Masomo ya Msingi was a popular book when we were growing up and one reason for its popularity was that it entailed some of the best stories for any child to enjoy. It was actually a series that went from class one to class eight.
In the class five edition, there was a story of a mother who really loved her child and could never admit to any wrong committed by her son. Thus, the son got away with everything until one day he committed a very serious crime that would see him land in jail!
As he was being led to his cell, he asked to talk to his mother and when she moved closer, he bit her ear so hard that she started bleeding. As the policemen were pulling him off her, he told his mother that the reason he took the bizarre action is that she did not reprimand him whenever he did something wrong and was always on his side.
He basically blamed her for his predicament and hated her for it, believing that if she had done her job as a parent, things would have been different.
About five days ago, a heartbreaking story broke out where a 14-year-old student of Riara Springs Primary School was accused of raping a four-year-old minor who also happened to be his neighbor at Nyayo Estate in Embakasi. According to the Standard, the teenager, who also has another similar case hanging over his head, dragged the little girl behind the apartments in the estate and proceeded to rape her.
A neighbor who was looking out of the window saw what was happening and went down to rescue the poor girl, prompting the young man to run away.
The neighbor caught up with him in his parents’ living room and slapped him several times, causing the mother to come out and from there, things went downhill. Attempts by the neighbor to explain what he saw never helped him and he was eventually arrested for assault. So much for being the good Samaritan right?
Now here is my problem with this story, this mum knows her son has done something similar before and when he is accused a second time she does everything in her power to protect him. You see if the boy had never been accused of such a thing before it would not have been alarming but in this case, the allegations were suspiciously similar to the ones before where he had been arrested and had a pending case.
According to the story as told by the daily, the mother of the little boy who is an administrator at the Riara Springs Primary School in Imara Daima and his father who is an ICT manager at the same school have also been accused of intimidating the police and helping to cover the sexual assault case.
If you are a parent and you know very well that your child is a danger to others I think it is very important to let the law follow its course. Shielding him may actually do more harm than if you let him know that you will not stand by him as he engages in criminal activities.
It is reported that feeling helpless, the father of the little girl could not hold back his tears probably because of the mental pictures of what happened to his child. Justice seems so far removed from him and yet as a parent he felt that he should have protected his child. What happens to such a parent? What would stop him from taking matters into his own hands which may mean serious consequences for the boy who is being protected at all costs?
Granted, teenagers are known to push boundaries. They break curfew, talk back, cheat, steal and lie in their journey to adulthood. However, when they engage in serious juvenile crimes they become a danger to themselves and to other people in the community.
Will the two small victims who have been allegedly raped by the teenager ever get through it? Do his parents think about them and their parents? Are they not seeing a pattern here and the need to prevent a similar thing from happening to yet another young girl?
According to New York city psychologist Dr. Vivian Diller, turning children in after they have committed a crime is the correct but very difficult path to take. She said this citing the case of One, Anita Saunders, a South Jersey mother of 15 and 17-year-old boys.
Anita provided information from a Facebook page that ultimately helped police find the body of Autumn Pasquale, a 12-year-old who had vanished while riding her bike. Allegedly, Autumn was strangled by one of the boys, her backpack and bike left in a dumpster near their home. The teens are now in custody.
There is also the story of Mindy Sigg, a Colorado mother of a 17-year-old boy, who turned in her son after he shared details about his involvement in the case of a missing 10-year-old girl, Jessica Ridgeway.
According to the police, Ms. Siggs said, “I made the phone call, and he turned himself in. That’s all I have to say,” breaking down in tears as she hung up the phone. The call resulted in her son’s arrest for the murder of the young girl as well as the attempted abduction of a jogger earlier in the year.
To some people, handing your own child to the authorities is the ultimate betrayal but as it stands, there should be no debate when your child endangers the lives of other people. Please, parents, clarify unacceptable behavior to your child and also let them know the grave consequences that accompany some of their actions.
Once they commit a crime please deal with it even if it means handing them over to the police. You never know, it might just be their turning point what with professional and religious counseling available for them as well as more people now being ready to help children to become better members of the society.