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Violence Against Children Growing

In 1989, the convention on the rights of the child was unanimously adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations. The convention sets universal legal standards for the protection of children against neglect, abuse and exploitation as well as guaranteeing their basic human rights, including survival, development and full participation in social, cultural, educational and other endeavors necessary for their individual growth and well-being. The convention came into force on September 2, 1990.

Nevertheless, violence against children is escalating, over the world. Every day we hear of new kinds of violence. The statistics made available by government, international organizations and social groups are just a drop in the ocean considering that countless cases go unreported.

Child abuse is not a new social disease, because history tells us it has always existed. But it tentacle are spreading throughout the globe, and it has become more sadistic, pervasive and hideous. Modern scientific advancements have reduced infant and child mortality leading to a higher survival rate among children. But technological innovations have yet to find a panacea for child abuse and its damaging consequences. Whether physical, sexual, emotional or in the other forms of maltreatment, it has become universal scourge.

As the WHO neo-natal and infant mortality, through better health, sanitation and immunization programs, the issue of protecting children from violence will have to take on increasing priority.

Children are like flowers. Their physical and mental makeup is very fragile. Physical abuse can lead to a permanent disability. Its mental effect can also be traumatic with most children suffering live-long emotional damage.

Ill-treatment of children takes various forms and the worst is sexual abuse for the sexual gratification of adults. One in every 10 children is sexually abused, according to the WHO. The disturbing fact is that, in most cases, the victims are abused by people they knew and trust. For such children it’s a long struggle for the rest of their lives and many never recover from physical pain and fade.

In most cases the victims are girl children and they carry their trauma into adulthood. Because of the stigma attached to this form of abuse, many victims or their families refuse to report or even talk about such things. Thus the victim carries the burden for the rest of his or her life without any psychiatric help.

As society becomes more and more permissive and degenerate, a greater number of children become targeted, as they are defenseless and can be held at ransom or otherwise suborned. Those who sexually abuse children are mentally sick and require medical attention.

On the other hand, parents should educate and equip their children to protect themselves or expose those who violate their persons. Sexually abused children also need more love, care and attention to help prevent them from having mental disorder later on.

Studies suggest that as many as one-third of the adult female population and one-fifth of the adult male population experiences some form of sexual abuse in childhood.

The number of maltreated children continues to grow. Children, particularly abandoned and street children and those from poor sections are used as cheap labor. In some countries children are used as cheap sport from poor, third World countries used as jockeys in camel racing.

Every day, countless children suffer as casualties of war, as victims of racial discrimination, apartheid aggression; as refugees and displaced children forced to abandon the security of their homes; as disabled or as victims of neglect, cruelty and exploitation.

Society has a heavy responsibility to combat violence against children and to allow them to grow as normal, healthy and happy children.

Adapted from: "Family Life" by: "Aisha Mutuku"

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