Child abuse needs a decisive response

Dear Editor,
Our society continues to wrestle with how to protect our children from the injuries and agonies of sexual abuse. In spite of significant efforts by individuals, groups and the government at various levels, the abuse of children continues. Statistics have revealed that most abuse takes place in the home, and is often committed by a family member known to the child or someone very close to the family.

When a child is molested by a stranger, they are more likely to report it than when the perpetrator is someone who is known to them.

While it may be impossible for a parent to predict which adults might be capable of this kind of behaviour, most parents don’t realize how their silence on the general subject of sex causes children to keep quiet about abuse. A child who has not had an open discussion about sex with their parents is not likely to tell them if they’re molested by someone close to the family or someone they think the family approves of.

Molesters can have adult sex partners, but children are their primary sex object. They have lifestyles which give them easy access to children. They target children with specific characteristics who fall within a certain age group. They use threats to manipulate and control victims, or bribe them with gifts, love or promises to  lure them into their confidence. The perpetrators are mostly male, but females also molest.

Guyana’s children need urgent protection. We must act swiftly and decisively to deal with this problem. Each of us must decide whether we are going to be part of the problem (by ignoring the issue) or part of the solution. The lives of our children and their children depend on what we, as individuals, are prepared to do about this epidemic of abuse.

Yours faithfully,
Attiya Baksh

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