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The 7 Essentials of Child Abuse | Amira Kamel

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Children are like diamonds. It is entirely up to us to make them shine or not. If we cannot help them shine, then at least we can help them not to break.

In this article, we will go through the 7 essentials of child abuse that every adult needs to be aware of to keep children safe.

 

1- What age range do children fall under?

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) defines a “child” as a person below the age of 18, unless the laws of a particular country set the legal age for adulthood younger. The Committee on the Rights of the Child, the monitoring body for the Convention, has encouraged States to review the age of majority if it is set below 18 and to increase the level of protection for all children under 18.

2- What is child abuse?

Child abuse is any action by another person (adult or child) that causes significant harm to a child.

The World Health Organization distinguishes four types of child abuse: physical, sexual, emotional and neglect.

Physical abuse means hitting, beating, and shaking.

Sexual abuse means sexual contact or exposure to sexual acts or materials.

Emotional or psychological abuse means threatening, insulting, ridiculing, or confining.

Neglect means failing, despite having the means, to provide medical care, education, shelter or other essentials for a child’s healthy development.

An abused child will often experience more than one type of abuse, as well as other difficulties in their lives. It often happens over a period of time, rather than being a one-off event. And it can increasingly happen online.

3- Child Abuse Statistics

  • 5 children die every day because of child abuse.
  • 1 billion children aged 2–17 years, have experienced physical, sexual, emotional violence or neglect in 2017.
  • 1 in 4 adults were physically abused as children.
  • 23% of the children were physically abused.
  • 36% of the children were emotionally abused.
  • 16% of the children were neglected.
  • 18% girls and 8% boys were sexually abused.
  • 90% of abused children know their abuser.
  • Only 10% of child abuse victims disclose their story out of fear.
  • Every year, about 41,000 children under 15 years are victims of homicide.
  • Research shows that children with disabilities are four times more likely to suffer from abuse or neglect.

4- What increases the risks of child abuse?

First: Having parents or caregivers who: 

  • Suffered abuse or neglect as children.
  • Misuse drugs or alcohol.
  • Are involved in other forms of violence, such as intimate partner violence.

Second: Living in communities that:

  • Have high unemployment.
  • Lack support services for families.
  • Have high tolerance for violence.

Third: Living in societies that:

  • Don’t have adequate legislation to address child abuse.
  • Have cultural norms that promote or glorify violence.
  • Have social, economic, and health policies that lead to poor living standards or socio-economic inequality.

5- Child Abuse Consequences

Adults who were abused or neglected as children have a higher risk of:

  • Perpetrating or being a victim of violence.
  • Depression.
  • Obesity.
  • High-risk sexual behaviours and unintended pregnancies.
  • Harmful use of tobacco, drugs, and alcohol.
  • Studies show that child abuse has high economic costs — in medical expenses, legal costs, and lost productivity.
  • Child abuse can actually slow a country’s economic and social development.

6- How can we identify a child abuse case?

The appearance and behaviour of a child define the abuse type children are being exposed to.

Some of physical abuse appearance signs are bite marks, burns, frequent injuries, and/or wearing long sleeves to cover them. Children suffering physical abuse are usually shy, hard to get along with, avoidant, anxious, and/or afraid of parents.

Some of sexual abuse appearance signs are torn, stained or bloody clothes, and pain or itching in genital areas. Children suffering sexual abuse have inappropriate sexual touching of other children, extreme reluctance to be touched in any way, abrupt change in behaviour, and/or sexual behaviour or knowledge that is inappropriate for the child’s age group.

Emotional abuse behaviour signs are more obvious than appearance signs. Some of them are withdrawal from friends and social activities, frequent lateness or absence from school, loss of self esteem, defiant behaviour, and/or changes in school performance.

Some of neglect appearance signs are poor hygiene, dirty hair, body odour, clothes inappropriate for the weather, and/or in need of medical or dental care. Children suffering neglect are often tired, have no energy, lethargic, and/or beg or steal food.

7- How can we prevent child abuse?

