As reported by Hadley Freeman in the article titled “Michael Jackson’s life showed us the journey from abused to abuser” on The Guardian dated 26th March 2019; “Michael Jackson’s dad verbally abused him as a child, constantly calling him ‘fat nose”. This was a child who was suffering insecurity from his physical appearance already. He suffered vitiligo and broken nose and was so obsessed with fixing his physical appearance later. In short, his problems were many.
Child abuse is a serious and devastating drawback everywhere around the globe. It is defined by the World Health Organisation as “all forms of physical and emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect and exploitation that results in actual or potential harm to the child’s health, development or dignity”. Four types of child abuse were distinguished: physical abuse; sexual abuse; emotional (or psychological) abuse; and neglect.
1. Physical abuse is the results of punching, beating, kicking, biting, burning, shaking, or otherwise harming a child physically.
The parent or guardian who abused the child might not have a supposed intention of harming the child in question however the child’s injury could have resulted from too harsh disciplinary measures or physical penalties taken by such a parent or guardian.
2. Sexual abuse is a sort of abuse that involves sexual activity with a minor. A child cannot consent to any kind of sexual activity. Once a perpetrator engages with a child in this manner, they’re committing against the law that may have lasting effects on the victim for years. Child sexual abuse doesn’t need to embody physical contact between a perpetrator and a child. Some sorts of child sexual abuse include: Exhibitionism, or exposing oneself to a minor, Fondling, Intercourse, Masturbation within the presence of a minor or forcing the minor to masturbate, Obscene phone calls, text messages, or digital interaction, Producing, owning, or sharing pornographic pictures or movies of children, Sex of any kind with a minor, together with vaginal, oral, or anal, Sex trafficking or any other sexual conduct that’s harmful to a child’s mental, emotional, or physical welfare.
3. Psychological abuse is the most insidious type of abuse there is. Taking Nigeria as a case study, people want to see a busted lip and black eye before they can entertain any talk about abuse. Psychological abuse is the number one reason most people are suffering in silence. It usually starts when you are a child and it continues to show up in your life through church, your workplace, your romantic relationships and even with complete strangers.
4. Neglect is a typical type of child abuse. Overlooking a child’s needs, placing them in unsupervised, perilous circumstances, presenting them to sexual situations, or making them feel useless or inept are likewise types of child abuse and they leave profound, enduring scars on children. A wide range of maltreatment and disregard leave lasting scars. A portion of these scars may be physical, however, emotional scarring has enduring impacts all through life, harming a child’s feeling of self, their future relationship, and capacity to be active at home, work and school. Impacts include the absence of trust and relationship challenges, center sentiments of being “useless” and inconvenience controlling feelings.
Statistically, what most parents fail to understand is the implications of their words in the life outcome of their children. Every word spoken into children is a seed which germinates to produce fruit. The words of Ben Carson’s mother to him influenced his life’s outcome. She constantly told him, “you can achieve ANYTHING you set your mind to achieve. You can do it!” – coined from the book “Gifted Hands”.
The home is supposed to be a safe haven for the kids but the opposite is what is being displayed in homes nowadays. Some kids face abuse and humiliation in school and among peer groups only to come home to face the same thing. Then you wonder why they turn out horrible. Some parents, especially my tribe, The Yorubas, can engage in abusive words which they see nothing wrong with. These seemingly harmless adjectives or nouns called by parents can mutilate children’s self-esteem. Orobo(fat), opelenge(thin), blacky, blackface, big head, big ears, rabbit ears, kebu(bow leg), kukute(a short person), big teeth, big breasts, crowded teeth, olodo(dullard) and so on are some of the seemingly adjectives or nouns called by some of the Yoruba parents.
Parents should never cultivate the habit of body shaming their kids or use their deficiencies to mock them. Also, they should pick a fight with anyone who does. They should defend their children instead of joining forces with outsiders to rip their self-worth. Your words as a parent can either make or break your child and the fact remains that Children never forgets how parents made them feel.
Below is a little scenario of verbal abuse between a child and the parents
Child: “Daddy, you said we will go to the museum this holiday.”
