Revisiting Child Abuse: An abused child is an unhappy child
Children should be taught to articulate their needs and feelings for self-protection. Parental duty involves training children to become honest citizens with exemplary character and good virtues.
I published an article on June 26, 2022, on Child abuse on this website. I am revisiting the issue because of its importance. A child is vital to a family and a nation for continuous existence. A country can be destroyed without warfare equipment if their little ones are killed, eradicated, and by ensuring no newborn babies. If childbearing adults fail to reproduce; there will be no new generation. The question then is: if a child is so important, why abuse a child? The answer lies in perversion and ungodly attributes. The family is thrilled with the new addition when a baby is born. Relations, Friends & Neighbours use the opportunity to wish the family well and rejoice with them. At times the naming of the baby comes with a big party with plenty to eat and drink. The baby starts to grow and faces little hardships. The baby begins to enjoy or suffer depending on the family and environment into which the baby is born. Only unplanned babies born out of wedlock arrive with no pomp. Babies generally enjoy cocktail arrival and are like the salt of the earth.
It is unholy to abuse or subject children to any form of abuse. Child abusers are not strangers; they are family members, neighbors, friends, uncles, aunties, nieces, nephews, or anyone close enough to affect the child’s life. Child abuse is not limited to physical assault on the child. At times a child that is supposed to be brought up in a loving environment finds himself on a tightrope fighting for dear life. A child can be battered spiritually and physically.
Spiritual assault is more damaging because it is not easily discovered and can mar the child for life. Physical assault, which at times causes withdrawal syndrome, is easily observed and, if taken up on time, has solutions for damage repairs though some effects are the last longing.
It is a sad irony that many abusers genuinely love their children, but they find themselves caught up in life situations beyond their control, and they do not know how to cope. They are often isolated from friends and family and may have no one to give them emotional support. They may not like themselves and may not know how to meet their emotional needs. The effects of abuse are devastating and produce extended lasting negative attributes and feelings. Children abused physically, sexually, or emotionally suffer a wide range of effects from their victimization.
The effects produce feelings of:
- Loss of Control; and
- Losses of esteem causing lower esteem of self.
Despite these feelings, there are lots of problems associated with their abuse. These problems include but are not limited to the following:
- Poor performance in School;
- Emotional disturbance
- Exposure to further abuse;
- Lack of Character and behavioral problems;
- Low I.Q and
- Juvenile delinquent
Child abuse is not limited to an area or some people. It happens in all socio-economic, racial, ethnic, and religious groups. Abuse is a consistent and pervasive element in the backgrounds of low achievers, prostitutes, runaways, drug users/ abusers, and incarcerated individuals. Prevention is better than cure. Many abused children stand the risk of being abused again and again, especially when they are still exposed to the same abusers. “Love conquers all,” echoes a wise saying. In a home where love reigns, family abuse is eradicated. The fear of God in the family members exemplified in the Agape love will make it impossible for any family member to abuse another. Child abuse’s trauma and devastating effects take their inevitable toll on society. The effects escalate violence in society. Children are gifts from God and are born to grow and be nurtured in love.
Abused children are exploited, beaten, punished, taken advantage of, manipulated, and neglected till their integrity is impaired. The children in this hostile environment cannot express their pains and anger and are compelled to suppress their feelings and the memory of the trauma. This suppression finds a window of escape in criminality; destructive acts against others or themselves, like drug addiction, alcoholism, prostitution, murder, assassination, psychic disorders, suicide, lack of parental control, and other criminal behaviors. If you are not brought up with love, you will find it difficult to show or exhibit love; a parent abused as a child will often direct acts of revenge against his children. It becomes a vicious cycle of abuse.
A child needs an adult to believe in them. A child needs protection and loves, not maltreatment. Society needs to wake up to its roles and stop blaming the victim but the abuser. So far, society has protected the adult against the child. It is in keeping with the traditional pedagogical principles of our great-grandparents, that viewed children as crafty creatures dominated by wickedness. It has also contributed to the children blaming themselves for their parents’ cruelty and absolving them of all responsibility because they love their parents.
Thanks to scientific development. It is known that a child responds to and learns tenderness and cruelty from the womb. New parents are learning to treat their babies well from the beginning, which might end the perpetuation of violence from the new generation. Those whose integrity was not damaged in childhood, who were protected, loved, respected, and treated with honesty by their parents, will also grow up intelligent, responsive, empathetic, loving, kind, and highly sensitive. They will not tend to hurt anyone but rather respect and protect those weaker than themselves. They will be in a position to handle intimidation in their adult lives. Parental watchfulness is essential in getting outsiders not to abuse their children.
The coming of the Internet and Computer has added to child abuse in the promotion of Child Pornography. Pornography is the treatment of sexual subjects in pictures or writing in a way that is meant to cause sexual excitement (Longman Dictionary). Children get exposed to pornography through books, photographs, films, the Internet, etc., that parade nude and willing participants. The constant and consistent exposure becomes recurrent, distressing, and interferes with the child’s daily functioning. Pornography is addictive and evil. Parents are to protect their children from Internet abuse in the form of sexual chatting on the net. Innocently children are lured into this unknowingly. Parent must advise their child never to give personal information on the net.
Please keep your child away from the chat room.
Be aware of your child’s vulnerability on the Internet. It is a well-established fact that fathers sometimes abuse their children or stepchildren. So a mother has a double role of being a friend and confidant to her child, especially a daughter. Your daughter must have implicit belief in you as her best friend to make her confide in you when she is sexually abused. Disbelief and distrust come between mother and daughter when you don’t communicate and are far apart. Your child should be able to talk to you. Do not play God to the detriment of your child; even God loves us and cares for children to come closer. The economic situation in Nigeria does not help the matter. It makes both parents involved in the rat race leaving their children to themselves, housemaids, or at the mercy of neighbors. No one can fathom the deceptions of our hearts, so that no one can be truly trusted.
Uncles and cousins have had incestuous sexual relationships with their female relations without their parent’s knowledge. Some parents have expressed their frustrations with their children, subjecting them to inhuman treatment. Some parents have sent their children on errands bigger than their abilities, and failure of accomplishment on the children’s part results in physical abuse. We must learn to show and demonstrate love to our young ones. It takes only love to make children truly happy, and it is our duty as parents to do this. Child abuse is terrible, and child abuse is wicked.
The greatest of all differences between ancient and modern morality is not the introduction of new virtues but changing the order of the old ones. And what are the “nerve endings” in people’s lives these days? Well, look at the statistics from the Barna Research Group:
- Financial – 39%;
- Work-related – 16%;
- Personal health – 12%
- Time and stress – 8%;
- Parenting – 7%;
- Educational attainment – 6%
- Fear of crime – 3%;
- Personal relationships – 3%.
The statistics could have changed now.