Child abuse is a worldwide problem that needs to be stopped. It affects children from birth to the age of 18 years. As a matter of fact, children should be brought up in a proper environment. All children, irrespective of their age and background, are affected by the abuse. The greatest percent of abuse cases occurs at home. Among the abusers are mostly parents and the elder relatives (Victor 42). Children are allocated to difficult chores, which require more attention from their relatives than they can get. The abuse also happens in schools. This means that everyone is responsible for the child abuse, and so it requires people to do their best to resist this problem. Children abused in their early age can develop a reactive attachment disorder. Children with this disorder hardly establish normal relationship (Victor 21). Any type of abuse leaves a lasting scar. This is because the child is confronted with a problem to deal with emotions and getting closer to people as they grow up. The statistics have shown that, more than 80% of the people suffering from dissociative identity disorder were in one time subjected to child abuse in their early life.
In order to overcome the child abuse disease, Bibby (33) suggests that there is a need to investigate, know and understand the causes of different types of the disease. It is extremely difficult for one to identify child abuse, especially if the crime is done by the parents. This is because the child would fear the consequences of informing against the parents. Conversely, if a child is abused in school by the teachers, the child sees that his/her life in the school may become harder. Therefore, many children live in sufferings.
According to Perrin (17) there are different types of child abuse. These are neglect, physical, emotional and sexual. All these can make a child develop an extremely negative attitude to life and affect the health. Therefore, there is a need to identify the problem to avoid the consequences.
Based on a research study conducted in New York between 1975 and 1993, the ratio of neglected and abused children to those who are not abused or neglected was 4:1 respectively. Additionally, a recent study carried out in 2007, indicated that 9.1 percent of America’s population have personality disorder; this interprets to a ration of 1:11. It also stated that most disorders are caused by anxiety, moods, and substance abuse that is currently becoming a trend among people of all ages. This has been the main contributor of suicide, which causes 109 deaths for every million loss. Moreover, the ratio of men to women in regards to the recorded suicide cases is 1:3.
Child neglect is among the most common types of child abuse. This consists of failing to provide the child with basic needs like appropriate food, clothing or health care. Sometimes, the parent may be physically or mentally disordered, thereby, failing to meet the child’s basic needs. Alcoholism or drug addictions also lead to an inability to keep a child in a good condition (Joanna, Melinda and Jeanne 34). This mostly happens to younger children who are unable to look for themselves. However, even if the older neglected children are sometimes able to assume the role of their parents, they eventually do not meet their emotional and physical needs.
According to Bierer (37) physical abuse includes physical harm and injury to a child. Sometimes, it may be a deliberate attempt to injure a child, or lead to severe punishment which leaves a child in pain. For example, using a belt to discipline a child, or giving a physical punishment which requires more energy than the child can afford. The parents, teachers and caregivers need to differentiate between the use of physical punishment to discipline a child and the physical abuse. Joanna et al, (72) differentiated between physical abuse and discipline. Unlike in discipline, the parent is unpredictable in the case of physical abuse. There are no clear boundaries to be observed by the child. Therefore, the victim does not know what would trigger an assault. Parents who physically abuse their children also use abusive words to assert control instead of motivating their children. Physically abusive parents also think that inflicting fear to their children is a way of making them behave (Richardson 52). Therefore, anyone should not take advantage of the old saying, ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’. The main objective of disciplining the child is to help them differentiate between a wrong and a right. What is the need of developing fear in a child’s life?
Emotional abuse significantly interferes with a child’s mental health and social development and leaves lasting, mental scars. Perrin and Miller (96) say that it results to personality disorder and the child is often separated from others. Examples of emotional child abuse include shaming and humiliating a child, calling inappropriate names and negatively comparing to others. It also involves limiting physical contact and ignoring the child’s needs. All these have negative impacts to the child’s mental development.
Many people think that sexual abuse involves only the body contact. It is crucial to recognize that exposing a child to sexual situations or information is sexually abusive. It is a shame to see that the abusers are the people among one’s relatives, who should take care of a child. Currently, there were many abuse cases when an old man has defiled his granddaughter, a girl raped by the teacher and other cases of rape. Victor (64) says that there exists a wrong belief that girls are exposed to risk more than boys. Today, every child is at risk, but sexual abuse for the boys seems to be underreported due to shame. It is exceptionally difficult for children to come forward when they are sexually abused. They may think that nobody will believe them, some will be angry with them, or even the issue will split their family.
Bromey, Richardson, and Best (87) suggest that it is necessary to be familiar with the warning signs of child abuse. The earlier the child abuse is identified, the better chance of taking the appropriate action. For example, if a child is sexually abused, it is necessary to seek a treatment as soon as possible. This would minimize the effects. However, seeing a warning sign of abuse does not always mean that the child is being abused. One needs to make a groundbreaking investigation before making a conclusion.
Emotion abuse is shown by excessive withdrawal; the child is usually fearful, or anxious about doing a wrong. The child’s behavior becomes extreme. For example: extreme complaint, extreme demands, or extreme aggressiveness. The child also lacks interest and attachment to the parent or caregiver.
Physical abuse can be detected if the child has injuries or unexplained bruises and is always alert, as if aware that something dreadful would happen at any time. Injuries tend to have patterns such as marks of a particular object (Richardson 58). For example, if a belt was used on a child, the marks are visible. This also makes the victim show weird behavior like wearing a long-sleeved shirt on hot weather to cover up the marks.
A neglected child can be noticed by the clothing. Such a child will always be in inappropriate clothes for the weather. Poor hygiene, untreated illnesses or physical injuries are also warning signs of a neglected child. Such a child is left alone, or left to play in an unsafe environment, and is frequently late or missing school.
Sexual abuse can be detected if a child has difficulties with walking or sitting. If a child shows knowledge or an interest in sexual behavior inappropriate to his or her age, the case is questionable. A sexually abused child would make efforts to avoid a person without any reason. The child would also avoid changing clothes in the presence of other people or enrolling in physical activities (Perrin 43).
Child abuse has varying consequences depending on the type of abuse. However, no matter the type, a scar is left and it negatively affects the life of the victim. In some cases, child abuse leads to death, sometimes to permanent impairments. Therefore, there is a need to break this harmful cycle for the sake of future generation.
Educating the public on the rights of a child is the key to prevent child abuse. The best way to reach a large audience is through the use of social networks. Parents also need to discuss issues with their children (Victor 63). They need to devote more time to their children; they should keep a close eye to the behavior of their little ones to see whether there is an unusual change. If it is observed, the parent should try to get more information to know which measures to take. There is also a need to introduce an abuse prevention program for teachers and children in schools. This will enable children to freely discuss issues affecting their life. It is also necessary to report any form of child abuse to the appropriate authorities. This seems difficult because people are reluctant to interfere with other family’s issues, but one should stand up for child’s need.
Nevertheless, I believe that if the above recommendations are put into consideration, we will stop the child abuse. Thereafter, I cannot see anything that would ruin the future of the nation, for a good tree cannot yield bad fruits. However, it is easier said than done, so it requires sacrifice if in any way we want a bright future for us and our children.