A Gender-Based Violence (GBV) educator and Anti-HIV advocate, Henrietta Odey has initiated a petition to get the Kaduna State government to include body safety education In primary school curriculum.
The petition, which is aimed at preventing sexual abuse of children, was directed to the Commissioner of Education.
Henrietta, who shared a personal experience to justify the petition, wrote: “When I was eight, I attended a wedding reception, a relative made me sit on his thighs during which he caressed my underdeveloped breasts. I was uncomfortable and afraid but couldn’t muster enough courage to speak or say STOP!
“Which made me remain in the same uncomfortable position, my discomfort should have been obvious for any adult who cared enough to look deeply, but they all saw a child on a relative’s thigh, no harm there, they must have said to themselves. This encouraged the perpetrator and he continued with the act.
“It was one of the most unpleasant 30 minutes of my life, until my elder brother came to the rescue. He told me to get up and never sit on anyone’s thighs again.
“Perpetrators are often people a child knows family and non-family alike.
“Child sexual abuse often occurs in places a child should feel safe. In Nigeria, one in four girls and 10 per cent of boys have been victims of sexual violence before their 18th birthday and only 2% of girls and 4% of boys receive any help (UNICEF).
“Therefore I’m asking the Honourable Commissioner, Kaduna State Ministry of Education, Shehu Usman Muhammad for the “Compulsory Inclusion of Body Safety Education in the Kaduna State Primary School Curriculum To Prevent Child Sexual Abuse within the next One(1) year”. The purpose is to equip children with the knowledge and skills necessary to protect them from sexual abuse.
“An informed child is a powerful child and they will draw strength from that power. This is a must have for every child, no child should be abused in this world.
“The Inclusion of Body Safety Education is one of the surest ways of ending child abuse in the State and beyond.
“As a mother who was once a child, I know how important it is for a child to feel safe, this ensures a happy childhood devoid of traumas that can last a life time.
“Child sexual abuse should never be given a chance to rear it’s ugly head. It’s our duty as adults to protect the future of children. Our children deserve a happy and safe future. We owe our children and the children of the next generation a safer world.”
Kindly follow this link to sign the petition https://www.change.org/p/commissioner-of-education-kaduna-state-inclusion-of-body-safety-education-in-primary-school-curriculum-to-prevent-sexual-abuse