Trigger warning: This article contains content surrounding sexual abuse.
An unfortunate incident occurred on the internet this past week. Children who were sent to another country to participate in a competition had a sexual interaction that was captured on video and was eventually leaked onto the internet. There are many reports as to the nature of the sexual interaction that occurred between the children. Some of the reports say that the girl in the video was inebriated and then made to perform sexual acts. Some other reports say the opposite, that everything that happened was entirely consensual and all parties looked to be enjoying themselves. Here is what I do know. I did not watch any of the videos, so I cannot speak to the mental state of any parties present. What I can however speak on is that there was a ten-year-old girl, in a room alone with thirteen-year-old boys. I know that as a child, the urge to impress the opposite sex was very prevalent. There were a lot of steps that would be taken often in order to be seen as desirable. Now, the extent in which every girl was willing to go to achieve this was obviously different. However, when in another country, unsupervised by the adults sent to be with them and probably after boasting of her capabilities, there is an urge to live up to those desires.
I also know that we are completely unaware of the background of this girl child. We do not know if she has been abused or neglected at home. We also have no way of knowing whether or not she has developed a healthy self-esteem and understanding of boundaries. I know at that age, I got taken advantage of quite often because I had a weak sense of self. I hardly knew how to speak up for myself or discuss my needs with others. Being sheltered meant that I was hardly ever alone with the opposite sex, but this does not stop children from being sexually abused.
Sexual abuse can occur within the confines of the home, from people that children trust wholly. I also know that within the hour of the child porn being released many Nigerians gleefully shared and discussed its contents. In order to make sure that the girl paid for her crimes, they vilified her mother and insisted that it was impossible the girl was being taken advantage of at that moment. They called a child an experienced whore and insisted that she was the one even taking advantage of the boys. They pulled content out of the girl’s social media and referred to her dancing as erotic dances. They played a child out to be a master seductress and a depraved one at that. They said many things about how she needed to be physically hurt and bent into submission. They said that if she was their child, they would ensure that her joy never again sees the light of the day. They berated her parents for letting her have access to telephones and other social media platforms. They made a child out to be a villain when they knew she had no voice. Instead of shielding her, they turned her out to be a spectacle.
I know that little was said about the boys in the video, except for people passionately coming to their defense against the accusation levelled against them by the girl’s mother. There was no mention of the fact that out of the boys in the room, she was the only girl. How could they play truth or dare with just one girl present? There was barely any mention of the fact that while the sexual interaction went on, another boy took his phone out to record. In what world is that not practised or planned to some extent. Yes, children explore but hardly do they film adult acts. It is one thing for a child to play their hand at sexuality, and it is another thing for a child to have expert knowledge of adult sexual interaction. I know for a fact that the girl’s behavior was learnt from someone who is not within her age group. However, this was easily discarded in the efforts to paint her as a Jezebel.
My heart hurts for a young girl who will now be permanently scarred as a result of the foolishness and failures of adults around her. Her teachers failed by not ensuring the kids were well supervised during an out of state event. While efforts were made to take down the video from social media sites, bloggers shared child porn far and wide. Many adults went as far as saving the video onto their phones and encouraging others to watch. In a better country, we would all be made aware of why the situation is delicate and sanctions passed in order to ensure that those who insist to flout the rules and share the video be punished accordingly. I really hope that the girl, wherever she is, is safe and loved. I stand by her mother’s insistence on believing her child rather than throwing her to the wolves and letting the school exploit her innocence. I chastise Chrisland for taking the child to have a pregnancy test done without the consent of her guardians, rather than immediately checking on her mental welfare and seeking the assistance of her parents in managing her safety. This is not the first time the school has been involved in such a situation, as they were complicit in covering up the child abuse of another young girl in their custody, this time by a teacher. While the school is now shut down, my sincere hope is that they are brought to book and held accountable for their actions. The person who is the most affected by this is the girl child, seeing as little is being said about the boys involved. Thus, she must be protected in any way possible.