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How many children, INDIAN children at that, are aware that they have rights ?
Does the under-aged boy working at that tea-stall near your office know that child labour is illegal ? Does his employer know that ?
How old is the “young” looking domestic help who cleans your house and washes your dishes ? Does she go to school ?
How many of us have been witnesses to incidents of child abuse and haven’t done anything about it ?
You know, the young urchin who got beaten up for sitting outside a shop and “obstructing the view” of potential customers ?
Or the little girl who was slapped by a pedestrian for bumping into her pristine white sari ?
“These things happen”, you say.
Reverse the faces on these photographs. Place yourself in the lives of these children.
Life is harder for them than you would ever imagine humanly possible.
Child Sexual Abuse is a regular occurence with these children [*this is to say that they belong to a high vulnerability level*]. The picture below is self-explanatory.
Here are a few Articles from the Convention on the Rights of the Child , as adopted by young students in an American school:
Here’s a little background, courtesy UNICEF’s website
The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the first legally binding international instrument to incorporate the full range of human rights—civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights. In 1989, world leaders decided that children needed a special convention just for them because people under 18 years old often need special care and protection that adults do not. The leaders also wanted to make sure that the world recognized that children have human rights too.
For the purposes of the present Convention, a child means every human being below the age of eighteen years unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier.
1. States Parties recognize that every child has the inherent right to life.
2. States Parties shall ensure to the maximum extent possible the survival and development of the child.
1. States Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.
2. Such protective measures should, as appropriate, include effective procedures for the establishment of social programmes to provide necessary support for the child and for those who have the care of the child, as well as for other forms of prevention and for identification, reporting, referral, investigation, treatment and follow-up of instances of child maltreatment described heretofore, and, as appropriate, for judicial involvement.
1. States Parties recognize the right of the child to education, and with a view to achieving this right progressively and on the basis of equal opportunity, they shall, in particular:
(a) Make primary education compulsory and available free to all;
(b) Encourage the development of different forms of secondary education, including general and vocational education, make them available and accessible to every child, and take appropriate measures such as the introduction of free education and offering financial assistance in case of need;
(c) Make higher education accessible to all on the basis of capacity by every appropriate means;
(d) Make educational and vocational information and guidance available and accessible to all children;
(e) Take measures to encourage regular attendance at schools and the reduction of drop-out rates.
2. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that school discipline is administered in a manner consistent with the child’s human dignity and in conformity with the present Convention.
3. States Parties shall promote and encourage international cooperation in matters relating to education, in particular with a view to contributing to the elimination of ignorance and illiteracy throughout the world and facilitating access to scientific and technical knowledge and modern teaching methods. In this regard, particular account shall be taken of the needs of developing countries.
1. States Parties recognize the right of the child to be protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child’s education, or to be harmful to the child’s health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development.
2. States Parties shall take legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to ensure the implementation of the present article. To this end, and having regard to the relevant provisions of other international instruments, States Parties shall in particular:
(a) Provide for a minimum age or minimum ages for admission to employment;
(b) Provide for appropriate regulation of the hours and conditions of employment;
(c) Provide for appropriate penalties or other sanctions to ensure the effective enforcement of the present article.
States Parties shall take all appropriate measures, including legislative, administrative, social and educational measures, to protect children from the illicit use of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances as defined in the relevant international treaties, and to prevent the use of children in the illicit production and trafficking of such substances.
How many rights do the children in the picture below have ?
The pictures represent the truth.
A truth that needs to be changed.
If i were asked to demarcate my life, id slice it into two neat little halves, like an apple. Both sides would look alike and taste the same but they sure as heck wouldn’t be the same anymore if you peeled the skin off.
Beneath the surface are two “me’s” ; the one before Barbados, and the one after.
Tori [Amos] and Shannon walked into my life virtually one afternoon while i was browsing through the then-new “world wide web”. I don’t quite recall how it happened, or what possessed me to visit this site, but i did. It changed my life forever.
www.welcometobarbados.org is the site that kept me stuck to my seat for an entire day, and the next too. People whom i didn’t know shared stories of rape, childhood sexual abuse, incest, date rape, gang rape, sodomy, college initiations gone wrong, and other experiences of violence too horrible to even think of, let alone endure.
