Extract from my book for Teenagers and Young Adults:  S.A.F.E™ (Securing A Friendly & Protective Environment) for YOU: 120 Daily Tips


‘We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.’ Elie Wiesel

Thank you for joining me here today. I hope we are learning and our eyes are being opened to the steps you can take to secure your own protection from all forms of abuse.

Today, I bring you the conclusion our nineteenth foundational principle: BEING YOUNG DOES NOT MEAN YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED TO SPEAK UP AGAINST SUSPICION OR ACTUAL ABUSE.

I will share with you a line of thought that I believe may help us drive home the whole issue of silence and the culture, which promotes it and the feeling of shame upon which it stands.

This is the line of though and I charge you for follow me closely. Now, if my bag, shoes, wristwatch and other valuable are stolen, I am encouraged to speak up. In fact I speak up and I do not get the treatment of shame from anybody in the society. In fact the society feel for me and they want the thief to be caught. In this case the society understands that I should not be the object of shame because I am not in any way responsible for stealing from myself.

Now here is my question, why is the case different when it is my virtue and dignity that is stolen through abuse. These virtue and dignity are so invaluable that once they are lost, it is only by divine intervention that they can be recoverable. So how come the society does not allow me to feel ashamed concerning talking about tangible valuables, which are easily replaceable, but expects me to be ashamed about my irreplaceable virtues and dignity, which abuse of any form take away from me? Who should the society be eager to apprehend, the person, who stole my valuables or the person, who stole my ‘invaluables’? Could it be that our society values tangible materials, which are temporal and perishable above intangible materials of virtue and dignity, which are eternal?

This is my charge and conclusion to you today. It is time to swim against the tide of the culture of silence, which is empowered by the feeling of shame. It is shameful that the society thinks that it is the abused that should feel shame instead of the abuser. It is shameful that the abuser is preserved from shame because the society believes that the abused should also be ashamed. Therefore to save the abused from shame, the abuser goes free, roaming the street, looking for the next possible victims to devour.

My fervent prayer today is that you will never fall victim of any form of abuse. I believe that if you take this 120 days journey with us, you are on your way to being free from all forms of abuse. But if for whatever reason you are abused, you must refuse to be ashamed.

Shame does not belong to you. It belongs to the abuser. He/she must not be allowed to go free because of shame.  Tell every caregiver, who cares to listen that shame does not belong to you but to the abusers and he/she must be made to face the shame.

This is a very important principle that you must hold very dearly. You must take it as the responsibility and mission of your generation to right the wrong of shaming the innocent and releasing the abuser from justice.

You are young, but you are not too young to change things and help our society to think straight and destroy the culture of celebrating abuse on the altar of shame and stigma.

Finally, I will have to rest this case here and give you room to think about it for the rest of the day, week and month and digest the information shared in the last 3 days for your personal use and the use of those around you.

The THINK Factor:

I think it is time to take your personal journal and write down the top 5 lessons you have learnt in the last 3 days addressing this 19th fundamental principle: BEING YOUNG DOES NOT MEAN YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED TO SPEAK UP AGAINST SUSPICION OR ACTUAL ABUSE. To go over it again and again until it sinks in your mind and be ready to practice same from today. Do not forget to share your lessons with your friends and your parents and other trusted caregivers.

I am Taiwo ‘ODINAKACHUWU’ AKINLAMI, Total Childhood Management and Child Development Expert, 2348033620843, 08056979605 W: http://www.taiwoakinlami.com B: taiwoakinlamiblog.com T: @taiwoakinlami E: Principal@taiwoakinlami.com



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