1- Raise awareness of parents and caregivers regarding child development and healthy positive strategies for raising children.

2- Educate and train children to improve their knowledge of abusive situations and teach them social skills to protect themselves and to interact in positive ways.

3- Promote norms and values that support pro-social and non-violent behaviour.

4- Strengthen income and economic interventions to increase investments in children.

5- Respond and support services to help children that have been exposed to violence.

6- Create and sustain safe environments for children.

7- Implement and enforce laws, such as laws banning violent punishment of children by parents, teachers or other caregivers.

Resources: 

– United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF)

– World Health Organization

– INSPIRE: Seven strategies for Ending Violence Against Children 

– National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children

– My Body is My Body Programme

– Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina 

 

Author

Amira Kamel

Africa speaks

Resilience

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Thato Belang

It is only when we get kicked down that we see what we are made of. It is easy to be positive when everything is going well, but the heart of all great endeavours is the ability to stagger back to our feet and keep moving forward, however grim it gets”. ~ Bear Grylls

This is one of the most difficult and yet necessary skills to learn and master. Resilience is defined as “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change”. It is through moments of adversity that our resilience is tested and gets developed. Without adversity, there is not room for resilience. The great news is that we all have the innate ability to rise up from challenges;the question is how deep within are you digging to reach this strength to overcome the difficult times?

My resilience was put to the test during the long illness and ultimate passing of both my parents. This period lasted for exactly two years. It was the most difficult time for my family and I. There were moments where I felt that I was going to break but my siblings and I stuck together and fed each other with strength in those weak moments. During this time I had to tap to the higher power, in addition to the support from my siblings, relatives and friends. I had to see the light and silver lining amidst the dark cloud that was hanging on our lives.

I had to have the courage to carry on with life when the two people who had always been there for me, carried me, fed me, sacrificed for me, loved me, cared for me and would deny themselves so that I can have – could no longer physically do that for me and my siblings. I had to trust that I can be able to do all these things myself, without them. I had to cut all dependence from them and tap into my inner strength. I had to stand firmly on my feet and keep moving forward.

In hindsight, going through this hardship was necessary for me to do that which I was born to do. I had to endure the pain, to learn how to let go of the people that I mostly treasured and to also trust the process. The irony is that as I’m writing this, I’m going through another phase of adversity in my life; a different kind of adversity. I’m reminded of this past experience and only hope that this is yet another opportunity for elevation.

Resilient people are often admired by others. People would ask questions such as, how does she/he do it? How do they manage to keep on bouncing back? Well, I’m here to tell you that it can’t happen without going through the difficult, uncomfortable process and being stretched. It is their ability to endure the process that makes people resilient. They don’t let adversity define them nor define their destiny and they have scars to show their experiences.

They don’t allow the difficulties to paralyse them. Instead, they use it as an opportunity to re-evaluate themselves and seek growth opportunities.

How can you use your scars in a positive light? How can you turn those storms into rainbows? I believe that the storms happen for a reason. Don’t let those experiences go to waste. Don’t just survive adversity and go through it in vain but transform and triumph through it. Granted, the process is not easy and it is not fun at all. But the key to this transformation is persevering.

Also Read Meet Sivi Malukisa, The Congolese Entrepreneur Whose Food Startup Is Promoting DRC Cuisine

Having tenacity during the difficult time will bring meaning to the experience and in the process you will have a sense of accomplishment. You need to commit to making an effort and to take small steps, as long as you are moving forward.

Thato’s nuggets on building resilience:

  • Actively remind yourself of the strength you have and continuouslyharness this inner strength
  • See the effects of adversities as temporary rather than permanent
  • Build the spirit of gratitude; every day, find things to be grateful for
  • Always have positive thoughts and images of the future; let this push you to do more
  • Completely get rid of the victim mentality!

