Hi! Nice to meet you…My name is, well, let’s see, I’d rather be anonymous for now. You can call me Silent Pain and yes it’s a metaphor. I won’t lie and say this trip into the dark of my mind is something I’m particularly thrilled about, but part of healing is speaking about it and sometimes a girl’s just gotta talk.
I was only four at the time, that didn’t stop him that night though. Neither did it stop him the days after, nor did my tears and cries soften his resolve.
For years, I carried within a dark secret; see the thing is, I’m a victim of sexual abuse.
Looking back, I guess we had different definitions for the word play. When he asked to be friends, my little head bobbed up and down in excitement. After all, what’s a child without friends; older or not, it really doesn’t matter. He called me his special friend. He said to keep our play a secret, not to tell a soul: not mummy and definitely not daddy. He’d be nice if I was a good girl and by good I mean if I let him play with my lady parts, no crying allowed not even when he slid into me and believe me it was painful and for reasons I could not fathom at the time, quite shameful. After all we were friends. I was his special friend. This was a form of play or so he told me
So each night I’d cry, ashamed and scared to tell a soul, then again I was just four so what did I know??? Perhaps this was just how older people played. Maybe their play involved a little too much touching than actual running.
So no, I did not protest, even when he made me touch him; I mean c’mon, I was still a child; besides he said not to tell. Nope, lemme rephrase he’d stop being nice, He’d stop buying little presents if I told and I did love presents so. Hold on, I remember now, if I told, mummy would be angry with me or was it that if I told, mummy would die??? Yeah…a little of this, little of that… and this cocktail of lies had me all mixed up inside. I became fear; I became confusion; I became shame; I became guilt.
So much for my barely there brain to have understood, and when I’d act out, fellas would shake heads and say, that’s one undisciplined child…. What was I to do??? I couldn’t tell, all I could do was to act out the pain and fear, the shame and confusion, the self-loathe and anger. It was hard really, Nobody understood, no one cared to see beyond the front, no one cared to see beyond a self-destructive four year old, yup, I was called self-destructive and I didn’t even know what it meant then, only that I was on the path of self-destruction. I can tell you this for sure; being his special friend was hard. If he asks, I still didn’t tell…
Child sexual abuse is a silent topic in Ghana. When I first thought of this, I said to myself there ought to be awareness. As of 2014, research conducted by the African Movement for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (APMCAN) indicated that about 33% of Ghanaian children were victims of sexual abuse. 60% of these victims are stigmatised. Studies show that the abuse is often at the hand of a person close to the child: a relative, a teacher, religious authority et al. Child sexual abuse is rarely reported; the ones that do get reported, most times leads no where due to a reluctance to testify by the victims. I believe the time is now to take a stance against sexual abuse among children in Ghana. Protect a life