The issue of defilement still remains a challenge, despite, the fact that different sectors of the society have taken a decision to speak against child abuse including defilement.
While young boys also go through difficulties when growing up, the girl-child still remains the most vulnerable, and statistics are there to prove that. While statistics show that young girls are the ones who suffer the most exploitation at the hands of unscrupulous men (and women), unfortunately there are also boys who suffer abuse from not only men, but also women.
For some reason, such men and/or women seem to see nothing wrong with forcing minors into adult sexual relationships. Most people who have never experienced such trauma in their life take the issue of defilement very lightly. It is not uncommon to come across grown men and women defending the perpetrator at the expense of the victim, giving lame excuses like ‘she brought it on herself’. Unfortunately such comments frustrate the fight against defilement, rape and other social ills affecting children. It is beyond revolting to learn of an older man being in a relationship with a minor, and to think some older men do not even have shame approaching girls (or boys) young enough to be their own child or nibling for sexual favours.
This week’s issue of The Monitor has an article on an 18-year-old, who is fighting for her life in hospital, following a violent encounter with her 30-year-old ‘boyfriend’. While many believe that love affairs do not have an age gap restriction, it is each and every adult’s responsibility to ensure that children (both boys and girls) enjoy their right to be young, protected and to be afforded care.
The beauty of coming of age is no open invitation to the wolves to come to the hunt. It is one thing for the young to be young and in love, and it is another for grown men to tread the very thin line between cradle snatching and
Also, just because they ‘look’ ripe for the picking, it does not make the unscrupulous men farmers. Children should just be off limits for such opportunistic relationships that cross numbing and blood curdling lines. We have to collectively, as a society, ensure that we protect children against vultures who prey on young and impressionable minds, and lure them with money and gifts. We need to stand up and lobby the government to come up with stiffer penalties for sex offenders. We do have paedophiles prowling amongst our midst, but sadly as previously captured by our commentary, these sorry excuses for human beings are sometimes protected by people within our societies, as such is the grooming.
We have heard of situations where unfit stepfathers or some close male relatives groom and rape young girls, and at times boys, whereby some families usually sweep such incidents under the carpet to protect the perpetrators. At times it is so bad that the child gets scolded as if they are the ones that did something wrong. How do we expect to grow as a nation if we are failing to protect our children from such indelible harm? There are many dangers associated with minors having relations before coming of age, and a lot of information has been published on those dangers. Here in Botswana, there have been cases of older men who have infected minors with HIV or even gotten minors pregnant and forced them to commit abortion. This ugliness cannot go on, hence the need for us to join hands and fight against child abuse, particularly defilement.