Tag Archives: Preventing Child Abuse

Another Form of Child Abuse?

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I saw something interesting today. My occasional bus ride to work when I want to beat certain traffic and not get stopped on the way for it, yields me delight every time! Today I had mixed feelings and this is why.

After I got into the vehicle, followed by two other ladies, the last occupant was a girl-child with her school bag, carrying her brother with his school bag behind him and they sat by the door! I could hear the mother’s plea to the Conductor not to leave the door open. But we know in Lagos, it is style to leave the door open, hang on the door or behind the vehicle answering calls as the driver speeds on as if chased by a demon! STYLE!

What the Conductor did was to block where the children sat with his body (his head was in and derriere jutting out for stability) as he collected his charge and gave change. Being concerned for the child, I kept asking him to shut the door, he politely ignored me, at some point the lady beside the girl-child took the brother and positioned him in front of her and it felt a little safe. When a passenger got down by the next stop, the Conductor moved her into a better location. Phew!

Before that move, we saw her brother collect money from her and tried bending down from his tight spot but the lady held him up. He tried it again, this time his sister did the same too. We noticed that they were sticking their balance (apparently for lunch or snack or transport back) into their socks, to prevent it from being stolen! Hmmm. LOL. See wisdom.

Why am I saddened?

She fell asleep during this trip after her relocation to a better seat. I started imagining what time she woke up to prepare for school. I imagined the long trip to school. I imagined how she will ‘drag’ aka ‘compete’ with other bus users (who are going home tired and not in a pleasant mood to allow a child get on the bus before them) for a space on the bus home pulling her brother with her (and their bags). I wondered, why they had to travel this distance to attend a public school unaccompanied, when they had other public schools near their home they could attend.

You might argue that this one is cheaper. But by the time you add the cost of transportation to and fro, the different hazards on the road, you will agree their parents should have a re-think.

Guess what, He is 3 years old and she is 9!

ChildAbuse

Pix credit: Child Abuse

©2017. Frances Kelvin Otung. All rights reserved.

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#FreedomFriday – Happy Innocence Day

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When I was a child, Innocence used to live in my community

Yes, they were bullies, but also mothers that stood up to resist

And fathers that sent you back to school to return with a trophy

There were mothers who could leave their children for the market

And return to meet them alive and in one piece.

Fathers who taught boys how to be men and not celebrate the beast in them

Fathers who knew to be proud of their legacy, wealthy or not!

Back then, it felt good to be a child, as my short baby dress wasn’t an invitation

But a girl beautifully dressed with ribbons and matching socks…

Trusting fingers clinging to out-stretched adult hands

Giggling as my feet left the ground; above an uncle’s shoulder…

When Innocence was a child like me!

Now Innocence is grown in more ways than she should

The quick movement of retreating eyes tell sordid tales

Of several forms of abuse, unspoken and unreached hurts

Innocence wears a gown not her size, trying desperately to hide

Yet searching ‘Hawks’ snatch her fresh before Momma turns to defend

Making a woman of her, laden with a child. Yet, she herself is one!

I don’t know if Innocence will return…

But I seek all who will her cause defend and Hawks prevent

Will you join me? So we truly have a Happy Children’s day.

*Both male and female gender suffer different forms of abuse and need to be cared for, defended, loved and made to enjoy their innocence. Let’s be the voice of the new-born,  3-month baby who can’t form words yet or the one whose truth is disbelieved.
**We still have parents that believe in family values and uphold them at every given opportunity.

©2016. Frances Kelvin Otung. All rights reserved