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CORA BookTrek : The Ejigbo- Igando Iteration

The Community Literacy Outreach iteration of the CORA BOOKTrek moved to the Ejigbo-Igando axis of Lagos on October 20, 2023. Organised by the Committee for Relevant Art (CORA) in collaboration with iRead Library, the outreach was held in iRead Library, with about 40 attendees. CORA Community Outreach BookTrek usually features interactive discussions between an author and audience dotting on the thematic thrusts in the author's book that affects communities and the society.

The Ejigbo-Igando BookTrek centred on the eradication of child sexual abuse. The book, upon which the discussion was based, is titled YES,

WE CAN STOP THIS CHILD ABUSE: Eradicating Sexual Abuse on Children, Preteens and Teenagers by Ogechukwu Ezeokoli. In the book, the dos and don'ts between children of opposite sex are highlighted. In attendance at the BOOKTrek were Secondary School students from Lily Pride Private School, and Primary School students from iRise Model School in the Igando Community. Teenagers and young adults - all Secondary School graduates; adults and mothers; and teachers were also in attendance at the interactive programme. While answering questions on when to begin sex education with children, the author, stated that sex education should begin with every kid at a tender age. However, she noted that there are stages to sex education. For a child of 3-5 years old, Sex education is different from the kind you give a child between 6-10 years old. Likewise, the kind of sex education that is given to a child between 11-17 years of age is different from the kind given to an adult of 18 years and above.

Therefore, Ezeokoli advised that parents begin sex education with their kids by letting them know and pronounce every part of their bodies, including the private areas of their body. That way, they can easily report violations to their parents, when it happen. The coach added that although there is absolutely no excuse for sexual abuse, it is necessary that children avoid too much physical or body contact with an opposite sex; it could be holding of hands or hugging. She also advised children to be honest with their parents and guardians and ensure that they trust them and believe their words. As an honest child,

when a report of harassment by a friend, neighbour, or even a relative is made to the parent, action can be taken with immediate effect, without doubting the words of the child. When asked what the inspiration behind the book and the author's career as a sexual abuse coach was,

Ezeokoli said that societal happenings of sexual abuse made her think of making a change. However, a major reason why she decided to become an anti-sexual abuse advocate is because her sister was once a victim of sexual harassment, which heightened her sexual urge at a very tender age. Ezeokoli asserted that even she was a victim of sexual abuse when she was seven years old, in her village. She added that she was very angered by these personal experiences that all she wanted to do was ensure that no one around her falls victim of this form of abuse. She said this because the abuse comes with emotional trauma, pain, and regret that still surfaces even many years after the incident. As the discussion gradually cruised to the end, Ezeokoli said that both boys and girls fall victims of sexual abuse, and, therefore, should beware of opposite sex who tries to lure them into it. She also urged them to open up and speak up whenever they are being sexually abused, so that they can find help through counselling, separation from the abuser, and inner healing. All physical attendees at the BookTrek got a copy of Ogechukwu Ezeokoli’s YES, WE CAN STOP THIS CHILD ABUSE: Eradicating Sexual Abuse on Children, Preteens and Teenagers.