Protect our children

Children cannot consent to sex. An adult sleeping with a minor is rape. Period. It is legally defined as statutory rape. The hypersexualisation of children needs to come to an end. Adults need to stop looking at little boys and girls and saying things like “ngitatikhulsela (I’m raising you for myself)” because it perpetuates rape culture. We’ve probably all heard the phrases sugar mama/daddy, ben10 etc referring to intergenerational relationships. The implication was it was a relationship based on transactional sex. However, this was sex between a minor and an adult. Children cannot consent to sex, therefore it was rape. It still is rape.
You have the sitting President of Nigeria who impregnated a 12 year old girl. Buhari raped that child. That they are still together speaks of a culture where young girls are not protected, and are commodified. That they are still together speaks of the untreated Stockholm Syndrome that many abuse victims experience. That they are still together speaks of a society that refuses to view rape outside violence. Rape doesn’t need to be violent to be valid. The hooded man in a dark alley pulling screaming girls into his car is not all there is to rape. The mere fact that a child cannot consent to sex means they may not recognise having been raped. The onus falls on adults who do to not sit back silently and allow the violation to continue.
Intergenerational sex where one party is under the age of consent is prevalent in Africa, and that is rape. It’s also a leading cause of the spread of HIV/Aids in Swaziland. We need to allow our children to be children.
It’s not a matter of debate or opinion: statutory rape simply is rape.

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