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Author Name: Debbie Ogunjobi
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Under the Sun
Author: Debbie Ogunjobi | September 24, 2010



There is nothing new under the sun, somewhere back in the past someone has gone through similar situations to what we find ourselves confronting in the present. It's the same play being re-enacted by different casts over and over again. The key thing is to either learn lessons from the past or chart a different course to ensure survival. Of late I have been in the unenviable position of agony aunt to quite a number of people and have found myself retreating into history to find similar scenarios to get some sort of precedence and even insight to possible solutions. It seems most of us feel a lot less isolated when we can find a similar situation to the one that we presently confront! To avoid getting into a direct line of fire, I try to keep some of my more radical views to myself and encourage people to follow their convictions!! The unfolding events of the past few days however lead me to voice my thoughts unedited and even uncensored! The crime of paedophilia is getting a lot of attention worldwide and laws are being enacted to protect children from sexual predators but everyday child snatchings are reported worldwide and it is a battle that law enforcement seems to be losing. Laws don't prevent crime, they simply administer punishment to the offender should he get caught!! The world has been inundated with pictures of a beautiful little girl called Madeline McCann who was snatched as she slept from the holiday apartment her parents had rented while in Portugal! There is apparently a world wide ring of perverts who get their kicks from sexually abusing children. They operate illegal websites and have their most thriving bases in the Far East where some countries have the unenviable tag of being tourist centres to the booming trade of child prostitution. Young children have their innocence murdered by adults whose depravity is sated by their painful violation. As I write Madeline, a four year old, has been missing for just over two weeks and hopes are fading that she will be found unharmed. According to police statistics if a missing child is not found within 48 hours, hopes dim that they may be found alive; I do pray that Madeline is the exception and join people the world over to pray that she is returned to her family very soon. I had joined a conversation with some strangers and was amazed that most Nigerians think that paedophilia is a white crime or should I say disease!! Some of the men could simply not comprehend a black man being attracted sexually to a little child. I was blunt when I shared some of the information I had at my disposal with them; I reminded them of the worldwide outrage at the rape of a 9 month old baby in South Africa and they immediately narrowed their field of defence to Nigeria. Some medicine men in South Africa have wrongly concluded that serious diseases like HIV can be cured by having sexual intercourse with a virgin! A Naija guy could never do that; babes full ground!!! - one of them said. All but one of the men agreed as he recalled the case of Zainab, a two year old raped by two of her father?s friends in Agege!! The little girl had died of injuries sustained and the case had made the headlines only to disappear not long after. I remember the shudder of disgust and horror that ran through me as I had read the pathetic story of that poor little girl, wondering what on earth could have possessed those men to have unleashed such evil on an innocent child!! I also had another horror story to contribute, it also involved a little girl and this had occurred during the period of the bomb blasts. This time a six year old had been lost in the ensuing confusion that followed the blasts and had fallen into the hands of four men. She had been raped repeatedly till her intestines had been torn out of her gut and flowed into her genitalia!!! The photograph was carried in one of the evening newspapers and was gory in all its details; the intestines lay outside of the girl's body and her vagina had been ripped open! One of the perpetrators had been caught right in the act and apparently been arrested by the police. As at the time of that article, the child was still alive though in critical condition and only God knows if she survived it and even what quality of life would be possible given the serious harm done her!!! An investigative piece I once read sought to look into the mindset of paedophiles (individuals who prey on children to satisfy sexual urges and fantasies) and it is shocking to find that they are mostly attracted to children because of their innocence. I recall a particularly ordinary looking ex offender who said that he wanted them because they were clean and unspoilt! He had been a school teacher and had abused many young boys under his care. By his own admission, he had seduced the boys with little gifts here and there before subjecting them to various acts of degradation and molestation!! He said most of them had let him do what he wanted because they trusted him; he would begin by going into their room on the pretext of chatting before climbing into bed with them!! The nightly visits would continue for a while before they would be invited to spend time with him in his own quarters; there he would seduce them, plying them with alcohol and in some cases drugs before he would sexually abuse them and then move on to his next victim! He had done this for over 20 years before one his victims came forward and reported him to the authorities. An investigation began that would unravel the decadence and evil on which his Mr clean image had been built! Most of the ancient imperial courts in history make a cursory mention of children being used to entertain important guests. Some cultures made use of young boys, while some talk of nubile young virgins being given as gifts much the same way as gold and other valuables! Paedophilia is not a new phenomenon; it was not really a crime in ancient times as most cultures did not recognise an age of consent! Children did what their parents told them to do and were not protected from acts of a sexual nature as long as it was done under the guise of propriety! Most of the figures in history married young children and what is considered a crime today was certainly a privilege in the past! In some cultures today (even in Nigeria), children are betrothed from birth and have had marriages consummated as early as nine years!! A lot of young girls have had to go through pregnancies before their bodies were even ripe enough leaving them with diseases that destroy the bladder, the womb and other organs. Some have even lost their lives in child birth as their bodies were simply not strong enough to survive labour! Much closer to home, I received a letter from a young woman who was concerned that her uncle may be abusing her younger sibling! They lost their parents to a motor accident some time ago and were now in the custody of their young uncle! While I normally would not get involved in family affairs, my conscience would kill me should I stay silent on this one. It is not improbable that her suspicion may be unfounded; research has shown that children are more likely to be abused by members of their own family than an outsider; Oprah Winfrey was sexually abused by a family member! To anyone in a similar situation let me share the advice I gave my young friend. Please do not be quiet, shout if need be, get people involved!! Get that little girl to a doctor to be examined and take the proof to the authorities. Sexual abuse of young children should never be tolerated at all and it is even more of an abuse to keep quiet when we suspect that it is happening. There may be nothing new under the sun but for God's sake let us all get involved in safe guarding the health and future of children; they really are the future!!

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