Child Abuse: The plight of our children

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Child Abuse: The plight of our children

What comes to mind when you hear of child abuse? Sexual abuse, physical abuse such as kicking children etc. Well, I am guessing that it is not a great mental picture you have of child abuse, right? Let us explore the various forms and effects of child abuse.

What is Child abuse?

Child abuse is any psychological, sexual, emotional or physical mistreatment of children by parent or guardians. It may also comprise of any actions by the guardians that leads to harm on the child.

Different authorities around the world have their own definitions of child abuse and it’s contributing factors with the aim of prosecution and criminal charges.

Types of child abuse

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are four main categories of child abuse: Psychological and emotional abuse, Physical Abuse, Sexual abuse, and Neglect.

Child abuse

Physical abuse:

This constitutes the physical aggression against children even when at home. According to WHO, child abuse is the deliberate use of excessive physical force against children that poses any harm to the child’s dignity, development, health or health. This includes any acts of kicking, violent shaking, strangling, biting, poisoning, beating, suffocating or scalding. Any of the aforementioned, even if applied with the aim of imparting punishment, is considered abuse to the child.

Psychologists agree that corporal punishment can adversely affect the dignity of a child even if not visible immediate. Physical abuse can lead to problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), aggression, suicidal thoughts, personality disorders, depression and even anxiety.

Sexual abuse:

This is a form of child abuse where an older adolescent or an adult mistreats a child with the aim of sexual stimulation. This also includes performing a sexual act with a child with the aim of sexual satisfaction and gratification. Sexual abuse can be in the form of lewd exposure of a child’s genitals, having sex with a child, touching a child’s genitals or exposing them to pornography.

This abuse can cause self-esteem problems, chronic pain, PTSD, self-injury, depression and even suicidal thoughts. This also exposes a child to STIs.

Psychological abuse:

This is any act that causes social or psychological defects in the development of a child. They may include yelling, rude attitude, harsh criticism, inattention, name-calling, ridicule or any other form of humiliation.


This is the deliberate failure by a guardian to provide a child with the essential basic needs thus placing the child in harm’s way.

It includes:

  • Supervisory neglect;

  • Educational neglect

  • Medical neglect;

  • Physical neglect;

  • Abandonment and

  • Emotional neglect.

Victims of neglect usually have difficulties in social, psychological and mental development. Hence children should be accorded with the necessary love and affection by guardians or any other person with the responsibility.

Effects of child abuse

Child abuse leads to physical, psychological, emotional or sexual are extreme effects to the victims.

Some of the major effects of child abuse are;

Physical Effects

The instant effects of physical abuse can be characterized by small scratches to very harsh bruises and rib breakage.

The prolonged child physical abuse on a child can lead to long-term effects such as impoverished health, compromised brain growth and shaken child syndrome with is associated with neurological distortion.

Emotional Effects

The brain growth of a child highly depends on the environment the child is given by family, caretakers and the society at large. Such children grow up feeling insecure and can’t even socialize with age mates due to the inferiority complex.

When kids below 5 years and are emotionally abused, they tend to be highly affectionate to out-slanders. Also, they become increasingly aggressive towards other kids, animals, appear nervous all the time and do not show close ties with their parents.

It is a fact that exposure of children to domestic violence has adverse effects on child’s emotions and behavior.

Psychological Effects

Children who in the past have been abused in any way tend to develop psychiatric problems and a disorganized devotedness and are most likely to be involved in violent criminal activities when they attain a certain age.

Also, they show signs of recession, anxiety and they can face a bigger challenge when left with their younger siblings or even their future children leading to the long-term effects of abuse being felt by future generations.

Adults who were physically abused when they were kids tend to experience abdominal, pelvic, chronic or even muscular complications.

Recent studies reveal that most of the mental problems are associated with child abuse that the victims went through in childhood.

Are traditional measures put in place for child safety effective?

Do you as a parent or guardian teach and nature your child in love?

Are we giving children information that put them at risk of victimization?

How many more children need to be harmed to end this rhetoric?


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