“It is through adversity that our resilience is tested, that we get renewed, that we grow and that we get prepared for the next phase in our lives. Adversity is necessary and cannot be avoided”. ~Thato Dineo Belang

 

Thato Belang

Speaker| Coach| Writer

Johannesburg, South Africa

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Black Women Are Leading the Charge for Equity and Inclusion 

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Black woman- Pic: Shutterstock

A manager once told me that my peers didn’t respect me because I self-identified as “Black” first, and a “Woman” second. I know… I know, it sounds ignorant and crazy, but it really happened. It’s just one of the many micro-aggressions that I and many women of color experience in the workplace.

My response was that of a samurai warrior! My tone was even but stern, and my tongue was slick and cut like a knife, to the point that tears began to roll down the face of the person attempting to demean and degrade me. The one thing that person underestimated was my lifetime of experience as a Black woman, which inevitably gave me the strength to combat this divisive and racist behavior.

I am proud to be part of the esteemed group of Black women who are unapologetically bold about who they were born to be. This doesn’t mean that we are not accepting of other cultures and races, it simply means we are proud of our heritage and ethnicity.

During the past few weeks, I’ve been reminded of the power that lies within Black women leading the charge to drive diversity, equity and inclusion in their respective industries and communities. I had the pleasure of attending the Harlem Fashion Row’s (HFR) Fashion Show and Style Awards founded by Memphis native Brandice Daniel, a creative and passionate force for change within the fashion industry. Brandice made a call to action asking the attendees to wear “everything black”, meaning wardrobe curated by Black designers.

HFR provides a platform and support for black designers who are underrepresented in the fashion industry. Brandice founded the company in 2007 and has made great strides in advancing black designers and their work. Most notable is the collaboration with Nike and Lebron James to design James’ first women’s sneaker, the HFR x LeBron 16 and the recent announcement of HFR’s new “In the Black” e-commerce site. It’s an online boutique introducing curated merchandise from select designers of color. Make sure you check it out!

I left that event, which was held at the top of the World Trade Center Observatory, feeling so proud of Brandice and all that she has accomplished to ensure that black designers receive their fair share of equity in the fashion industry. She has overcome obstacles that would cause many to give up, but she kept, and keeps going. A true warrior in the fight for inclusion and equity!

I also attended the 2019 ADCOLOR Conference and Awards, founded by a Black woman trailblazer in the advertising industry, Tiffany R. Warren.  What I love and admire about Tiffany is that she drives strategy by focusing on the intersectionality of diversity, and all of the different aspects we should consider when championing for true equality beyond race and gender.  It was my second time attending the conference and awards of the premier organization that celebrates and advocates diversity in the creative and technology industries. I first attended in 2016. Not only was I was blown away by the growth of the conference over the years, I was equally impressed by the content, speakers, and the work that Tiffany and the ADCOLOR team had done to #TakeAStand for more equity and inclusion in the advertising industry.

My greatest take away from my ADCOLOR experience was that diversity is a given. It’s time we move beyond counting people and checking the box on quotas. We must ensure that women and people of color not only have a seat, but a valued voice at the table. One of many memorable quotes from the conference was, “Our activism can’t just be on Twitter; it has to match who we are in the workplace. Your character at home needs to align with your character at work” – Angela Rye. If we are fired up about injustice and inequality at home, we need to bring that fight to all aspects of our lives. We shouldn’t be required to silence our values when we step inside the workplace.

This leads me to the next event I had the pleasure of attending, Diversity Honors. Created by another dynamic Black woman Dee C. Marshall, CEO of Diverse and Engaged in collaboration with Full Color Future, a think tank and advocacy organization committed to changing the narrative about people of color in media, tech, and innovation. Dee is a force all by herself. She’s been known to be a policy influencer, and female members of Congress call on Dee to co-convene women’s initiatives, strategic planning on mobilization of women,  and gathering local women leaders whenever they need a young fresh perspective on connecting with women.

The event was designed to recognize diversity leaders, game-changers, and corporate leaders across industries and sectors, as well as community representatives who have moved the needle and made bold moves to advance marginalized and underrepresented people in workplaces and common spaces. The theme for the event was “Diversity is Multidimensional; People of Color cannot be Forgotten.”

