Descent into the dark ages? Heaven forbid!!!


Nigerian movies are replete with scenes of wives fighting girl friends or second wives of husbands, boyfriends or significant others. We watch sometimes and put it all down to theatrics…especially, the ‘if I catch him, I will kill him, kill and then kill myself’ dictum. I’ve never understood how all the killing, literally or figuratively solves any problem. But one thing that none of us can quarrel with is the raw emotion that is felt when one is confronted by this scene…it can make one commit a serious crime and indeed plead ‘temporary insanity’ in court. This is one end of the spectrum.

The other end, in my book, equally as serious and perhaps more emotion laden, is the feeling experienced by a parent should they ever be in the unfortunate position of knowing that their child has been ‘defiled’ or even put in a compromising position by an older person who should know better. The rage, the emotions, the momentary craziness/madness can only be imagined. God forbid that any of us be placed in this situation. These children are meant to be protected, treasured, moulded, taught etc. With this singular act, they lose faith in mankind and begin to see the world through jaded eyes. The psychological impact is also not lost on us. They sometimes never recover from this and regard every member of the opposite sex with fear and suspicion.

Should this ‘defilement’ end up with a pregnancy or perhaps a Sexually Transmitted Infection, then it becomes an even more painful episode that can’t be easily moved on from (as if that were possible even without these added complications).

For the pregnancy in these ‘young’ mothers, several complications are just lurking round the corner including the most popular Vesico vaginal Fistula. This is a situation in which urine leaks constantly from an abnormal connection between the urinary bladder and the vagina. These patients have a persistent smell of urine all around and over them. They are pariah in the society…perhaps the same society that looked on happily when they were being defiled.

Other complications include the emotional immaturity of dealing with the MANY needs of a child, the risk of having low birth weight babies, pre-term babies, high blood pressure, anaemia etc.

What parent would allow their child to go through this without wrathfully doing something or indeed look blissfully on while this happens? In other climes, this is regarded as pedophilia and indeed, offenders are punished with the full wrath of the law.

So where is my dear country missing the point? If marriage confers adulthood on a child, then at what point in her childhood is this marriage allowed to be contracted? Is there a ‘grey zone’ before marriage and then immediately afterwards, everyone understands that this is legal and the child becomes an adult? Can a 6 year old get married and immediately become an adult? So the ‘child’ is a child at the point of marriage (at which point I believe the marriage can be stopped and the person pursuing this liaison sued?) and immediately becomes an adult after the marriage (at which time, person in question cannot be sued and perhaps if there is a subsisting matter in court, it could be thrown out for being inappropriate since the child is now an adult?) I’m absolutely confused. Questions and questions…painful questions and even more painful soliloquy!

Let’s not give dirty old men an excuse to look at our daughters in inappropriate ways and not have all the books of law in the world thrown at them! Or vice versa…

The social implications of this are terrifying but the health implications are even more horrifying! I sincerely hope we don’t take this giant step of infamy into the dark ages…that we haven’t even fully left. SMH!!!

Here’s to a healthier generation…and a healthier you!

Dr Ketch

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