The Boy Child Voice with John Chizoba Vincent
BOYS ARE NOT STONES
Sometimes, I think how boyhood hurts. How he is planted in the hands of abuse; lost sisters and uncles. How his parents think he is old enough to man himself, to find his way; so they gave him this freedom. The freedom to his doom. The freedom that would kill him. Those pains still remain part of me. The pains of those boy child endangered in the hands of Aunty, shattered like broken glasses, yet required to be strong enough to hold his shattered bodies, thoughts, feelings and emotions together without breaking them; without telling his parents because society stereotype.
I’ve often wondered why parents think the boy child is innately stronger than the girl child.
They invest so much time teaching her; how to sit properly, how to rebuke a man that touches her body, to avoid premarital sex, not to go to that boy’s house alone…
But the boy child is neglected. Left alone in a hole of assumed self confidence, and self-control; the ability to feel denied him.
Of Sexual Abuse
We sing more of the girl from paradise than the boy from the ghetto school of hard knocks.
He faces the same thing in that lonely room. Auntie and Uncle stroke him in the dark blind room. They ask him to plant a kiss on their lips and make him spend hours touching them here and there and watch them groan in unknown tongues. He doesn’t tell anyone because if he does, those Christmas shoes promised him will not come.
We should be careful whom we send the boy to, whom he goes to visit alone. We should be careful with home teachers, pastors in the church, Sunday school teachers and those we leave the boy with. The boy child is also prey to Sisters of Christ, the priests and those people who we trusted with our lives. He is not stone. The boys is not stone, why leave him to be sexually abused by those lost sisters?
The boy is being raped, being brutalised too. He gets abused by women his mother’s age but he keeps quiet because no one would believe his story. Because if he were a girl child, it would be easily believable.
Why does the hyena only cry in the cave of the girl child? The boy child is not stone, do remember.
In the family diagram, the girl is considered in so many more ways than the boy because they believe he is a man and can take good care of himself all by himself. He mustn’t talk because society says it makes him a weak man. He can’t cry either because that will reduce his manhood. Swallowing more assaulted bones than his spit is what he does instead; it is what is expected of him.
ALSO READ: For Boys Like Me Who Have No Father
Society offends the Boy Child. It stereotypes him, making him a super hero of some sort, who can look after himself by himself. Crazy things happen to him.
He goes through severe pains; the government will hear of this and do nothing. No imprisonment, no suspension. Nothing.
The priests hurt them. The pastors abuse them, their mothers hit them and their sisters hurt them morally, the househelps as well but no one talks about these things.
Is there no hope for the boy child? Do people really care about what happens to this innocent boy?
Words like, “if anything happens to my daughter…” “Please take care of your sister;” “Protect your sister,” are quite rampant. What about the boys?
When the tale is told, the world will doubt him, saying, “Women cannot rape or sexually assault a boy,”
Parents, mothers do not worry about the tale that their boy told them about Uncle Ricky removing his pants. They believe the Sunday school teacher instead — who took Benny to the toilet to show him his manhood — when he said he was only praying for . Why do we shy away from the boy child sexual abuse?
Little boys are suffering in silence. There are dangers on the streets for them. Would any understand? Maybe, when an adult male opens up to you about the horrors of their childhood, like I will now:
My Childhood Experience
I grew up in the ghetto town of Aba where survival was by who you were, how brave you were to defend your sister’s body from being defiled by men.
Mama always told us to protect our sisters. That was the ultimate role of a boy at that age.
There were boys around. Boys that could take advantage of her. Boys that could harm her. Boys that could teach her bad things…
So, she taught us how to defend our sisters, not ourselves, because she believed that our sisters were weaker emotionally and therefore could not protect themselves as much as we boys could.
Those beliefs planted in our minds, we fought hard for our sisters’ honour; we didn’t want to disappoint our parents. I needed to prove to my parents that I could protect my sister even though I could barely defend myself.
I recall the day when a friend of mine was beaten blue and black by a girl in school. He came back home and told his parents what happened. It was a mess.
His father was as mad as a scorned masquerade. He shouted, danced here and there to his ability. He asked my friend where his hands were when the girl beat him up. I was there. My friend couldn’t speak because he was too afraid to.
His father went into his room, got a rope, tied his hands and legs and began to beat him. His mother did not help the matter.
As I grew older, I constantly related this experience to being an inhumane one. A wife beats her husband and people laugh it away. A man beats his wife and it is tagged violence against women. It makes the headlines in the dailies.
Culture, tradition and the society as a whole constantly comparing the boy’s strength with the girl’s. It doesn’t matter who is older and physically stronger.
The boy child should be given a voice: A voice to that speaks out, a voice that is listened to, a voice that should express itself unhindered. Boys are not stones and should not be made to feel like they are. They are very flesh and blood.