Girls Living in “Face – me – I – Face – You” at Risk

“Face-me-I – Face – You” houses are overcrowded living quarters where occupants share bathrooms, kitchen and compound. It is not uncommon to see a family of ten share just one room. It is a community of constant fights and chaos. People who live in such a place are usually low income earners who struggle to make ends meet.

I remember we once lived in a face-me-I – Face- You compound while growing up. My father would insist that we do not go out of our house to play with children of other tenants in the compound. Instead we were kept busy reading our books and doing our little house chores. He then went a step further to purchase a betamax video cassette player and lots of cartoons to keep us busy. These we will stay glued to whenever our parents were not around.

One time I made the mistake of getting involved in settling fights between two children in the compound. I got the spanking of my life! Why because my dad did not want us to keep bad company plus I was supposed to be home already with my siblings after attending an evening coaching lesson. So you see it was getting dark and my poor dad didn’t know I was somewhere in the compound so he went in search of me at the lesson afraid something bad had happened to me. Hmmm… I will never forget the discipline I got.

Little did I know that my Dad was only trying to protect us from horrible things that could happen to girls like I and my siblings. I was under ten years and I had two other sisters as at that time. As soon as dad could afford it he got us an apartment with more privacy in safer environment.

Later I got to know about girls who were sexually abused by neighbors. Some of the perpetrators were young boys their age or male adults.

We were protected by our very vigilant parents who knew better. Unfortunately many parents of children who live in face-me – I – Face – You are so careless and some just don’t know the dangers lurking around to grab their daughters.

I have come across horrifying stories that I don’t want to even begin to talk about here. Everyday one girl is waylaid in her community and sexually abused. Most times it is one old man or silly boy in the compound/next door who abuse such vulnerable girls.

What is the way forward here? Why am I ranting? There is a serious need to educate parents at the grassroot level to pay more attention to the safety of their children.

Any practical suggestions of what we can all do? While at it please educate as many people you happen to meet in your community and neighborhood about this.

Girls need to be protected from sexual predators. It starts with you.

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

A butterfly trapped in a school bus

Butterfly

A butterfly, beautiful but fragile
A butterfly helping with the pollination process
Beautiful flowers flourish as it moves from one nectar to the other.
A butterfly flies by my window, makes me  smile
Out in the fields children try to catch a butterfly from the many beautiful ones floating around. Butterfly 2

A hand catches a butterfly but on opening it,
The wings were crushed, the little girl felt sad and started to cry
Oh my beautiful butterfly is crushed

A four year old beautiful butterfly was deflowered by a bus driver who took her to school everyday so it went in a  news report.Then i decided to read further about the story. It came down to a horrifying detail. The news report says that the bus driver raped her on a table in her classroom!!! Where were the teachers? Who leaves a toddler in her class alone to be molested by the school bus driver?! Did he drop off all the other students before this incidence? What is the school’s yard stick for employing its drivers?  Many questions besieged my mind. Can’t a parent even feel safe with his or her ward’s school bus service, i asked myself.

On the other hand there are parents who do not engage the services of a school bus. They simply refuse to see the need to ensure that their children get to school safely. I find it amazing that a woman who has a small shop or sells Ate ties a wrapper early in the morning and sends of her 3year – 7year old to school by himself or herself. That is what i see in some Adugbo close by me. These same children would have to cross a quite busy road to get to their school. Soon it will be in the news that a car crushed some school students trying to cross the road by themselves! Or a young child gets raped in some lonely pathway between her house and school. Some would engage the services of an Okada rider to take and bring back their kids to and fro school. This morning i saw two girls on an Okada with the rider struggling to get a balance on a very busy road. A trio danger is involved here: accident, kidnap and rape of such girls by a depraved minded okada rider.

Seriously we need to make going to and been in school safer for children!

Photo Credit: Blue Butterfly- Clipart Panda

Photo 2: Royalty Free stock photo thank you for sharing- dreamstime.com

Word Glossary

Wrapper: Big and colourful or plain  West African clothing that can be tied around a woman’s waist like a wrap skirt.

Ate: Petty trading items like biscuits, sweets, tomatoes, etc displayed on a stand or tray.

Adugbo: Neighborhood

Okada: Nigerian local slogan for motorcycle

Okada Rider: Motorcycle rider

Adebisi Adetunji