“Mummy, if I tell you something will you tell Uncle Fidelis?”, came the voice of 5 year old Brenda as she stood near her mum in the kitchen. Mrs. Jide, Brenda’s mum looked at her daughter curiously, quietly dropped the knife she was using to cut vegetables and stooped down to be at eye level with the kid as she quizzed: “what is it you want to tell me, my angel?” Brenda replied, “Mummy promise me that you will not tell uncle Fidelis because he said that if I tell you a big dragon with two heads will appear when I am sleeping at night and swallow me.” The mum said, “My sweet angel, don’t you trust me? I won’t tell him, just tell me what that thing is.”
Little Brenda looked back and sideways as if to make sure that nobody was nearby then said in a low tone, “the other day you went out with Lara’s mummy, uncle Fidelis called me to his room and put one film for me to watch on his phone. While I was watching the film he told me to sit on his laps so that both of us would watch it together. As we were watching the film he put his finger under my skirt and started removing my pants. When I tried to remove his hand he told me to relax that he was not going to do anything bad to me. He said that he was only trying to help me understand what those people were doing in that film because very soon I will be a big girl. After some time, he asked me to lie down on the bed because those people were lying down on the bed. I lay down on the bed and he came to lie down beside me. Then he took the phone from me, dropped it on the table and told me to relax so that we could do what those people were doing. He removed my pants and put one of his fingers into my private part. At first it did not pain me but after some time it started paining me and I told him to stop but he refused. He then knelt down on the bed, unzipped his trouser, brought out his private part and asked me to start rubbing it with my hand. When I wanted to refuse, he said he will not be my friend again and that he will not help me to do my home work again. So I started rubbing his private part and after some time he pushed my legs apart and started putting his private part into my own private part. It pained me so much and I started screaming. Uncle Fidelis used one of his hands to cover my mouth and continued pressing me down on the bed. After some time he got up from the bed and started begging me to stop crying because I was crying seriously. He started rubbing my back and my legs that were paining me. He even went and bought ice cream for me. He then told me that I must not tell anybody otherwise a monster will come and kill me. He said that is what makes people big girls but those who don’t do it will remain small girls. He even told me that that was why Amanda, aunty Lizzy’s daughter died. Yesterday again when you and daddy went to church in the evening for the mid week service he did the same thing again. I asked him to buy ice cream for me but he refused. So I decided to tell you, but mu…”
At this juncture Mrs. Jide who was all the while listening to her daughter calmly could no longer control her emotions as she flew out of the kitchen shouting, “Fidelis! Fidelis!! Fide…!!!” The gateman rushed in and said, “Ma, Fidelis went to buy fuel. I hope there is no problem, ma?” Mrs. Jide, obviously shaking with rage screamed, “Tell that beast, in short no need talking.”
She swung back into the kitchen where little Brenda was in tears and pulled her out from back of the kitchen door where she had gone to hide and scolded her, “and you, come here and tell me everything that happened right now. Stop shedding tears because that is not going to solve any problem. I must get to the root of this matter.” Amid tears, Brenda said, “Mummy please don’t tell him!” “I don’t want any monster to come and kill me.” “Mummy pleeeeeaaaaase!” This was followed by more shouting and threatening from the mum who could no longer control her own tears. And so the commotion continued.
How did it end? Honestly I don’t know but your guess may just be as good as mine. But my concern is not how, when or where it ended. My concern is to let you know who Uncle Fidelis is.
Uncle Fidelis is Mrs. Brenda’s younger brother who has been living with the family for the past three years since he finished his youth service. Mr. Brenda helped him to secure a job in one of the engineering companies around their estate. The family trusted him so much that they didn’t bother themselves about anything once he was at home with the kids.
What did he do wrong? Nothing other than what every other pedophile knows how to do best. That is, stealing the virtue and destiny of innocent children.
But before addressing his issue let me tell you what Mrs. Brenda did wrong and the consequences of that wrong doing. She over reacted and these are the consequences of that mistake:
• Her daughter will never trust her again.
• The girl may never share any secret with her mother again, neither now nor in the future.
• She missed the opportunity to find out from the girl every other thing that had transpired between her and Fidelis or with other members of the family. It is possible there were other things happening in the family among the other domestic servants and extended relatives living there.
• She had wounded the little girl emotionally and it will take the services of good therapists to get the picture off the innocent mind of the girl.
What should she have done?
• She shouldn’t have reacted so vehemently, no matter how bad the situation was. This is one of the things parents, especially mothers do that put a barrier between them and their children. Learn to be calm and composed when a child is telling you something. No matter how terrible what you heard from a child is, do not let your emotions betray you. Be the adult you are and be in control of the situation till you have got every fact you need. Even then, avoid explosive anger. It puts children off and stops them from telling you their secrets.
• She should have talked it over with the child and assured her that she is safe and that there is no monster anywhere coming to kill her before confronting the offender. That way the whole event would have been less traumatic for the kid.
• There was no need YET to shout and attract the attention of other people in the house. She should have cautiously investigated the matter to dig out every hidden thing before letting the cat out of the bag.
Back to Mr. Fidelis
Mr. Fidelis is a pedophile. And every pedophile is a thief and should be treated as such. I want to give you some facts you should know about pedophiles:
1. Pedophiles are on the increase today more than at any other time in history.
2. There are both male and female pedophiles.
3. They have no shame and have no conscience.
4. A pedophile does not know whether the victim is his daughter or her son. They are like dogs.
5. They are good pretenders. They can be doing one thing and the moment they see you coming they quickly change to another thing.
6. Most pedophiles are family members or other close acquaintances. Watch out who you have as your driver, house boy, house girl, nanny, home lesson teacher, that family friend you leave your kids with when you are away from home, your neighbour, colleague in your working place, etc. They are at times among family relatives, like in the case of Mr. Fidelis cited above.
7. They pretend to love their victim so much. They are the ones who take unusual interest in your child buying them gifts and always speaking good of them.
8. They work into your heart till you trust them so much that you won’t suspect them for anything.
9. They are not in haste. They take their time and work conscientiously till they win the trust of their victim.
10. They are full of ideas on how to get their target closer and closer till they strike.
11. When they succeed they are the ones that will tell the story of their conquest outside. They will carry the story of your family and your child for all to hear.
12. If they succeed once, it does not end there. They use blackmail, threat and subtle persuasions to hold their victims down and continue with their dirty acts till a major harm is done.
13. If they win the heart of your child, they will turn the child against you. They will make the child believe that you don’t care or that you don’t want them to grow up.
14. A pedophile has no inscription on the forehead to indicate that he or she is one.
15. They are like the devil; they don’t hear gentleman language.
16. If you choose to cover them they will do more harm. Expose them, give them no hiding place and they will cease from operating.
Ladies and gentlemen, let us all arise and fight against pedophiles. They are out to destroy our children and we must not let them. Terrifying stories of the activities of these evil beings keep coming up daily while parents are at ease assuming that their children are safe. I dare say that many parents are damn too carefree with their children.
Finally, empower your children; educate them about the activities of pedophiles. Tell them what to do if a pedophile comes near them. Be their friend so that they can tell you everything.
Ijeoma I. Igwesi
Family Life Coach and Teens Counselor.