In Primary School Class Six, l remember l had a crush on one of my female mates. We walked together to school every day because we lived in the same neighbourhood. My friend was a very sweet and kind young girl who was ready to share the sweets that she brought from home. Ours was that innocent friendship because we only walked and sometimes never talked about anything. Then, one evening after school, my friend was nowhere to be found.
The next day a some of the older boys in the class reported that my young friend had carried the Class Six teacher’s books to his house. These older boys knew what it meant to carry the Class Six teacher’s books to his house and so started to tease her. This got to her parents and being a Church School, the Pastors and elders got involved in the case. It turned out that, this teacher, who also doubled as the Sunday School teacher, and so was trusted by the Pastors, had been preying on other young girls. Nothing happened to him and what we heard later was that, he had been transferred to another town. Whatever he did there we never got to know.
Unfortunately for my friend who was a very bright pupil, with a perhaps a good future, she could not achieve her dream of becoming a nurse because the incident with the teacher ended her education. She became pregnant before the age of 15 and that was by another teacher who never received any punishment. The parents simply forgave the erring the teacher who took advantage of their child. The poor girl’s life was destroyed further when the irresponsible man just vanished leaving her to look after the child.
That was my first proof that, the skin of the leopard is beautiful but not its heart. Leopards, that is what some of the people who commit rape and defilement are. They are different from the horrible monsters who attack in alleys and from the dark. Sometimes, those who commit these crimes, we forget to realise, are people that have been entrusted with the care of their victims.
It was for this reason, that l laughed when l heard people condemning these twin evils of rape and defilement with emotion on the air-waves during the past week. I was amused because attention was turned onto the monsters and not the trusted teachers, the people perceived as kind, and family members who have destroyed innocent lives over the years. In fact, you will be shocked to find out that in some of the people who prey on the innocent young girls, are supposed ‘angels’ who happen to be fathers and brothers. Their behaviour depicts exactly what Steve Maraboli indicates when he states: “be careful……not all are what they seem. Some people pretend to be the beach, but they are actually quicksand.”
Maraboli’s words are very true in life. How would you feel if you find out that your father-in-law once upon a time raped your wife when she was younger? As if that is not enough, what will you do, if you get to know that the daily sulking of your wife is because the man, the father, who walked her into the Church to give her to you in marriage, continues to sleep with your wife, his daughter? Very disgusting but these are stories that many women are carrying in their chests. They will die with them because, much as they are repulsed, they will not want to face public disgrace and ridicule as well as destroy the family name because the monsters, they call fathers are public figures.
These are not stories you expect to hear because they are abominable acts. I knew of cases of fathers defiling their daughters because a lot of these stories abound in Nima and Maamobi, where l grew up. What l never expected is the story of a father who continues to sleep with her daughter even after he gave her up in marriage. About two years ago, the now defunct, Weekend Sun carried the story of a lady whose father raped her as a young girl and continued to sleep with her throughout her adult years.
Apart from these cases that occur in the homes, there are other women who have scars of defilement from acts committed on them by their teachers when the victims were very young. These are the hundreds who are reminded of the pains inflicted on them by people they trust, but cannot open up to anyone. These are secrets that are killing them; at night they shed silent tears and by day they look very cheerful just to conceal their pain. There are also those victims who had to succumb to bosses because they needed a job or wanted to be promoted. These women will not open up to anyone and have kept the scars of their ordeal.
It is not only women or girls who have been raped or defiled. There are stories of young boys who have gone through these ordeals but have remained silent. This silence has created psychological problems for them because they did not come out to seek help.
Since these stories do not come out, we do not know how much destruction is being caused in the country. One interesting part of all this, is the fact that some opinion leaders today engaged in these sordid acts in the past. In the slums of Accra, there used to be the gang rape of young girls and in some cases, the boys used it to punish those girls they saw as very “arrogant”. It happened in the secondary schools as well and most of the young girls who were gang-raped will never come out.
There are also rumours that some young boys have been sodomised by Men of God. These cases have remained in the hearts of the victims who will never tell anyone and so continue to be pained. If only they could come out, they would be able to receive some psychological treatment to give them some relief.
Many of these victims of sexual crimes have been destroyed and most of them cry daily without shedding tears. No one but God can wipe away their tears. Now that we condemning the twin evils of rape and defilement, is it not about time the law enforcement agencies and the ministry of social welfare came out to investigate these issues properly?
In some countries, cases that go many years back are investigated, why don’t we try this? A National Enquiry on Rape and Defilement should be opened for victims to talk about these things. It will give the opportunity to some women and men to free themselves of the pains that have been inflicted on them.
This is not to suggest that yesterday’s cans of worms should be opened unnecessarily, but because we need to find an end to this issue of rape and defilement. On the other hand, it is about time the issue was looked at critically because it does seem that some of those who engage in such acts also need medical help.
In doing this, care must be taken to ensure that people are not unnecessarily accused of crimes they may not have committed. I know of a friend who was falsely accused by a lady who claimed she was jilted and went to the police to report that my friend committed date-rape with her in the past. It took months for my friend to prove his innocence in this case.
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