienced some sort of abuse

  5. Ajala & Foodie

    June 7, 2017 at 6:17 pm

    On the other hand, to the topic, this discussion I was involved in which by the way was headed by a trained and licensed psychologist. The the question came up (more like a major fallout), when one of the ladies in the group made a point that just like heterosexuals, homosexuals, and people with odd fetishes who are unable to dictate their sexual preferences, many pedophiles are unable to also dictate their preferences. Her point: What you like is what you like. So pedophiles should be pitied not criminalized . Well, not so surprising a lady that had been molested has a child was present and became physically upset. Our moderator had to step in. The truth is this is an argument that is popular today, mind you, all of the participants were of mixed race, creed, religion,sexual orientation and everything in between. The individual that made the “I was born this way argument” was full blooded, blue eyed, blond hair, Caucasian. So, No, this issue/argument is not a “Nigerian” thing.

    On that day, I came to the realization that as a culture, we may sweep things under the carpet but that is no better than those that boldly fight for acceptability in other societies for such heinous acts.

    The truth was “shoved in my face” when the moderator said something that scared me, she said that laws are constantly changing because people are constantly evolving, now evolving may be good or bad. At the end of the day, the law is a reflection of the people, I.e what is considered acceptable or not by the general public. So with people making arguments like “I was born this way” , which she is said is more common than we think, she said there could come a generation where society may come to embrace things such as pedophilia and beastility as a sexual preferences instead of it being considered an abnormality. Isn’t that just totally disturbing??? Thankfully, I have never been molested

  6. Letty

    June 7, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    Pedophilia is literally and technically the most hideous and vilest forms of abuse. Preying on the most vulnerable amongst us is most unconscionable. It cannot and should not be rationalized. It speaks to the ugliest of sub human traits. Here in America pedophiles have to be isolated in prisons because even hardened criminals and murderers consider them to be pure scum. Studies have shown that they cannot be rehabilitated. They should be thrown into jail and the keys tossed away.

  7. I Laff in Swahili

    June 8, 2017 at 5:28 am

    Your second to the last paragraph left me a tad uncomfortable. It’s what we always do as Christians. You offend someone and conveniently forget to seek the offended party’s forgiveness. Just ask forgiveness fronm God shikena!

    In my opinion, most Nigerian men and women who sleep with underage children are not suffering any disease at all. They do it for trips, cheaper/free access to sex and MEANESS!!!

    i have always wanted to set up a website that former abused people will write under the picture of a child abuser how and when he or she did what he did to them.

    People know when they are hurting you so why should they hide under the guise of religion and say they had no idea what they were doing was wrong.


  8. josdaily

    June 8, 2017 at 6:20 pm

    Thank you for sharing. It is a very common problem and my pet peeve. I was lucky, very lucky. I could have been a victim but for God’s Grace and some qualities he gave me ( I was skinny and was thought to have a loud muth), so predators were never really sure I was not going to rat them out.
    One found out, I was 13/14, staying in his house during a census, a dean of student affairs of a large old university and my dads ‘.friend’. To cut a long story short, he cam groping me while I was sleeping, I woke, had the presence of mind to slide under the bed and held on to the springs for dear life (about 4 hours) till everyone came home.

    I went to town on him and his sicko ways, till people were pleading I should shut up
    His wife even stopped talking to my mum for a while.

    What if he was successful, I could hae ended up pregnant and completely damaged. Praise be to God.

    All perverts should be ratted out

  9. Abominable snow girl

    June 8, 2017 at 10:56 pm

    What you feed your mind on influences your mindset and gradually transforms you into what you never thought you could be.
    Perversion has taken a hold of our society and previously unacceptable things are now being adopted.
    Pornography in the form of films and music videos are freely accessible even for children.
    The bible says the heart of man is desperately wicked…. so if we don’t realize our collective faults in these, it just might be too late.
    We must censor what we watch, children must be thought to speak out once approached inappropriately. Parents must ensure they try to not leave loopholes. Why should kids be left in school till so late in the hands of total strangers……. enough said. ?

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