Saturday, 16 November 2013

Childhood Abuse

Types of Child Abuse: Physical, Sexual, Emotional Abuse and Neglect 

Childhood Abuse
Child abuse in India is a phenomenon, often hidden and unreported, especially when it occurs within the family. With regard to abuse, most of the focus has always been on child labor, child marriage and prostitution, but lately a lot of emphasis is being placed on child abuse as a grave issue of concern in our society. This lack of attention has been mostly due to the role of children in the Indian family structure, where they are trained to be obedient and dependent on elders and not to speak out against others. But, with progress, development and increased awareness about child abuse the scenario is changing.
Violence against children can be physical, neglect, emotional and sexual. This affects the normal development of child which thus impairs their mental, physical and social functioning. Any of these forms of abuse are potentially harmful to the child.

Physical abuse is when a child is harmed due to interaction with another person and causes pain and trauma to the child, when the abuse is caused by a person who is in a position of responsibility, trust or power. This may involvebeating, slapping, hitting, throwing, pinching, choking, biting, burning, drowning, suffocating and other forms of severe physical punishment.

Child sexual abuse involves forcing the child to take part in sexual activities and engaging the child in erotic activities which he/she is unaware of and cannot understand and cannot give informed consent to. This can include penetration, intercourse, incest, oral sex or rape. It may also include fondling, touching, kissing, violating body privacy, exposing the child to adult sexuality and commercial exploitation.

Emotional abuse is any behavior or attitude that interferes with mental health and development. This type of abuse may be a verbal insult, mental abuse or psychological maltreatment. It is the persistent ill treatment of children to cause severe effects on the child’s emotional development. This may include conveying to the child that he/she is worthless, inadequate or unloved, imposing inappropriate expectations, exploiting the child or causing child to feel frightened or in danger.

Neglect and negligence treatment is the oversight of development needs of the child, may it be physical neglect, emotional neglect or educational neglect, by a caregiver whose intention of harming the child. It is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic needs, such as food, clothing, shelter, and failure to protect them from physical or emotional danger, failure to meet needs of supervision, medical needs, educational needs, and lack of providing opportunities along with lack of love, care and support.

The report by the Ministry of Women and Child Development on Child Abuse in 2007 reported that more than 53% of the children faced child sexual abuse in one form or the other and more boys were subjected to sexual abuse. It also revealed that more than 50% of the abusers were someone known to the child and was in a position of trust. Most children did not report this abuse to anyone. Every two children out of three were victims of some form of abuse in India. The capital of our county reported more than 83% abuse rate. 

Child abuse is preventable through means of awareness, early detection and treatment. The foremost concern of caretakers is to educate the child about recognizing inappropriate behaviors, may it be sexual or physical and help them to reveal such occurrences to elders who they trust. Psychological help must be sought to deal with the effects of abuse.