We Cannot Remain Silent And Allow Child Abuse To Flourish
EDITORIAL: All politicians should listen to Mereseini Vuniwaqa. In a passionate plea to them in Parliament yesterday, the Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation challenged them to advocate against child abuse in their campaigns for the 2018 general elections.
Child abuse in this country has reached an unacceptable level.
In a country where we staunchly defend our religious beliefs and all the values, standards and principles they stand for, it is a crying shame that child abuse has reached alarming proportions.
Minister Vuniwaqa is right. Government cannot do it alone in trying to solve this problem.
The problem requires a bipartisan approach, both sides of the House, all religious persuasions, community leaders, faith-based groups, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), schools, parents and families to tackle the problem.
Child abuse is evil.
It’s destructive influence can have a traumatic impact on the lives of victims.
Faith-based groups should launch a targeted campaign against child abuse. They have a powerful influence on the spirituality of their members and they can change mindsets. This spiritual strength helps people do the right thing.
A starting text to back up this campaign can be found in the Holy Bible
The Psalmist wrote, “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3).
The Saviour, Jesus Christ, said in Mark of the New Testament: “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Mark 10:14).
When His disciples asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? … Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, … Whosoever … shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me” (Matthew. 18:1–5).
Then came this warning: “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew. 18:6).
These passages underscore the importance of children to God. They also show how serious God treasures their purity and innocence.
We should also take our cue from these passages and spread the message that child abuse is abhorred and has no place in our society.
Child abuse covers physical violence, sexual offences and psychological abuse.
Some people hide behind another Biblical text “Spare the rod and Spoil the child” to justify their use of violence or force to instil discipline.
The rod can also mean the word of God. In ancient times, when there were no books, scriptures were recorded in scrolls held together by a rod (stick). In this context, the rod represents the scriptures or the word of God. You do not have to use a stick or violence to discipline a child. Use the word of God, meaning you teach with love.
The Bible tells us that the word of God is sharper than the two-edged sword. It means it is the most effective tool of teaching a person, including a child.
Mrs Vuniwaqa’s concern highlights this issue as high on Government’s agenda. Even Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has spoken out in the past against the abuse of women and children.
We must all do our part in condemning child abuse. If you see it happening report it to the relevant authorities so that appropriate action is taken. We can no longer remain silent and allow this social evil to flourish.