To Kill The Culture of Silence Surrounding Male Sexual Abuse We Need the Voices of Male Advocates

For a lot of men, their first sexual encounter was through rape or sexual assault. From the nanny to the housekeeper, the school-teacher, seniors in secondary school boarding houses, and trusted family members, boys face a lot of sexual assault. Around the world, at least 1 in 6 men have experienced sexual abuse or assault.
A South African activist, Rees Mann, told a talk show host that 17% of South African boys will be sexually abused by the time they turn 18. A study carried out estimated that at least 784,967 young people, aged 15 to 17, in South Africa have been sexually abused, with 36.8% of the total number being boys.
All over the world, rape against boys is prevalent, but it is more worrisome in a lot of African countries and Nigeria where  substantial data to back this up is hardly available.
We live in a society that tells men to ‘man up’ or ‘behave like a man’ when they are in difficult situations. The idea of ‘manning up’ is to encourage (or in many cases, force) men to withstand pain and do odeeshi when they are hurting. The society raises men to believe that only women should show emotions and men who cry or are emotional are effeminate and weak.
The effect of forcing boys to ‘man up’ is that the culture of silence is being heavily propagated and promoted. In most cases, when boys find themselves in a fix, they shut up and look for solutions by themselves. When they cannot find solutions, they ‘man up’and live with the pain and trauma. In many cases, these sexually abused and emotionally traumatised boys grow up to become sexual abusers and emotionally unavailable or manipulative men.
A recent tweet by Ayo Bankole started the conversation on male sexual abuse on social media.

The Responses

The boy child needs to be protected from socio-cultural and economic vices; and just like when women are the victims of sexual assault, we have to be more intentional about male sexual abuse.
Killing The Silence
We cannot find a solution to this problem if we keep denying its existence. “Men cannot be raped” is a myth that many people have held on to for so long. The belief that a boy who was raped by an older woman/girl should count himself lucky needs to be killed.
To end the culture of silence surrounding male sexual abuse, we have to first admit that men can be raped. After this, we have to encourage more boys to speak about their sexual abuse and believe them when they talk.

Teach Boys Sex Education
Many parents fail to teach their children sex education. For many boys, especially teenagers going into the university, the only sex education they got from their parents was several packs of condom and a few words of caution, “we know you’ll ‘do’ all those university girls, just be careful and don’t impregnate any girl”.
From an early age, boys need to be taught that there are many pedophiles lurking around and they can come in many shapes and forms, as family or friends, as neighbours or strangers, as male or female – anyone can be a potential abuser until proven otherwise.
Teach your boys to report if anyone touches them in inappropriate places or if anyone forces them to carry out inappropriate acts. And most importantly, believe them when they talk.
Teach Them Consent
We have many boys who sexually abuse women because they do not understand what consent is. That is because the option of a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ had been taken away from them on many occasions. As a parents or guardian, you should teach your boys that no one has the right to touch them if they don’t  consent to it – even as adults. As you teach boys to respect boundaries when it comes to a woman’s body, they should also be taught to demand respect in return. Their boundaries should never be crossed because they are boys.
Boys Need Their Parents
A boy-child cannot figure out life on his own. That he’s a boy does not mean that he can take care if himself. The culture of “settle yourself na, no be man you be?” has to stop! Fathers need to step up and be very active in raising their sons and teaching them. Boys need more men to share their experiences, so they can learn from them.
Justice Starts With The Constitution
According to the Nigerian constitution, boys and men cannot be raped.
“The criminal code defines rape as any sexual intercourse with anyone without his or her consent or incorrectly obtained consent. Under this act, the slightest act of activity without the ‘yes’ of the other partner equals rape. It, however, does not recognize any other form of sexual activity, so any penetration of the anus or mouth is not considered rape under the Nigerian law.
The offence of rape under this act is also gender-specific; only men commit the offence and by implication, only a woman can be raped. Also, according to Section 30 of that act, a male person under the age of 12 years is presumed to be incapable of having carnal knowledge. This means that he cannot be guilty of the offence even if it is proven that he has reached puberty despite his age.”
In 2019, Senator Oluremi Tinubu pushed for a bill seeking to remove gender restrictions on rape cases. The bill, which has passed a second reading, will formally recognise men as victims of rape when it’s finally passed.
Without the backing of the constitution, perpetrators of male sexual abuse and rape cannot be prosecuted and the victims cannot get justice.
Creating a Better Child-Welfare System
Nigeria is one of the 10 worst countries for children to live in. A better welfare system for kids includes proper safety measures for them. Systems like child-hawking and Almajiri exposes kids – especially boys – to all forms of sexual assault. Children need to be taken off the streets, protected and provided for.
A Man is Raped? Don’t Laugh!
It is terrible that a lot of people see male sexual assault as so inconsequential that when a victim comes out to share his experience, especially on social media, people go into spasms of laughter. What exactly is funny?
Rape and sexual assault should never be joked with, used as a meme or as a skit. No one should laugh when victims of sexual abuse tell their stories.
We all need to do better in ridding our world of all forms of sexual violence against every human.
The post To Kill The Culture of Silence Surrounding Male Sexual Abuse We Need the Voices of Male Advocates appeared first on BellaNaija – Showcasing Africa to the world. Read today!.

