B-Metro Comment: Protect children from abuse

The abuse of children is something that needs the whole community to come together and tackle head on.

We have had cases of child abuse within family settings and some cases that are worsened by the breakdown of families.

Newspapers carry an increasing number of girls being abused by their fathers and in some cases falling pregnant.

These are worrying developments in that the supposed protectors of the children are turning out to be the worst predators.

Society cannot shirk from its responsibility and let these child predators ride roughshod over the rights of the poor children.

While cases of sexual abuse have received the most attention, there are also other instances where children have been victims of abuse without the community coming to their aid.

The HIV and Aids scourge has for many years carried an added burden of stigma that is slowly being peeled off but there are elements that from time to time take us back to the dark days through their conduct.

It does not help matters that some of the people accused of such are role models and opinion leaders within our communities.

This is very worrying indeed. Elsewhere in this edition we carry a story of a teacher who was seeking maintenance for her child. We believe it was quite responsible for her to seek the assistance of the father in looking after the child.

However, we find it distasteful that she sought to abuse the child in the process, exposing her HIV status by garlanding her with a placard pronouncing her HIV status at the courts.

This was possibly done to evoke sympathy from the courts but it was an extreme way of seeking that attention.

The woman in question could be having problems with the father of the child but to expose the child in the manner that she did borders on the criminal and tends to stigmatise people living with the virus. If the child had some other chronic condition was she going to have a placard around her neck as well?

We believe this practice of begging or extorting people of money using an object of pity, usually under-age children, is quite unethical and culturally unacceptable.

Let us protect our children and always seek to have their best interests at heart.

In this particular case the emotional trauma that the mother put the child through may never be fully grasped. It is easy to point a finger at rapists, child beaters, murderers but all these cause a lot of psychological damage to either the victims or their immediate families.

When as parents we engage in clashes after our relationships break down, we should spare a thought for the innocent souls.

They know nothing hence the need for us to protect them against our anger and any irrational decisions fuelled by such anger.

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