Have you ever thought about the corelation between Domestic Abuse and Mental Health challenges or mental Illness? Our founder reflects on that, watch up and connect to support us, thank you:
Our founder gives us an update of the AAF project for IDPs which is partially funded by the ARDF program of the US embassy in Cameroon. She makes a passionate plea towards the successful implementation of this Project.
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This concerns our founder’s capacity building trip to Nigeria and some core reflections she gained from her time and from the activities she participated there.
Phase 2 of project AAF(Awareness, Advocacy and Facilitation on mental health matters and birth certificates for children) for IDPs (Internally displaced persons) dey start small time with identification of our target beneficiaries o – who want join we as partner or goodwill donor o, we go only dey glad
It’s with a heavy heart that I write you this note, knowing the amount of pain it is going to cause you.
Mum, I want you to know that I love you dearly and will ever love you. If I am given the opportunity to live again I will still choose you as my mum and our family will still be my place of birth.
But unfortunately, I know that there is not going to be any such opportunity.
Mum, I didn’t want to do this, but I was compelled by circumstances beyond my control to take the plunge.
I tried my best to pull through, but my best was not good enough. I battled alone for about thirteen months now until my strength failed me.
You and dad could not decipher what I was going through and maybe I should not blame you for that.
My one and only brother came very close to understanding what I was passing through but it was too much for his young mind to comprehend.
Mum, I know that you and dad loved me and did everything you could to prove that to me but I was not feeling loved.
You provided for me more than I even wanted, took me to places that most of my mates have not even heard of, yet despite all these my heart was longing for love.
I needed someone who would love me for who I was. I needed someone who could reach to the depth of my soul and feel the vacuum there.
The material provisions you spoiled me with could not do that. And I was alone all the while, despite the fact that we laughed together and had gist as a family.
Then came the last straw that broke the camel’s back.
Your brother, Uncle Tony who came to live with us, made me to believe that he knew exactly what my soul was longing for – companionship.
He chose to stay with me when you and dad were too busy to notice my loneliness.
He tried to keep me company when I needed someone to talk to but had only gadgets and teddy bears as my company. I was fooled to trust him and he hacked into my foolishness. And he did it perfectly and deeply.
Mum, your brother raped me and used me as sex toy for three whole years. I expected you or dad to notice but none of you did.
When he left our house last year I was shattered because I have grown to fill the void of your presence with his dirty deeds. I couldn’t complain because I was afraid to lose him, but when he eventually left for Canada the magnitude of the emptiness in me became too heavy for me to carry.
I struggled to forget those experiences but I could not. My grades dropped in school and you and dad quickly arranged for a home lesson teacher.
Mum, that singular act instead of helping me fueled what is about to happen to me a few minutes from now.
The home lesson teacher you brought so much reminded me of Uncle Tony and, on several occasions, I felt like grabbing him and making him to fill the gap that Tony’s absence created in me.
Mum, I had to do this because I was lonely. Did you ever imagine what I was doing in my room all the time I stayed there alone? Couldn’t you for once have gone out of your way to just spend some time with me so that we could talk?
There are many things I would have liked to tell you but I don’t want to add to your pain so let those other torments be buried with this undignified body of mine.
Please make sure that my brother David doesn’t get to the point where I am now.
Also, tell your friends and colleagues who have children to find out what is happening with their beloved kids before it gets too late.
Many of the things parents do in the name of showing love are not what we the younger ones need.
I would have gone, long hours before you will get to read this note.
But one cheering thing is that David is still there with you. Transfer the love you had for me to him.
My bank details and the passwords to my phones and laptops are all in the piece of paper I dropped in the drawer of your dressing table.
I miss you and it pains to empty the content of this bottle in my hand into my mouth but I am constrained to do it all the same.
Tell dad and David that I love them. Tell our pastor that I will miss his sermons and long prayers. Tell my friends not to envy me.
That was the suicide note a 15-year old girl dropped for her mother before taking her life.
You may save someone’s life if you pass this story to all contacts in your phone.
1. Parents, do you find yourself to be “too” busy and tired to be in the present moment with your children? Are you more invested in your job and house duties than spending time with your kids?
2. Let your child know they are loved for who they are, and that you are always there to support them.
3. For the past few weeks, the social media has been awashed with many suicide stories on the pages of the media. Many more may still come.
4. Be a supportive parent and actively listen without judgment and seeking to understand their concerns and challenges. Being a supportive parent means having your child’s best interests at heart but also being present, involved and helpful.
5. Treat your child fairly and develop a trusting relationship.
6. Always acknowledge your child’s achievements and supporting them through mistakes and challenges.
7. Parents, let’s ALWAYS be there for our children in the way that we would have wanted our parents to be there for us.
Do not hesitate to reach out to us in any devastating situation. We want to be the hope.
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Straight talk about body parts and a no-secrets policy can protect young kids without scaring them
We teach our young children all sorts of ways to keep themselves safe. We teach them to watch the hot stove, we teach them to look both ways before they cross the street. But, more often than not, body safety is not taught until much older — until sometimes, it is too late. Research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that approximately 1 in 6 boys and 1 in 4 girls are sexually abused before the age of 18. You want to hear something even scarier? According to the US Department of Justice (nsopw.org) only 10% of perpetrators were strangers to the child and 23% of the perpetrators were children themselves!
These statistics do not surprise me. In my practice I meet children on a weekly basis who have been victims of sexual abuse. Many of them are under five years old. Almost all of them knew their perpetrator and more often than not, it is another kid!
Parents will frequently tell me that they didn’t think this could happen to them. That they never leave their children with strangers. That they always keep their children within their eyesight.
