The Dark Sides We Have Created
Some may say that it isn't possible for anyone to undergo the kind of problems the next stories have but think again because maybe we have just ignored what has been here with us. Those of us who have lived in any apart of the urban center might have ignored such but for those in the rural areas such incidences are normal so normal that they find the issue not worth discussing.
I am talking about child abuse to the extreme. We - when we were young - were made to believe that such pains to a child were normal; we then stretched it to a point of darkness. We supported the saying "Spare the rod, spoil the child," to a level that we can now change the saying to "spare the torture, spoil the child." Do we punish our children to correct or just to impose fear? Do we do this to show them that we (the old) are in control? These questions need answers because we all have been involved in some violence to children either directly or indirectly -Directly by practice or indirectly by watching/listening. The time is now for change and these are just a few experiences that some have occurred or are undergoing.
At home with David
David had never had a day of rest, peace or sleep at home. His father came home daily drunk and it was a sure thing that a fight would start between the parents. He had one fear, that a day would come when one would kill the other; had heard his mother tell her friends about her intentions. In school, his performance was worsening from the best student and he had suffered headaches all through. He was depressed more because of what happened after Daddy left for work. His mother had many friends, and they all had to be called Uncle because "Mummy said so." Anytime the "uncles" came he was sent to his room so that he couldn't know what was happening in the house, but he knew. From the noises he heard, David knew that his mother and the various uncles were engaging in what kids around called "Bad Manners." He had no other choice than facing embarrassing statements from peers and the public. David took his life.
David's account seems shocking but there is still more.
Margaret's devastating discovery
Margaret was on leave for the first time since her maternity leave. Little Johnny was 3 years old, very jumpy, and uncontrollable. She had the chance now to be with him and her husband care for them both. Time had run very fast and he wanted to recapture all the moments she had lost especially with Little Johnny. She had taken the little boy to the bathroom to clean him up, where she discovered something that shocked her terribly. As she was washing Johnny's torso, the little boy held her hand, smiled and told her mother "touch my dudu the way Aunt does." The aunt was their nanny who Margaret had always trusted so much with Johnny. Margaret told her husband and just to be sure, they rushed to hospital to get Johnny checked up. The result; Johnny had a STD [sexually transmitted disease].
The above stories are different in nature but an exact portrayal of abuse to our children in a mental, social or physical form. Some that are worse are taking place as we read on. Some distances away and others close by.
Day by day children are forced into abusive situations, which affect their characters. We have cases where subordinates or teachers sodomise handicapped children in boarding schools, but school heads suppress these stories from reaching the public or parents. We ignore these until something shocking comes out to the open. This not only happens here in Kenya.
On April 20 1999, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris attacked fellow students, killing scores including a teacher. They complained of unjust treatment from the school administration and fellow students. We blamed the media, but I blamed our ignorance towards our children. This has become the new form of abuse towards children, we ignore them until they strike the match and then blame them for the acts they commit after we had ignore all other ways they tried to reach out. I am not trying to justify their acts or blame anybody for this lawlessness.
Editor's note: This writer isn't aware that the police did much of the killing that day which was all blamed on the two high school boys.
Our ignorance will harm us more; as everyday goes by, our children loose their senses of morality to violence and filthy characteristics. Our children are abused daily by what they see, hear or feel, in this way:
WHAT THEY SEE
The case of David is an extreme, you could say, but here we should think about what we ourselves expose to our children. The television and the big screen have ratings meant for us adults to know what is best for children, but we ignore this. Our media is also guilty of not warning in advance, adults on contents of some programmmes. WWF wrestling has been one of the series that our children have idolized and we assumed that it had no harm to children until we witnessed our children practicing the acts they saw and as they were getting injured as result. Who is to blame here?
Some would say the media, but I would blame us for first ignoring such violence and allowing it to reach our children. The biggest form of abuse in the urban centers has been absconding responsibilities and letting our children face the age of the knife head on. The exposure gets worse, when a parent carries a child into a beer spot and even allows the little kid a taste of the alcohol, and right there his civil rights have been violated.
WHAT THEY HEAR
Children learn a lot from what they hear and repeat whatever comes into their heads first. It is no wonder why parents have to be embarrassed by their children in front of guests when the child mentions a four-letter curse word. This will continue so long as we keep exposing them to people or sources of such uncouth utterances. Once again an abused child is to be blamed for his action after learning from the things that have freely been availed by us (adults).
I know of situations where a parent hurls shocking insults to a child that make one feel pity for the child. Statements like, "I1ll kill you, stupid devil,"or "you are just as stupid as your mother" and many more, have been shouted in front of us and we are silent; we'd say "a mother is just dealing with his child, so where do we come in?" Everywhere is where we come in.
Apart from that, I feel such utterances interfere with their psychological growth patterns. These could result into making a child feel desperate, ineffectual, petrified, and apprehensive. What should we do about this? Think of what we say before we talk and caution those of us who have such habits, no matter how much their resistance.
WHAT THEY FEEL
Out of every 10 children in the Rural Kenya, 8 are exposed to some torment of domestic violence. The violence witnessed take various forms; genital mutilation to young girls, pedophilia, direct violence in the homes and child labor.
We know parents who practically cane their children with crude devices such as branches of thorn trees, or whips. For years, all these and more have been ignored by all sectors of the community, leaving only small groups to fight for the right of a child. Our children should not be exposed to any form of abuse, be it deprivation of education, exposure to unfair labor, torture or the likes. We can put a rest to all these inequalities if we consider that all the children in the streets and homes are our children. We need to pull them off the streets and take them where there is shelter and education. We need to be cautious in all things we say or do in front of the children. We need to look for severe punishments for those who intentionally and frequently harm children. The reasons for slackness in development in many nations today are as a result of neglect to our children. By helping them, we cater for the future of the world in general. These evils should be stopped now!
Editor's Note: This is the reason why this edition of The Journal of History (La verdad sobre la democracia) is devoted to the children. We must eradicate horrors such as these. My favorite professor stated that one can't legislate morality; she is correct, we can't, however, we need to overcome ignorance so we don't mentally abuse the precious resources we have-our children.
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The Journal of History - Fall 2002 Copyright © 2002 by News Source, Inc.