By Justina Auta
Some stakeholders have advocated the inclusion of sexuality education in school curricula to curb the increasing cases of violence against children.
They made the call at a stakeholder’s dialogue, organised by an NGO, ‘Hope for Second Chance Foundation’ (HOSEC), in collaboration with Youthcare Development and Empowerment Initiative in Abuja.
The Founder, HOSEC, Mrs Ibukunoluwa Otesile, said the meeting was necessitated by the need to curtail the increasing cases of various forms of violence against children.
Otesile said that impacting sexuality education from a young age, will break the cultural barrier of silence when abused, expose perpetrators, and ensure prosecution, as well as provide help for survivors.
“Starting Sexuality Education with your children, involves telling your children all that they need to know to protect themselves.
“And it starts with their body so that when somebody is crossing the boundary with them, they will be able to alert you.
“If you have not started a conversation at all, it will become difficult for them to come and tell you when they are being violated in any form.
“We can infuse sexuality education and not seeing it as a strange concept, but as a tool that we can use to prevent and protect our children from any form of violence,” she said.
The Executive Director, Youthcare Development and Empowerment, Dr Adefunke Ekine, said that violence on children may lead to depression, insecurity, mental breakdown, suicide, and loss of focus in school.
Ekine, a Senior Lecturer at Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijebu Ode, Ogun, urged parents, teachers and community members to communicate more with children and enlighten them on the do’s and don’ts of the body parts.
“ Sexuality education empowers the girl-child especially, to be able to be ascertained, know her rights, protect herself and know that there are some areas that nobody should touch.
“We are advocating that there should be sexuality education within the school system. Teachers should be trained; literature or storybooks should be written so that children can read and know about all these.
“Then parents should spend time with their children, they should not just be looking for money. These children are so exposed to the media, so they should get information from the right source,” she said.
The Director-General National Council for Arts and Culture, Otunba Runsewe, urged parents to bridge the communication gap with their children, stressing that it would impact more on moral values.
“We have too much of a gap between the parents and children. We need to reawaken the consciousness of parents to know that they have a role to play in the upbringing of children.
“Inclusion of sexuality education in the school curriculum is not about how to have sex, so we just need to quickly impact what sexuality education is all about,” he said.
Similarly, the Director-General, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Dr Garba Abari, reiterated the commitment of the agency in educating the public on the ills of violence against women and children.
Abari, represented by Ms Grace Mama, the Chief Programme Officer, NOA, therefore, appealed to other stakeholders to partner with the agency in educating the public, on the effects of negative social vices.
On her part, the Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen, said a survey reveals that millions of Nigerian children suffer physical, sexual, and emotional violence from familiar people, without reporting to their parents or authorities.
“There is a need for massive awareness and sensitisation of the general populace on the dangers, violence against children and the culture of silence, by not only the victims but also witnesses,” she said.
Tallen, therefore, reiterated the commitment of the parents towards promoting and protecting the rights of children for self-actualisation, and effective contribution to sustainable national development. (NAN)