The theme speaks to the fact that many companies are attempting to make women their area of focus for their diversity and inclusion efforts, counting the advancement of white women as their big accomplishment. If they only propel white women in the organization, it does little to nothing to build a culture of inclusion in the workplace.

Minda Harts addresses this in her new book “The Memo: What Women of Color Need to Know to Secure a Seat at the Table.” A recent Harvard Business Review article Minda stated, “Many senior leaders are not comfortable talking about race and they are doing their talent a disservice by ignoring racial equity in the workplace.” I wholeheartedly agree. I am baffled by senior leaders who state that they are committed to diversity and inclusion yet are unwilling to discuss the role of race in driving inequity in the workplace.

By the way, if you haven’t read Minda’s book, please do, it’s a must read for anyone looking for validation or a better understanding of the experience for women of color in the workplace. You may want to buy a few copies to gift to a few of the managers in your workplace who would benefit. I’m just saying, with my side eye, you know who they are!

Last but certainly not least, I attended the Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference in addition to the Black Women’s Agenda annual town hall and luncheon in Washington DC. The content focused on issues that are preventing black progress in this country, and most importantly those issues most concerning to black women.

The fifth annual “Power of the Sister Vote” survey of African American women published by Essence magazine in conjunction with the Black Women’s Roundtable revealed the top issues that are of concern to Black women in this country.

  • Criminal justice and policing reform.
  •  Affordable healthcare.
  • Rise in hate crimes/racism
  • Equal rights and equal pay.
  • Gun Violence and Gun Safety.

I left DC with the affirmation of what I already knew; Black Women are fired up, convening, and planning to lead change. So, to my old manager and anyone else who questions why I affirm my blackness or my womanhood… you can have several seats!!! I am proud to be black, a strong woman, and part of the Black Women Leadership Tribe! A huge THANK YOU and much gratitude to Brandice Daniel, Tiffany R. Warren, Dee C . Marshall, Minda Harts, and to all of the countless Black Women leading the charge!

Also Read viSHEbility: Releasing Aspiration And Shaping Narratives One Story At A Time – Mary Mosope Adeyemi

Most importantly, I commit to doing my part towards advancing progress. I know that I was in those rooms for a reason and I don’t take that privilege for granted. As a woman of faith, I know that to whom much is given, much is required.

By: Dorinda Walker, Founder and CEO of Cultural Solutions Group

 

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Africa speaks

NIGERIA: GLOOM OR BOOM?

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Nigerians have generally become upset with the recently published names of fellow countrymen who have either been apprehended or declared wanted for financial crimes in the United States of America.

The actions of Nigerians like Thank You Jesus, Advanced Mega Plus Ltd, Williams High School, Fanta, Ryan Giggs, He is Risen, Happy Easter, CTA Finance Source, Son of God, Mansion, Zero, Mystical, GodisGod, Code, Blade, Dee Dutchman, Chima Russia, Smart, Mobility, Boss Iffy, Ifeanyi Soccer, Humble, Pastor Kc, Slim Dad No1 and a host of others including one Adegoke have severely crashed the reputation of Nigeria and Nigerians across the globe.

Unfortunately, a lot of social media reviews of this list have passed through ethnic filters and we know the reason why this is so. I’ll repeat it here again, do not do ethnic or religious profiling whenever it comes to crime. You will not like it at all when it is your turn to reap what you sow.

Some Nigerians have been mocking the EFCC whenever ‘yahoo boys’ get paraded. They question why the cops go after harmless young men and women who are only trying to survive. I am not sure if these Nigerians have also mocked the FBI and the DOJ because of joblessness. I hope they see now that such crimes are not tolerated globally and EFCC clamping down on home-based scammers is nothing extraordinary but part of their job description.

Some have tried to downplay the severity of this type of crime by comparing it to kidnapping and terrorism. I’m not quite sure these crimes are markedly different; one can even argue that these internet scams are the precursors of some ‘worse’ crimes. A scammer creates a fake persona with a name like Invictus for example and preys on vulnerable individuals to defraud them of their money. Some others are more daring and infiltrate bank accounts and corporations to siphon money. These individuals generally have flashy lifestyles and many of them have part or most of their loot in Nigeria.

