B.Y. DR Miller
Child abuse is not always visible, like a flood, rain, broken bridge or snow and a few news headlines where society assesses the damages and swiftly moves on.
Understanding and identifying even the presence of psychopathology of sexual deviancy by some perpetrators, or risk factor of becoming a sex worker, takes collaborative efforts by the entire community and it is everyone’s responsibility for prevention beyond April.
Your teacher, a family member, pastor, friend, political leader, and others in authority who are aware and fail to discuss or prevent perpetrators of this crime against humanity share the same responsibility.
“It takes a village to raise a child,” a famous argument made by many. However, reducing these incidents and promoting awareness in April despite its intention can be difficult where a village often does not exist.
Beyond April’s Numbers: According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, nearly one in two women and one in five men have experienced some type of sexual violence, and victimization.
As society’s disconnect grows, many are more connected far more than the devices tells us, so more can be done.
Such as the delicate balance sometimes on perpetrators being arrested even by the United Nations that blasted major news headlines, that seem to coincide with the month of April awareness. Often the work that is going on to protect children gets pushed aside especially in places that are pre-occupied with an election campaign and others who have just completed where new leader is trying to create personal legacy or already campaigning for the next one. Soon, one hopes, child abuse topics should be part of all debates and even become a litmus test for a candidate who seeks higher office.
Society cannot continue to allow an abused child’s story to be silent because everyone knows the perpetrator especially due to one’s financial status, position held in the community or family support one provides.
Analyzing next April: Sexual exploitation, education, health are areas of society that will forever link with young people such as with media, politics, and professional concerns, as most scholars have argued. As a result, when society searches for answers to forge a better union, most events will provoke debates. Sometimes the experience one brings is simple from his or her own social mobilization process. Therefore, it can difficult to separate one from the environment that has been created.
Often, sadly, when one addresses child abuse, the physical scar tends to be the only focus. However, when these children become victims, it is not solely due to low expectation, but combination of the lack of resources, xenophobia, poor parenting and many other community issues that failed to invest in a child development. And therefore lessens the chance of succeeding.
Today some of these neglected and abused children now find comfort under a bridge from a passing business person who exploits them even more.
If a child’s development fails due to bias, it is no different from an educational system that allows criminals to pass and become teachers, volunteers in school or churches that prey on innocent children.
Sadly, up the road, down the hill, at the local shops child abuse still can be a muted subject. It is not always due to low expectations, but where more victims are created due to classism and other economic stratification.
The plight of women in general, coupled with the collapse of society’s moral compass, whether in an urban city, rural area, or along the shores, child abuse is uncomfortable. However, how society corrects itself and builds for a brighter surrounding security, and prosperity despite April's good intention is much deeper.
Managing these crimes of opportunity is simply becoming more reactive, and when these special days or months approach it has to be beyond a spring cleaning until another colour emerges.
What next? Domestic violence and so on.
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