“Every year, an estimated total of 119,000 children experience some type of abuse.”
For my loyal readers, you know I like my articles lively, fun, and empathetic. Well, you will get empathetic today, but you won’t get fun and lively. That means no GIFs or cheeky replies. I know, I’m sorry.
Child abuse is a global issue that requires widespread attention and societal arousal. Like Captain America to the Avengers, I bring your attention to Child abuse.
What is Child Abuse?
Child abuse is any form of maltreatment towards a child. It isn’t just physical violence; it can also include negligence of duties. A child is to be taken care of, whether as biological parents or guardians. Under no condition is anyone allowed to maltreat a child.
There is a very thin line between abuse and discipline. I will tell you some sad facts below regarding child abuse, and then you can sympathize with the abused and also stop if you are an abuser.
Sad facts about Child abuse
- One in five women and one in thirteen men sexually abuse children between zero to seventeen years.
I wouldn’t avoid looking at the ratio of sexual abusers from women to men as we are not looking for a gender to blame. But, with such information, how can we assure the safety of our children with adults?
I recently posted pictures of children I teach in school on my WhatsApp and someone asked if I was a pedophile. I guess I can’t blame her because it’s hard to trust anyone nowadays with immorality being the order of the day. It is not rare to see little children having wild imaginations at such a young age.
We can thank sexual abusers for this anomaly.
- Nearly 300 million children aged 2-4 suffer physical punishment from parents or guardians
Do you hear that? 300 million. If this is not a call to action, I do not know what is. I know a female child who suffered punishment at the hands of a guardian all in the name of character building.
Bear in mind, I am a Nigerian and I can tell the difference between child abuse and character building from ten miles away.
- Child abuse is often hidden and only a fraction of child victims get support from health professionals.
“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”. Before your mind wanders back to physics, try to think of how it relates to child abuse.
When we sit back and do nothing in critical and dire periods, we risk a very negative future for ourselves and the coming generations. It would be hypocritical of us to be funding the save the children movement when we can prevent the present abused from being future abusers.
Types of Child Abuse
As you know, child abuse is not just physical violence, so you might be a child abuser and not realize it. Let’s find out if you fit into any of these types.
This is the most popular form of abuse. It involves physical violence with children. Acts such as aggressive handling, flogging, hitting, etc. For many parents and guardians especially in African countries where discipline is prioritized, it is incredibly easy to cross that line between discipline and abuse.
Emotional or psychological abuse
This goes hand in hand with physical abuse. The difference is the abuser is intentional about his actions. Yes, there is intentional and unintentional abuse. An example is treating a child in a dismissive and hostile manner.
Many parents, no, not parents. Many people these days, forfeit their responsibilities to nurture and care for their children. This is a form of abuse. A child must be taken care of and given basic amenities. It is their right.
Emotional and psychological neglect
There are several factors that go into grooming a child to become an empathic person in society at large. They include;
- Security etc.
If at any point a parent neglects these duties, it is tantamount to abuse (Yes, I said it).
Sexual abuse isn’t limited to sex; any form of sexual contact that shows an intention towards sex is prohibited. One should therefore be critical of adults around children because they cannot protect themselves.
Symptoms of child abuse
Change in behavior
A very key trait of an intentional parent is one that is knowledgeable of the child’s behavior. Parents must ensure they question every slight change in the behavior of their children. Some of them might be too shy and scared to speak up but the character never lies.
Most children that face abuses end up getting psychologically worked up, and this can affect their sleep process. If noticed, be quick to alert yourself and take essential steps to get to the problem roots.
Children who are abused end up putting themselves in harm’s way. This is caused by shame and they cannot face the public without feeling uneasy. There are other symptoms of child abuse such as;
- Withdrawal etc.
Consequences of child abuse
There is no easier way to talk to you about this. 300 Million and more children are a result of abuse. They have to live with the effects all their lives and it doesn’t get easier. Below are a few consequences that they face;
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Emotional and psychological issues
- Unwanted pregnancy
- Drug or Substance abuse
- Memory difficulties
- Sexual addiction
- Bruises and cuts
Preventing child abuse
There you have it, you have learned a few sad facts about child abuse and you have also learned about its signs, types, and consequences.
How can you prevent it then, you ask?
For starters, we need to be our brother’s keeper. It is important to report any case of child abuse to the authorities. We can also host gatherings in which children are tutored on what to watch out for. Child abuse being a global issue should be treated with utmost concern.
It can also involve jail time for perpetrators.