Outrageous reports of defilement involving 102 girls and 93 boys of Gahanga Primary school in Kicukiro district come hardly two weeks after an alleged defilement implicating pastor Murenzi of Shining Light Church.
That the vice was uncovered following a survey done in May is not only unbelievable but raises the eye brows of citizens.
The fact that the victims of defilement never confided in their teachers and the support staff of the school reflects not only bad relationship between the pupils and teachers, but also poor supervision in the school.
It is now apparent that there is a big distance between the staff and pupils.
To call a spade a spade, the workers in this school should be responsible for ruining the future of these minors.
It is long and widely believed that teachers, by virtue of their role and vocation, are parents.
Therefore, the staff neglected their parental role of caring and looking after their own children.
Though the entire nation may have appreciated the headmaster’s action of conducting a survey, it may at the same time wonder whether it is the only option the administration had to use to find out that these pillars of Rwanda’s future were facing such unacceptable behaviour.
Perhaps, the teachers and other people country-wide who look after children need to be reminded of their responsibilities.
The various school administrations, in effect, should not wait to carry out a survey like the case of Gahanga Primary school.
Regular medical check-ups of students, counselling and guidance, sex education should be part of the school curriculum.
What does it make of, to educate a child who will die tomorrow of Aids?
The likelihood that the defiled children were infected with HIV/Aids is very high.
Thus goes the saying, “Prevention is better than cure.”
Preferably, schools should have free and compulsory medical checks every beginning and end of term to prevent any development of sexually transmitted diseases.
The check-ups also provide an opportunity to discover a number of health problems that children face in silence and to counsel them as well.
The services are not a favour; they fall within the job description for all teachers.
Apart from maintaining a parental relation, as part of their responsibility, the matrons and patrons should try as much as possible to show love to the children under their care.
On the contrary, there is tangible evidence that some matrons and patrons have made themselves semi-gods.
Their conduct and attitude repulse the pupils. If the former is achieved children will confide their problems with them and voluntarily seek advice.
It is probable that some of the staff lack the capacity to effectively carry out their duties as prescribed for them.
This implies that refresher courses for school employees in areas of counselling and guidance are vital.
The same service can be extended to all social workers and caretakers for the young generation.
To break the silence about violence against children, calls for introduction of sex educations in schools.
According to Gahanga incident, some children gave in to men’s sexual demands because they were ignorant.
Lessons on sex education will help the children to discover the dangers of unprotected sex and fornication.
This can also be an opportunity for them to learn about reproductive health and how they can develop healthy relations with members of the opposite sex.
Tips to pupils and caretakers
Most pupils who were defiled in Gahanga said they succumbed to sexual demands with a bait of small gifts and favours by horny men.
To this effect, children should be sensitized on the dangers of such gifts and lifts.
And, be encouraged to report any sexual advances to police and turn down offers of lifts by craft men.
Children should also be sensitized on how to relate with their caretakers, who sometimes think they have “to reap where they sow.”
The defilement allegations against Pastor Murenzi by one Namusoke of KIST who claims Murenzi, her caretaker, defiled her about three years ago; provide a good lesson to us all.
Children can carefully be taught to watch any steps if their caretakers and foster parents tell them to take or pick items from private places like bed rooms or start fondling and caressing them.
Such acts can be reported to local authorities or the nearest police post.
Equipping children with daily survival skills; for example cautioning them not to develop intimate relations with distant relatives and family friends, can help them in the absence of their parents.
They should avoid the company of members of the opposite sex in and during suspicious moments.
Parents and teachers can talk to their children about defilement and who the potential defilers may be.
According to the testimonies of defilement victims, commercial motorcyclists, shopkeepers, businessmen and pastors are people whose motives in helping children should always be questioned.
Though not all helpers are potential defilers, the probability that their charitable services have strings attached is high today.
Though the survey did not take any mention of them, it’s unfortunate that teachers who should direct children on what to do are another category of people who highly abuse them.
Extra care and examination should therefore be taken by parents and children before fully entrusting a child to a particular teacher.
The recent defilement reports are relevant tips for law enforcement organs and children’s rights activists to take action.
The law should take its course and make immediate intervention to follow the pupils’ allegations.
Otherwise, like Rwanda’s First Lady has always said, Rwanda cannot afford any more to lose her people.