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Family violence is a term that can be used to describe the various forms of violence that happen with a family set up. A family is a sociological unit which includes parents and children. The most common types of violence within the family are wife abuse and child abuse. Violence in this sense may include slaps, pushes, sexual abuse, battering, and use of abusive words (Gelles & Lancaster, 1987).
Children in single parent families are at more risk of abuse more so sexual abuse than their counterparts in two parents’ families. It is assumed that children from single parents are at lower risks of sexual abuse because they lack male figures in their environment but this is not usually the case. In most cases of the single parents neglects their children and leave them at the mercy of the society.
They get exposed to a large number of male figures who ends ups abusing them. Child abuse is an excessive violation of child right which may be physical, psychological or even emotional, that may have an immediate or a long term effect on the life of a child. It may happen in the family setting, day care centers, and schools or in the society generally.
Though there is a common accepted agreement that some violence can be legitimized, under the name ‘necessary punishment’ with the aim of disciplining the child, the level of punishment cannot be scientifically quantified (Sherman 2006) . This paper examines from a broader perspective the recent forms of child violence as reported in the local and international media houses.
Forms of Child Abuse
Parents, day care centers, house girls ,teachers and the society have for long been punishing children by inflicting pain, especially when the child has done what is believed to be wrong. This is done with the aim of ensuring that the child is disciplined and is meant as a legitimate punishment. However, the punishment is often excessive and thus an abuse. What is not excessive is subject to debate.
A family and society at large is an element of peace and comfort, what we do, what we talk, the environment that we live in creates a picture in a child’s mind that affects the mental stability of the child. It should be noted that a child’s mind is constantly learning and the surrounding of the child have a far reaching effect. In incidences of rape, the child is psychologically affected in its life time especially if counseling support is not given effectively (Loseke, 2006).
Children learn mainly through interaction with other children through playing their various social games. This is a very important exercise in a child’s life but many parents worldwide have denied their children this important socialization process, it may be direct, where children are locked in the house or strictly forbidden from going outside.
Others restrict their child on the children they are expected to play with. On the indirect perspective parents line up numerous duties to be performed by the child either homework or a never ending tuition, all this geared to deny a child free time (Loseke, 1992).
Children between the ages of zero and six year are continuously learning and developing socially and emotionally. For an appropriate development, a child needs love and care from both parents. In the case of families experiencing domestic violence, the social and emotional development of children brought put in such families is affected negatively. Psychological wellness of the child is affected at early age and later in life.
Children are socialized by what they hears, what it sees other people do, the environment around the child the environments and so forth. The child is constantly learning the behaviour that will further be reflected in the teenage.
When a child is exposed to violence behaviour, he/she is more likely to take them positive and later in life at adolescence or a grown up finds itself violent because of what he saw. Technological improvement has brought different method of information dispensing as well socialization mediums, they are both electronic and print media that a child or teenager has access to.
One of the most notable information dispensers is television sets and radio; the technological devises airs both national and international news, TVs can be used to play visual and audio videos. With the increase in media freedom, the media has brought a number of issues that have influenced on the life of a people, they have sometimes aired programs, and music and news that can reign force the vice of violence in children and teenagers.
The people of the area uphold culture; it is transmitted to new entrants into the society; the culture covers in areas of language used by the people, the way they do thing, religion that they practice, structure, identity, norms, belief and values thy hold. there are some cultures that reinforce violence in their countries, for example among the Muslims, there is holy war culture, in case such information is aired through television, someone who does not understand the underlying principle is likely to think that violence pays.
Children and teenagers are spending more times with television sets than they are spending with other people because of the busy schedule of the people. How someone behaves is influence by the exposure that he has. TVs are offering an exposure that is changing increasing chances of violence among children and teenagers.
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Theories have been developed to explain why child abuse is still prevalent in many societies. Psychologically, child abuse may be caused by the qualities that the abusers were oriented to since their childhood. It has been observed that parents who have grown up in families where they were abused as children ended up abusing their own children. Another theory that tries to explain the cause of child abuse is the theory of attachment.
