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FOCUS June 2022 Volume 108

Tolerated Abuse


Abuse of children happens with support from family and society. Parents and other elders in society tolerate the suffering of children by allowing them to fight in armed conflicts, marrying them very young, and erasing their ties with their other parents.

Poverty as well as social pressure compel some Yemeni families to allow their children to be recruited as child soldiers. Some families in Mindanao follow traditions that allow old men to marry young girls. Some parents (mothers or fathers) in Japan deliberately hide their children from their other parents.

In these cases, parents largely fail to see the abuse being suffered by their children. They fail to see the long-term adverse impact of their decisions on the children they profess to love.

The challenge lies in making parents and other elders in society see this abuse from the perspective of their children. The challenge also lies in finding ways of protecting their children while satisfying economic needs or respecting socio-cultural traditions.