Talking to the People Who Matter
As a matter of fact, we aren’t talking to child abusers
Dear you who don’t abuse your kids,
Most of us think to ourselves, “Hey, you can’t be talking to us ‘cos we don’t abuse our kids…” or just as likely, “I don’t even have kids!” Truth. Because half of us don’t have children, and the other half don’t abuse ours, who are we even talking to? Is child protection work really just ourselves shouting into any public forum we can, that it is important to keep our kids safe, but it’s only a handful of perpetrators hiding behind closed doors that we should look into to eradicate the problem of child abuse?
As Big Love advances toward our 10th Anniversary in 2023, it’s a good time to relook just who matter to the work we do, and the answer really is quite clear: You.
Surely I can’t be a part of your target audience
Except that, you are.
Thing is, anyone who has a stake in raising the next generation of children can make a difference in the way we relate to the little ones around us. That means, all of us have a role to play. We’re not all parents, but are we not godparents, friends or an ‘Uncle’ or ‘Auntie’ to someone else’s child, blood-related or otherwise, or, as most of us are, a neighbour who might know when a child is in need?
As we evolve as a nation and people, we’ve learnt not to litter or spit (sure, the fines do help speed up how fast we unlearnt old habits), become a more polite society, become more aware of important issues like Mental Wellness, Dementia, Caregiving Toils, the Silver Generation, Climate Change, and many other pertinent causes, something’s got to change with the way we relate to children too, isn’t it?
Nobody would dispute that child sexual abuse is wrong, but there are too many grey lines where harsh physical punishment, psychological and emotional abuse, or issues of neglect, enter the picture. Yes, there are many sides to a story, like when parents inadvertently neglect their child because they have to work, and many other positions and perspectives to consider, like how parents manage their children the ways that their own parents had managed them, all the while thinking, “Hey, we all turned out fine, right?”
Thing is, our parents probably did the best they could at a given time in their lives, in a particular generation. But as parenting and children literature have also evolved with all other forms of sciences, and we are learning everyday about the impact of abuse and harsh discipline on our children, it’s maybe time we reconsider adopting newer and better ways to take care of the children around us too. Our parents did.
They didn’t just resort to raising kids by the same standards that they were raised. They put us through school when school wasn’t an option to them (depending on which generation we belong to). Equal opportunities were handed to both son and daughter, which was not always a given in some generations either. Children used to “be seen but not heard”. Play was a “waste of time”. What was deemed of consequence in the past may not apply today, and vice versa. The rules of society morph and evolve with time. We should, too.
Perhaps now, it ought to be a little bit more about looking at how we accord children their natural rights, to be given a safe shelter, to be fed and nourished, treated with respect and love, and so many more rights than we ever talk about. It’s not us saying it, it’s the United Nations (https://www.unicef.org.uk/what-we-do/un-convention-child-rights/). Singapore agrees, by the way (https://www.msf.gov.sg/publications/Pages/United-Nations-Convention-on-the-Rights-of-the-Child-UNCRC.aspx).
With those things in mind, it’s no longer about how right we are in the way we relate to our children, but how much more loving we can be. So do join us in standing up to #ChampionChildProtection, #FightAgainstChildAbuse, and to show in your own unique ways, how children can be kept safe and to be loved.
Partner with us to help the children shoot for the stars