The first five years from birth forms the crucial period when the child benefits from the mother from psychological security and physical protection. If a child gets detached from the mother during this crucial period, he may suffer from sociological and psychological problems during his/her latter years. It has been found that most of the children who were not able get parental love at their early stages have resulted in abusing their own children (Lawrence, 2004).
Another cause of child abuse is addiction to alcohol. Most of the fathers, who abuse their children sexually, do it under the influence of alcohol. Nevertheless we can not wholly blame alcohol as the cause of child abuse because some parents abuse alcohol to help them do some of the activities (such as child abuse) that they could not perform under their sober mind.
Sociology explains that, most behavior traits are acquired through learning from the surrounding environment. Individuals who have been brought up in environments with violent behaviors either among siblings, parents or the society at large may end up practicing it on their children as a way of instilling discipline on them (Randall ,Bellack &Michel, 2009 ).
Child abuse is a problem that is affecting many societies. Most of our children have been neglected and this has contributed to the increase in child abuse. There is need to protect these children from both violence and negligence. It is the work of the adults to open they eyes and ears and ensure that child abuse comes to an end.
Proper authorities should be contacted in cases where one notices children being abused either in the form of battering, sexual abuse or denial of food. The society is one of the agents of socialization and if we do not take the responsibilities of looking at the children as our own, then it will be every difficult to curb the vice. More awareness should be provided to the public through the media, newspapers or open meetings with the discussions on child abuse.
Children are innocent beings and need not to suffer under any circumstances. These children are the future generation and if they are abused today, the generation of tomorrow is affected. The media has for long being a whistle Brower in many instances of child abuse. We will interpolate some of the incidences that have been highlighted by the media in the United States of America (Geffner & Hughes, 1988).
Cases reported by the media
There are some reports that have been reported, on August 14, 2007 in New York news daily, a child was said to have been killed by the mother when he was in a life supporting unit. This is not the first time for such in incidences to have happened. As the case has always been the names of the culprits were withheld and not much information later followed about the proceeds of the case.
On May 31, 2005, in New York news daily, reported of a child who had been beaten by the father for the reason that he had failed the exams. These are cases that are many in the country but the government is not doing anything to the culprits. The media reported but as usual no names were mentioned. As much as the culprit is innocent before proved otherwise the media has reliable information that it can give to the authorities and assist in prosecuting the culprits.
People all over the world have different views on whether a child should be punished or not. There are those who see the media overstepping its mandate when it reports incidences of child abuse. There is also the media regulation that may limit the extent to which the media reports these incidences. One of the ways that the media regulation protects the media from doing is revealing the names of the child abuser.
These keep protecting the one who committed the crime. The reporting should be done, and it is important to respect the privacy of the child involved, however there should be well raid measures to ensure that the culprit is punished according to the law of the concerned country. If this is attained then the public will be more willing to report these incidences (Frost Nick Child Welfare, 2005).The believes that the privacy of the child will be protected and the culprit punished. The media has the role to educate the public and ensure that the
A Zambian proverb says-“to protect a child is to protect the world”. This emphasizes the need to protect the child for continuity, it is everyone’s responsibility. Governments should also put in place measures to ensure children’s rights are protected.
Frost Nick Child Welfare. (2005). Child abuse and child protection Major themes in health and social welfare Volume 2 of Child Welfare: Major Themes in Health and Social Welfare. London: Taylor & Francis
Gelles, J. & Lancaster, J. B. (1987). Child abuse and neglect: biosocial dimensions Foundations of human behavior. Aldine Transaction
Geffner, R. R., & Hughes, H. (1988). Research issues concerning Family violence. New York: Wiley.
Lawrence, A. (2004). Principles of child protection: management and practice. McGraw-Hill International.
Loseke R. D. (2006). The battered woman and shelters: The social construction of wife abuse. New York: State University of New York Press
Randall. L. M. ,Bellack, A. &Michel H. (2009).Handbook of family violence. New York: Plenum.
Sherman, W. (2006). Policing domestic violence: Experiments and dilemmas. New York: Free Press