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Immanuel James: Addressing the Issue of the Rape of Little Nigerian Boys

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From a recent hint on Facebook about my rape as a child came two major revelations. First, many boys are being raped by trusted aunts and female guardians. The male-child left with adult females receives, at best, only occasional glances. Second, such casual supervision mostly ignores male relatives and guardians, letting closet homosexuals damage a lot of boys.

And a number of men often fall short of celebrating their own rape by said female violators. On that Facebook thread, many openly shared their stories, but only when their abusers were female. While sharing, some felt special to have been coveted at infancy by adult women, dismissing claims of victimhood as mere threatrics.

“I enjoyed it and wanted more. Again and again. Guys can’t now pretend like they didn’t enjoy it then!” said one commenter. His comment was greeted with several laughter emojis and celebratory GIFs.

Interactions on that thread showed the level of ignorance on rape. Many think rape has to be forceful to be so termed, otherwise it is consensual sex. A minor is legally incapable of giving consent, and sex between an adult and such a minor is called “statutory rape.”

Those abused by adult males confided in me in private messages. Homosexual child abuse meant psychological trauma and stigma, deemed unworthy of the victim pride accorded its heterosexual equivalent.

“When I was 6, my young uncle made me suck his manhood and swallow his cum for three years. He was fond of me and took care that I was happy. No one suspected him. His friend later got involved and I would suck him too. I was messed up!” said another of my private interlocutors.

To unravel why male rape is treated with levity, one can look to sociology. Men have held station as prime seekers and buyers of sex, with women portrayed as the kind party who merely come to help. Given such gender innocence, female abusers chuckle their way through the crime. The illusion of charity sex then converts offense to benefaction, with male victims grateful for the “alms”.

Others are totally indifferent and not grateful—which is no less unfortunate. For over 30 years, I lived with my own experience without any sense of aggravation, until I read that it might be responsible for certain attitudes to sex which I had developed. A publication of the American Psychological Association lists psychological disorders, depression, learning disorders, etc., as short and long-term effects of child sexual abuse. Other sources cite thumb-sucking, bed-wetting, and some sexual fetishes as also possible results. A far worse effect is children contracting STDs.

My abusers, our neighbor’s teenage daughters, loved me enough to earn Mum’s trust, pampering me and taking me wherever they went. Because my school was close to theirs, they helped Mum drop me off on their way. We would return home together in the afternoons, and I would stay in their house awaiting Mum to return from her business. It was a convenient benevolence that helped her devote time to livelihood and other domestic pursuits.

The older of the sisters, probably 18, loved bathing me. Her sponge would wander all over my body to settle on my penis, stroking it till it stood. She would take me into the house where her sister was often waiting naked. They would make me suck their breasts and have sex with them, giggling while at it. I never forgot the feral scents of sweat and sex that rent the air. For over three years they kept at it. I was 5.

At 7, another of my several inbox confidants was made to perform oral sex on a family friend, a 20-year-old male who also was fond of him. He grew on it and “came to like it”, such that, when his abuser left him, he was miserable. He is gay and treats the ordeal with a mix of irritation and acceptance.

Yet some men on that thread confessed irritation and depression, bemoaning the lack of advocacy to protect the male child from rape. A friend who works in a radio station raised the conversation on air, and an NGO initiated a campaign. Some volunteers created support and intervention groups on social media. More victims came forward and soon a symposium that didn’t finally happen was in the works. The momentum quietly went away.

In a highly capitalist era where parents are too busy to keep a tab on kids, the incidence of statutory rape has been rising. Most cases are unreported, especially with boys who, erroneously, are hardly considered vulnerable. And with the occasional vigilance on boys beamed on likely female violators, male predators find convenience, more so given society’s denial of homosexuality.

As usual, Africa is leading the global chart of sexual abuse on children, recording a prevalence rate of 20.2% for girls and 19.3% for boys in a 2011 survey. Its prevalence gap between boys and girls is the closest in the world, where regions like US/Canada recorded 20.1% for girls and 8% for boys in same study. A gap of 20.2% for girls and 19.3% for boys shows that both sexes deserve about the same measure of parental vigilance. As crises in many parts of the continent in the past years worsen the risk factors, the figures may have tipped over.

While a few official reports abound on girl-child sexual abuse in Nigeria, such are lacking on boys. The closest report, first of its kind in West Africa, was conducted in 2015 by UNICEF, in collaboration with the National Population Commission, focusing rather comprehensively on “violence against children”. Its incidental finding notes that “one in four girls and one in ten boys experience sexual violence.” Yet, silence and secrecy undermine reliance on statistics.

All the same, concern should be raised for parents to watch their boys, if only to shield them from STDs and psychological problems. In protecting our girls from rape and other forms of sexual abuse, we should also save the boys who may become the men in their lives tomorrow. UNICEF reports that sexually abused children are “significantly more likely to perpetrate intimate partner violence.”