Dad: “Which museum? Where’s the money! Please don’t disturb my life!”
Child: “Mummy, can we buy Cocopops?”
Mum: “Eez as if you are mad! N2,250 for ordinary cornflakes! So if I buy you will chop, abi?! You berra remove your hand from that shelf! Nonsense!”
You don’t have to buy Cocopops, but you can be nicer when turning down a child’s offer. People buying Cocopops don’t have two heads. Instead of rebuking a child for wanting the best cereals on the shelf, you should admonish yourself for not ever having enough to buy these things. Your children should be your biggest motivation to be better.
I really hate seeing kids treated like shit. They didn’t ask to be born. If you made that decision to have them, then everything changes. This convenient parenting where children are allowed to grow unsupervised is nerve-wracking.
When a child that suffers abuse becomes an adult, the adult, in turn, abuses other children. This is how abuse is recycled.
Dear Parents/Guardians, when your children are wrong, fight for the right of the other child and tell your child they are wrong. When your child is right, stand with him/her. When they are weak, fight for them. Then turn to them and tell them they have to find courage.
The best protection we can provide for children is INFORMATION. The best bulwark is teaching them to apply Information appropriately as it suits their lives.
As children grow older, the conversation becomes more sincere. In those moments, they realise how lucky they are. You see, I don’t take bullying lightly. That shit destroys children for the rest of their lives! It kills their confidence, makes them constantly unsure and afraid. Ruins their self-esteem to tatters.
Staying silent and quietly brooding over the pain and abuse that children and even adults suffer will not help them. This silence and tolerance are even one of the reasons why the ills have been getting worse by the day. Our problems will not fix themselves. We are the change our society needs.
Parents, relatives & teachers, you are the first line of support for children. It’s important for you to have an open line of communication with them and build a sense of trust. Just as it is important, to identify when children are struggling emotionally. African children tend to internalize their feelings. Getting them to open up and talk to you can feel like a challenge. The following tips can be helpful:
*Always create a good relationship with your children
*Make them feel safe.
*Affirm and support their need for help
*Listen to them when they speak.
The words instilled in a child will help that child to live right and make the right choices even when no one else is around.
CHILD ABUSE CAN BE PREVENTED BY;
1. Establishing safe homes and safety networks with organizations in your area.
2. Establishing neighborhood support groups for abused children and their families.
3. Making efforts to ascertain additional and better-equipped orphanages and houses for children to safeguard homeless children and orphans while showing them enough warmheartedness and attention.
4. Employing qualified and skilled workers to take charge of the affairs of the children to curb ill-treatment, negligence, exploitation.
5. The government encouraging NGOs by financially aiding them in raising awareness through building capability, abuse and rehabilitation centers, empowerment programs like vocational education.
6. NGOs should encourage and collaborate with relevant authorities particularly the government in providing substantial knowledge, data and ideas on the way to tackle child abuse menace. The National and states house of assembly should review the child right act legislation with a view to curbing child abandonment and abuse.
7. Improving the living standards of the citizens so as to discourage child labour and child marriages.
8. Organising neighborhood awareness campaigns. Sensitization campaigns should be doled out to enlighten the public on the impact and effect of child abuse and negligence.
9. Organising activities in your neighborhood that address issues contributing to child abuse, such as poverty, life skills, unemployment.
10. Looking for positive ways to bring up children. Children should be educated on safety methods to use to discover and avoid pedophiles and kidnappers.
11. Encouraging children to speak out. If you are feeling threatened, tell someone that you trust. If someone has already abused you, do not protect him/her – protect yourself. If you are not believed – tell someone else. In some cases, friends will help you (if you are all alone at home with a relative who is compromising your safety, continue inviting friends over).
12. Meting stiffer punishments for child abuse with the end goal of dissuading future culprits.
13. Also sharing this article after reading it. The more people are informed, the fewer victims there will be.
CVIP’s accomplices and teammates incorporate different colleges and network-based offices serving the most powerless populace.
CVIP is financed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.