By Tolulope Obasuyi
Gosset was Bethannie’s aunt, who had the responsibility of looking after her when she was taken from her biological mother. Gosset was always having trouble controlling her niece and because of this she would strap her into a high chair and put both the chair and child in a closet, concealing her actions. This would go on for three weeks. During this period, she fed and bathed her periodically.
Then one day, during one of the periods when Bethannie was freed, the girl threw a temper tantrum. At this, angry Aunt Gosset pushed her down, causing her to hit her head on a vacuum cleaner. Moments later, when Bethannie tried to get up, Gosset pushed her against the wall and her head slammed against it. The girl stopped breathing. CPR got her breathing again but instead of Gosset taking her to a hospital, she hid her under her bed around 10 pm before moving her to her crib. The girl died shortly after 8am the next day.
The above scenario is one of the many cases of child abuse that happened recently and one that is classified under physical abuses.
What is child abuse? Child abuse has been described as an act or failure to act by a parent or other care giver that results in actual or potential harm to a child. Child abuse include all forms of physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse or neglect and can occur anywhere the child interacts with. As Children’s Day holiday draws near, there is need to look at the various forms of child abuse and their effects and preventions.
Physical abuse includes any beating that causes injury with bruises and bleeding, hitting a child while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, locking a child within a confined space. Emotional abuse includes negative labels such as “useless” or “stupid” to address children, excluding a child from treats and presents given to other children, allowing a child to witness frightening scenes. Sexual abuse of a child may result in difficulty in sleeping and recurring nightmares, poor appetite, pain, discharge around the private parts. Neglect occurs when a child’s family fails to provide for his needs when the resources to do so are available.
All these forms of abuse have negative effects on children. Maltreated children may grow up to be maltreating adults and they can grow up having developmental problem,ill health, high risk health behavior and even die eventually. Although, the factors contributing to child abuse may be different, it is a phenomeon that cut across all races and nations, a social problem which occurs worldwide.
To help reduce the rate of child abuse,the following should be considered and advocated
- Promoting child and family well being.
- Public awareness and creating supportive communities.
- Prevention programs.
- Intervention to lessen harm and prevent future risk.
- Provision of quality care and education early in life.
- Enhancement of good parenting skills to enhance child development.
Children have always been regarded as the leaders of tomorrow but if their abuses are not prevented, what will the future look like? Do something today and every other day to prevent the abuses of children.