International Girl Child Day: Girls Unleashed, Unscripted

A Short Story

Safiya's mom is a young widow who works extra hard to make ends meet. The death of her husband devastated and shattered
her to her bones, but for the sake of her 3-year old daughter, Safiya, she knew she had to pick up the pieces and continue
living. She is a petty trader.

She leaves for the market as early as 6am so she could be in time for the early morning sales traffic and closes around
7pm when the evening sales traffic has lessened. Safiya's school is near the market stall, so she takes her along with her
every morning. She waits till the school opens then go drop her in her class. When school closes, she goes to pick her
then they go home together in the evening.

This is their routine everyday except on weekends when she leaves Safiya to play with her cousins and uncle who live on
the ground floor while she goes to work. The uncle is a 23-year-old distant relative who she felt is old and responsible
enough to take care of her little daughter while she is away. Safiya will be safe hands while she is free to squarely face
her business, right? Wrong. This arrangement is akin to making the cat guard over a tray of well fried fish!

The moment she steps out, the uncle switches on the demon mode; the predator act comes to the very fore. The coast is free
for the roaring lion to devour his prey; Safiya. 

He carries her into his room, places her on the bed, closes the window, removes her clothing including her pant. He then
proceeds to remove his own clothing and asks Safiya, a 3-year-old girl, to fondle his manhood! Then he starts to grope
her, poking everywhere before finally penetrating. She muffles her cry of extreme pain with one hand and uses the other to
hold her in place while she rapes her. When he finishes with this evil, he tells her very strongly not to tell anyone,
else she dies. 

Safiya is utterly confused and scared, but she did not tell her mother. She became more withdrawn and easily irritable. 

Her mother notices, but dismisses it as normal tantrums children throw. 'It's the stages. She'll outgrow it.', she
thought.

And so the predator has everything working for him while the poor girl is at a gross disadvantage. Fortunately for the
poor child, after the third week, the evil uncle relocated. Freedom at last.

A Fiction That is Real

The story above is a fiction that is true. There are many Safiyas in our society today being sexually molested by pure
evil uncles. They are too young; too vulnerable and that is exactly why they are targeted. As we mark the International
Day of the Girlchild today, everyone holds the responsibilty of doubling up our efforts to protect the girlchild; all of
them.

The odds against the girlchild are just too many. They are hunted down by sexual predators and raped, they are victims of
sex for grades as randy lecturers feel they have a stake in their bodies and molest them. 

The girlchild is susceptible to be trafficked and shipped off as prostitutes to God knows where. They are discriminated
against at the workplace, they are marginalised in education and skills development. The odds are just too many, but we
will continue with our Safiya case.

How We Can Protect The Girl Child; Our Safiyas

We will only work with what can be helped. Those devil incarnates in the mould of sex for grades lecturers, rapists,
sexual predators, child molesters, defilers or whatever name we call the vermins, we cannot really stop them from wanting to unleash
their terror, but by God, we can protect our girls from them!

The story above would have turned out differently if Safiya's mom had:

1. Educated her about her body parts. She is too young to understand all the details, but at 3 years she can plain
understand what I call 'Body Touch Limit'; limit NO ONE must ever pass. It does not matter who the person is, once the
part is off limit, then it is a no-touch zone.

One girlchild that has been sufficiently trained in this regard by her mother needed to be cleaned up after using the
toilet, so the mother younger broth er who was around decided to clean her. He deeply regretted it. The girl started
screaming like a banshee, calling for her mother. She only stopped screaming when her mom got to the scene. The young man
was aghast and then embarrassed when the mother explained the reason for the screaming episode.

At the end of the day, they both agreed it was a fantastic defence tactic for girls her age.

Safiya would have been saved that horror if her mother knew well enoughto train her on Body Touch Limit. If she had given a mightily energetic scream like that other girl, the pure evil uncle would not have had the peace to continue defiling her.

2. Cultivated a closer relationship with Safiya. She dismissed her withdrawal and irritability as mere tantrums; that is a
big mistake. Parents indeed have a lot of fish to fry, ranging from trying to build a successful career or business, to taking
care of themselves and their spouses to keeping up with the social aspects, but taking extra care to pay attention to the
small details can save one a lot of heartache later. 

There's a big possibility that Safiya would have told her what the problem is. She is not old enough to get the full
import of what it means to die. A little loving prod and push would have gotten the words tumbling out.

It is important that parents actually talk WITH their kids. There is a whole world of difference between talking with and
talking to. A lot of parents only talk to their kids and not with them. This is a loophole that predators exploit to
thrive in their sinister business.

Other ways we can equip the girl child against rapists and all forms of sexual abuse are:

3. Enrolling them in a Martial Arts Class where they will be taught basic self-defense techniques against rapists. This is
fast becoming popular in Nigeria and Africa in general as more women are enrolling for this martial training. Parents are
increasingly appreciating the importance of getting their girls trained so they will be able to ward off threats and
escape. If oone does not have the time to go to a gym or stadium, the internet is replete with videos on self defense
against rapists; simple moves that can be easily mastered.

4. Encourage them to break the silence code! They might been victims of sexual harassment in the past, but keeping quiet
about it will only open up more girls to danger. They need to understand the one who should be ashamed is the vile rapists
and not them. They did not do anything to deserve being raped. Help them to turn the blame and guilt on the assaulters. 

Tell them to draw strength from Kiki Mordi who went through the sex for grades fire in UNILAG and emerged strong enough to
still be able to tell her story and stop the randy lecturers in their evil tracks so they do not continue destroying
lives.

Busola Dakolo came out decades after she was raped and sexually abused, allegedly, by pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo of COZA which triggered many
more chains of allegations against the said pastor.

We all have a responsibility to build a vibrant girl force. A force that breaks barriers and pulls down limiting ceilings.
A force that breaks beyond stereotypes and discrimination. 

A force that is unashamedly unscripted and unstoppable!


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