Say you are a man
And you look upon a child
A girl child
In the glow of her innocence
And a thing tells you that you can do things to her that she will not know
So you bid her come
And in the darkness of your heart
And the solitude you have forged for your vice
You hug her a little too tightly
Feel her warmth a little too closely
Smell the earthiness in her virgin hair a little too keenly
And look at her in that way that no one does
She goes away for a while and you find her again because your lust will not be abated
This time, the thing nudges you on a little more
So you find a reason to touch her prepubescent breasts or rest a hand on her thighs – as though it were the most ordinary thing to do
You brush up against her in the hallway so your fingers can trace the outline of her pants beneath that skirt.
You talk to her about school and other such ordinary things while your senses continue to feed its lust in creative, ‘accidental’ ways
And that thing tells you to go on in your pursuit to own her:
‘She is but a child’ it says, ‘go on, she will never know.’
So each time in the company of your vice, the voice of the thing and the creative machinations of your depraved mind makes you nib a little more at the frail edges of her young mind till perhaps someday you seize it all.
Then you find feeble words to temper her confusion, words that wrap her a gift of guilt or give her the burden of silence. You speak of love or care or such things men speak of at such times that boycotts thought. You bind yourself into a knot of conspiracy that for you was desire sated but for the girl is a different thing.
You fail to see that for her;
It is shattered trust in a man the world had told her would protect her
It is a tangled sense of self that may never fully unravel again – an identity held captive in the cells of memory, made worthless by your senseless actions
It is a darkness filled with tears and uncertainty
It is a narrow corridor filled with fear and dread
It is a quicker beating heart as you approach
It is confusion, trying to interpet a language without words that someday will find meaning in a young woman’s heart and draw bile and resentment.
Words that when fully understood may stir up anger enough to color a woman’s world ill, or sink her to sullen depths of despair from which she may never recover.
Say you are a man,
When that thing speaks to you
And finds you the opportunity to dip your lust into the placid waters of a child’s innocence
Do not listen to it
For she will know someday
That you had the chance to redeem mankind –
But you failed to do so
Written by: Osundolire Ifelanwa
P.S: This is a beautiful poem that captures the evil of sexual exploitation of young girls. But it also extends to rape and sexual abuse of women in general. We need to keep talking about this evil, and keep having conversations about it. Hopefully, one innocent soul will be spared; one life will be saved.
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