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Not Another Child

“Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.” -Author Charles R. Swindoll.

Conscious and unconscious actions of adults make a deep and everlasting impact on the mind of children. Children may be treated, good or bad, harshly or politely, with love or hate, affection or neglect, either way, our behaviors majorly play a big role in shaping their minds and character.

When we do not ponder over the fact that our treatment of children matters a lot in molding them and subsequently our society, there comes an umbrella term called ‘child abuse.’

Child abuse is the maltreatment of a child whether it be physically, mentally, sexually or in the form of neglect. According to the reports, almost every 10 children are abused sexually in Pakistan, and these are not all the statistics, as most of the victims and families don’t even report. To mention, Kasur scandal of child sexual abuse is so terrible and has been heart wrenching for most of us.

Mostly children are abused by their own parents, close relatives or trustworthy people. When parents are unable to manage their stress issues, personal conflicts, financial stress, anger, personal interests and habits, their basic needs, they misunderstand the child psychology and try to avenge their past on the children. Their mismanagement many a times leads to mental, physical abuse or neglect of their children. Moreover, due to the neglectful behavior of guardians, parents, or care takers, the ‘monster’ finds an opportunity to fulfill its vicious desires, and a child is sexually molested.

Our society is not strong, stable, and educated much to stow the ‘monster’ and prevent such kind of abuse. Firstly, in our society due to shame and honor such matters are not talked upon impact fully, even if discussed then it is in a sensationalist manner. Secondly, the child is blamed for the immoral act being done with him. Last but not the least, we are not strong enough legally, socially and morally to tackle this issue head on.

Why do we not realize that once a child is abused, his whole life is completely shattered. It leads the child to having trust issues, personality disorders, mental instability, being physically weak, and in a nutshell, the child becomes an unsound individual. If such ill-helped individual would multiply in number then, an unhealthy society would come into existence.

This matter needs to be addressed for public awareness and to empower society. There is a well-known proverb “prevention is better than cure”. This applies in solving the issue of child abuse as well. One can aware society about preventive measures that could be taken. Parents should teach their kids that no one has the right to make a claim on their body. They should be taught the difference between good and bad. Moreover, there should be a person that a child befriends or trusts upon.

Children must be taught how to defend themselves. They could be taught multiple ways to defend themselves in public like for e.g push away if some stranger approaches them, they could also shout and gather a mob for help. As we all know, a thief always leaves a calling card behind, likewise we can identify an abuser by a few traits. Most abusers are always way too polite, they try to find some place alone with the child and share secrets with them as well to gain the trust of the child. While the abuser himself is found to lack goodness in personality. Noticing such similar traits and upon more inquiry, we can report about them legally, and why shouldn’t we? Why should we not call a black sheep as a black sheep, there is nothing wrong being done, in fact it should be our duty to highlight the wrong and raise a voice against it. There should not be another child becoming a victim of child abuse on our watch.

All in all, society needs to get rid of this evil by empowering itself and speaking on behalf of those who cannot stand up for themselves. After all, they are indeed our assets.

Written by Amna Khan