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We need to step up the fight against child abuse

  • Published at 12:00 am July 27th, 2019
Child abuse

A comprehensive legal framework is needed for the protection of children

There is nothing so abhorrent in the world as the abuse of innocent children.

But looking at the numbers, it becomes clear that we, as a nation, are failing to protect children from violence: This year alone 826 incidents of child abuse were reported, and this number is projected to overtake last year’s tally of 1,011.

Even these numbers, horrifying as they are, do not speak to the whole picture -- every day, a large number of incidences of rape or other forms of violence and abuse against children go unreported and unacknowledged in Bangladesh.

 The low conviction rate of child abusers, and the stigma that surrounds so much as talking about the issue, gives abusers a sense of impunity, which is what causes child abuse numbers to grow year after year.

Clearly, a comprehensive legal framework is needed for the protection of children, and perpetrators of crimes against children need to be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

Furthermore, as a society, we need to foster better understanding of this complicated issue -- too often, matters of abuse are spoken of in hushed tones and swept under the rug, as the abuser is often a relative or a family friend.

The right education is needed in all levels: Children should be taught about sexuality and the meaning of consent, and parents should be informed about what constitutes abuse, the signs of watch for, and how to seek help from the law.

Child abuse is a problem that eats away at the fabric of society -- and treating this social illness should be our foremost priority.