Child Protection

What do we know about Child Protection?

Child sexual abuse is a problem that involve societal attitudes and the protection laws around individuals rights. In our Iranian culture children are often left out to the cruelty of their parents, adults in their neighbourhoods, teachers in schools, other adults who try to exploit the child in any possible ways.

This is no surprise that we in our Persian culture do not have legitimate means to protect our children; no one is protected by law anyway. People are suffering from various levels, individuals, groups; communities are all in pain that is caused by the chaos of “ideology instead of human rights protection.”

Many times sexual abuse is justified by many religious terms or it is covered up with concepts that do not make any sense. The bottom line is that sexual abuse is a real problem in our culture that is ailing. Our children and youth are the real victims, sometimes, more than they can bear. Suicides among young people are many times due to unspoken issues such as sexual abuse. We have to learn and to teach our communities about this serious problem.

Sexual abuse of children exists in every country and every society. Sexual abuse is an act of crime, done by someone who is close to the child. The offender usually intimidates the victims by putting the shame and blame on them. These victims feel dirty, guilty, and shameful for something that was done to them. The burden of shame and guilt is something more than a human body can take. This leads to many serious mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and chronic pain.

Studies have shown that teachers, couches, priests, babysitters, grandparents, and parents are the main abusers. Since there is no study about this issue in Persian culture, it is hard to say what kind of caregivers does mostly commit this horrible crime. However, it is most often someone who gets close to the child and makes the child to trust him or her. Yes, I say “her”; women also could be abusers of young boys!

In those families in our home country who do marry young girls (underage) we do “justify” the sexual abuse of that girl. These victims are usually forced to be silent, threatened to be punished if they disclose, and left out with the blame of having caused the sexual interaction.

We know that many traditional families around our home country, they marry their young girls. Wouldn’t these types of marriages be called an official sexual abuse of children?

Definition of Child according to the Canadian laws is a person under age 18!

Two major laws to remember:

· Criminal Code of Canada

· In British Columbia; the Child, Family, and Community Services Act

These are the national and provincial legislation that are protecting children from any abuse.

If the walls of fear would fall down, many of these victims would come forward to testify the level of fear, isolation; emotional trauma, terror, and hurt that they have endured in the hands of those who decided to find sexual gratification with children.

Sexual abuse is a crime. We need to educate people and have them realize that children should be respected sincerely. Children have the right to live and thrive with safety, compassion, and away from harm. Sexual abuse is a crime that leads to physical and emotional abuse.

Sexual abuse victims are most silent and stigmatized young children (girls and boys), young girls, and women, people who carry a huge package of guilt, shame, and pain.

We should realize that sexual abuse is a huge problem that needs to be discussed openly and respectfully in our communities.

We should open up a debate where women and men could come forward talking about this issue and seeking help. The reality indicates that, it is going to take a long time for our Persian culture to start talking about this issue and other problems around sexuality. We do not talk about sex in our Persian culture. This is a topic that needs clarification, discussion, and education. If we do not educate our children, we let them be open to exploitation and harm. In our Persian culture we have been forced to silent a long time, it is now time to change that killing silent; it is time to talk about what is an open topic in western cultures. This topic is one of the hundreds of other topics that should be part of our cultural discussion agenda. When would that be possible? It is hard to say.

December 12, 2007