I began to shake uncontrollably, tears spilled out of my eyes non-stop, and i reached for the shard of glass by my desk [i was a self-mutilator then, but have recovered since]. I stopped.
I dared to hope. I dared to think, that i, an insignificant, non-descript little girl from a city in India, could and would survive the trauma of sexual abuse and would fight the forces that prevented victims of sexual trauma from wriggling out of their societal cocoons.
Tori helped. Shannon helped. A friend from an online forum provided support for the times when i thought it was pointless.
I wouldn’t be where i am without them, and a few others.
Recent news stories about sexual abuse of children in Alexandria and elsewhere should do more than make us disgusted and angry.
It should make us act.
Consider something that happened in Duluth about a year ago: A 70-year-old man was arrested for sexually abusing a 7-year-old girl who was being cared for at a child care business run by the man and his wife.
When an investigator asked the man, “Why a child?” The man replied, “Because it’s easy.”
Sadly, statistics indicate just how “easy” it is: More than 39,000 sexual assaults are estimated to be committed each year in Minnesota — the majority against children. One in four girls and one in six boys will have been abused by the age of 18. Some estimates put the number of childhood sexual abuse survivors in America at 39 million.
But there are things a community and families can do to make it harder for individuals to sexually abuse children. Ted Thompson, executive director of the National Association to Prevent Sexual Abuse of Children, offered this advice in a Prevent Child Abuse Minnesota newsletter:
• We can make prevention of childhood sexual abuse a public policy priority. We can call legislators and prosecutors to express outrage at abuse. It would greatly enhance our ability to expose offenders if we would eliminate statutes of limitations, both criminal and civil, for the sexual abuse of children.
• We can educate our communities. People need to know that sexual abuse of children by someone known to the child is exceedingly more likely to happen than the more high-profile, but rarer, stranger-abduction and rape.
• We can come forward and address abuse we know about or suspect. It is likely in most cases that someone knows abuse is happening and needs to have the courage to come forward. Because sexual abuse is often perpetrated by people we know, this can be difficult.
• We can improve our ability to educate families and professionals to prevent as well as recognize, report and respond to abuse. We need to provide model curriculum to prepare professionals to recognize abuse; and understand that factors such as substance abuse, poverty and unemployment can significantly contribute to the risk of children being sexually abused.
• Parents can communicate with their children every day. We can teach children that sexual advances from anyone, including other family members, are not OK, and also teach them how to conduct themselves in sexually appropriate ways with others.
The province of Manitoba will today bring forward the first legislation of its kind in Canada to compel all citizens, including computer technicians and Internet service providers, to report any images or examples of child pornography.
The initiative is being introduced as an amendment to the province’s Child and Family Services legislation by minister Gord MacIntosh and will expand the definition of child abuse, which already has a mandatory reporting law, to include child pornography.
“Under the new law, if someone comes across something they believe to be child pornography they have a duty to report it to Cybertip.ca,” said Lianna McDonald , director of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, the registered charity that runs the Cybertip website.
The penalty for failing to report will be up to two years in jail and a $50,000 fine, Ms. McDonald said. It’s the same penalty for those who don’t report child abuse, although Ms. McDonald said she doesn’t know of any instances where that provision has led to a prosecution.
“What it means is that under the proposed legislation, [citizens] have a legal responsibility,” she said. “The idea is to facilitate reporting.”
Ms. McDonald said that making it a legal requirement might remove some of the moral qualms that exist for those who find images of abuse on a computer, for example, and might be concerned about violating someone’s privacy.
“It certainly will facilitate things for people thinking, ‘Should I or shouldn’t I report?’ It makes it clear. For companies that repair computers, it’s clear they have a duty to report,” she said.
The proposed law could have significant implications for Internet service providers, according to Roz Prober of Beyond Borders, an organization that advocates for the protection of children.
It’s already mandatory in the United States for Internet service providers to report instances of child pornography, but the issue has not been tackled in Canada until now.
