Bent children make broken adults

P.S. this is a sequel to the last post.

Child sexual abuse in Nigeria is an offence under several sections of chapter 21 of the country’s criminal code. The age of consent is 18. UNICEF reported in 2015 that one in four girls and one in ten boys in Nigeria had experienced sexual violence before the age of 18. According to a survey by Positive Action for Treatment Access, over 31.4 percent of girls there said that their first sexual encounter had been rape or forced sex of some kind. The Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development reported that 1,200 girls had been raped in 2012 in Rivers, a costal state in southwestern Nigeria. According to UNICEF, six out of ten children in Nigeria experience emotional, physical or sexual abuse before the age of 18, with half experiencing physical violence.

Their innocence is being taken away and nothing can give it back!

Conditions that increases the risk of girl-child sexual assault in Nigeria can be found in schools, baby factories and the practice of child labour. Studies conducted in Nigeria disclose that young girls are victims in majority of reported assault cases in hospitals. Why is this happening? Why isn’t there a childhood anymore? Why are kids deprived of the privilege to enjoy their stage but left broken not to fit into childhood nor adulthood? To terrify children with the image of hell, to consider women an inferior creation- is that good for the world?

Many abused children cling up to the hope that growing up will bring escape and freedom. But the personality formed in the environment of coercive control is not well adapted to adult life. The survivor is left with fundamental problems in basic trust, autonomy and initiative, she approaches the task of early adulthood-establishing independence and intimacy-burdened by major impairments in self-care, in cognition and in memory, in identity and in the capacity to form stable relationships. She is still a prisoner of her childhood; attempting to create a new life, she reencounters the trauma.

Abuse manipulates and twists a child’s natural sense of trust and love. Her innocent feelings are belittled or mocked and she learns to ignore her feelings. She can’t afford to feel the full range of feelings in her body while she’s being abused-pain, outrage, hate, vengeance, confusion, and arousal. So she short-circuits them and goes numb. For many children, any expression of feelings, even a single tear, is cause for more severe abuse. Again, the only recourse is to shut down. Feelings go underground.

Child abuse………the theft of freedom, enthusiasm, hope and care.

Betrayal is too kind a word to describe a situation in which a father says he loves his daughter but claims he must teach her about the horrors of the world in order to make her a stronger person; a situation in which he watches or participates in rituals that make her feel like she is going to die. She experiences pain that is so intense that she cannot think; her head spins so fast she can’t remember who she is or how she got there.

All she knows is pain. All she feels is desperation. She tries to cry out for help but soon learns that no one will listen. No matter how loud she cries, she can’t stop or change what is happening. No matter what she does, the pain will not stop. Her father orders her to be tortured and tells it is for her own good. He tells her that’s eh needs the discipline. Or that she has asked for it by her misbehavior. Betrayal is too simple word to describe the overwhelming pain, the overwhelming loneliness and isolation this child experiences.

As if the abuse during the abuse were not enough, this child experiences similar abuse at home on a daily basis. When she tries to talk about her pain, she is told that she must be crazy, “nothing bad has happened to you; ‘her family tells her. Each day she begins to feel more and more like she doesn’t know what is real. She stops trusting her own feelings because no one else acknowledges them or hears her agony. Soon the pain becomes too great. She learns not to feel at all. This strong, lonely, desperate child learns to give up the senses that make all people feel alive. She begins to feel dead. She wishes she were dead. For her there is no way out. She soon learns there is no hope.

As she grows older she gets stronger. She learns to do with she is told with the utmost compliance. She forgets everything she has ever wanted. The pain still lurks but it’s easier to pretend it’s not there than to acknowledge the horrors she has buried in the deeper parts of her mind. Her relationships are overwhelmed by the power of her emotions. Screams out for help, but never seems to find what she is looking, for the pain gets worse. The loneliness sets in. when the feelings sets in. when the feelings return, she is overcome with panic, pain and desperation. She is convinced she is going to dies. Yet, when she looks around her she sees nothing that should make her feel so bad. Deep inside she knows something is very wrong, but she doesn’t remember something.

She thinks, “Maybe I am crazy”

Is she crazy? Or is he crazy?


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