In the last couple of weeks I have examined over 30 children who have suffered sexual assault at the hands of neighbors, teachers, and strangers. These children are aged 3 to 12 years old. I see more and more boys as victims AND suspects. This write up highlights an emerging trend.
For years (historically) innocent unsuspecting children have been lured by adults promising sweets, food, money and material items depending on the age of the victim/child and this is more common amongst the poor or low socioeconomic groups. But now, I can almost mouth their stories as they narrate them.
“Aliniita, akanipatia sweet na soda, halafu akanipatia simu yake nicheze game” (he called me and gave me a sweet and soda, then gave me his phone to play games.
“Alisema niende kwake nicheze na play station”. He called me to his home to play with his playstation.
This is more common among the boys between ages 5 and 12. These are soon followed by
“akanitoa nguo, akanipandisha juu ya kitanda, akanifanya tabia mbaya” (he took off my clothes and placed me on the bed……)
“akasema nisiambie mtu,akanipea 20 bob” or “ akasema ataniua nikisema” (“he gave me 20 bob” or “he said he would kill me”).
Most of these children didn’t tell their parents about their ordeal, many of them having undergone this abuse several times. Some are forced to engage in penovaginal, penoanal, and oral sex. Others have been forced to sodomize their peers, or been sodomized as their peers watched. Then there are the few who are defiled by neighbors even at knife point in the middle of the night while their single mothers are away working.
Most of these children did not report the matter to their parent(s) or caregivers. Their caregivers often found out from a neighbor, by hearing rumors, or from a teacher who was either concerned about the child or the child reported to them.
Why didn’t the children tell their parent(s)/caregivers? Because they are afraid of the wrath that will befall them. They are terrified of the beating they may receive from their mothers. Some just don’t say anything, and unless someone notices their despair, they will continue to suffer in silence.
This is a call to all caregivers/parents/guardians:
- Take the time to teach your children who they can and cannot interact with. Children are a lot smarter than we think. Teach them and they will learn.
- Talking to strangers is FORBIDDEN!
- STOP SENDING CHILDREN TO THE SHOP/NEIGHBOR/SCHOOL unsupervised. This is always a contributing factor.
- Teach children that they must report anyone who touches them inappropriately to you immediately. They need to know they can be comfortable telling you ANYTHING AT ALL.
- Teach your children what is appropriate touching and what is not. And keep reminding them and checking that they remember. Do this regularly till they get it. (Well, this is what I practice with my son and now he has gotten it right. There is a song to aid with this:
“These are my private parts, my private parts, my private parts
These are my private parts, and nobody should touch them”
Who is allowed to touch their private parts and when? What are private parts? Who should teach them about private parts? That responsibility is yours, not the teacher in school or the church! I saw a 10 year old boy today who learned about sex from “fast and furious” and tried to practice what he saw on a 4 year old girl!
- If a child is sexually assaulted, please refer to my article “Report Child Abuse” for more information.