“The foot-draggers in this scenario are the Internet service providers,” Ms. Prober said. “In the U.S. they can be heavily fined [for not reporting child porn] and I think that’s the way to go here.”
Ms. Prober said she hasn’t seen the proposed legislation but expects it to be comprehensive.
Citizens will be directed to report their suspicions to the Cybertip.ca website. The site receives funding from the federal Department of Public Safety and from Manitoba Justice, Ms. McDonald said, and since 2005 it has acted as a national clearinghouse for all Internet child sexual-abuse reporting. In that time, it has received more than 25,000 reports from the public.
Ms. Prober said the site is very sophisticated and secure and would be able to resist attempts to infiltrate its database.
She said it’s important the public pass on as many tips as possible because each new image allows police to narrow in on the victims and perpetrators of sexual abuse
Do visit the website and have a look through the comments section. I find that most insightful, more than the article actually !
• If you’re new to the Internet, learn as much as you can about it so you can offer informed advice to your children. Find out what makes the Internet attractive to children and what it has to offer them so you can explore different sites together and help them avoid potential pitfalls and danger areas.
• Be aware when your children are using the Internet and establish some ground rules about when they’re allowed to use it. You might want to restrict use to certain hours of the day so you can supervise your children while they surf.
• Make surfing a social activity by moving the computer out of the bedroom and in to a front room or a family room. That way, family members can be on hand to offer advice should problems arise.
• Always discourage your children from giving out personal information, such as their address, their school, their phone number or their photograph, especially in chat rooms and on bulletin boards. They need to be made aware that people on-line aren’t always what they seem, even people who become pen friends or ‘keypals’. Ask them about the friends they’ve made on the net – get to know their net friends as well as you know their real-life friends.
• Always discourage your children from planning face-to-face meetings with someone they’ve met on the Internet. Ask them to alert you if they are approached for a face-to-face meeting. Should your child set up such a meeting, always make sure you are present – never let them go alone.
• Consider using some of the filtering tools available. These are software programmes a user can install on his or her own computer to monitor Internet use, block access to specific types of material such as sexually explicit or violent material, prevent children from accessing the Internet at certain times, or prevent children from revealing personal information online. Browsers designed specifically for children are also available – these act as a gateway between your computer and the Internet by filtering out sexual or otherwise inappropriate words and images before they reach your screen. Some ISPs offer these filtering systems, other packages are available commercially.
• Teach your children never to open emails and attachments other than from people they know and trust – they could contain viruses or explicit material. Also, be careful when you and your children are shopping online. Check you are dealing with a bona fide company and that you are entering a ‘secure site’ before giving out any credit card details.
• Encourage your children to inform you if anything on a website or in a chat room or message board makes them feel uncomfortable. Tell them not to worry and that it’s not their fault if they see something rude or someone’s bothering them online. Teach them to leave the chat room or log off from the site immediately if they feel uncomfortable and to alert you of their concerns.
Link courtesy – www.thisislondon.co.uk
Scientists explain why incest revolts us
Thursday, 15 February 2007
The findings are a challenge to the ideas of Sigmund Freud (Image: Max Halberstadt/ Library of Congress)
Revulsion and taboo against sex with family members is a natural instinct and isn’t taught, say US researchers, whose findings challenges some basic tenets of Freudian theory. Cognitive psychologist Dr Leda Cosmides from the University of California Santa Barbara and colleagues report their findings in today’s issue of the journal Nature. “We went in search of a kin detection system because some of the most important theories in evolutionary biology said such a thing should exist,” says Cosmides.”It should regulate both altruism and incest disgust.”
The research team found that humans have an inbuilt system that does both.”[Our] data shows that the degree to which we feel those things is governed by these cues that, for hunter-gatherers, predict whether somebody is a sibling. And it works regardless of your beliefs – who you are told who your siblings are,” she says.Cosmides and her colleagues tested 600 volunteers, asking them all sorts of questions jumbled together so they would not know what was being studied. “We asked them how many favours did you do for this particular sibling in a month. We asked if this sibling needed a kidney, how likely would you be to donate this sibling a kidney.” And they asked about all sorts of ethical dilemmas, including questions about sexual relationships with siblings. Forbidden fruitAmong the volunteers were people who had never shared a home with their siblings – for instance, full- or half-siblings born 10 or even 20 years apart.What determined incest disgust and altruism was the same – how much time an older sibling spent watching his or her mother care for a younger one, or how much time the two spent together in the same household.”
