Sexual abuse and the girl child. A reading of “Faceless” by Amma Darko

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Sexual abuse and the girl child. A reading of “Faceless” by Amma Darko

 

INTRODUCTION

 

  • Background of the study

This chapter will be an eye opener to the menace of sexual abuse in a reading of “faceless” by Amma Darko. Sexual abuse, in Deegeer, (2011) view, refers to any sexual act that the child is made to endure against his or her own will or any action for which a child cannot make any firm decision due to his or her physical, emotional, mental or verbal immaturity. Acts like rape, fondling and sexual exploitation through child prostitution and pornography come under sexual abuse. (Deegeer, 2011:11). Faceless by Amma Darko revealed that baby T was sexually abused by her mother’s second lover, Kpakpo and was further defiled by Onko, a generous uncle who lived in the same compound with them and in whom she tried to confide. Darko’s landscape is not entirely bleak: she does offer hope in the form of Fofo, who by the end of the novel looks set on the right road, and in the form of MUTE, whose members are the positive role models of the novel. It might be said that the solutions offered by the novel are too simple, but Darko does leave enough in the air to suggest that nothing is certain. Indeed, the story is told with just enough skill to keep the reader guessing. While it is true that some of the characters sometimes feel a bit stereotyped, Darko is also capable of demonstrating some character complexity and contradictions, as in the case of the pimp Poison, who is also shown to be a victim through is own abuse as a child, but who now “no longer suffered the pain, he inflicted it.” These criticisms aside, Darko succeeds in hammering home a powerful message that it is children and the way they are treated that are the true measure of how societies are judged. It is through their eyes that the answers to the myriad moral predicaments that society finds itself in, are to be found.

 

However, child sexual abuse in Nigeria is an offence under several sections of chapter 21 of the country’s criminal code. The age of consent is 18 (Ezeamalu, 2015). UNICEF reported in 2015 that one in four girls and one in ten boys in Nigeria had experienced sexual violence before the age of 18 (UNICEF, 2015). According to a survey by Positive Action for Treatment Access, over 31.4 percent of girls there said that their first sexual encounter had been rape or forced sex of some kind (Akinlusi, Rabiu, Olawepo, Adewunmi, Ottun and Akinola, 2015). The Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development reported that 1,200 girls had been raped in 2012 in Rivers, a coastal state in southeastern Nigeria (Ohayi, 2014). According to UNICEF, six out of ten children in Nigeria experience emotional, physical or sexual abuse before the age of 18, with half experiencing physical violence (UNICEF, 2015).

 

On the other hand child sexual abuse or child molestation can be defined as a form of child abuse in which an adult or older adolescent uses a child for sexual stimulation. The forms of child sexual abuse include asking or pressuring the child to engage in sexual activities such as child pornography and Commercial sexual exploitation regardless of the outcome. Child sexual abuse can occur in various settings such as, formal institutions, at home, parks, pathways among others. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) stated that child marriage is the most prevalent form of sexual abuse of the girls. It is a global issue and affects both genders. Impact of child sexual abuse refers to the effect or results of sexual offences. The target group are the youth aged 16-30 years. (Woody 2012.). Impact of child sexual abuse among the children has resulted to various problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, self-harm, suicide, sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies, eating and sleeping disorders among others (Taylor, 2014). The victimized individuals are usually deeply wounded emotionally after an assault. Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) is a crime against children. It is largely underreported and commonly goes unpunished in our society as it is commonly perpetrated by close ones including family relations. Victims are left with the adverse sequelae associated with it sometimes for life.

 

As part of efforts to curb the increasing cases of sexual and other child abuses, it necessary to adopt Safe Kids Awareness Program for teaching of safe and unsafe touches to children in the state, making it child-friendly, developmentally appropriate, provides clear and positive messages about setting boundaries assertively, and generally teaches children without giving explicit information or scary stories, or even using the term “sexual abuse”. Children who are taught about preventing sexual abuse are more likely than others to tell a trusted adult if they have or are currently experiencing sexual abuse.

 

Sexual abuse and the girl child. A reading of “Faceless” by Amma Darko

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  1. lies April 2, 2020
    • projecttopics April 2, 2020

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