Sex abuse, referred to as molestation, is the forcing of undesired sexual acts by one person upon another. This issue begins with a look at the prevalence of sexual abuse among the youth, more especially girls, which are quite challenging because of the risk factors and common characteristics of the perpetrators.
The unfortunate thing above all is that it goes down to young primary pupils.
“Our research has shown that primary children at the age of 12 are already sexually active. This is a very dangerous trend since they cannot escape contacting the HIV/pandemic,” says Nyagatare HIV/AIDS coordinator in primary and secondary schools.
Sexual abuse affects our country’s youth in schools, whether in the form of child sexual abuse, date rape or any other type of sexual victimisation. There are a number of factors as to why school children are abused sexually. Violence against them is one such a cause.
The environments of some of our schools are catastrophic- students/pupils are exposed to adult abuse, since such schools are poorly located and not fenced.
You can imagine a school surrounded by bars, hotels, and shops to mention but a few. The immorality of ‘some’ people around the school is directly or indirectly felt by the students/pupils.
The naïve and immature girls are tricked with pea-nuts and abused by men of all ages. It is true again that even boys, are also tricked by women with decayed morals into sex acts. This sets a very dangerous course of life for our children-they cannot claim for any future, if they do not have the present.
The HIV/AID pandemic for instance, should be addressed through proper channels. We cannot afford to keep on addressing effects of girl child abuse, but go down to unravel and end causes of the abuse.
All partners in the education of child since birth must come in play; teachers, parents and government officials, should be at the vanguard to end ugly scenarios of child abuse, once and for all.
It is not enough to remain only emotional or even sentimental, towards the child abuse we see today. We have to do more than we are doing today, and stop singing futile slogans.
As we said, children are abused by the people in the society; young, old women and men are all responsible for the continuous abuse of children, more particularly the girl child.
“…On the other hand, some are seduced by sugar daddies, whether young girls or grown up women. They only resort to giving in because they claim these men have all they want,” observes Mukamana Getrude, a mother of five.
We cannot wait for the children to tell us stories or to physically witness the gruesome scenarios, to react-we need a serious working mechanism to the abuse, otherwise, our future is doomed.
The future of our country is in the hands of the children we nurture today. There are some slogans that I cherish, but which is not working at all- it is referred to as; Ijisho ry’umuturanyi (a neighbour’s eye).
A neighbour’s eye of concern would expose any one of any age, trying to abuse a child. The other one is; fata umwana wese nkuwawe (treat every child like yours) - imagine if we treated every child like ours, we would be living in paradise.
Since all the above slogans seem to be too good to be practical, we need to have some more punitive social based initiatives to end child abuse in our society.
Reckless and careless parents mixing children from ‘extended families’ to share beds must be sensitized and if they do not behave, be punished. You know the abuse is embedded in our so culture left-over and parents’ laxity and ignorance about how children get abused at the tender age.
All these concerns unravel sex abuse in school age children in Rwanda. Some comprehensive strategies for stopping sexual violence therefore, would include among others; use of education sessions, community mobilisation, and re-shaping social norms.