If you co-resided with them for a long time as a child, you’d treat them as you’d treat any full sibling. This seems to operate non-consciously, ” Cosmides says. Especially strong was the effect of watching one’s mother care for a younger child. “They would be very altrustic towards that baby and they’d be grossed out at the idea of sex with that baby as an adult,” Cosmides says. She says women are especially sensitive to this. “One whiff of possible siblinghood and that’s it for you if you are a woman,” says Consmides.
The study contradicts the teachings of Sigmund Freud, who described Oedipal urges and conflicts, Cosmides says.”He thought you are attracted to your relatives and your siblings and parents and it takes the force of culture and society to keep you from committing the incest that is in your heart,” she says.
Criteria: The American Ministry of Justice employs five criteria to decide whether an image can be considered to be pornographic: “They must focus on the genital area, show unnatural poses, depict children as sex objects, imply that the children are willing to engage in sex, and have a suggestive setting.”
In societies with a somewhat developed civilization child pornography is usually a moral stumbling block of the first degree. When children are misused for the enjoyment of adults almost everybody immediately has the feeling that a moral limit is passed. The distribution of child pornographic images via the internet has therefore been the subject of heated discussions for years. Although the —for that matter very small— demand for child pornography remains, there is hardly anyone who dares defend the production and distribution of such visual material in public. This isn’t strange in a country where child pornography is a social taboo and criminally forbidden.
In this article an overview is presented of the ways in which child-pornographic images are distributed via the internet. In Regulation and Self-Regulation of the Internet (in Dutch), and more in particular in Regulation of CyberPorno (in Dutch) an analysis is presented on how these practices can be suppressed.
Childporno is not the same as pictures of nude children. Childpornographic material is the evidence of a crime, i.e. sexual abuse of children. The legal definition of childporno in the Netherlands is “a picture of someone who apparently hasn’t reached the age of sixteen yet, alone or with someone else in a pose intended to arouse sexual stimulation”. A picture of a pose of a nude child as such doesn’t fall under the penalty clause, even if there are persons who may be sexually stimulated due to their inclination. Therefore, the crux of the legal definition of childporno isn’t that the picture is primarily made and distributed in order to arouse others sexually, but the protection of the minor against sexual exploitation [the Dutch minister of justice, W. Sorgdrager, Memorandum to article 240b, 20.2.95]. The Dutch legislation concerning this point is extensively described in Regulation of Cyberporno (in Dutch).
Children who are depicted in childpornographic pictures and films are involved in sexual acts and are manipulated by the photographer or filmmaker in such a way that they satisfy a whole range of fantasies. The portrayed children seldom show signs of aversion or disgust; they usually look cheerful or neutral. This reinforces the rationalization and justification processes for the sexual interest in children by adults for a large audience. The children are depicted as ‘willing sexual beings’. Yet, every childpornographic representation starts with the sexual abuse of a child. Behind every picture hides an abused child.
No reliable statistics are available of the number of children that are victimized by childporno, nor of the number of productions or consumers [Frenken 1997]. Childpornography is produced behind closed doors. All participants compel each other to secrecy because they can all be blackmailed. For victims of childporno or childprostitution it is usually very difficult to come forward with their story. Not seldom are they threatened by the perpetrators who operate in the scene of organized crime. According to Unicef several millions of children and youngsters are sexually exploited worldwide. According to an estimate of the UN Human Rights Commission in 1998 10 million children are used as sex objects by adults worldwide. Increasingly younger children are involved — starting with babies of a few months old.
Healing is necessary, not only for people who have endured abuse, but also for people around them who have borne the brunt of behavioural changes, relationship problems etc. that have resulted from the victim’s reaction to trauma.
The reason as to why it is imperative that people address and heal from their childhood experiences of abuse is because even a single act can result in a number of emotional barriers, loss of self-esteem and a number of “hidden” disorders that take shape later in life.
