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City of Banjul
Monday, March 1, 2021

Letters to the Editor

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Dear editor,

Sexual exploitation, of every sort and hue, doesn’t happen overnight or spontaneously. It is always carefully planned. David Finkelhor stated that the following “preconditions” would have to be overcome before the abuse takes place: 1. motivation to abuse; 2. Overcoming the internal inhibitors; 3. Overcoming the external inhibitors; 4. Overcoming the victim’s resistance.

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Sex predators carefully plan their moves, to avoid detection, using every method available, from coercion to manipulation to blackmail to threats to bribery to “overcome the victim’s resistance”

Sex predators use a tactic called “grooming” to win the trust and confidence of their victims. And the grooming process can take a while before the abuse proper takes place.

Sex predators target vulnerable children and women. It is vulnerability predators capitalise on to abuse. The vulnerability could be the need for love or security or support, attention, companionship, protection, etc. Not everyone is easy target and predators know this very well and avoid such.

Economic violence, as a form of sexual and gender based violence, is as devastating as sexual or physical violence. It also equally emotionally or psychological traumatizing.

Victims in the sexual abuse cycle feel a sense of “entrapment”, thus the inability to leave the abusive relationship unless helped or rescued. Imagine being “sexualized” and having to deal with blackmail, coercion, manipulation, threats from the abuser….escape becomes difficult.

Violence does not have to be actual, the suffering of real injury or harm…Threat of violence or harm or injury to one’s person or image, of emotional manipulation, is violence.

Exposed sex predators know very aptly how to win public sympathy or support, how to manipulate public emotions, how to make victims the villains of the piece. They would cry “victimhood”. They would blame the victims of the abuse. They would apologise for the harm they have done but halfheartedly. They would engage in “distorted rationalization” or shift responsibility to Shaitan/Satan or blame “lapse of judgment” on their part. They would accept everything but full responsibility for their abuse.

No, there shouldn’t be any comparison between abuses. No one form of abuse, be it rape or sexual harassment or psychological abuse or economic violence or intrusive touching or leering, is more devastating than the other. All are devastating. And it’s only the victims who can determine the extent or magnitude or intrusiveness or seriousness of the violation. It is not the place of “bystanders” to make such judgment. Not at all.

One who preys on the vulnerability of others to extort money or sexual favours from them or abuses them psychologically or sexually harasses them is as guilty and criminal as one who rapes them in the dark alley ways or in the comfort of his house. They are all sex predators.

A self confessed sex predator is as much to blame for the suffering of his victims as a rapist who continues to deny his callous crimes. They are both guilty of betrayal of trust and abuse of power. The self confessed sex predator is not a “hero” and mustn’t be seen as one… The confession is often a ploy to manipulate public sympathy.

Your silence or “solidarisation” with sex predators can be more hurting to victims than the abuse experienced. For such a stance can lead to double traumatisation.

Let the non-abusing men use their voices, influence and power to fight Gender Based Violence, to condemn men who abuse, to be exemplary to their children, to refuse to be bystanders and spectators in the abuse of and violence against women. Dantes warned that “the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality”


Njundu Drammeh


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