By Okeoghene Akubuike
Mr Adetodun Ajiboye, a clinical Psychologist, has stressed the need for continuous, proper sex education in homes, schools and places of worship to curtail the increasing rate of sexual abuse of children.
Ajiboye, who works with Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, Ado-Ekiti, made the call in a telephone interview with our correspondent.
According to him, child sexual abuse is a form of molestation where an adult or older adolescent uses a child for sexual stimulation.
Ajiboye said that sex education must not be relegated to the background or seen as a taboo but must be taught to children as early as possible, to prevent sexual abuse.
“Parents must pass sex education to their children; churches should also talk about it in a godly way.
“The responsibility of government is to get involved in sex education by ensuring that it is taught in our schools.
“Another thing is that the right words must be used for example penis, vagina and buttocks; we should not shy away from these things.
“We must tell our children that if anyone touches their buttocks, penis or vagina, they must shout for help immediately and report to their parents.’’
He said that research had shown that 30 per cent of sexual abuse offenders were close relatives of the child such as father, brother, cousin or uncle, while 60 per cent were other acquaintances including family friends, Teachers, baby sitters or neighbours.
Ajiboye added that the remaining 10 per cent were strangers such as rapists or armed robbers.
“From this statistics, it becomes necessary to say that one cannot be too careful because sexual molestation can happen between siblings.
The psychologist noted that paedophilia, a psychiatric disorder where the sufferer had a high interest in having sex with children between zero to nine years was also on the increase in the country.
Ajiboye, however, said that instead of killing such people, they could be helped by a specialist through psycho-therapy and cognitive restructuring.
“This will help them restructure their thoughts of having sex with children.”
The clinical psychologist added that carelessness on the part of parents could create an environment for the occurrence of abuse of the child.
He therefore, advised parents to have separate rooms for boys and girls in their homes and also monitor their children’s movement, what they watched and engaged in.
‘’So, parents especially mothers, need to be vigilant and careful where they drop their kids because anyone can molest a child.’’
According to him, sexual abuse can have both psychological and physical effects on the child, which could be immediate or later in the child’s life.
He listed some of the psychological effects to include anxiety disorder such as panic attacks or phobia for the opposite sex, post traumatic stress disorder where the child replays the episodes of the abuse and insomnia.
“Others are depression, low self-esteem, neurological damage, feelings of crawling sensations on the body and regressive behaviours such as bed wetting or thumb sucking.
“However, it must be noted that not all children who thumb suck or bed wet have been molested.
“Some of the physical effects include Vesico-Vaginal Fistula, sexually transmitted diseases or infections, early pregnancy, injury and bleeding in the private part.’’
Ajiboye identified different forms of child sexual abuse to include early marriage, child prostitution, child trafficking and child pornography, adding that all these were prevalent in Nigeria.