Daily Trust

We have to create an environmen­t where our children feel free enough to talk to us and are confident that we will listen to them. Our African cultures are so big on respect but that respect is sometimes performati­ve. It has no depth to it and sometimes, f


with their parents even though they greet them every day, go around saying “thank you” to every adult in the house after each meal and leave the sitting room as soon as their parents have a guest. We are not good parents for having successful­ly raised such kids but they are unable to count on us when they need us most. This is not about castigatin­g Mrs. Akpagher who is a victim of our environmen­t and who has lost a child and deserves our sympathies. This is about us learning to intentiona­lly create an enabling environmen­t for our children where their voices are both encouraged and respected.

I keep imagining Keren calling and crying on the phone from disappoint­ment and sadness because she could see the help she was relying on slipping away from her. How relieved she must have been when her housemistr­ess managed to convince the mother to turn around. I am sad and I am angry. She could very easily have been my child. I hope that the rapist is found and castrated. And that’s just for starters.

May Keren, beautiful, dimpled, innocent one, who wanted to be a nurse, rest in peace.s

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