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Minimize The Problem Of Child Abuse

The scene has become frighteningly familiar. A mother starves her own children. A drunk father comes home and beats up his nine-year-old son as usual - but on this occasion he uses a hammer. A teenager, babysitting for young nieces and nephews, gets irritated and throws a child against a wall. A grandfather wanting to fulfill his lust, rapes his own granddaughter.

How shocking to our moral sensibilities is the growing epidemic of child abuse. In the US, more than four children die every day as a result of child abuse, at the hands of their parents or caretakers. Some 18,000 suffered permanent disabilities from abuse or neglect while 141,700 sustained serious or near-fatal injuries.

The government estimates that 2.9 million children are in especially difficult circumstances today, suffering from neglect or physical, psychological and sexual abuse. To that may be added the exploitation of minors in child labor and the child sex trade patronized by pedophiles.

What are the causes of child abuse? Alcohol and drugs, poverty, loss of moral values, and the breakdown of the family system are often cited as culprits. In the midst of the outcry against child abuse, we can be thankful that society today views child maltreatment not merely as a social problem, but a criminal issue. The root causes have to be addressed seriously and swiftly. There are several ways you can personally help minimize, if not curb, the problem of child abuse:

1. Support broad and comprehensive child abuse policies. This new law is mandated to protect children against abuse, prostitution, trafficking, and exploitation. “This vital piece of legislation needs resolute enforcement and cannot be left to the police alone. We need the help of the citizenry, the community. Report to the police or the social welfare for any sign of major trouble against minors. If we only act as “our brother's keeper” – this will be a deterrent against would-be abusers.

2. Stand up against bigoted behavior or comments. No longer use violent and abusive language. Verbal abuse usually precedes physical abuse. It's an indicator that shouldn't be ignored. Stand against it courageously. But first, remove your own verbal garbage. Victims need no longer be intimidated by the “culture of silence” that keeps them from speaking out. Don't be muted by this great evil. Call it by its right name. If technology conquered the speed of sound, it's time society conquer the speed of silence! For to be quiet now is tantamount to being an accomplice. The boldness of the predator is in no small part due to the silence of lambs.

3. Assess and address the level of violence in your personal relationships. Change in society must begin in us, and no other person knows you better than yourself. While the community must take a united front against child abuse, each person in that community must assess his own personality and check for abuse-proneness in his behavior. Government, the church, media, or the private sector alone would not be able to halt the menace against minors. It will require personal vigilance and accountability on our part.

Society | Crime


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