For most people, the most memorable days of their life belong to their childhood days due to the carefree attitude and fun filled days, which make them so special to all of us. But there are some people, for whom recalling childhood days is a very painful experience considering the abusive environment they might have experienced in their childhood. A child is like a flower that needs caring parents and a healthy and happy environment to attain his or her full potential. On the other hand, if he/she is experiencing a harrowing time in his/her home or school because of abusive parents or bullies, respectively, then it can seriously affect the development of his/her brain. Studies by researchers across the globe have shown a direct link between the abusive environment of a child and slow growth of his/her brain.
Abuse of a child can take different forms and also differ in their severity. The most serious among these is the physical violence in childhood. Now the physical violence not only bruises an individual physically, but also scars him/her mentally. A person who has faced physical abuse as a child grows up to be a very reticent person with very little confidence on his/her ability, on the other hand, it is also possible that he/she might become over aggressive to compensate for their hollowed personality. Another important thing experts studying child abuse have found out is that it is a cycle of violence, where the abused child in the future may turn out to be an abuser.
Long term abuse of a child in either domestic setting or in the school may lead to anti-social behavior later on in his/her life. It also increases chances of alcoholism or drug abuse in teenagers, which may result in violence among them. Some children are also sexually abused, which can not only lead to unwanted pregnancy, but shatter the life of the abused person to a great extent from which it would be very difficult to come out.
To tackle these varied causes of child abuse, we need an integrated plan that should include all the stakeholders. Social right and child right activist need to keep a close watch on those adults who have a history of aggressive behavior to see if they are abusing their child. Teachers should also keep a close watch to see if there are any unexplained bruises on the child’s body or if there are any sharp behavioral changes in them. If the teacher or other agencies dealing with child right matters are suspicious of any abuse, they should step in or report to the concerned authorities. The parents should also look out for any danger signs in their children owing to the mental or physical violence and should take steps accordingly. Only our vigilance will reduce the number of physical violence in childhood cases and give the child a positive environment to grow in.
Priya Tiwari is working as a strategy consultant with Know Violence in Childhood: A Global Learning Initiative, she enjoys writing on health, fitness and social issues.