What is child abuse?
It simply is the misuse or perversion of children. It occurs when children are handed unjustly or corruptly by adults in society either verbally, physically, or emotionally. Child abuse takes different forms in different cultures under different situations due to a variety of beliefs and practices. This abuse can happen in homes, schools, playgrounds, working places, and even in churches.
Child abuse in Home
Home is the most commonplace of child abuse in most cases. Many parents have the attitude, “What does a child know? In some homes, children are given the last consideration in almost everything. Adults often view children in an inferior way, thinking that with a small physical status, they do not require the basic necessities of life. Often they are also considered economic liabilities.
Areas of child abuse in the Home include the following:
- Feeding: in some homes, children are hardly fed nourishing food. In some instances, it’s the remains or crumbs that are pushed to the children to eat. Rarely would parents give the best piece of meat to their children. Some children are even left to search for food in order to feed themselves (e.g., Muslim children receiving training under a Malam). Sometimes the food that an adult wouldn’t eat himself is passed to children to consume because the adult does not like it or does not know what kind of food it is, thus turning children into a sort of an item for a specimen.
- Sleeping: in many homes, children rarely have separate rooms and beds. Sometimes this is due to poverty, but often it can be attributed to indifference on the part of the parents concerned.
Poor and inadequate bedding is common in many homes. To worsen the problem, children are often deprived of their beds, if a visitor comes to stay overnight.
- Clothing: some children may go naked, even though their parents are well clothed. Again, such parents do not feel that their children need adequate clothing.
- Extreme discipline. Children are cruelly treated as if they are not human beings. Parents, in some cases, deny their children food, clothing, and at times exile from their homes in the name of discipline.
- Lack of discipline. Conversely, some parents leave their children completely undisciplined and thus lead them into a loose and immoral life. That is child abuse too.
Child Abuse in Society
Society, as a whole, seems to view children as third-class citizens and not as human beings with equal rights with an adult.
It is child abuse when parents pass on or abandon their responsibility to raise their own children, expecting caretakers to do so. If the mothers don’t care enough to make sacrifices for their children, how can a complete stranger be counted to do so? The irresponsibility of some families has led their children to the unhappiness and even untimely death.
Often, adults impose cultural standards on children unfairly and indiscriminately. Some teenagers are forced to marry prematurely, which hinders their personal development. Some evil parents or wicked society people kidnap and sell children for ill-gotten wealth. That is very sad, indeed!
Often, society exposes children to immoral and destructive influences on TV, radio, and the like. Calling children with all kinds of nicknames brings low self-image, distress, and unhappiness in the lives of children.
Child Sexual Abuse
Incest or rape is one of the worst forms of child abuse. Such a bitter experience in children has terrible long-term effects. Hence, the Church and state should enact laws to protect children from sexual abuse.
Effects of child abuse
Child abuse can have a devastating effect on children. Children can become developmentally disabled socially, intellectually, emotionally, and even physically due to parental irresponsibility.
Lack of parental love can result in low self-esteem and personality disorders. Children become passive and indifferent in life, filled with fear, hatred, insecurity, tension, guilt, depression, anxiety, an excessive need for love, a powerful feeling of revenge, and so on.
Thus, such children grow up to become unwanted elements of society. The selfishness of parents can finally lead to the death of many children. This can happen through abortion, physical torture, and starvation.
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Child abuse prevention
It is important to mention that one of the highest risk factors for child sexual abuse is previous physical abuse, since a child who has been beaten believes in threats and silence in the face of fear generated by them makes abuse possible. For this reason, when working with parents and teachers, this aspect must be emphasized, at the same time that they improve their communication skills with their children or students.
However, prevention should start at the same time that safety rules are taught to children. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the prevention of sexual abuse should begin at 18 months of age, beginning with the identification of the parts of the body, to later delimit the private parts of it. From the age of three, children should be able to say No to situations of abuse and differentiate the caresses they receive. Unfortunately, most parents do not have the necessary information to carry out this preventive work.
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Together we can say no to child abuse in our society and give the children every right to live and enjoy life.
To report any form of abuse around you, seek for counseling and encouragement, contact us on email@example.com