In my article, titled, ‘when a nation sheds the blood of its future,’ published in The Punch of July 10, 2013, I submitted as follows: ‘I need us to understand that when a child is denied any of his rights, including the right to life, there are three categories of culprits. The first is the actual perpetrators of the act; the second is the primary and secondary caregivers, who should form the four rings (family, community, state and international community) of protection, who fail in their duty of care; and the third are people like us, who stay passive and unconcerned in the face of cruelty against our children, blessing evil with the libation of our silence.’
In this piece, I want to focus my attention on the third category of culprits. I have come to know that the people in the third category are in most cases primary and secondary custodians, saddled with the responsibility of the duty of care to the child. I have come to discover that the people in the third category are the main problem of the child, when it comes to his protection from neglect, physical, emotional and sexual abuse.
Permit me to declare that this a piece you can only read with an open conscience. I can assure you that it will not be too friendly to your feelings and logics.
The first issue I will like to deal with is to define what I mean by ‘the Doctrine of Silent Treatment.’ I think this doctrine manifest in seven scenarios and I will back up each of my scenarios with true-life examples.
The first scenario is where a child is abused and it comes to the knowledge of the custodian, particularly one of the parents and he/she would not confront the perpetrator of the abuse or even do anything to prevent future occurrence. A lady keeps her five year old girl with her neighbour. The girl tells the mother that the ten year old son of the neighbour plays with her private part. The parent is not able to confront her neighbour because she does not want to rock the boat of good neighbourliness and her precious daughter becomes the costly sacrificial lamb of her bizarre commitment. One would have thought that if she is not able to talk about it, she would stop keeping her child with the neighbour. But alas, she throws her hands in the air and says she does not have an alternative place to keep the child. The submission of this mother to the doctrine of silent treatment has great impact on the psyche of the child and her relationship with her mother now and the future. The child will feel neglected in the hands of a predator. She will feel her mother does not care about her and therefore she might not bring future cases of abuse or displeasure to her mother. In fact, the mother just set in motion an effective process of losing her child.
Let me share one or two more true-life example with you on scenario one. A child, registered in a boarding school comes back home and complains to the mother about physical and sexual abuse by the house master. The mother discusses with a friend, who advises her to remove her child from the school. Her response is very passive, ‘I am busy, their father is busy, where is the time to look for another school and if I pull him out and I don’t find another school on time, who will look after him for me?’ She never reports the matter to the school or removes the child from the school. Lastly a ten year old girl is sexually molested by her eighteen year old cousin, who lives with the child’s family. The ugly incident comes to the knowledge of the mother. She speaks to her daughter to keep the matter secret, even from her father. The girl does not get proper medical attention and the matter is never reported to the police. The fear of the mother is that as a full time housewife, her husband will hold her responsible for not watching over their daughter. The predator cousin continues to live with the family and not extra caution is taken as the mother would not like to arouse the curiosity of the father. The mother is teaching the child to tolerate and get used to pain and abused. She is telling the girl that saving her own head is superior to protecting her child from a predator. As the girl later tells her story as an adult, she felt let down by her mother. She nurses great bitterness against her mother and her cousin. She is willing to reopen the issue though, it happened twenty years ago, because she has not found peace, rest and forgiveness within herself. I cannot agree less with her.
Thank you for visiting…Think the CHILD…Think TODAY…Think the FUTURE…
Note: Excerpted from my forthcoming book: ChildProtectionCREED Handbook. Watch out…