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Paedophile priests: Wolves in sheep’s clothing

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Church

There is an issue that the church has kept so much quiet about, but needs to be escalated, an issue in which the church and religious institutions have become culprits in its perpetuation.

The tabloids are replete with cases of these unholy acts that have put spiritual leaders under great scrutiny: “Arabic teacher who allegedly defiled three sisters in their parents’ house docked” (Nigerian Tribune). “Indian spiritual guru, 77, gets life in prison for raping teenage girls”(TRT World).

Sexual violence against minors destroys the confidence of young people and set them up for more abuse in the future. The horrific consequences of child sexual abuse cannot be quantified.

In the eye opening film, October 1, a dark psychological thriller film produced and directed by Kunle Afolayan, is a pathetic story of a serial killer abusing and slaughtering native young women.

It was sympathetic to find out at the tail end of the film that the killer’s incessant act of frivolous killings was an outflow of childhood abuse.

We are living in an age where some people take their priestly robe and ‘constituted authority’ as a licence for impunity. In fact, the debauchery that goes on the altar of some churches has reached an irredeemable height.

Jesus Christ raised the alarm some 2,000 years ago when he said: “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”

These ravening wolves come in different forms as extortionist, corrupt priests, priest that are given to worldly and material pursuits, egoistic spiritual leaders, and the list goes on and on. But the most psychologically destructive of them all will be the object of my piece for today- The Paedophile priests.

The greatest of thieves don’t steal things; they steal the identity of children and vulnerable adults. Poignantly, most of the perpetrators of these dastardly acts are people with whom parents and children have come a long way to hold in high esteem.

It is so pathetic to know that religious clerics (both Christians and Muslims) have stooped so low to sexually assault minors who they ordinarily have obligations to guide, counsel and protect.

Paedophiles, by definition, are adults with uncontrollable sexual appetite for children or an adult who is more attracted to children, sexually.

I have come to realise over the years that the easiest place for a paedophile to hide is in the church or institutions of learning. There are many orphaned children who the world sees as being under the custodian of the church and religious bodies, but are actually victims of the most despicable acts of human cruelty.

What criteria do we use to select children teachers in the church? How is the church keeping a diagnostic eye on the affairs of the children’s schools under them? How safe are vulnerable children under the church orphanage and motherless children homes? Do your pastors and church leaders have paedophilic tendencies?

Do we have an organised way of reporting this kind of issues and how are they handled?

Paedophiles are especially gifted at finding the most vulnerable victims. How can you decipher and insulate your child against their tactics? Who knows, you might just have a paedophile next door, as a family friend, mentor, neighbour, close relative and even worse, as your spiritual father.

There are many ways by which parents and guardians can guard their ward from sexual abuse.
Spend Enough Time With Your Children

Most abuses could have been averted if parents spent ample time with their wards. Paedophiles understand the psychology of Attention Deficiency Syndrome (ADS).

I have often observed that sex predators prey on the children of single parents who aren’t available. They use this clandestine move to step in as “parents” figure in the life of the child.

So, being as involved as possible in your child’s life is the best way to guard against child molesters. If you don’t pay attention to your child, someone else will, and that person could as well be a paedophiles.

No Secrets

Abuse thrives in secrecy. Anybody that encourages your child to keep secrets away from you will ultimately end up abusing your ward.

Children must be informed on the need to keep open minds with their parents. Be mindful of someone that is always trying to gain your child’s trust and confidence or with whom they keep secrets. Keep an open dialogue with your children and be the kind of parent that a child wants to tell everything.

Give Them The Platforms To Be Themselves

I have observed that when children are given the platforms to express themselves and be themselves, they become somewhat insulated from abuse. Children are mostly abused by the people they often open themselves to.

Be Sensitive To Your Ward’s Attitude

Abrupt attitudinal change, such as always wanting to be alone, telling lies, unusual withdrawal, loss of appetite, not wanting to go to school, drastic change in a child’s academic performance, unusual and abrupt mood swings, aggressive behaviour, inappropriate sexual behaviour or language, nightmares/sleeplessness and extremely defensive nature are indications of the onset of abuse.

Talk To Them About Sex Education

When children don’t get the education they need about sex from their parents, they will ultimately get it from outside, and in a polluted way.

We must teach children, areas of their body that are forbidden to touch.

Teach Them About Personal Worth And Value

Don’t allow them to expose their private parts unduly. When children don’t know their worth, they tend to give so much of themselves away to cheap things.

I have seen children being exposed to paedophilic attack because the offender was giving them candies and special gifts. Offenders will always study their prospective victims beforehand to know their weak points.

Don’t Be Judgmental

Children are always afraid of being judged. When all they receive from their parent is judgment, they tend to withdraw.

Make sure your kids know they will not be punished or judged for anything they tell you.

Trust Your Child

Never dismiss a child’s claim because the adult in question is a valued member of society or appears incapable of such things. That is exactly what a child molester wants.

Kids who don’t have a trusting relationship with their parents are easy targets of paedophiles.

Adequate Monitoring

Whatever is not being adequately monitored is up for abuse. No matter how much you think you know someone, you need to take precautions for your child’s safety. Monitoring is one of the tools to ensure your child’s safety.

Set up a nanny camera if you hire a babysitter or lesson teacher, as this will help you to detect inappropriate activities before they become destructive.

Watch out for excessive adoration from caregivers, teachers, priests or even family friends.

Communication

The most effective means of protecting your child is communication with the child. He or she has to feel comfortable discussing sensitive matters with you.

As a child right protection coach, I have observed that most cases of child abuse would have been averted if parents and school authorities were more vigilant and proactive. Prevention is not only better than cure; it is mentally and psychologically safer than cure.

Most paedophiles are often victims of childhood abuse themselves and their continued abusive tendencies is simply an indication of an incomplete or unsuccessful healing process. In this regard, they need life-support and not societal condemnation.

In my therapeutic work with victims and offenders, I have found a variety of different causes of paedophilic acts. A school of thought believes that paedophilic tendencies are somewhat of a learned behaviour, potentially from the abusers having been sexually abused themselves as children.

A second school of thought believes it is a biological illness and could be as a result of hormonal imbalance, mental disorder or brain structure, while a third school believes it is a result of psychosocial factors, such as psychological disturbance, parental emotional rejection, dysfunctional family backgrounds, lack of maternal care or neglect, substance abuse, early exposure to pornographic materials or physical violence.

Finally, I want to reach out to people suffering secretly from paedophilic tendencies to seek for help. Someone’s physiology, family background, exposure or early childhood abuse can be the reason for their paedophilic lifestyle.

These can only be dealt with from a combination of psychological and spiritual approach. The earlier sex offenders are helped, the fewer victims are created.

I recommend these websites- www.virped.org and www.asapinternational.org- for any adult struggling with paedophilic tendencies. They are proven and helpful.

Seeking help is not a sign of weakness; it is actually a realisation of the magnitude of your challenge.


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