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Martha Martins: Dismantling the Culture of Shame

Guess what? School teachers are also ashamed to talk about it, they find the most “appropriate way” to teach sex education. They dodge questions that they are being asked because they are ashamed.

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Can we just move past this ignorance called protecting one’s image or protecting the family name from the criticism of the society to facing the issues that affect us daily as individuals and society? Can we talk about sex? Can we talk about molestation? Can we talk about sexual abuse without feeling awkward or ashamed?

Growing up in a family where almost everyone is in the military and paramilitary, the issue of child molestation is not a new thing to me. It is almost like an everyday thing, I have seen family members work on cases of children who are so under-aged and were not even up to 10 years of age being abused by guidance, neighbours and people their parents trust. This is especially so in the rural communities where most of them are not educated. Even the educated ones are still going about with this mindset.

The sad part about it is that most of the time, these cases are settled with “ I beg” or “I would not want people to be looking at my child or my family in some type of way”. These cases do not even see the light of day because the families are too ashamed to take have their names in the news and in the society.

I do have a question though: have we ever stopped to think about the effect of this evil act on the victims? How we let pedophiles go scot-free because we are “ashamed”? Why do we let our children fall victim to what they should not because we are ashamed? Why do we make our children so scared that they cannot ask us questions about what we were so ashamed to tell them in the first place?

Come to think of it, we are ashamed of everything! We are ashamed of talking to our children about sex. We are ashamed of educating them on their body parts and the boundaries that come with them. Oh! Guess what? School teachers are also ashamed to talk about it. They find the most “appropriate” way to teach sex education. They dodge questions that they are being asked because they are ashamed.

We live in an age where children know a lot than adults and if they are not properly guided, they will go about believe the lies that molesters tell them, or practicing what they should – not out of curiosity.

Towards the end of last year, there was another case of child molestation. A young girl was held hostage from evening to morning of the next and molested by a kiosk owner after she was sent to buy something.

I was heartbroken to find out that the culprit was released after three days because his brother was begging a lot. They released him and told him to leave that community. In my mind, I wondered if that was enough? .The paedophile is going to leave that community for a while and settle in another. Maybe he decides to be sober for a few months…then he resumes his evil act again. Then someone’s daughter or son’s life is ruined again.

Even though I cannot seem to wrap my head around what that means or how that relates, I do know that people’s lives are going to keep getting ruined until we face this issues head o! From educating our children about sex and boundaries to making sure that the children do live their lives knowing that the person who tried to ruin it is out there living their best lives and hurting more people

If education is power then sex education is a powerful fighter! No dey shame o…

My name is Martha Martins, I am a writer driven by a passion to tell the stories of the every day human struggle. I overcame low-self-esteem by expressing my thoughts in writing. Here is a link to my blog: www.deespeakable.com.ng

9 Comments

  1. Sherri

    February 18, 2020 at 5:30 pm

    This piece is poorly written!
    especially on a very important topic as this!!

    1
    • Chad

      February 19, 2020 at 2:00 pm

      Awesome stuff!!!❤️

      2
  2. Chad

    February 19, 2020 at 2:04 pm

    @Sherry… Why don’t you write yours so we can read… Since you know a poorly written essay!

    1
  3. Olivia

    February 19, 2020 at 2:11 pm

    Sexual harassment, molestation and violence in general already has a grave punishment that has been enacted into our law, nobody will be punished if nobody’s voice is heard. We also need to sensitized people on this issues we can’t stop talking about it, we should keep talking until the chain of fear and shame is broken. Thank u Martha Martin’s.

    2
  4. Orby

    February 19, 2020 at 3:14 pm

    These criminals keep believing that once they beg, pretend to be repentant or have people on their sides, they would be able to escape the consequences of their actions which is sad. Sensitisation would go a long way in making people open up about they have been through. These cases don’t just occur at a time but over a period of time with certain occurrences which if the child is able to expose would go a long way in preventing them from being victims. Thank you so much Martha Martins for this wonderful piece, giving a clear illustration of what we face in this aspect of living.

  5. Peace

    February 19, 2020 at 3:30 pm

    Nice one Martha Martins, this is a real problem and am glad a youth is talking about it, we are here for it. This is an awakening call.

  6. Tolu Adebomi

    February 19, 2020 at 3:50 pm

    If education is power, then sex education is a powerful fighter! Great piece Martha Martins!

  7. Gloria

    February 19, 2020 at 7:10 pm

    Thank you for this timely piece Martha Martins.

    I feel like we aren’t talking about these issues as much as we should. Often times,what a parent fails to teach a child in the house, the world graciously teaches that child.

    The earlier we understand that certain issues need to be confronted head-on without sentiments, the better for us all. And while it is true that the punishment for molestation does not fit the crime, people need to be better sensitized on the need to speak up inorder to greatly discourage this particular act.

  8. Fiona

    February 19, 2020 at 8:59 pm

    Great job. You go girl! ??

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