Shame On You For Thinking It Is Okay to Sexualize Children

As of 2017, 44% of girls in Nigeria were married before their 18th birthday and 18% were married before the age of 15.
Child marriage is most common in the North West and North East of Nigeria, where 68% and 57% of women aged 20-49 were married before their 18th birthday.
A 2017 World Bank study estimates that child marriage costs Nigeria USD7.6 billion in lost earnings and productivity every year.
In the world, 12 million girls are married off before the age of 18, each year, and over 650 million women alive today were married as children.
The major reason why, even in today’s world, child marriage is still prevalent is because humans have developed and sustained the habit of sexualising women, right from when they are young. In the olden days – even up until now – the world waits for women to be ‘ripe’, so that their ‘flower’ can be plucked.
Most culture permits women to be married off once they start their menstruation. To them, menstruation is a sign of maturity. A sign that she is ‘ripe’.
Today, the world has, to an extent, kicked – and is still kicking – against child marriage, sexual harassment and violence. But are we making any progress?
Almost every woman in the world has one story or another when it comes to sexual harassment and assault. An average female child is already exposed to sexual harassment before she learns how to navigate this world and build a name for herself.
From that uncle who loves to carry you on his laps so he can slip a finger or two into your vagina, to that neighbour who is constantly friendly with you because he wants to press your growing breasts. That Mallam, Alfa, Pastor, that over-disciplined physics teacher in school, that daddy’s best friend whose eyes are always darting whenever you are around – everyone is a potential rapist and a risk to young women.
From religions that encourage women to be married off once they ‘see’ their first period, to cultures that believe a woman’s place is in her ‘husband’s house’, a young growing lady seems to have the whole world against her when it comes to her sexuality.
This is 2020 and just as the world keeps gunning for the liberality of women and the non-sexualisation of women’s (especially young women) body, some men have crawled out of their holes to salivate and show their perverse side when Yul Edochie celebrated his 15-year-old daughter on Twitter.

Happy 15th Birthday to my 1st child, my daughter.Danielle Chidubem Yul-Edochie.May the Almighty God be with you always.You shall be 10 times greater than your father.Amen!
— Yul Edochie (@YulEdochie) April 10, 2020

How much is her bride prize sir🙏
I’m 19
— kiss (@YoungkissTurner) April 10, 2020

Happy birthday to your Danielle…
Thank God say i never marry yet
— rickmani (@DanielKennis) April 11, 2020

Am coming to marry her in-law
— spanix (@Ekulide2) April 10, 2020

Birthday blessings to you dear. Sir if you can use her as giveaway for me I will be very grateful 😂😂
— Gideon Chinonso (@GiddyupKiss) April 10, 2020

Stay on your intensive care for now, at least 2 or 3 more years you’ll be out and ready to collect.
— MaxProdigy (@Joekhalifa_Blaz) April 10, 2020

See her innocent smile like say she no Dey collect or chop pesin mouth… Bring her to the movie industry and see the next Ned Nwoko
— Blazing iMax 🔥 (@official_maxwin) April 11, 2020

Give me your daughter to marry nau
— MAN OF GOD (@HeartOfGod_LOVE) April 11, 2020

Happy birthday to her more years to come in good health and happiness.. 15 years.. Wow 3 more years to go.. Patiently waiting
— @johntubi (@johntubi1) April 11, 2020

Success Wada claims to be an ‘advocate for unity and equality’, yet, he wants to marry a 15-year-old girl.

From those who saw a good flower to those who believe the ‘fruit is already ripe’.

Everything you see here is a sneak peak into the life and reality of young women. Being a teenage girl in Nigeria, in Africa and every other part of the world means having a long queue of men waiting to seize any opportunity to harass you sexually. To them, you are just a flower they are waiting to pluck.
If Yul Edochie had posted the photo of his son at 15, it wouldn’t have attracted this kind of comments. This shows that people still believe it is okay to sexualise a young woman, a teenager who is barely finding her place in this world.
The men spewing trash under Yul Edochie’s tweet live among us; they are our fathers, brothers, friends, uncles, colleagues, teachers, neighbours, clients. We live with them, we gist with them. We know them. They are not aliens who dropped from the clouds. These are the kinds of people we entrust our kids with.
Moving forward?
Although we live in a world where feminists , and women in general, receive a lot of bashing and are being accused of being ‘anti-men’, these tweets have again proved that we must never stop talking about sexual assault. We must also match our words with actions and ensure that we fight pedophiles and sexual offenders with everything we’ve got.
As Nigerians, we also need to do away with covering up sexual offenders because they are our friends or family. If your brother or sister rape someone and you cover him/her up, you are no better than a rapist.
If you are one of those who chant “let’s leave them for God” when someone you know sexually assaults another person. Then you are no better.
When sexual offences – and yes, that includes tweets as the above – are matched with grave consequences, people will be better behaved.
As a Parent?
See, we live in a ‘terrible’ world, so you have to protect your kids. Note that it’s not the same as being overprotective. One way to protect your kids from sexual assault is to create an environment where they can easily talk to you and open up. A lot of sexually harassed kids cannot talk to their parents, and then the harassment goes on for years.
Create that environment where your kids can easily walk up to you and let you know about that uncle or aunty that is touching them inappropriately and threatening them.
Parents need to also give their kids proper sex education, make them understand what constitutes as sexual harassment or assault.
At the end of the day, you and everyone in the society have a role to play in curtailing sexual harassment. Stop “leaving it for God”. Don’t say “ehn, it has happened, it has happened, God knows best”. Don’t tell the victim to forgive and forget or “let go”.
Let’s all ensure that we stand up against sexual assault and violence.
If you know of any sexual harassment case, you can call any of these numbers:

Or reach out to WARIF.
One more thing:
When next you are tempted to conclude that rape and sexual assault occurs because women are “indecently dressed”, remember that Yul Edochie’s 15-year-old daughter was covered up in that photo, yet many men still sexualised her.
The post Shame On You For Thinking It Is Okay to Sexualize Children appeared first on BellaNaija – Showcasing Africa to the world. Read today!.