A CASE AGAINST CHILD ABUSE
How could anyone abuse a defenseless child? Most of us can’t imagine what would make an adult abuse a child. Sadly, child abuse is more common than you might think. Child abuse cuts across social classes and all ethnicities. And the abuse overwhelmingly is at the hands of those who are supposed to be protecting the child.
My job as a kiddie’s event manager has presented me the opportunity to meet and interact with Nigerian children from different backgrounds; this has given me an understanding of the silent pains the Nigerian child undergoes.
Child Abuse is the physical maltreatment of children. Child maltreatment is seen as an act or a series of acts by a parent or caregiver that results in neglect, physical, psychological (emotional), or mental abuse. Most cases of child abuse happen in the child’s home, with a smaller amount occurring in organizations, schools or communities the child interacts with.
Certain children in Nigeria are tagged “Ajekpako” , this tag does not result from the financial status of the Childs parents but his/her way of life and a deficiency of esteem which can involve belittling or shaming a child, inappropriate or extreme punishment and the withholding of affection.
This so called “Ajekpako” Boys and girls go about the streets with hearts full of inferiority complex which prevents them from freely relating with their peers. People with a history of neglect or physical abuse are most often found to suffer good interaction skills as a result try to dominate their peer groups’ probably through bully or aggression sometimes the reverse is the case.
Child abuse can take many forms:
1. Neglect, in which the responsible adult fails to adequately provide for various needs, including physical (failure to provide adequate food, clothing, or hygiene), emotional (failure to provide nurturing or affection) or educational (failure to enroll a child in school).
2. Physical abuse is physical aggression directed at a child by an adult. It can involve striking or choking a child, the distinction between discipline and abuse is often poorly defined in this part of the world.
3. Child sexual abuse is any sexual act between an adult and a child, including penetration, fondling, and exposure to adult sexuality and violations of privacy.
4. Psychological abuse, also known as emotional abuse, which can involve belittling or inappropriately criticizing a child, inappropriate or extreme punishment and the withholding of affection.
The worse and most silent of these “Sexual abuse “is practiced even here in Nigeria. Child sexual abuse is any sexual activity that involves a child in which he or she cannot fully comprehend nor give consent but someone who is in a position of power and authority over the child who could either be a male or a female, an adult, teenager or an older child, can abuse a child. We are beginning to see some new trends of children abusing their fellow peers but they do not understand it like the adults. Most times, it is basically having sexual arousal and craving for satisfaction. But it is criminal.
Child sexual abuse is in two forms. First involves a physical contact between the abuser and the abused. With the physical contact under our law, it looks only at the sexual penetration. Here the law says you defile a child and anything outside that will be classified as an assault. The second is the one that involves no physical contacts; we are very concerned about the aspect of this crime that the law does not see. That is the aspect of the non-physical, which means that someone can sexually abuse a child without touching him/her. If an adult exposes a child to pornography, that adult has sexually abusing the child. If a child is exposed to sexual activities, even if it is from the parents, may be due to their living in a one-room apartment, whether we like it or not, it is sexual abuse to the child. The kinds of content we have on televisions are sexually abusing children, Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it (Prov22:6). If a three-year-old girl wants to dance, her dance will be sexual and erotic because that is all they see. They do not know the meaning but because it is what they see, they tap into it. Sexual abuse is particularly deleterious, for symptoms of depression, anxiety, dissociation, and low self esteem.
Most parents in this part of the world have a culture of belittling or inappropriately criticizing children, this leads to Psychological abuse, also referred to as emotional abuse. It is a form of abuse characterized by a person subjecting or exposing another to behavior that is psychologically harmful. It involves the willful infliction of mental or emotional anguish by threat, humiliation, or other verbal and non-verbal conduct. It is often associated with situations of power imbalance, such as abusive relationships.
Psychological abuse may occur as bullying of individuals or groups, often children. Methods of psychological abuse include causing fear by intimidation, threatening physical harm to a child or children, destruction of pets, forcing isolation from friends, school or work. Abusers gain from their behavior in such ways as not doing a share of the housework or by having total control over the victim.
signs of physical abuse
Physical signs: Sometimes physical abuse has clear warning signs, such as unexplained bruises, welts, or cuts. While all children will take a tumble now and then, look for age-inappropriate injuries, injuries that appear to have a pattern such as marks from a hand or belt, or a pattern of severe injuries.
Behavioral signs Other times, signs of physical abuse may be more subtle. The child may be fearful, shy away from, isolation and usually afraid to go home.
You can make a difference
One of the most painful effects of child abuse is its tendency to repeat itself. One of every three abused or neglected children will grow up to become an abusive parent. You may be reluctant to interfere in someone’s family, but you can make a huge difference in a child’s life if you do. The earlier abused children get help, the greater chance they have to heal from their abuse and not perpetuate the cycle. Many physically abusive parents and caregivers insist that their actions are simply forms of discipline, ways to make children learn to behave. But there’s a big difference between giving an unmanageable child a swat on the backside and twisting the child’s arm until it breaks.