BY: Mushtaq Ahmad Bhat
Child abuse is not new rather a common concern with its prevalence and multiple forms. Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is witnessing fivefold increase in reporting it. First of all it is significant to understand and reduce the risks of abuse for our child and also familiarize ourselves with its signs. Generally there are three types of child abuse:
- The first and foremost is Physical abuse which includes all types of Physical Violence. It also includes the ignorance of child needs for care and nurture.
- Second is Emotional abuse in which an adult regularly berates the child, acts in a dismissive and hostile manner or intentionally scares the child. It also includes continous lack of positive attention for the child. Ignoring the child’s need for love and security. Moreover Violence between parents is also an emotional abused factor.
- The Third and growing one is Sexual abuse which includes sexual contact which an adult forces upon a child.
It is not always easy to recognize when a child has been abused. Children who have been maltreated are often afraid to tell anyone, because they think they will be blamed or that no one will believe them. Sometimes they remain quiet because the person who abused them is someone they love very much, or because of fear, or both.
Parents also tend to overlook signs and symptoms of abuse, because they don’t want to face the truth. This is a serious mistake. A child who has been abused needs special support and treatment as early as possible. The longer he continues to be abused or is left to deal with the situation on his own, the harder it is for children to be able to heal and develop optimally physically and mentally. Children are believed to have melt the hearts of the most cruel through their innocence and purity. They can hardly discern between the vile, malevolent and virtuous of men.
Who would intentionally hurt such harmless creatures and scar their bodies and souls?
Yes, there exist depraved and sadistic corners and thousands of children are abused every year. In Kashmir, there has long been a culture of silence around child sexual abuse, especially when family members are involved in it. There is a tendency to either disbelieve or disregard children who complain against teachers, neighbours and family members, and inadequate reporting mechanisms. Child abuse occurs in `traditional’ households, where money is no problem AND in `poor’ families, where the parents may live seperated.
So the responsibility of parents and guardians is not only to feed and bath their child rather to discipline it. There are multiple responsibilities on the shoulder of parents until the child had reached an age to take care of itself. Parents need to guide their children in such a way so that they would get protected from further abuse. Healthy emotional bonds with parents, a peaceful environment, safety measures can have a lifelong impact on child’s safety.
Last but not least there is need to create an environment and general awareness besides building confidence among children. When a child knows how to protect him/herself by providing exposure knowledge and information s/he will definitely protect itself. Children can’t prevent abuse but adults can, so we continue with however we can to prevent our children against the abuse.
Noteworthy child abuse incidents have already risen and will keep increasing if steps are not taken immediately to protect and support the victims of child abuse.
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