In commemoration of today being the International Day of the Girl Child, here is an old flash fiction I wrote. Hope you enjoy it and let me know your thoughts in the comment section.
“Go to daddy,” Mom said, beckoning me to move closer to dad. Mom and Dad were both still in bed, covered in the big, fluffy duvet, with only their faces and necks jutting out. I sat by the edge of the bed, contemplating whether or not to obey Mom.
“You have bed wet again, haven’t you?” Mom said with a frown. “She’s getting too old for this,” she said to Dad.
“Oh baby,” Dad said with a forced smile. “You can come over. It’s okay,” he said to me, before stealing a quick gulp of the drink by his bedside.
I looked at Mom, looked at Dad and then, turned to Mom again.
Mom shook her head, sprang out of bed and dashed into the bathroom.
“She’ll get used to it,” Mom said as she bathed, referring to our current ‘situation’. We had just moved into this one-room apartment. Mom had told me this was only temporary as she and Dad would soon be over their financial problems. What I hated most about our ‘situation’ was that, at eleven, I had to share the same bed with Mom and Dad.
Mom came out of the bathroom, already dressed.
“I have to see Mama Ngozi at the market. She promised to assist me with some money today,” Mom said to Dad. Then she turned to me, “Clean the room before leaving for school. Take this,” she dropped a fifty naira note on the bed. “Get something to eat.” With those words, she kissed Dad and bolted out of the room.
After some time, Dad looked at me with a wry smile.
“Listen,” he said. “If you stop being childish, I’ll treat you like my daughter. Now come to bed to daddy.”
The Girl Child is exposed to a lot and it behoves on the family and the society to protect her. But how well are our girl’s protected? One unfortunate situation which our female children are exposed to is sexual harassment and abuse. I once wrote an article for Bella Naija wherein I bemoaned the manner with which society claims to be protecting the girl child from sexual predators. The society tells the girl “do not dress provocatively”, “do not walk alone at night” , “do not go to a boy’s place” etc etc and I think this is the wrong approach. Whatever happened to educating our boys not to maltreat, dehumanize, sexually abuse or howsoever, demean our girls?! You cannot completely “protect” the girl child from peculiar situations such as sexual harassment/abuse without teaching our boys not to sexually harass our girls. A sexually depraved boy will grow up to be a paedophile, sexual harasser and abuser, wife beater etc. Parents, teach your sons to refrain from behaving as beasts at an early stage. Instil this moral in them. You may be saving one girl child from being abused in the future.