In terms of science and technology, the 21st century is the most advanced and developing era of the age. Earlier, there would be speculations and experiments and now everything we want is at our disposal. Don’t feel like cleaning the house? Get a robotic vacuum that dusts and cleans. Don’t have a partner to be intimate with? Get yourself a “Harmony” which is an AI sex robot.
Initially, time travel and alternate realities were just a mere fantasy. What’s enthralling is that TV series like Dark and Stranger Things actually depict it using the help of science and facts – backing each and every unnatural phenomenon.
We’re golden in terms of advancement; however, can the same thing be said for humanity? Pertaining to the time period mentioned in the Hindu mythology, we live in the Kali yug, that is, a dark age. Yugas are vast periods of time and are divided into 4. This is the last one.
Quite frankly, I don’t even find it hard to believe given the kind of abhorrence we face every day. The media is filled with news of women getting raped everyday almost like a ritual, war, children being sold off for money and powerful politicians living on the livelihood of the poor and the middle-class.
However, what’s truly heinous and chilling to the very bone is how despite awareness and laws, the exploitation of children is still so rampant and prevalent and that too in ways you can never imagine.
Statistics Of Exploitation Of Children On A Global Scale
According to the reports of the World Health Organization, 1 out of 2 children or 1 billion children suffer some form of violence each year. Nearly 3 in 4 children or 300 million children within the age of 2-4 years, regularly suffer from physical punishments and/or psychological violence at the hands of parents and caregivers. Almost every 2 in nearly 3 children get bullied either by their peers, or seniors and sometimes even their caregivers.
120 million girls under the age of 20, children including new born babies have suffered some form of forced sexual contact. According to a report from 2019, the suicide rates in children have proliferated surpassing the rate of homicides.
According to the National Crimes Record Bureau (NCRB), in 2019, more than 90,000 teenagers died by suicide.
I could ramble on and on about the stats of it but have you ever considered that despite all the laws we have, there is practically no change.
How The Exploitation Of Children Works On Different Levels?
Let’s begin with the basics – physical violence. 90% of parents on a global scale believe that domestic abuse is the only way to help them realize their mistake. This could include physically hitting a child, irrational harsh punishments like being locked up in a dark room for hours, negative reinforcement which stimulates fear in children, etc. The age at which the abuse takes place influences the impact of the damage. These damages are not strictly limited to just physicality. Prolonged exposure to domestic abuse can result in various physical ailments including neurological disorders like irritability, lethargy, tremors and vomiting.
The damage is not strictly limited to just the physicality. Children who are physically abused have a predisposition to many emotional disturbances. They are prone to myriads of mental health problems including trust issues, ptsd, etc.
With that being said, lets come to sexual abuse. Almost 2 in every 3 kids get molested on a regular basis and 1 in those 2 is either too traumatized to say anything and cope up with defense mechanisms or are forced to stay shut.
The former has been shown rather sensitively in the series Haunting of Hill House when Theo, a psychologist comes along a little kid who has behavioural issues owing to a “a smiley man” that sees in her nightmares. On delving deeper, Theo discovers the kid would get molested by her foster father every night. To cope with the trauma, she made up the man in her head.
Next to this heinous act, Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy is a mental disorder in a caregiver that can push him or her to the extent of killing their child in the name of “care.”
In 2012, Olivia Gant, 7year-old, spent most of her childhood in and out of hospitals battling a series of “mysterious” illnesses before passing away. Over 25 unnecessary surgical procedures were performed. Her mother claimed Olivia was having trouble digesting food and was constipated. Doctors addressed the issue by removing a hardened stool from her colon.
As time went on, Olivia’s mom kept bringing her back and claimed she was unable or unwilling to eat normally.
In 2014, Olivia went in for surgery. Doctors re-routed her small intestine to bypass her large intestine so that waste went into a bag through a hole in her stomach. The surgery reportedly relieved the constipation, but Turner continued reporting that her daughter was still having digestive problems.
During the time Olivia was at Children’s Hospital, Turner somehow convinced doctors to prescribe her daughter Keppra, an anti-seizure medication. This was done despite medical reports showing doctors never actually witnessed Olivia suffering from a seizure. 3 weeks later Olivia died. Her mother had poisoned her.
Once again, this has been delicately depicted in the movie Run where a mother paralyzes her daughter and feeds her neurotoxins so she couldn’t leave the house all in the name of “care.”
On a more personal note, a school junior of mine committed suicide 2 years back despite being the topper of her class. She couldn’t take the pressure of always having to “come first.” She had no privacy and was forced to study every waking moment of her existence.
To conclude, regardless of the various laws we have and despite the awareness we spread, are children really safe? No change can be fruitful unless a child can be provided a safe and healthy environment.
Disclaimer: This article is fact-checked.
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Feature Image designed by Saudamini Seth.
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This article is tagged under child abuse, domestic abuse, physical abuse, child molestation, sexual abuse of children, family members, care-givers, Munchausen syndrome by proxy, factitious disorder in grownups, Haunting of Hill House, smiley man, foster father, AI sex robot Harmony, advancement of technology, loss of humanity, suicide in children, WHO, statistics, chronic physical ailment, mental health issues, traumatized childhood, trust issues
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