Pupils in a Chrisland School classroom. (Chrisland School)
The management of Chrisland Schools, one of the school’s teachers, Mr Adegboyeka Adenekan are fighting to defend themselves against accusations, that Adenekan had over weeks, molested a 3 year old whose name has been withheld, with good reason.
The matter dates back to November 2016 when the young girl told her mother, a social worker and the Police that Adenekan had “ used his wee-wee on her wee-wee and his mouth on her wee-wee”
According to reports, Adenekan is said to have groomed her with gifts and attention, ultimately defiling her within the school’s premises on more than one occasion.
It took the intervention of many parties to unravel the case and after an unexplained reluctance on her mother’s part, the matter was taken to court.
After remaining the subject of whispers and spots in the metro news for a while, a strong culture of sexual assault and violence against women has now been placed, front and centre, in popular conversation.
We are finally listening to cases of sexual abuse
Rape victims are now more likely to get an audience than they would have in the past.
Likewise, albeit reluctantly, men are learning to understand the lines of sexual relations and what habits and behaviours in a markedly patriarchal society have created this culture of sexual abuse.
Much of this is down to the gift of social media. Social platforms like Twitter have become the scene of some of the most definitive conversations about the topic.
The internet never forgets, they say, and I dare say, it also never lets anyone hide.
The immediacy of social networks means rape victims can quickly report incidents or even live-stream them and call the attention of the public to a potential or habitual sexual abuse.
In other cases, it helps to keep incidents on the burner. For a people that very easily forgets, it is important that a lot of these cases are not swept beneath the carpet.
This week, the matter involving Mr Adenekan resurfaced on social media, after the school in focus, Chrisland, released a letter defending itself and the teacher who has since been relocated to the school’s mainland annex.
Why is Chrisland Schools on the defensive?
In the text, among many senile assertions, it claimed that the matter seemed like a paid attack on the school’s integrity and that after building a culture over 30 or so years, it was certain that none of its teachers would commit a foul deed.
It has also been revealed that the school hired the services of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), the highest professional honour given in the Nigerian legal profession, to defend the accused teacher.
It is immensely demoralising that a school entrusted with the safety of a child would vehemently defend a person where the evidence so clearly leans against him.
It would sadden any parent that a suspected child molester is presumed innocent, even after his victim, a child, has identified him.
It leaves you wondering how many such cases have been overlooked, left unreported, dismissed or swept away at a time when there were no virtual communities like Twitter to ensure that justice is served.
How many other children are getting molested at school?
The thought is worrying, that while we grew up in the 1990s and 2000s, our friends, brothers, sisters and relatives may have been abused but left unheard because their voices were not loud enough or there was no-one to amplify them.
It only makes sense, that on Twitter, a user has shared an account of the abuse she suffered at the young age of three and the fate of some of her peers who were not lucky enough to be heard as she was.
A Nigerian school hires a SAN to defend a teacher against a 3 y/old’s accusation of sexual impropriety.
When I read that headline, I felt a heavy ball drop in my stomach. A potpourri of pain, incandescent rage, horror etc.
I have been there. I was 3.
Twitter User, shared the story of a caregiver who groomed her over a substantial period before manipulating her into performing fellatio on him.
He also tried to penetrate her and after the pain from the incident remained, she told her mum.
According to her tweets, her parents made sure justice was served, perhaps in a form rawer than one would expect, but some of her friends were not that lucky.
Not Edna* was molested by her female teacher from when they were 5 till she turned 9. Not Emem* who performed fellatio on a teacher for years but couldn’t tell anyone because her parents were hard as stone.
It was a time where people rarely ever talked about sensitive moral issues like sex and by extension, assault and molestation.
I can still hear the sound of the chair scraping the floor as he pulled it out and sat down. Then he lowered me from his shoulder, spread my legs and sat me across his crotch.
“Baby, wake up,” he said.
How can I forget that low, heavy breathing? Or the wetness of his lips on my forehead and lips? How can I forget the urgency of his fingers as they parted my panties and fumbled around my vulva?
I cannot forget how he said, “Baby wake up. I want to show you love.”
It is why this culture of sexual abuse got so strong, because molesters and abusers have learned that if they play their games well, no one will turn to ask questions or look suspiciously in their direction.
Well, all of that is changing. Still, the question arises; how do we deal with the fact that we may be entrusting our children to potential child molesters?
How do we protect our children?
How do you raise a child in today’s world to be conscious and wary of sexual abuse without over-shielding them from what now passes as reality?
We can take a good lesson from the lessons our Twitter user learned from her mother.
As is usually the case with children, her mother used the acronym PANTS to teach her what she called the pants rule.
“It’s not you, my darling,” she said, hugging me. By then she was crying.
She said I was brave. “I’m happy you told me.”
“You told me to tell you if anyone touches our wee wee,” I said.
Unlike her friends, my mother didn’t think sex education was too much for her toddlers.
P- Private parts are private.
A — Always remember that your body is yours.
N- No means no.
T- There are no secrets from Mummy.
S — Say something, so I can do something about it
These pointers served their purpose because she had learned to tell when she was touched in an inappropriate manner.
The value of these conversations cannot be overstated. We won’t change things all at once, but considering that anyone can be a molester, it only makes sense that we try as hard as we can to protect our children and find justice for those who have violated.