And Busola Dakolo stepped forward

19 total views, no views today

Many years ago a staff of the international humanitarian body, The Red Cross, gifted me with a small pamphlet on the trauma of war as recorded by red cross volunteers and staff around the world. I read about men in great pain from years of starvation, amputees from wounds of war and men tattooed with hot iron metals for identification. The book also talks about the pained look of prisoners of war tortured by their captors in such discomforting detail. But a whole chapter was dedicated to the women captured by warring men on either side used as cooks and shields and water fetchers.

More importantly, the volunteers said the women looked physically okay and had no tattoo marks or amputated limbs so he recorded them as in good health but recommended psychological evaluation due to trauma. But when he returned the following day with two other colleagues, he saw a hollow in the eyes of the women, a different sorrow from the men, deeper and more intense, pleading eyes and a haunting look he will never forget. He described it as akin to a shell staring past him. He said when he looked at the women a second time, they all seemed to have emptied themselves deliberately to remain sane. It was the look, he said, of people who no longer had the will to live and yet they had seemed okay the day before.

On the visiting team was a psychiatrist who had requested a fast track psychological profile of the women as their look was disturbing. In the end, after several weeks of talking to the women, the result of the interviews returned multiple cases of rape across all the women, the youngest being 14 and the oldest, 65. All had been … Read More...

The Courage to Speak – The Church and Child Sexual Abuse

23 total views, no views today

Busola Dakolo, a professional photographer and a Nigerian celebrity has recently recounted painful and uncomfortable details of rape she experienced as a teenager in an interview that has sent shock-waves across social media. The alleged rapist has been named as Biodun Fatoyinbo, a Senior Pastor of The Commonwealth of Zion Church. The public reaction was swift with most people showing support for Busola, while Fatoyinbo released a statement denying the allegations.

Her disclosure has ignited a conversation about the unchecked prevalence of sexual abuse in churches in Nigeria and has shown Busola as the courageous hero she is. To understand the importance of her actions in speaking out publicly, we must understand a number of things. Firstly, that sexual assault has a devastating impact; secondly, that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 10 boys in Nigeria experience sexual violence before they reach the age of 18; and thirdly, that most children do not disclose sexual abuse experiences because they are ashamed and afraid of not being believed, afraid of social rejection and stigmatization, and are afraid of the predator. To make matters worse, only 2% of girls and 4% of boys in Nigeria know where to get help after abuse.

It is generally acknowledged that child sexual abuse is more about power than about sex, and typically occurs within asymmetrical power dynamics, where the perpetrator is in a dominant position in relation to the victim. However, these fears and the after-effect of abuse are exacerbated where the sexual abuse of a child involves a breach of trust. Where an authority figure is the perpetrator, an abused child experiences intimidation and is even more reluctant to report. When person in a position of authority abuses his/her position and uses that power to abuse children, the … Read More...