So, this week I become angry and upset about an article that was published by Spiegel. The article was about the exploitation, rape, and sexual abuse of children in Ghana and focused on one child named Melphia. Spiegel’s reporters spoke about this using word such as “Child prostitution”.
Initially my blood boiled, and I wrote this blog “Child Prostitution” How dare you
I emailed Spiegel and both reporters and I also emailed the other professionals in the report. That show serous I view this. When the language used when talking about the abuse of children is misused. I emailed them all to ask why they used the words “Child prostitution” and to also ask if they aware that child prostitution is not a real thing.
Only one person came back to me a, Dr Oppong who is the Head of the Ghana section for the NGO defence for Children internationals. This was his reply;
Re: Child prostitution
Did he refer to this 13-year-old child as a prostitute or are the reports lying? I’m going to have to say that I believe Dr Oppong because no one from Spiegel is talking.
A lady, I wont name her, she emailed me and said
“Kendra, there are so many things going on in the world. Why are you making such a big deal out of someone saying the words “Child prostitute”? You know what they mean”
I disagree with her statement strongly. Think about what they are saying. A child prostituting. A child carrying out a sexual act in exchange for payment. In fact, the definition in the oxford dictionary says:
“The practice or occupation of engaging in sexual activity with someone for payment.”
So, without going off on a tangent, children can not consent to sex and therefore cannot engage in sexual activity with someone for payment…because they can’t consent. Because they are children. Do you see where I am going with this. The age of consent in Ghana is 16. Soooooooo…..there is no thing as a child prostitute.
Someone said “The act of them being sold for sex is prostitution. They are not prostituting but are being prostituted”
I disagree. I think it’s the rape and abuse of children. The money that may or may not exchange hands does not take anything away from the rape and abuse of the child.
Another example that I go on about in training is the use of the word “Boyfriend”. So about 2 years ago, a professional wrote that the following “Gemma (year 9) has her boyfriend picking her up from school in his car most days. He looks between 20-25”. Gemma says that the man is her boyfriend.
Gemma (Not her real name) was 13. Now, forget all the safeguarding and referrals and calls to the police that took place when I received this information, lets talk about how this language effected all involved.
I spoke to the professional and said she needed to rewrite her stamen and put that “Gemma’s suspected abuser” was picking her up from school each day. The member of staff looked almost angry and said that she could not write that because It had to be factual and she had no idea if the “Young man” was abusing her.
I took a breath.
And we looked at the fact…calmly… that Gemma is 13 and the “man” driving the car, if he is engaged in any sexual activity with her is abusing her. Because she is 13 and can’t consent. And I saw it…boom…the professional suddenly realised what she had done by writing “Boyfriend”.
Then spoke with the child. I refused to use the word boyfriend. Every time she called him her boyfriend, I challenged it. She had social services at the time and when her social worker arrived, she said, in front of the child… “We have told Gemma so many times that he is not the kind of boyfriend we want to see her with”
I’m not going to long out this blog by saying we should or should not say certain things. Because I thought in 2019, we were pass that.
But know this, A child who is being raped by men, money or not, is not a prostitute, she is the victim of abuse and rape.
Happy Easter peeps