We live in a crazy world, don’t we?

Sometime last week, a video made the rounds on the Nigerian interwebs. It was an explicit video of a 14yr old girl and a 4yr old boy having sex. Yes, 4. Year. Old. Boy! If you never came across it, I can assure you it was the whole shebazz. The little boy had an erect phallus which he, without doubt, knew how to use and use it, he certainly did. He also used his fingers, his mouth, his tongue… Basically, he showed prowess. All the while accompanied by his ‘co-star’.

I gathered all this from watching about one-and-a-half minutes of the 10-minute-clip, as well as the comments that were shared on twitter. The outcry was frenzied and was largely that of disgust and disbelief. Especially as, according to the uploader, this occurred right here in Naija, somewhere in Warri, Delta state.

I read comments that decried those sharing the link as basically being child pornographers. Others said the girl in the video was a devil and a witch for her actions and a debate began on the role of househelps and the need or needlessness of their services (it is easy to assume from the video that the girl was a househelp and the boy, a ward placed in her care). Others were upset at the person(s) who had recorded such a video rather than scream at the two children to stop what they were doing and/or immediately report them to the boy’s parent(s).

I had my own reaction to the video and to the different reactions I saw but chose not to share at the time. To the video itself, I was stunned! Who wouldn’t be? I imagined a situation where I’d never seen or heard of the video and someone telling me a 4-yr-old boy could purposely engage in sexual intercourse and even have and maintain an erection and I know without a doubt that I would have vehemently argued the impossibility of it. To the heated comments, one of my first observations was that a lot of people jumped to conclusions. I will elaborate a little.

For those who berated those sharing the link for ‘aiding’ the spread of child pornography, I somewhat disagreed. First off, the video was not a professional one. The scene was a make-shift bathroom constructed basically of corrugated iron sheets and a few pakos used to hold it together. It was recorded very likely with a camera phone (the video was low-res and the camera moved around a lot) through a peep-hole. The girl kept glancing around furtively to make sure they were not found out. From all appearances, neither she nor the boy were aware they were being recorded. Secondly, while I would myself never have shared the video or its link, I see those that did as sharing something that, depending on who received it, could be educative or harmful.

As for those who thought that instead of recording a video, the person(s) behind the camera should have scared the children away and/or alerted (other) adults and parents, I’d like to play a little bit of ‘devil’s advocate’. I say first that one cannot jump to conclusions that they were adults or that scaring the kids away would have solved the problem considering they could just get down once again once they had the chance. For all we know, the video may have been used to confirm on-going suspicions some may have had and then to report the irrefutable evidence to the wards of the children. Also, at the end of the day, recording and sharing the video eventually served/serves a greater purpose: informing, alerting and educating those of us who would never have believed that such exists/existed without such evidence. I personally see this video surfacing as a learning opportunity.

As for those who believed the 14yr old was an evil, little girl, @gbemisoke, a mother of three and someone whose opinions and beliefs I have come to greatly value on my timeline and on her blog had the following to share and it resonated so well with me that I retweeted all of it and then sought her permission to share it in this blogpost. Please pardon any disjointedness. She wrote this in the form of many tweets, each of which had a 140 character limit. I chose not to edit so as not to detract from anything she said.

Her words:

Children have been molested, are being molested and will be molested. Sad, but it is what it is. It’s a vicious cycle. Today a victim, tomorrow a perpetrator. It’s sad, but it’s true. It’s a crazy world we live in.

I owe it to my children to protect them. I can’t be with them all the time, so what do I do? Bath time is one of my favorite teaching opportunities. I tell my 4yr old, this is your penis, it’s private, don’t let anyone touch it. If anyone touches your penis you do what? “Tell mummy” he replies. I’m also teaching him not to be a perpetrator. Don’t touch anyone’s penis. The other day, he asked me, “where’s Alexis’ penis?” Teaching opportunity. I told him she has a vagina. He says “bagyna” but he gets it. The other day he said “Mummy, Alexis “bagyna” is private”. I’m hoping that keeping the lines of communication open will protect my children. There are lots of messed up people. Many of them are victims of other messed up people.

The 14 year old girl is a victim. I feel sorry for her. She’s someone’s child. We can’t be with our children all the time but we can equip them with tools to protect them. Teach them, listen to them, pray. Watch and pray. Call body parts by their names. Penis. Vagina. Don’t teach children “willy willy” or “kini”. Let’s not confuse them. That way, when a child says “he touched my penis”, you know exactly what he’s talking about.

Abusers are often relatives. Don’t shush them. Answer their questions honestly. They know more than you think they do. I was reading the other day about a 6yr old that was already being labeled a sex offender. There’s a 9yr old on the sex offender registry. The idea that children can become “corrupt” when you teach them about sex or sexuality is why abuse often goes unreported. I’m not going to let the world teach my child it’s perverted version of the beautiful gift from God that sex really is. Sex is not “that dirty thing” or “iranu” like my people call it. It’s a precious gift from God that has been abused.

If the maids were the actual problem, child molestation would be non existent here. Let’s not ignore the real issue(s). The maid is NOT the problem. She’s a victim too. Who taught her? Have you not heard of fathers molesting their kids? Leave “Ekaette” alone. She is a victim turned perpetrator. A victim of our “my (sexual) needs can be met however I deem fit” world. Hypothetical scenario. Preteen maid is molested by son, she is a bad girl. Boy gets a free pass, cos “boys will be boys”. Girl goes on to molest toddler. She’s evil. Many of us know men who have molested their maids. My friend’s dad made three of their maids pregnant. We raise our sons to think they have no control over their sex drive. It’s ok for them to sow their wild oats. It’s complicated. The world is crazy.

I can’t change the world. I can only prayerfully attempt to bring up children that do not end up victims. Not just that, they will not be perpetrators too. So help me God. At the church parking lot the other day, I heard a grown man in his 40s tell 2 other men how his school mother raped him. They laughed. Abuse has happened, is happening and will happen. Social media just makes us all more aware. Let’s learn & take steps to protect our kids. No need to get sanctimonious.

And those are her thoughts. What are yours?