The battle against CSA is often a lonely one, owing to societal walls, ignorance, apathy and the usual bunch of adult idiots who think that not talking about it or blocking it through marriage and education (haha how ironic) will “solve” the problem. However,there are means and ways by which victims of abuse can begin strengthening themselves from within.
- Reading up on the issue – This is an important step towards acknowledging what happened and also realizing that YOU are not to be blamed for it.
- Writing about it – Whether in an online journal or on paper, “getting it out” in words in a sense, lightens the emotional burden. Emailing someone helps too, im currently e-counselling 5 people who write in to me about how they’re progressing each day.
- VENT – Scream, Shout, tear paper, listen to angsty music, go out on a long drive, take the weekend off or invest in a punching bag *non-human*. The anger needs to get out, it’s done enough damage already. Self-harm is NOT healthy venting.
- Joining a support group – There is strength in numbers, and just the knowledge that you will be in an understanding environment with people who have been through similar hell, will help the healing process immensely.
- Speak with a friend – Ok so the family isn’t too keen on being there for you and hearing you out. A friend might be a better choice. Look for someone who is unbiast and a good listener, and not one of those horrible opiniated types who will complicate things. Obviously confidentiality will have to be promised before you start talking. It would help if people put themselves through a “dealing with disclosure” workshop.
Elaan is organising a Dealing with Disclosure workshop in the first week of February. Those who are interested in attending/would like their schools and colleges to attend, email.
Adult Survivors of Sexual Abuse: What We Would Like You to Know about Us
1. We grew up feeling very isolated and vulnerable, a feeling that continues into our adult lives.
2. Our early development has been interrupted by abuse, which eitherholds us back or pushes us ahead developmentally.
3. Sexual abuse has influenced all parts of our lives. Not dealing with it is like ignoring an open wound. Our communication style, ourself-confidence, and our trust levels are affected.
4. Putting thoughts and feelings related to our abuse “on the backburner” does not make them go away. The only way out is to go through these emotions and process them.
5. Our interest in sexual activity will usually decline while we are dealing with this early trauma. This is because:- we are working on separating the past from the present.- pleasure and pain can sometimes be experienced simultaneously.- it is important for us to be in control, since control is what we lacked as children.- sometimes we need a lot of space. Pressuring us to have sex will only increase our tension
.6. We often experience physical discomforts, pains, and disorders that are related to our emotions.
7. We often appear to be extremely strong while we are falling apart inside.
8. There is nothing wrong with us as survivors — something wrong was DONE to us.
9. Sometimes others get impatient with us for not “getting past it”sooner. Remember, we are feeling overwhelmed, and what we need is your patience and support. Right now, it is very important for us to concentrate on the past. We are trying to re organize our whole outlook on the world; this won’t happen overnight.
10. Your support is extremely important to us. Remember; we have been trained to hold things in. We have been trained NOT to tell about the abuse. We did not tell sooner for a variety of reasons: we were fearful about how you would react, what might happen, etc. We havebeen threatened verbally and/or non verbally to keep us quiet, and we live with that fear.
11. Feeling sorry for us does not really help because we add your pain to our own.
12. There are many different kinds of people who are offenders. It does not matter that they are charming or attractive or wealthy.Anybody — from any social class or ethnic background, with any level of education– may be an offender. Sexual abuse is repetitive, so be aware of offenders with whom you have contact. Do not let them continue the cycle of abuse with the next generation of children.
13. We might not want or be able to talk with you about our therapy.
14. We are afraid we might push you away with all our emotional reactions. You can help by: listening, reassuring us that you are not leaving, not pressuring us, touching (WITH PERMISSION) in a nonsexual way.
15. Our therapy does not break up relationships – it sometimes causesthem to change as we change. Therapy often brings issues to thesurface that were already present.
16. Grieving is a part of our healing process as we say goodbye to parts of ourselves.
From Triumph over Darkness by Wendy Ann Wood, M.A.copyright Wendy Ann Wood 1993
Courtesy the Askios e-group. Thank you !