Other young people envy them and covet what they have. Some learn the ropes of scamming people but a few others are pushed to crime. Some of these scammers may require protection for themselves and their assets in Nigeria and can either have government agencies in their pockets or simply finance local violent men to do the job. This may be applicable to those who do drugs as well as other shady business across the globe.

One American woman who was a victim of such crimes lost almost $30,000 to a Nigerian who posed on Facebook as an American soldier in Afghanistan. Her husband shot and killed her, her father and himself in December 2018 when he found out she was still communicating with him even after some things had been exposed about the affair. Be careful before concluding that these crimes are harmless and without casualties. There are people who have committed suicide, individuals who have been bankrupted and families that have been scattered because of these criminals.

Poverty has been blamed for pushing these men into crime but I’m sure that even poverty will deny them. I suspect greed is the major culprit. We have had cases of dismissed policemen and soldiers who either sponsored or actively participated in armed robbery; they were probably dismissed in the first place because of their greed and bad behaviour. There are not a few former bankers who defraud their employers before fleeing out of the country to enjoy their loot in saner climes; was it poverty that opened their eyes to crime? Criminals abound in government and religious organizations; I dare say that criminals who are privileged and greedy far outnumber those who are genuinely poor.

These men who defrauded thousands of people in America, did they get free visas, travel documents or tickets to get to America? Many of those paraded by EFCC are students of one higher institution or the other, will we say that they all come from poor homes hence the need to commit cyber crimes?

Also Read Meet Sivi Malukisa, The Congolese Entrepreneur Whose Food Startup Is Promoting DRC Cuisine

Some want to drive vehicles, some want to impress females while some others will say they want to liberate their people. Why cybercrime when football is there if they can’t wait for education to yield reward? There are truly poor people who have learned a skill or a trade and who have done well for themselves. We are a people that will sneer at a young man learning carpentry or plumbing but will celebrate those who appear from the blues with blings and wads of cash. We’ll probably give them front row seats everywhere and have them in all our TV and radio stations to talk about how they made it.

We know those who churn out pangolo music but who claim to make more money than Grammy nominees and winners but we don’t care and wish to make it like them. I hope those who gave Invictus their platforms to promote himself will inform young people of his crimes and ensure such never get airtime again.

The almost 80 Nigerians in this first list are definitely going to end up in the US prison system. They are fortunate that this is not Thailand or Indonesia so they can look forward to having long lives. Their investments and property in Nigeria will most likely be sold off or taken over by other opportunists so those who will return to Nigeria after their terms are not assured that they’ll meet anything intact.

The really smart ones among them will take advantage of the American prison system and learn a skill or earn a certification if they have none. Those who ‘learn sense’ may get out earlier for good behaviour while some will eventually become truly saved. I think America will correct their defects ultimately except ‘village people’ corrupt the reset drive.

It appears America is very serious this time around and more lists may be published and more Nigerians caught in the net. Some say cybercrime is payback to the masters who are long dead; they probably forget that a lot of the slave business involved Africans selling Africans for gin, mirrors, gun powder, royal garb and ornaments. An eye for an eye will only land one in jail in this day and age.

If you love that home or foreign based family member whose ways are suspect, hurry up and call an emergency family meeting to plead and pray with them. These feds are not smiling at all. They know all our aliases and fronts; they clearly have access to all the backend servers Rigobert Atiku is looking for.

Asking people to live within their means is not an endorsement of poverty, it’s probably the best advice a young person can get before lust creeps near. Fellas must understand they need not deceive to impress and ladies should not fall for fellas without origin and insertion. Parents should not push their children to take up lifestyles that’d destroy them; encourage handwork and contentment.

To the almost 80 Nigerians on list one; when there’s life, there’s hope.

 

Author

Dr. Jide Akeju

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