Teenage

Missing Children: An Overlooked Crisis

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

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The number of missing children continues to increase at quite a rapid rate. Though some children are eventually found, there are still too many who have become mere statistics.
Firstly, let us deconstruct the myth that when a female child or TEEN goes missing, she has run away from home in pursuit of her sexual desires and will return shortly. This culturally archaic approach only puts our girls at more risk, as we often delay reporting the child missing as we assume that she will be home soon. To exacerbate the crisis at hand, the general public who should all be concerned and on the lookout for this child responds half-heartedly as the news of a missing child is now monotonous to everyone's ears. In fact, as a society, we have unfortunately normalized this crisis.
We are not being one sided, we do admit that there are anomalies. There are a few girls who may have been reported missing but really they went on an excursion (let's just call it that) and did not return home for days. Perhaps this became a norm for their parents, however it is still the parents' responsibility to report the child missing and the case should not be taken lightly, for at the end of the day the parent is still not aware of the child's whereabouts and that is a cause for concern.
Furthermore regardless of the stigma attached to missing girls, each case should be treated with dire urgency as this is a child's life at stake. Would you prefer to locate a child who may have gone on their own frivolity or locate a mutilated body?
Another harmful notion we hold as a society is that when a male child or TEEN goes missing, we are no longer searching for a person but unfortunately a body. We automatically assume that when a boy has gone missing he was involved in some gang-related issue, and he was killed and his body perhaps disposed of. With this approach, these cases receive even less attention from the media and the public. While we do agree that fewer boys go missing than girls, this does not mean that their cases should receive less attention. It is still a life at stake - a life that might be saved by timely intervention.
As TEENs, we too have a part to play. As it is the best time of our lives (summer) and we know we all have our summer plans set in motion, but whether we work or socialize, all TEENs are encouraged to be very aware of our surroundings, and let someone your trust know your plans and whereabouts.
While we cannot live our lives in constant fear and anxiety about the sick people who may want to harm us, we can help our family and friends know when something is amiss by keeping in constant communication.

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