The April is yearly observed as ‘Month of Child Abuse Prevention’ in U.S. We in Pakistan should also start observing April as ‘Child Abuse Prevention Month’ every year. The Government and non-government organizations must chalk out programs in this regard. We have enough time to make preparations – Let’s start advocacy for our own children
By Pirah Aijaz
Child abuse is a prevalent issue in our society. It is all about behavior that harasses a child physically or mentally. Basically, it’s a behavior that harms children sexually, physically, psychologically, verbally and emotionally. We can see a large number of cases in Pakistan, in which innocent children are being victimized by the cruel people who brutally assault them. This can be in any form, like beating them physically, threatening and sexual acts etc. The child abuse affects the overall life of a victim. This is just because of the parent’s negligence and their unfriendly behavior to a child. Most of the parents don’t consider it a serious issue. There’s a need to have a complete understanding of child abuse issue, its consequences, and prevention strategies.
There are several causes behind child abuse. The most important and serious one that requires to be addressed is parents’ negligence, which in turn creates psychological issues for a child. Similarly, the domestic violence adversely affects the mental state of a child, and plays a role of trauma for him. The childhood violence, inappropriate behavior of others, lack of attention, unethical gestures in public like at academic institutes, and other factors are responsible of damaging the child.
Another major factor is that parents set boundaries for their children and such excessive boundaries create communication gap and unkind environment between them. Such kinds of boundaries ruin the parent-child relationship. In such cases, children afraid of being true to their parents hide everything, as they think their parents won’t understand them. Kids think it’s a waste of time to talk to their parents because they would start blaming them for everything. Many children feel that they would be punished if they shared certain things to their parents, and it might damage their image for parents.
The third most important factor is children’s blind trust for family or other relatives, which contributes a lot to child abuse incidents in the society.
Did you ever think ‘what is the reason behind such state of affairs? It is just the because of the parent-child relationship and the lack of awareness.’
Child maltreatment is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. For this, parents should adopt a friendly behavior with their child instead of negligence and rigidness in their attitude. Parents should keep aware their kids about child abuse, inappropriate touches, gestures, and other unethical acts of others, so that they can be aware of it properly and keep protected themselves in public places.
The children should have a complete understanding of child abuse, its consequences and prevention strategies.
Most Common Consequences
Let’s now discuss some of the most common consequences, which are emotional scars, physical scars, psychological and behavioral effects, and social consequences as well. For having a complete understanding of child abuse everyone needs to know about consequences and prevention strategies as well.
The victimized children feel the pain inside. They suffer low self-esteem and feelings of guilt, often blaming the self for everything. They feel difficult to trust again on relationships due to such unwanted encounters. Those children always have a feeling of hopelessness, hate, rage, and suicidal thoughts or self-harm.
Children can have physical consequences, like bruises, cuts, broken bones, other health issues, and even death. They often feel difficulty in walking and sitting. Also, they often feel tiredness or laziness. Such kind of children feel head trauma and have poor hygiene and dress. Further, they suffer from sexually transmitted diseases and other physical issues.
The children encountering maltreatment feel anxiety, depression, low-self-respect, fears of rejection, withdrawal, disconnection, despair, aloofness etc. They often experience flashbacks of the incident. Also, they have persistent fears. They feel trouble in making and maintaining relationships.
The victim children always face irregular patterns in their behavior like eating or sleeping disorders, they become addicted to alcohol or drugs, feel uncomfortable in dealing with people, low academic performance and grades. Also, they drop out of their schools due to fears. Sometimes, they indulge themselves in criminal activities which can ruin their entire life.
The victims are also maltreated by the society and use to face social consequences in their lives, such as low academic achievement, adult criminality, learning problems, and lifelong mental health issues. The first place where child suffers hate and contempt is the family and then comes neighborhood and educational institute. Growth of a child with such disorders affects the society and pays the cost.
As all the causes and consequences are interconnected, there is dire need to devise strategies to overcome such a precarious situation. Around 1300 cases of child-sex have been reported in Pakistan as of 2019. This figure gives a clear idea of the increasing ratio of child abuse in our society.
The government should enact strict laws with appropriate implementation. Secondly, parents should be friendly and frank to their children and listen to them and understand their problems. Also, they should keep them aware of child abuse incidents but not in a language or words that may leave negative impact on their mind and create panic, and encourage them to be their own advocate as well. The parents must ensure provision of such an atmosphere to their kids that they don’t feel lonely and neglected. Moreover, it’s also not advisable sending the kids alone to shops at odd times. In view of certain child abuse cases where some of the perpetrators were found to be relatives, tutors and religious teachers, the parents should keep strict watch on them. The neighborhood committees could also be formed to keep watch on child-abusers and safeguard their children.
There are a lot of ways to reduce child abuse cases, and even the simple strategies can also work well. So, there’s a need to pay extra attention to fix this issue taking practical initiatives. And the first initiative should be starting advocacy against child abuse. We all as a member of society should launch advocacy campaigns.
The April is yearly observed as ‘Month of Child Abuse prevention’ in U.S. We in Pakistan should also start observing April as ‘Child Abuse Prevention Month’ every year. The Government and non-government organizations must chalk out programs in this regard.
We have enough time to make preparations – Let’s start advocacy for our own children.