Now, this is a very serious issue. It might not be able to compete favourably with articles on Obama or Oshiomole –which are the popular topics of late-as a banner headline, but it is none the less an issue that should provoke a great deal of thought and concern especially among parents and those who hope to become parents in the near future. There is often this secret, unhealthy and potentially dangerous relationship that exists between teenage girls and their uncles. Uncles here does not necessarily mean just the brother to their father or mother, but includes senior cousins, home lesson teachers, school teachers, swimming instructors, drivers, neighbours, security men etcetera.

This questionable relationship which often goes unnoticed because they are considered purely plutonic and because most parents who are too busy pursuing their career and only too happy to push off their children by default to these other adults around, has the potential of destroying the sanity and emotions of teenage children for life. Life for many teenagers is a painful tug of war filled with mixed messages and conflicting demands from parents, teachers, friends, family and oneself. Growing up—negotiating a path between independence and reliance on others—is a tough business and the tendency of older men hiding under the toga of being “Uncles” to emotionally exploit and sexually abuse these extremely gullible youngsters summarizes the issue under discuss here.

The period of Adolescence is filled with intellectual and emotional changes in addition to other major biological and physical changes. It is a time of discovery of self and one's relationship to the world around himself or herself. Female teenagers- who develop faster biologically- are often at the greatest risk here. The sprouting breasts soon begins to make the “uncle” hard in between his legs which sees a once loving and caring uncle gradually turning into a secret lover. The issue is made worse by the fact that these male individuals are persons the girls have known and trusted since childhood, people who buy them sweet and chocolate and take them to Mr Biggs on their birthday. People who bathed them when they were much younger and helped them get their home work right. Persons they confined in and have received advices from. When these favourite persons begin to pull up their skirts or fumble with their little mounds, the female teenager is often at a loss as to how to handle it.

There is a tendency to see it as being right because it was an uncle that was doing it and of course, the irresponsible uncle makes the youngster believe it was only the right thing to do. How do you begin to question the actions of someone who had told you what to do all your life? On the other hand, even when she doesn’t feel comfortable with what is happening, she is scared of letting any one know about it either because, she in her innocence does not want to get the uncle into trouble, or because she had been threatened not to ever say a word to anyone. This way, the unhealthy relationship continues right under the nose of the parents. The news papers are often awash with stories of minors (some not yet five) who were abused by trusted neighbours and senior male companies.

We hear about their being arrested by the police. Whether they are ever charged or even released as soon as the initial heat generated by the revelation cools down, the impact on the victims is a life long one and has the potential of damaging their love and sex life permanently. I am neither a parent nor a victim. I am not even female, but I have course to discuss this following the revelations I got from a close female friend who opened her heart to me recently. Graciously, she had permitted me to write this piece, and I hope it even in the remotest of ways gets to help some one out there. My friend, on a rather funny note you will say, is scared of being with a man. This is a lady of twenty five, an embodiment of facial and bodily beauty with a good university degree. The mere thought of being kissed sends jitters down her spine and could actually make get suddenly harsh and moody.

This is not because she doesn’t have the right hormones flowing in her, but because, once when she was just twelve, an uncle-her mum’s brother who was a regular visitor-, some one who had changed her nappies years before, had seized her in the room, when no body was around and in the pretext of teaching her how to kiss giving her, in her exact words, “the kiss of her life”. And of course it started from more healthy lines like “you are now such a big girl”, to less healthy ones like “I know you now have a boy friend” and to obscene ones like “ Have you kissed before?, a big girl like you should know how to kiss”. After that experience which nearly gave her blisters on her lips, my fiends developed an apathy for kissing as an act and was responsible for her increasingly worrying inability to keep a steady relationship at an age when most of her friends were attending antenatal clinics.

As funny as the story might sound, it is real and so many people are suffering like her in our society though not too many might be bold enough to admit or talk about it. While such persons now depend on counseling and prayers for help, it is important we help others avoid such a fate. About a hundred percent of the responsibility lies squarely on the shoulder of parents. I am not yet a parent and might not qualify to tell parents how to be parents. However, I believe I can remind them of their responsibility to their children as parents. It is morally wrong and I dare say criminal for you to have a child and hand same over to a stranger to raise for you right in your house perhaps because you are so busy trying to get to the peak of your career. Your children deserve your presence and constant monitoring.

This does not suggest that your house should have great semblance with kirikiri prison where no body is free, but that you can account for your children at all times. When due to your absence, you let your children create parents out of your gardener or security man or even your blood brother; you should also be ready to accept what ever kind of teaching they get from these pseudo parents. Parents whose daughters suffer emotional or psychological problems due to stomach churning episodes with uncles when they were teens especially when such arose due to the carelessness of the parents are not fit to be parents in the first place and shall have many questions to answer before He who placed those children in their care.

As for those men who can not control the surge of testosterone in their veins such that they take leave of their senses and begin to defile their nieces or teenage girls put under their care, I hardly have words to describe you. Note however the saying that what comes around, goes around. Your own daughters might suffer same or even worse from some one else. Sincerely, such men should best be found in the zoo and not wondering among civilized people. Do some thing about teenage sexual abuse today. Spread the word and be a better parent.

 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

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