One of the issues that came up at the Hopeful Heart’s workshop was that of sexual abuse by older adults of the opposite sex, in one particular case a daughter wanted to know how to handle sexual abuse by her father.
To explain sexual abuse, people talk about good touches and bad touches. We all know what a good touch feels like. A good touch might be a hug from your dad, a snuggle by your grandpa or uncle. But some touches feel bad or confusing. Your body is yours and you should be able to tell people when you don’t like them to touch you. Even if you don’t mind doing it or are curious, or want to make that person feel happy, sexual touching between adults of opposite sex and young girls is not OK.
Sexual abuse often involves a non-consent body contact with the opposite sex. This could include sexual kissing, touching, and oral, anal, or vaginal sex. Not all sexual abuse involves body contact, though, showing private parts can also be termed as indecent exposure and sexual abuse.
Sexual abuse can happen anywhere — at home, school, childcare, or even in a church or other religious building.
There are instances when you find yourself in such compromising situations and are able to walk/run away if the chances of coming in close contact again is remote, then run and keep your distance from such adults.
Where you find yourself in close proximity with the adult and you cannot avoid being in this situation with the person then you must TELL someone you trust (family or friends) and in addition seek help from a medical practitioner like a doctor, your GP or nurse. One thing is sure! You need help and you need to get help! Help comes when you let someone know. It takes a lot of courage to talk about this kind of thing, and sometimes it takes a while to feel strong enough to talk about it. That’s OK. Just know that, in the end, telling a safe person is the bravest thing you can do. It can feel really good when you takes steps to stay safe and happy and stop abuse from happening.
The way you tells and whom you tell will be different depending on the situation. The most important thing is to tell someone — or even several people — until someone takes action to stop the abuse from happening. Let another adult know that someone is hurting you, even if it’s someone you love say your father or brother.
Let the adult know you need to talk about something in private. If you’re not sure if it’s abuse, you can tell the person that something happened and you want to check to see if it might be abuse.
Here are some ideas of how you can get help:
– Talk to a trusted adult in person.
– Talk to a trusted adult on the phone.
– Write a note, an email, or send a letter to the trusted adult.
– Tell someone at school, like a school counselor, school nurse, teacher, or coach.
– Tell a trusted family member
– Tell someone who answers the phone at a hotline service for Sexual Abuse like the Lagos state ministry of women affairs – Child abuse helpline 08085753932, 08102678442 or contact
The Sexual Assault Referral Centre
Department of Family Medicine
Lagos State University Teaching Hospital
Ikeja-Lagos Tel: 08056268573
– Tell your Pastor / Spiritual leader if you feel safe to confide in them
Contribution by Abiola Orojo HR Practitioner & Life Coach