Commentary Jamaica Magazine

Child Abuse Awareness

As we move forward into the month of May, we pay tribute to the children of our society and our world. This is with the hope that more person’s will learn to respect the child for who he or she is and that we will have better regards for the children who are the future generation.

Nevertheless, there are many children in our society who, as you read are going through a variety of traumas that are eating away at the life of fun that they should be enjoying at this stage, the name of this trauma: Child Abuse.

Child abuse is oftentimes inflicted on the child by person’s whom the child looks up to for guidance, support and love, instead, the child is exposed to physical violence or verbal abuse; denied proper shelter, nourishment, medical treatment, or emotional support or exposed to incest, rape or other instances of sexual molestation.

One aspect of child abuse which is a very widespread phenomenon that has serious emotional consequences for the victim is sexual molestation, it is also an abuse which is fueled by the fact that it is under-reported. In most cases, the perpetrator is usually very close to the child, a step-father, step-mother or even the child’s own parent’s. In instances such as these, when the child tells the other parent, the child is often told that they are lying and no further attention is paid to the matter thus allowing the abuse to continue. In other situations the child is fearful of the further abuse if she should tell anyone because she is threatened by the perpetrator and so continues to be secretly abused. In instances when the child is believed the child and parents are too embarrassed to go to the authorities.

The fact that this abuse is under-reported has not only allowed the perpetrators to get away from the consequences of their actions but has also made it easier for them to move from one prey to another, getting better and better each time. And soon, somewhere along the line, they loose sight of the fact that it is a crime to be inflicting physical or emotional injury on a child.

Despite being abused, the majority of children who are molested do not show signs of extreme disturbance, as a way of getting over their trauma on their own, children who are sexually abused initially may show an unusual interest in sexual organs. They may however demonstrate abnormal behaviors such as publicly display their genitals or may masturbate in public. Long-term effects may include depression, low self-esteem and sexual problems, such as avoidance of sexual contact, confusion about sexuality or involvement in prostitution.

Many persons have asked “Why any person would hurt a child?” Most time we quickly assume that the abuser must be suffering from mental disorders, however, studies have shown that most abusers love their children. It seems however that many of these adult abusers have learnt some of these behaviors from their parent’s, who were abused themselves as children. Thus, the abusive behavior is transmitted across generations. It is also found that the use of alcohol and drugs may also aggravate this behavior.

Can we make the special effort if even for this month, not to hurt the child??!!!!!!!!

About the author

Sheryl Horne