Most people have the understanding that child abuse only starts with maltreatment and ends with sexual abuse but it goes a little further than that. The trend in the society has taught us to be mindful of our business, and not poke our nose into other people’s business, but for how long are we going turn deaf ears to silent cry of that little kid being battered with curses every day or the woman who has bruises all over her body because she’s her husband’s punching bag. We all tend to ignore other people’s plight because they are not related to us in anyway and because we are simply, ‘minding our business’.
Child abuse is the physical, sexual or emotional maltreatment of a child due to the failure of the parents or caretaker which can cause serious harm.it takes four major forms which include physical, sexual, psychological and neglect. The physical deals with beating of the child, sexual deals with exposing or using the child for sexual acts, psychological deals with humiliating, belittling the child and neglect deals with abandoning the basic child’s needs.
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A 42-year old man locked up his daughter in a room with her hands, mouth and face bound for four days, he claimed she was a witch. Nigerian police raided a home allegedly being used to force teenage girls to have babies. A three year old boy is seen wandering the streets barefooted, running errands for his uncle on a Monday morning. Five young girls between the ages of 5-10 belonging to the same mother are seen naked on the streets, playing around and fighting with people on the streets. A 23 year old man raped a two year old girl. A mother punished her 14 year old son by asking him to carry industrial block on his bare head for the whole day. These are just few among the abuses children face in this present time.
The effects of all this on the victims? It causes lack of trust and relationship difficulties, it produces feelings of being worthless and damaged, it leads to mental illness, it leads to difficulty in regulating their emotions, it leads to difficulty in sleeping, concentrating. It furthers leads to dissociation, discomfort in physical touch, drug abuse, risky sexual decision making. In essence, the abuse traumatises the victims. What can you do about it? Charity starts from home, so be a good example to your family members and say I love you often. Caution the mother raining curses on her child. If you suspect a child is being abused, report the case, don’t wait for anyone. Praise and encourage the children around you. Organize safety systems for your neighbourhood. Be sensitive to the children’s feelings around you. Everyone has a role to play in putting a stop to this menace. The children out there deserves the essentials of childhood. Learn to recognize the sighs of child abuse and learn not to keep quiet about it.
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