Let’s Keep Our Children Safe
The 4th of June was the International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression, which gives us an opportunity to not only reflect on our behaviour with children, as a society, but also act to improve it.
- Every 5 minutes, somewhere in the world, a child is killed in violence.
- 1 in 10 children is sexually abused before the age of 18.
- Any child can fall victim to online abuse.
It should be clear right off the bat that the protection of the child doesn’t just end with protecting them from fire or from kidnappers, though that is of the utmost importance too.
To protect a child, we must keep their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual space safe.
A child is fragile, physically, mentally, and emotionally. And yet, many adults still do not realize this when they hit a child that what they consider to be a minimal amount of force feels like a massive and earth-shattering blow for the child.
On top of that, the emotional and mental hurt to be hit from the very people you trust to keep you alive can have long-standing repercussions.
Consequences of Abuse
You need not look far – subtle ways in which we all almost hate ourselves are not borne of our own selves. Let’s take the simple example of a person being overly conscious of a mark on their skin, which they now need to “hide” with make-up. When they were a child, they were not ashamed of the mark, until someone else told them that the mark didn’t look pretty and hence, create emotional hurt.
Children who have experienced trauma may:
- Withhold emotions from others
- Have difficulty trusting and developing a healthy attachment to a caregiver
- May have problems in romantic relationships, in friendships, and with authority figures
- Develop anxiety and are more likely to engage in smoking or substance abuse
- Have more chronic physical health conditions
- Have difficulty calming down when upset, among many other problems.
Contact the Authorities
Violence against children affects more than 1 billion children around the world.
Surely, something is going wrong if the numbers are this alarming. If you see a child getting abused, in any way, do not be afraid to contact someone you trust, and even the authorities if the situation calls for it, to take concrete action about it.
India’s first 24-hour telephonic helpline service, Childline, is accessible by calling 1098.
One way or the other, unfortunately, this basic understanding has passed by the education system neglected. Individuals may grow up learning how to parent from unhealthy sources, and then masquerade their style of parenting as “tough love”.
Many claim loving a child will result in a “spoiled brat”.
Let’s teach that the unconditional love everyone fears is not the opposite of “tough love”. Let it be known that unconditional love is vastly different from negligence, for unconditional love is active.
It looks to pull people up and provide a ladder, rather than show a stick! An animal will stop working as soon as the stick is gone, while an individual who has access to the ladder will continue to climb on their own, without external help, and turn out to be a truly power leader in society.
Sati was once a tradition and education broke it. Women not allowed to enter temples was once a tradition and education broke it.
Education doesn’t need to be textbook only. Education can be word-of-mouth. Let’s start educating.
Our job is to help the children grow so that they can take over the planet from our hands, and our job is to teach them the importance of the safety of life. Let this lesson not be forgotten.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information.
- The National Child Traumatic Stress Network, ‘Effects’, official website (accessed on 9th June, 2020)
- Humanium, ‘International Day of Innocent Children Victims of “Aggression 4th June 2019’, official website (accessed on 9th June, 2020)