Written by: Admin_SheEvo
We can all agree that sex talk is taboo in our African community. Or maybe I’m wrong. But I think it’s time we start having these conversations. I think it’s time we teach our kids that they can come to us when something happens. We may not need to use explicit words like grown-ups do. Instead, we could use a language comfortable for both the child and the adult. We should also teach our kids that anyone who does wrong must be held accountable regardless of who it is. Why am I saying this? As far as I can remember, as a young girl, I was constantly molested by my uncle from my mom’s side of the family. He would use any and every opportunity he got to assault me sexually. Be it on Christmas on the kitchen floor or when he visited our house.
I love my mom to death. I could so readily lay my life down for her, knowing she would do the same for me. But how would I communicate to her that her beloved brother had been defiling me since I was in class 3 or 8 years old? We don’t talk about sex. Instead, she trusts her brother to protect us against the monsters under the bed without knowing he is the monster.
If I tell her, will she give me a whooping and call me a whore? Will she say that I was the one who seduced this man? Will she say that I had been dressing like a whore, and that’s why I attracted his attention? If I tell her, will she choose her brother over her child? Do I want to be the reason a family breaks down and so much pain is caused? Will I be able to handle the ostracization as just a child?
My grandmother, God bless her, has a knack for making you feel like an unclean human. I remember when she accused me of delaying picking up the milk because I was playing with boys. Implying that I was being a whore. I was 9 or 10; I can’t remember. In reality, I had just come from school and was helping my mom with evening preparations before I dashed to collect the milk.
Now, in my young mind, I could understand that if I ever came out with the information that my blood uncle had been defiling me, I would be opening the gates of hell. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe if I had spoken up, things would have been different. I don’t know. What I know is that the fact that talking about sex and the things that come with it was such a taboo in our community I felt that I could not speak up. I wanted to. But how was it going to be received? Where was I even going to start?
I am willing to bet that many other women have gone through the same at the hands of their trusted relatives. And they kept quiet for whatever reasons. But what if now, as women, we teach our children as young as possible that they can come to us when something abnormal happens? They can trust us to tell us when the monsters are lurking in the shadows, and they feel unsafe. They come to us even when that favourite relative does something atypical to them, and we will protect them. We are their safe haven and will go to any length and depth to ensure their safety. What if we did that?
To all the women and parents, monsters are not under the bed. Sometimes they are disguised as family and friends. So keep a close eye and let your children know they can tell anyone, no matter who it is.