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Child expert laments increase in sexual abuse, other vices at mother and child expo

By Tobi Awodipe
15 July 2017   |   2:59 am
Once again, the menace of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) in our society was brought to the fore at the just-concluded mother and child expo, which held in Lagos over the weekend.

Once again, the menace of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) in our society was brought to the fore at the just-concluded mother and child expo, which held in Lagos over the weekend.

Lamenting its frequency and deteriorating severity, a Lagos-based child safety expert and one of the speakers at the expo, Nike Ajiboye, revealed that child abuse has now reached alarming levels with close family members being the chief perpetuators of this evil act, urging that quick action needs to be taken before more children’s lives are damaged.

Addressing participants at the expo, she said: “Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) is a form of child abuse which involves sexual acts being performed on children by an older person or by groups of persons. The sexual acts are achieved through ‘contact’ and non-contact means. Sexual acts through ‘contact’ involve actual penetration (of the vagina or anus), fondling of genitalia, illicit touching, mouth-to-mouth kiss and oral sex. The non-contact means entail exposure to obscene pictures or pornographic materials in order to meet the adult’s interest or sexual needs.”

She added that the early visible stages often look innocent outwardly and go unchecked by the victim’s parents. She urged parents to listen to their children, encourage closeness and not dismiss their talk as “lies or tall tales.”

Listing the effect of sexual abuse on the children, she classified them into three categories, physical, psychological and social. “The physical effects may include abdominal pains, bruises, back pains, sexually transmitted infections and other inexplicable pains. The psychological effects, which often linger and impact the child’s wellbeing on a long-term basis, may include fears, panic attacks, sleeping problems, nightmares, irritability, outburst of anger, shock, low spirit or no self-confidence and depression. Social problems may include addiction to alcohol and deadly substances, withdrawal from people, inability to relate well with people, to mention a few.

Imploring parents and guardians to be very watchful and be on guard at all times, she said a sexually abused child can be redeemed and restored physically, psychologically and socially if detected on time. “However, it is a process that takes hard work and dedication on the part of the parents and counselors to provide proper rehabilitation and restoration.”

H.E.L.L.O was the slogan for the expo, which stands for Home, Experience, Love, Life and Opportunities. Held over two days, the exhibition, which is in its fourth year, was supported by Mumsworld, Hayat, Tropical Natural, Friesland, PZ Cusson and Adron Homes and Property. Apart from the bonding and playing which took place, there was a lot of learning as several other speakers were on ground to talk about the different aspects in the life of Nigerian children.

Olubukola Olawuyi, a pediatric nurse from the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, Lagos, took the participants on newborn care and issues related to pregnancy. Other speakers include Toyin Onigbanjo and Frank Asemota.