Photo Credit: © Riccardo Lennart Niels Mayer | Dreamstime

24 Comments

  1. Loki

    November 27, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    Well, your first concern should be that under Nigerian law, a male CAN’T be raped-statutorily or otherwise. Rape, defilement and all related offences only apply to women. At best, maybe a male can make a case for sexual assault but even that is uncertain.
    Add that to the male tendency to keep mum and never admit such things as it detracts from their perceived masculinity; multiply that by the tendency for guys to see it as then we have a problem that will be very difficult to solve.
    Let’s change the law and then maybe society will follow…

    • Engoz

      November 27, 2017 at 8:27 pm

      You are correct. Even the West has this problem. The argument is that since the woman does not have a penetrative tool she can’t rape. it’s ridiculous. The definition of rape needs to go beyond male penetration legally. If the sex is non consensual, it’s rape. Personally, Even if it’s consensual and the person is underage, it’s pedophilia and rape in my books.

    • peyton

      November 27, 2017 at 8:59 pm

      It is not just in Nigeria. In the UK rape is defined along the lines of penetrative sex and the penis. even under the definition of rape for men. That has to change as well as the notion that penetrative sex is the only determinant for rape

  2. Loki

    November 27, 2017 at 3:09 pm

    *Tendency for some boys to see sexual activity at an early age with women thrice their age as an achievement more than the rape that it is,

  3. Deleke

    November 27, 2017 at 3:38 pm

    This is a very serious issue and I am pretty sure it is so common that many guys keep shut about it because of how guys are wired by the society and maybe because of confusion

    God save us from these aunties and housegirls and next door neighbours man.

    Happened to me when I was about 8, my 2 aunts (Mom’s younger sisters o) would make me finger them.

    Then when I was 10, every Saturday when folks have gone for their usual Saturday parties, housegirl will take me to her room, make me suck her boobs and finger her. She would even try to arouse me but would get angry when I no rise. I was 10 for fucks sake.

    Couldn’t even tell no one, it made no sense to me. Was only able to tell my girlfriend (now wife) about it. She is the only person on earth who knows.

    It is well sha

    • Mrs chidukane

      November 27, 2017 at 4:15 pm

      Oh God, stories like this make me sad. Even house girls abuse female kids. Most of them have been abused themselves and have turned abusers. This makes me want to watch my kids 24/7. Is it even possible to prevent this cos you could be at home and this will be going on in another room? I shudder to think of anyone abusing my kids sexually, Its horrible.

  4. Mama

    November 27, 2017 at 4:12 pm

    This is very sickening. How anyone can conceive the idea to sexually molest a minor still baffles me. Is it that they think these children will grow up and develop selective amnesia? I wish your story ended with people actually calling out the names of those so called aunties and uncles. Dead or alive, they need to be named and shamed in their old age otherwise it would seem they have been exonerated by their victims silence.

    Parents also really need to be perceptive and put checks in place for detecting foul play. It seems no one can be trusted around children anymore. This makes me really paranoid.

  5. Bennie

    November 27, 2017 at 4:19 pm

    This is so sad as well as scary, God help us o

  6. Jummy

    November 27, 2017 at 4:51 pm

    Hmmm. This article is so true. We focus so much on the girl child that we often, though unconsciously ignore our boys.

    My mum confided in me about my two cousins who were also abused by their neighbours when they were boys. She doesn’t know if it every happened to my brothers and she doesn’t know how to ask.

    I was very lucky. I am the only girl and for most of my life hung about males. Whether it’s my uncles, my brother’s friends or visitors in general. But I never experienced abuse, at least not that I’m aware of.

    This just makes me wanna clutch my unborn children tight and be more vigilant. God help us.

    • anon

      November 27, 2017 at 5:56 pm

      Nothing wrong with focusing on the girl child when she’s modern likely to be the victim. Up to 85% of the time, men are abused by other men so. We can fully discuss Male abuse without bringing up or demeaning female abuse which is very much rampant and a very important topic as well. Thanks

  7. Oluchi

    November 27, 2017 at 5:13 pm

    This is very sad indeed. No child deserves to be abused, male or female.

  8. Lailatu

    November 27, 2017 at 6:43 pm

    This is really depressing. We are not giving pedophilia the attention it needs. Most times when the perpetrators are caught, they beg and cry, then they are let go to move on to the next victim. Me I’m castrating any man that tries that with my child.

  9. OA

    November 27, 2017 at 6:45 pm

    I am telling you oh. I get so scared with my siblings’ children. I am like no! They are not going to any sleepovers, etc. Even the parents go dey look me say, “ahn-ahn, which one be your own na?!” When it comes to issues like this, trust no one.

  10. Didi

    November 27, 2017 at 7:19 pm

    As archaic as this will sound, the well-being of my future kids is much more important than any career advancement. I think I will opt to be a home-maker/housewife until all my children are teenagers. Entrusting them to daycares, househelps or relatives is a fool’s gamble.

