Family Lives responds to 18 year old man jailed for rape of 11 year old

News that an 18 year old man was  jailed recently  for the rape of an 11 year old girl is deeply worrying and our thoughts are with the young girl and her family.  That the perpetrator Opemipo Jaji threatened to film the despicable act and send it to the girl’s school for wider dissemination is a worrying reminder that peer-on-peer and teen-on-child sexual exploitation, rape and abuse in young people must be addressed.

Early intervention when tackling sexual misogyny is essential to ensure that individuals are free from sexual and gender-based violence. Age-appropriate education and information will help reduce the likelihood of young people suffering negative physical, social, emotional, educational outcomes.   Without clear and frank information, children and young people will continue to rely on - or be conditioned by - inaccurate information or portrayals including, those from online pornography and the media. Family Lives is committed to helping teenagers develop positive gender relationships and has already worked with over 6000 young people in schools and communities to address sexual bullying, early sexualisation and its influences on teen behaviour.  Urgent research is needed to quantify the full extent of sexual violence between young people.  Both quantitative and qualitative research is needed to explore the causal drivers underlying this warped behaviour.  The government must prioritise funding to ensure that there is enough data on this problem to understand the scale of the problem and generate evidence-based measures to tackle it.   Funding needs to be made available to schools and colleges and other professionals to enable them to deliver awareness training to staff and young people around Sexualisation, Objectification, Sexual Bullying and Peer Pressure so they can identify the early signs of this activity and engender inner resilience to stop exploitation happening to young people and those who care for and about them..

Family Lives urges any parent, family member or teacher concerned about a child or groups sexual behaviour to call Family Lives' free helpline on 0808 800 2222, for help and support.”

Jeremy Todd, Family Lives Chief Executive