By: JP Ashedzi
From time immemorial, the world has continued to witness an unprecedented surge of violence. The involvement of youth in these disturbances or conflicts is very disturbing. Due to their physical strength and zest, the youths are the foot soldiers, and in some cases “generals,” of the various groups that see violence as a tool for change.
Statistics have shown that many children have been molested in one way or another. This means that they could have directly been molested or been in a situation where they have had to experience someone else being molested.
The result of molestation eventually is that it produces a set of emotionally distorted and morally confused young adults who have internal battles to face with the fear of stigmatization hence, they remain quiet about their challenges.
Further studies into the effects of molestation have shown that most, at a certain age or when molested children come to certain stages in life, they start to replicate what they have faced. Some people can tell stories of how people they know have sworn to “do back” what was done to them.
This therefore shows that what makes up the mind, capacities, and thoughts of a person are the events that surround them, mostly at young stages. This is what explains how a young adult may not remember a line of what a lecturer said in class two hours ago, but can still say word for word what another teacher said before passing the sentence of a punishment on them.
Pain naturally unearths certain consciousness in the mind that may lead to lifetime damages. It is unarguable therefore that when children grow in environments that are violent, they respond later in life by being violent to other people. This therefore might be responsible for the violence that youths in certain communities express.
Many young people today are fighting for survival in their communities with the same weapons that the community used to ‘groom’ them earlier. Picture this, a child who walks in on a high-tension exchange of words between his parents. He may pick up that act and respond by throwing hot abusive words to members of his peer. If the relationship between his parents continues, his aggression continues.
Young adults who have been aggressive become physically abusive and this leads to social vices like robbery, rape, cultism, fraud etc. All they want is a reprieve and they believe that reprieve will only come by fighting.
Although most reprieves come by fighting back, it is important to know that one must fight the right way.
If society has failed the young man, the society has already failed, and stoning back with the same ammunition the society shot at him will only bring destruction.
Research strongly suggested that at least 31.4% of children and young adults in Nigeria between the ages of 8-18 are or have in one or the other been molested. This can therefore explain the reason for the existence of so many violence-based groups among them.
Due to certain rejections faced in their earlier years, as youths step into older ages and crazier situations, they believe that a community within the community that can provide immunity from their loneliness no matter its moral standing is worth becoming a part of. But the truth remains that a reprieve cannot come like that. Most times, these groups open enough to accept them without judging their mindsets or their past lives will because these groups too bear negative wills to the society.
Hence, young people must come to the understanding of the fact that positive change cannot stem from negative efforts. This therefore behooves youths to drop off the cloaks of violence and put on a refreshed desire to see positive change in the society by employing positive efforts.