We and Child Abuse
By Godwin U. Exteem
It is no longer news that the goring cases of child abuse cases in Nigeria is on the increase, as we hear and read about various forms of abuse of different children by their parents, Uncles, Aunts and elderly neighbors. These people, who are supposed to provide them with adequate care and protection, unfortunately become their victimizers. Having read about a Father who continued to sexually abuse his daughter after defiling her at age 8 and even went ahead to defile their 18 months old baby, the case of the 67years old man who defiled his neighbor’s daughter after luring her into his room by sending her on an errand that requires her feedback(dailypost.ng › Metro), there are also cases were some ladies expose male children to sexual activities and insert the penis of these innocent little boys into their vaginas, or force them to suck their vaginas to satisfy their own sexual urge. With the growing moral decadence in our present day Nigeria, our children are more venerable to abuse than ever. Vanguardngr.com
What then can classified as a form of Child abuse.
The Centre for Disease control and Prevention(CDC) and the Department for Children and families (DCF) have defined the maltreatment of a child as any act or series of acts of commission or omission by a parent or other caregivers, that result in harm, potential harm, or threat of harm to the child. This means that the ill-treatment of those children which we bring from their poor parents as our house maids and the exposure of children to street hawking also constitutes an abuse of the Child.
Categories of Child Abuse
Child abuse does not only have to do with sexual abuse of a child, but also includes physical abuse of a child, commonly understood as child battery. This entails inflicting physical injuries to a child in the name of child discipline, and is mostly perpetuated by the child’s parents, guardians, and Teachers. There is also another form of child abuse referred to as Emotional or Psychological abuse of a child. This occurs when a person of trust or authority attacks the latent personality of a child by way of degrading, rejecting, isolating, corrupting and exploiting them. Such acts tend to puncture the child’s self-esteem creating a sense of unworthiness in the minds of the child. The Neglect of duties and responsibilities towards children as parents, and delegating such to others such as caregivers and house helps is also a form of abuse of the child. When we fail to provide the material, nutritional, educational, health and moral needs of our children we are also abusing them in that manner. Hence the need for career parents to create a balance between providing material and social needs of the children and given them the necessary parental guidance and care. Child Safety Protecting Children
The Abuse of a Child can have long lasting negative Effects
It has been proven that the abuse of a child in whatever form often have long lasting devastating effect on their personality and social interactions, they tend to become withdrawn, not very expressive, showing low self-esteem, depression and unwilling to trust people around them. Hence there is always need to take an abused child through a healing process by seeing them through a psychological counseling sessions to enable them get over the Trauma and apprehending their offenders and persecuting them as a way of reassuring the child of his/her safety and protection. IF an abused child is not given the right care and assistance to help them overcome the trauma, they may grow up to become abusers themselves. Red cross Child Abuse Prevention
We can help fight Child Abuse
It is said that prevention is often cheaper and better than cure, and since it seems that the ugly incidence of child abuse in our society is not going to go depart without a good fight, we as responsible individuals of our country must learn to do more in protecting, educating and empowering our children on how not to fall victims of these irresponsible predators. We should be very observant, more open and interactive with our kids, be patient listeners to them and their behaviors. Educate them on the parts of their body i.e. the Penis or Vagina, Anus, Mouth that they should never allow second parties even their father to touch, and who to talk to when such occurs. Places to avoid such as entering a neighbor’s house alone or going with their classmates to their homes. We should also observe their moods when they are been curdled by a close relative of trusted friends, as an adage says “no smoke without fire”.
What we should do when a Child is abused
When a child is abused within our domain, we should never try to cover it up, in a bid to avoid shame and stigmatization, but ensure that such a case is investigated and the culprit adequately prosecuted according to the constituted laws, there are various human rights institutions which can be found online, and the case reported to them for proper execution. And the child should go through a healing and recovering process to ensure the effect of such abuse does not have a long run negative effect on their social and personality development.