The Reality When it Comes to Child Abuse

 

Image result for child abuse

The words ‘abuse’ and “child abuse” tend to evoke very strong feelings and disturbing images in my head. I tend to shy away from such issues for various reasons, for one it is a very sensitive topic even though it is a widely debated one. People’s views regarding what is abuse and what is not differs greatly. Because there are so many forms of abuse, all equally important with a lot to be said about each and because I cannot cover all of them, the focus of this blog will be child abuse.

One would agree that child abuse is not as clear cut as it seems as people have different perceptions of child abuse. I grew up being spanked and my parents viewed it as disciplining me but some would view raising a hand at child for whatever reason as abuse. Some households set out chores for their children, on the other hand there is child labour which brings about the question, since the line seems so fine, how do you know when you have crossed it?

I think that there is a fine but clear line between punishment and abuse. In my opinion, that line is crossed when the punishment inflicts harm upon the punished individual. In my opinion, things like time-out, slight spanking and  grounding the child are  the best ways of dealing with a child who is acting out. Retaliating with fists, burning them with ciggeretes or throwing objects at them is what I consider as abuse.

World Health Organization defines abuse as the international use of force/power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or a group/community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, mal development or deprivation

 

Image result for child abuse

 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), child abuse includes all forms of physical and/or emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect and negligent treatment and exploitation. Child abuse therefore, is when harm or threat of harm is made to a child by someone acting in the role of caretaker. In my student career, I have not had any experiences regarding abuse nor have I had any patients of mine experiencing abuse (which I am aware of). I have however, had experiences regarding the issue of child abuse outside my career.  My neighbor back home is a teacher in one of the schools in the rural areas and she comes back telling many stories of her students being abused by someone very close to them. All of that made me realize the predicament of wanting to help the child by alerting relevant authorities and also wanting to protect that child from having to deal with the consequences of ‘telling’ on the abuser and also not wanting to break the trust and confidentiality that the child trusted you with when they disclosed their situation to you.

Abuse might be a very complex and sensitive issue, but it is also a very important one and awareness on the topic needs to grow even more because even though a lot has been written or said and documented about it, very few people have a clear understanding of what constitutes as abuse.

References

Akmatov, M. K. (2010). Child abuse in 28 developing and transitional countries–results from the Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys. International Journal of Epidemiology40(1), 219-227. doi:10.1093/ije/dyq168

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3 Replies to “The Reality When it Comes to Child Abuse”

  1. Hello Anela. Thank you for your post. What I liked about your post was the images connecting to the topic so well as it really attracted me to what you were saying. You created alot of awareness for yourself writing this post as you said you personally have not experienced an abusive situation which i think is good. Being preapred and aware of the signs of abuse can help us to react in the correct manner and pick up abnormalities in those to us as well as patients. I would have liked to read more about a personal incident and how it affected your clinical practice but i understand that you were not able to do so in this piece. To improve your writing piece next time I think adding a video clip will be beneficial as it leaves the reader with a thought and image once they are done reading. Thank you for your sincerity in your post.

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  2. Hi Anela Mabusela.This is an interesting topic and possibly most of us either directly or indirectly relate to this.Even though i also have not been exposed to abuse and have not seen or been able to identify someone who is a victim of abuse but i am more familiar with this since this is a worldwide issue.Even though there is quite a number of forms of abuse ,but physical abuse seem to be the most frustrating and very easy to identify,especially in children.This topic doesn’t really need one to have experienced or been a victim of abuse to be able to voice out their opinions about it since this is a common issue in all races,sex and cultures. What i think is important is to be able to handle the situation and follow the the right procedure in reporting it.I like how you pointed out your views,it allows one to think when reading this post,otherwise i think you could have went into more depth on your personal views about this topic because this will open even more room for your readers to voice out their opinions.Good flow, structure and easy to follow..Well done 🙂

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  3. Hello once again Mabusela.
    You know, in a country like ours the word abuse can be very subjective because of various reasons, I think one of them its the many cultures, beliefs and customs that are different, for example in one culture marrying a 15 year old girl is fine, while the law regards that child as a minor.

    Even if we don’t experience abuse personally, i believe that it affects us all equally, therefore if we see red flags for abuse as healthcare professionals it is our duty to escalate that information to the relavent stakeholders and provide assurance that abuse is never normal, and praise them for actually speaking up or deciding to act.
    your blog addressed a very important topic, you provided good source, it was well structured
    It would have been good if you mentioned something about how does it affect the victim and maybe incorporate this blog with clinical practice

    Good post.

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