By Anani Sunday
There are some preposterous stories featured in the newspapers which irk the readers. Examples of such irksome reports are the ignominious cases of incest, rape and bestiality. More common however, are the incestuous act of a father having a carnal knowledge, ie, sexual intercourse with his daughter (not a step-daughter) and that of rape, usually between an aged man and a young girl. More often than not, such shameful sexual acts result in unwanted or teenage pregnancies. And because both crimes (incest and rape) are punishable under the Law, the Police prosecute the suspects. When arraigned in the court, the suspected fathers (in the case of incest) and therapists wear long faces as they lie against the devil whom they always blame as the unseen force behind their immoral conducts. It has got to a point that I get turned off whenever I sight the news headlines suggesting incest. I don’t bother to peruse the body of the work because I consider the reports disgusting. Reading it therefore is a deliberate time-wastage.
Just as I was dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s of this piece, I decided to read the news of the day on the website of the Punch newspaper. I was, as usual, greeted with the following headlines: ‘Man, 45, arrested for defiling six-year-old’, ‘Nigerian arrested for raping 15-year-old’, ‘Man arrested for death of a teenager after unsuccessful abortion’, ‘Pastor accused of raping 12-year old girl’, etc. This mentioned cases and many other similar episodes take the centre stage in our suburbs. We appear to be playing the ostrich as it seems we now live with them as if they were normal occurrences that shouldn’t make us raise our eyebrows. But what can we really do to remedy the situation? Obviously, the young girls are a set of endangered creatures.
A teenager is a person within the age bracket of 13-19 years. A cursory look at our national dailies reveals that teenage pregnancy has reached a level where teens become pregnant almost at will. It is worrisome as it appears as if pregnancy has suddenly become an attractive gift item on display on a supermarket shelf, and which people (teens in this case) now pick up at give-away prices, with little or no negotiation. This is commonly the case with the wayward young girls and those put in the family line by sex-hungry men. Recently, I read the pathetic accounts of two different young mothers. The first was that of a 21-year-old mother who reportedly left her crying baby in the room and proceeded to commit suicide by hanging in her matrimonial home. The husband only returned to find his better-half dangling loosely in the air. The second was that of a 19-year old mother, who according to the report had not weaned her first child before she put to bed again! Soon, probably out of frustration, wickedness or shame, she strangled the new baby to death and dumped the corpse in a well. Wicked! These two cases can be traced to emotional depression, frustration, rejection, poverty and shame, but which are not acceptable alibis, ie, excuses for murder or suicide.
We are sometimes disappointed or even annoyed when we suddenly hear of or see our former secondary school female colleague or a young girl within the secondary school age bracket with an unusually bulging stomach. And you should be in the know that when a lady’s stomach begins to bulge out month after month, it is a clear signal that in not later than nine months, one additional person will be added to the already over seven billion population of the world through her. This is more prevalent in suburbs where unholy sexual shenanigans are the order of the day among the youths who consider sexual escapade as a good avenue for displaying their ‘maturity’. One would have been less concerned if these teeny-weeny pregnancy cases come up at the right time — at least when the concerned persons are of marriageable ages. In fact, let me not open another room for argument, as the question of when a man or woman can be considered fit for marriage is a contentious issue with people having varying opinions.
The causes of this despicable trend are numerous. They include, inter alia: sexual and self-indiscipline, bad parental training, peer pressure, rape, incest and the desire of the 21st Century female-child to be a teeny bopper. Of more importance is the rather too-early discontinuity in the formal education of the girl-child. With regards to the last causal factor, it is not unlikely that the average number of girls who stop schooling, before or immediately after their Senior Secondary Certificate Examination is greater than the number of those who proceed to the higher institutions. This is partly occasioned by the seeming difficulty in securing university admission, financial incapability, waning zeal for formal education, etc. And where a girl is out of school,there is a high tendency that she becomes a prey to the sex-ravenous free-living male youths in her neighbourhood whose target is to ‘hatch every egg’ that comes their way. Proper home training, the fear of God and the personal resolution to maintain chastity are possible factors that could keep her from falling into the hands of the men of Sodom who were determined to even have sex with angels.
Sexual indiscipline, which sweeps through even business organisations has caused more pains than any gain as it leaves behind it, the tales of woes.
Bosses drop their pants at the slightest sexual provocation. At the level of the youths, the aftermaths, chief among which is teenage pregnancy, include child-abandonment and a high rate of maternal mortality since in most cases; the expectant teen mothers do not have access to pre-natal healthcare. Other side effects include suicides, child trafficking and disconnection of the affected girl from the society due to shame. In addition too, there could be poor mental health and depression resulting from frustration, malnutrition due to poverty, stigmatisation and possible contraction of Sexually Transmitted Diseases.
It is high time we rose up against this scourge that denies the female folks of a promising future as envisaged by every well-meaning parent. Parents need to perform their responsibility of educating their children informally on the inherent dangers of early pregnancy. They need to discard the belief that investing in the education of a female child is a waste on the premise that she will someday end up as a housewife. The saying, which implies that the education of a woman is the education of a nation, should be fully appreciated by parents. They should, therefore also provide the necessary supports to ensure that their children pursue their formal education to, at least, the University level.
On the other hand too, they could also be gainfully employed in other various semi-skilled enterprises. Female teens should be resolved to make themselves count in the society rather than to be carried away by youthful frivolities. The fact that the woman is regarded as the weaker vessel should not lead them to setting psychological limits to the achievements they can record in their chosen endeavours. With ‘masculine’ women at the helms of affairs in top world organisations and even as Presidents in countries such as Liberia, Argentina, Brazil and as the Chancellor of Germany, female youths should be ready to shun every act that truncates a bright destiny. It is important to know that youths will not remain youths forever.
But for the men suffering from paedophilia, their condition has gone beyond just being charged to the court, they need urgent prayer and deliverance!
By Sunday Anani K.
Ogunjimi James Taiwo