Coach Sam Obafemi is an Emotional Bahavioural therapist, who specializes in helping people recover from shock, abuse as well as anger and stress management. He is the founder of Sam Obafemi Behavioural Change Academy (SOBCA) located in Lagos and Abuja.
ENCOMIUM Weekly had an interview with him on why men rape minors and other sundry issues…
Why are men interested in minors?
Predominantly, this is a mental condition called Pedophilia (people who sexually indulge minors are called pedophiles), where adults find pleasure in getting sexual satisfaction from younger aged individuals. There is no proven pattern why this is triggered since there could be so many reasons why adults do this but the few that I can mention include: revenge against society (for adults who are/were abused/molested themselves), unchecked history of sexual perversion, and mental illness. Suffice to also say that it is not only men who abuse minors.
Abuse is not a gender problem. No gender has the monopoly of this behaviour. We have found ladies abuse minor males and females like them; just as men abuse minor males and females too. The reported statistics suggest that men do it more, but I can tell you from my therapy cases that so many female incidences are unreported.
Most ladies are viewed as soft abusers and when a girl is touched by a lady, there is a tendency for her to see it as ‘normal’. When a boy is touched by an adult lady, the curiosity or excitement of the experience makes it impossible to report; and more because lady abusers are not visible among our statistics so the abused children probably do not see this as abuse. Majority of children are trained to see men as abusers and ladies as friendly ‘Aunties’.
How can men control themselves?
There is a lot of work to be done in this area. First, we need to merge efforts to do our grooming right. Minors should be educated and given freedom to report, call out and reject abuse in any form. Even if it happens in secret or under any form of duress, children should be trained to say it to any adult (and as many adults as possible) until someone does something about it.
When this trust is secured, the number of abuses will crash. Another effective strategy is to create a system of enforced therapy. Abusers don’t only need prosecution. Actually, they need more of therapy too. So there should be intense and sustained therapy to rehabilitate men and women who abuse minors.
I think the main challenge here is funding. Who will fund the therapies of the gross numbers of abusers that Nigeria has raised? How many professional and effective therapists do we have in Nigeria? So to add to the enforced therapy suggestion, I would add that we need the private sector and investors to assist with developing systems and organisations where this service become very affordable and accessible. I have been doing therapies for almost a decade now and I tell you, therapy is costly.
Majority of patients cannot afford it. This in itself is a limitation that frustrates the process. For men to control themselves successfully, we must discontinue judging and penalising alone. We must rehabilitate and engage too. It is a combo effort.
What are the danger signals victims should watch out for?
Victims should be trained to know that abusers seek opportunities to be alone with them. Being alone with them does not mean privacy only. It also means close proximity in sitting, standing, riding, and any form of contact.
I once was told of a man who rode a bike with a girl child in front of his bike and her mother on the back seat. The man was fondling the girl as he rode her and her mum to their house. Upon leaving the girl and her mum, the mum discovered the girl bleeding.
The ‘okada man’ had fingered her badly to injure her. How sickening can this get? So primarily, no minor should be left alone with an adult, as much as possible. While this may sound outrageous and extreme, I must advise that trust is impossible with children minders.
This is a mindset that should be a checker to forestall this unending malaise. Parents should discourage adults from calling children ‘my wife’ or ‘my husband’. This is a key strategy towards blackmailing these children into succumbing to abuse. Lastly, like I said before, encourage your child to tell you anything and everything. It is key.
Will you say rape cases is on the rise?
Yes, unfortunately; especially in Nigeria because we do not have the infrastructure, the political will and the decency to be vulnerable even when it affects our own known family members.
How can a rape victim get over the experience?
The experience of abuse can last a lifetime. It can be a lifelong battle. The natural approach towards handling such challenges is therapy. Abused children need to be helped to understand they are not the problem, they are not at fault, and that they are not objects that were used.
This is because abuse reduces one’s self worth if not handled properly, so these souls need to be empowered afresh to know that they are not the incidence. They have only been through an event; an incidence of a time in the past.
Such children need to be accepted and shown love. They need to be helped to forgive their trespassers and grow capacity to seek ways to help such people (even if it is only in their minds). When a child feels compassion for the state of mind of an abuser, it goes a long way to heal the child too.
Recovery cannot be expected at a particular time. It is just an open ended optimistic journey. The best focus is to ensure the procedure is long term and consistent. This works.
- SHADE WESLEY-METIBOGUN