As a young girl growing up in the Nigerian society, it was common to hear adult men tease little girls by calling them, ‘my wife.’ People took it as a joke and even mothers back then would laugh at this supposed ‘joke’, but it may not have been a joke as we will later see.
The same Nigerian mom who asked this question, opened up about being sexually molested as a little child by older male relatives living in her household. She narrates how an ‘uncle’ living in her home dipped his fingers into her when she was just 8 years old. She was scared of telling her parents about it, which is quite understandable because an average Nigerian parent back then was very strict.
Another woman, Ejiro was bold enough to tell her parents when two young boys they employed to work in their soap factory raped her when she was 11. The boys who were accommodated in a room in their household would sneak into Ejiro’s room at night to violate her. When she told her parents about it, they confronted the boys who denied the allegation. Instead, they claimed it was she who loved to come play in their room, and that they sent her away each time. Her parents beat her up, called her a liar and a spoilt child.
Over 90% of underage African girls have experienced at least one episode of sexual molestation. Their molesters are usually neighbours, relatives or men who live in the same household. Some of them are molested while sent on errands or sent to hawk goods on the streets.
So why has there been a culture of silence through the years? Probably because nobody would believe us? Or they would call us “bad girls”? Thankfully, social media has given us a medium to communicate and share the experiences we thought were once peculiar to us. We can all relate to this common evil and band together to stop it from happening to our daughters.
Olajumoke Orisaguna talks about this nagging topic in her new vlog and suggests how parents can tackle it.