    This is not a guarantee against abuse (predators can be found in neighbours, teachers and playmates) but it seems to be the best option.

    Also being 100% open with kids helps a lot! Provide a safe space so that they feel comfortable disclosing this sort of thing to you. Many Nigerian parents have this annoying habit of making sex and talk of sex taboos and this feeds our culture of silence. We need to stop this!

    Also, it’s ironic how Blacks like to create this image of Caucasians being deviants when going by the reported statistics above Africans are much more given to abnormal sexual behavior. African women in particular are many times more predatory than women in other countries. Kai!

    Omo we need to clean house seriously.

  11. Engoz

    November 27, 2017 at 7:35 pm

    Many Nigerian men were raped as kids by their older housemaids Their first sexual experiences were with housemaids. They even boast about these sexual experiences with their peers. They typically refrain from calling it rape and think of it as a feather on their cap. Oh boy, you were raped. Nigerian parents are oblivious to this. As a parent we all need to be extra extra watchful with our kids.

  12. Ephi

    November 27, 2017 at 8:36 pm

    In this day and age, Nigeria does not have a sex offenders register, how on earth will these vile human beings be put in check? Our laws are weak and even the existing ones are not implemented. Where do we start from?

    On the part of parents, early sex education is key, as well as building a very good relationship with your kids such that they trust you enough to tell you stuff like this. I feel sad for all those who have been victims of this violation. No child should have to face such a thing.

    • wifematerial

      November 28, 2017 at 12:30 am

      sex offender register ke!!!!!!!!!! do you even know the meaning of sex offender register…??????????? where is our database first………….. am so sad now…………………bad memories keeps coming in.its well..

  13. kk...

    November 28, 2017 at 12:56 am

    I am looking for a full time house wife…..

    • Uchechi Opara

      November 28, 2017 at 9:04 am

      hmmm you think you can shoulder all the family responsibilities alone? we just need to commit our children into God’s hands and be watchful.. Even when the parents are around, these evil doers/rapists still find ways to carry out their dirty deeds. May God help us all.

    • Loki

      November 28, 2017 at 10:24 am

      I don’t understand. You want to buy one?

    • Ajala & Foodie

      November 28, 2017 at 2:42 pm

      @ Uchechi Opara, I am guessing you made it back to your home base already. Sad we were not able to catch up while you were here.

      N.B: I hope this is the right Uchechi Opara I know. I know you don’t usually use you name on here, if this is another Uchechi O. I apologize and please do ignore this message.

  14. Ajala & Foodie

    November 28, 2017 at 2:36 pm

    A male cousin of mine recently confided in my sister about how he was molested by their house help (for years) and some of his female older cousins. He however does not view it as molestation more as his introduction to all things sex at an early age. The interesting thing is my Aunt (his mum) is very “curious” when it comes to things of irrelevance but totally clueless about the important stuff like this. None of my cousins siblings (5 of them) or his parents are aware of this. For some reason though he has decided to make myself and my sister his confidants. We worry for him a lot but we try not to judge him. On the outside looking in, he has the perfect life, highly successful exec in the banking industry in the U.K, nice home, nice car, family man with 2 kids, some will even consider him a home body not realizing his choice to stay home is to hide his many issues. Issues that not even his wife is privy to (and no, he is not a closet homosexual or paedophile). Issues he has only told my sis and I about but after this recent “confession”. I am beginning to worry that it might be time to let other family members know what is going on as I strongly believe many (If not all) of his problems stem from this abuse. I worry that one day he may snap and many are left wondering why, with only my sis and I not being surprised and family members asking why we never said anything. My sis is justifiably worried that he may hate us and just clam up. We know he keeps confiding in us because we don’t judge him and none of the things he has told us has made it back to family. He however needs help and neither my sis and I can help this dude.

    • Girl

      November 29, 2017 at 11:36 am

      You don’t need to tell your family members. Have you ever told him that he needs help? He’s in the Uk and there are more therapists there than here in Nigeria, you and your sister need to convince him to seek professional help. Nobody else in the family needs to know, you can even find a good therapy services on your own and then get him to go. You have already earned his trust so you’re in a better position to have him understand where he currently is, the behaviours you have detected and linked to the abuse, and the need to speak to someone, especially someone that can help him resolve it. Please try

  15. seriously

    November 28, 2017 at 9:12 pm

    About time we raise awareness about problems, issues that men face. Men are supposed to be all macho, strong and sexual being according to society.But they are human beings with feelings first. If a young boy gets introduced to sex early, it’s applauded. I believe the neglect of these issues is one of the contributing factors of the problems we see regarding men. From promiscuity, cheating, domestic violence, entitlement etc
    No, it’s not okay for an aunty to initiate sucking her boobs and fingering her at such a young innocent age. Men are victims of molestation, rape and sodomy. I’ve heard too many stories of older brothers, uncles, who molested young boys.
    Nigerians, stop hiding these deep rooted problems, let’s address them.

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