Child Protection Specialist and Advocate at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Harriet Odoley Klufio has advised parents not to allow their children to go for sleepovers.
She says some sexual abuse cases she has recorded in her department (Child Health) occurred during such sleepovers in friends’ homes.
“We’ve had cases where some children were abused during those occasions, so we are trying to discourage parents from allowing their children to do that,” she explained.
Speaking in an interview with Daily Graphic’s Augustina Tawiah, she added that children could attend these sleepovers unless parents are familiar with the people of the household and have also done prior checks whether there is a male adult or older male siblings of the friend in that household.
Mrs. Klufio who doubles as a Forensic Nurse, again advised against the habit of male parents bathing their daughters.
She explained that, when male parents clean the vagina of the child, it causes the child to think it is normal for any adult to put their fingers in the vagina and therefore, would not report such an incident.
“We should let the child know that wherever the clothes are covered, nobody has the right to touch it. Nobody has the right to touch your breast and buttocks, play with nor touch your vagina.”
“Once anybody tries to do it, they should report to an adult person around, it doesn’t matter if it’s not their mother, once the person is an adult and can listen to you, report to them,” the Child Protection Specialist advised.
The Forensic Nurse also advised parents to teach their children the right names of the parts of the body so that when children find themselves in situations of sexual abuse, they will not feel shy to say they have been touched at those places.
“So teach children the right names of the body parts, you mention the nose as nose, the ear as ear so what is wrong with calling the vagina, vagina, and the penis, penis.”
“Say it because we’ve made them think that when they mention it, its anathema. We should use names correctly,” Mrs. Klufio said.