Do your children go on play dates? Do they go to daycare or pre-school? Do you have friends or family over to your house? Do they play at the neighbor’s house? The fact is, you cannot fully prevent the risk of your child being sexually abused.
The children I have worked with have come from good neighborhoods, and good homes, and go to really good schools. I have worked with children who have been sexually abused on play dates, sleepovers, in the classroom, on the playground, on the school bus, in their playroom and out in their backyard.
Now that I have officially scared you to death, let’s walk you back down from that cliff. We have to allow our children to go out into the world and interact with those around them. But we can arm them with knowledge that might save them from being victimized.
Parents do not always talk to their children about body safety early enough. They think kids are too young. It is too scary. But it is never too soon, and it doesn’t have to be a scary conversation. Here are things 10 things that could help your child be less vulnerable to sexual abuse:
1. Talk about body parts early.
Name body parts and talk about them very early. Use proper names for body parts, or at least teach your child what the actual words are for their body parts. I can’t tell you how many young children I have worked with who have called their vagina their “bottom.” Feeling comfortable using these words and knowing what they mean can help a child talk clearly if something inappropriate has happened.
2. Teach them that some body parts are private.
Tell your child that their private parts are called private because they are not for everyone to see. Explain that mommy and daddy can see them naked, but people outside of the home should only see them with their clothes on. Explain how their doctor can see them without their clothes because mommy and daddy are there with them and the doctor is checking their body.
3. Teach your child body boundaries.
Tell your child matter-of-factly that no one should touch their private parts and that no one should ask them to touch somebody else’s private parts. Parents will often forget the second part of this sentence. Sexual abuse often begins with the perpetrator asking the child to touch them or someone else.
4. Tell your child that body secrets are not okay.
Most perpetrators will tell the child to keep the abuse a secret. This can be done in a friendly way, such as, “I love playing with you, but if you tell anyone else what we played they won’t let me come over again.” Or it can be a threat: “This is our secret. If you tell anyone I will tell them it was your idea and you will get in big trouble!” Tell your kids that no matter what anyone tells them, body secrets are not okay and they should always tell you if someone tries to make them keep a body secret.
5. Tell your child that no one should take pictures of their private parts.
This one is often missed by parents. There is a whole sick world out there of pedophiles who love to take and trade pictures of naked children online. This is an epidemic and it puts your child at risk. Tell your kids that no one should ever take pictures of their private parts.
6. Teach your child how to get out of scary or uncomfortable situations.
Some children are uncomfortable with telling people “no”— especially older peers or adults. Tell them that it’s okay to tell an adult they have to leave, if something that feels wrong is happening, and help give them words to get out of uncomfortable situations. Tell your child that if someone wants to see or touch private parts they can tell them that they need to leave to go potty.
7. Have a code word your children can use when they feel unsafe or want to be picked up.
As children get a little bit older, you can give them a code word that they can use when they are feeling unsafe. This can be used at home, when there are guests in the house or when they are on a play date or a sleepover.
8. Tell your children they will never be in trouble if they tell you a body secret.
Children often tell me that they didn’t say anything because they thought they would get in trouble, too. This fear is often used by the perpetrator. Tell your child that no matter what happens, when they tell you anything about body safety or body secrets they will NEVER get in trouble.
9. Tell your child that a body touch might tickle or feel good.
Many parents and books talk about “good touch and bad touch,” but this can be confusing because often these touches do not hurt or feel bad. I prefer the term “secret touch,” as it is a more accurate depiction of what might happen.
10. Tell your child that these rules apply even with people they know and even with another child.
This is an important point to discuss with your child. When you ask a young child what a “bad guy” looks like they will most likely describe a cartoonish villain. You can say something like, “Mommy and daddy might touch your private parts when we are cleaning you or if you need cream — but no one else should touch you there. Not friends, not aunts or uncles, not teachers or coaches. Even if you like them or think they are in charge, they should still not touch your private parts.”
I am not naïve enough to believe that these discussions will absolutely prevent sexual abuse, but knowledge is a powerful deterrent, especially with young children who are targeted due to their innocence and ignorance in this area.
And one discussion is not enough. Find natural times to reiterate these messages, such as bath time or when they are running around naked. And please share this article with those you love and care about and help me spread the message of body safety!
This article first appeared on Natasha Daniels’ website, Anxious Toddlers.
Hope for the Abused and Battered is an association where those battered by life can find hope. Victims of domestic violence and other life’s challenges can find some refuge and guidance through the various challenges they face.
The aim of the association is to provide supporting services which promote emotional resilience to people battered by life, regardless of age, sexual orientation, race and political or religious affiliation, in their search for ways to overcome the fears and conflicts and separation that accompanies personal crisis.
- To provide counselling and psycho-therapeutic assistance to individuals and groups;
- To raise awareness and sensitize the population on the damages caused by domestic violence, and all other forms of violence;
- To encourage a spirit of peace, love, forgiveness and living in harmony in our communities;
- To provide legal assistance to victims of domestic violence, and the battered in our communities;
- To cooperate with associations with similar objectives.
We offer psychological, legal and holistic counselling to people who have been abused and battered and now need hope. They need to be empowered in a holistic way to get back up and believe in themselves again and in their future. We hope to be able to pull the resources together which will enable us as an organization offer such hope and empowerment.
Our Core Values
We listen with compassion, we care with genuineness, we share with all love and we help in all solidarity.
Our Guiding Principles: Human rights-based and gender-responsive approaches towards promoting, protecting and fulfilling the human rights of all women and girls, as well as strengthening institutional capacities at local and national levels to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls. Holistic and multi-sectoral responses that address women and girl’s inter-related rights and needs in terms of prevention and response to violence, including safety and protection, access to health, legal, property and inheritance rights, and economic security and rights.