We need to speak out against child abuse

by ADDADGA CRUICKSHANK

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

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Child abuse is the physical, sexual, emotional mistreatment or neglect of a child. Child abuse can occur in a child’s home or in the organisations, schools or communities the child interacts. There are four major categories of child abuse: neglect, psychological/emotional abuse, and child sexual abuse.


Child abuse is occurring in Jamaica right under the noses of the relevant authorities, yet nothing of any substance is being done to prevent these acts. Almost everywhere you go in and around the streets of Jamaica one will see these acts being played out. Women can be seen begging on the streets with a child in tow, or even having the kids walking around selling bag juice and other stuff.


Young teenage girls are being abused sexually on a daily basis by some of those who are employed in the public transport sector. The main perpetrators are the route taxi drivers and minibus crews. Apart from being sexually abused, their lives are also put at risk when they are crammed into these taxis and buses for maximum gain.


The very powerful song Concrete Angel is sung by Martina McBride and is a very touching one indeed. The main theme of the song is child abuse. The song tells a story about a little girl (named Angela Carter in the music video) who’s trying to deal with abuse from her alcoholic mother. Some people, including the girl’s teacher, seem to notice signs of abuse, but just try to ignore it. Ultimately, the little girl is killed when her mother beats her to death in a drunken rage.


Situations like this happen regularly and will continue to occur if the relevant authorities keep sitting around waiting for someone to lodge a report. Teachers, in particular, need to be more aware and sensitive to any unusual cuts and bruises that children go to school with. Any sign of physical abuse should be reported immediately to the police or the Child Development Agency.


The police should start cracking down on paedophiles who go around parading as legitimate providers of public transportation. Family members and neighbours should begin to report suspicious activities to the authorities, where children are concerned. Most sexual abuse offenders are acquainted with their victims; they are relatives of the child, most often brothers, fathers, mothers, uncles or cousins. There are other acquaintances such as friends of the family, babysitters, or neighbours. Strangers are often not the offenders in most child sexual abuse cases.


Child abuse is a complex phenomenon with multiple causes, and understanding the causes of abuse is crucial to addressing the problem. We owe our children an obligation, whether they are ours or not. Until children are fit to function as self-supporting and informed adults, we have an obligation not to take advantage of their defencelessness so as to inflict damage, or to demand their submission to acts that are not in their best interests.



 



caddadga@yahoo.com


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