Child Abuse in the Philippines

            In a world as dangerous as it is nowadays, anyone of any age could be victimized with any crime. Even for innocent young children, cruelty is not an exemption. One of the most common crimes committed to minors is child abuse. It is an act of violence against children in any form of physical, emotional, sexual abuse and negligent treatment that may cause any way of harm to the children, physically, emotionally and psychologically. Although there is a law against Child Abuse, it is still somehow ineffective here in the Philippines.

            First reason for this is because some children are afraid to speak out. Cases on child abuse are not often reported due to the presence of fear. They are warned that if they tell on others, further punishments will be given to them or rather; threats will be impose against them which will convince the child to choose the choice of silence rather than experiencing unpleasant consequences from his openness. If some would want to speak out but cannot do because of further punishment, others would stay silent for the reason that they would not want to create trouble—they are afraid to the outcome of destroying relationships. They would tolerate this kind of undesirable activity, thinking that it was just for a moment and it would not happen again. But for those who are continually abused, children would reason out that sooner or later, they will get used to it or that the abuser will get fed up and stop. Last cause of fear is because these abused children are troubled of their future, of what will happen to them after they report their concerns—As a child, will he be believed? Who will take care of them? Is the abuser going to take revenge on them? Are they going to be finally safe? Can he move on after an awful situation? And many more worries that builds up doubt in themselves in making the decision of speaking out and confessing the truth.

            Second is because most if not all are unaware that one’s actions are already a type of child abuse. Many of us are uneducated to what child abuse is; its type, causes, effects and its treatments. One of the most common types of child abuse that most of us are not aware of is Neglect and Negligent Treatment. It is defined as not being able to satisfactorily provide the physical or basic needs of a child such as food, water, clothing, shelter and supervision. We see this as just some life’s misfortunes and unfairness and not as a deprivation of rights which is supposed to be embodied by each and every human being, whatever state of living he or she is at. Unfortunately, these inadequate needs usually lead for children to engage in employment. Instead of going to school, they would much prefer to work in order to earn money for their daily consumption. In shorter terms, it all boils down to the rampant case of poverty.

            Last but not the least reason why I find the law against child abuse to be ineffective is due to the poor implementation of the law by the government and its people. The punishment or consequences for the said crime is still not enough as a penalty for an offence as cruel as child abuse. Some cases would even show that abusers do not change at all or does not learn from their mistakes and still continue to commit these without second thoughts and fears. They do not take the law seriously due to the lightness of the consequences, thinking that they could just easily get away with it. Another reason why the law is also poorly implemented is because of the lack of support for this law. Most of us are even complacent without seeing the seriousness of the imperfections. We are also very fond of saying something or suggestions that makes sense and are supposed to be important. But then, we become a failure when it comes to putting it in our actions. We are just good at saying things without reflecting or applying it in our actions. The government also has insufficient programs and activities regarding on child abuse that may be of great help in educating the nation and preventing or lessening the occurrence of the said crime.

            The purpose of the law against child abuse is to protect innocent children from any means of maltreatment. It is clear, therefore, the importance of this law. However, are we still valuing this importance when obviously, we do not properly exercise this law? Are we giving the law on child abuse the justice and respect for its presence in our Philippine Constitution? Basically, from the three points I have mentioned and explained earlier, my answer would be a NO. The flaw is not in the law itself but to those who made it and chose to apply it in our country. We fail to understand or put in mind that this law is supposed to be taken seriously. We grew fond of the saying that just like promises, laws or rules are made to be broken. Now, with this mentality, can we still say that our laws are useful enough? Because of our insufficient knowledge for the case of child abuse, we tend to get blind for such cruel crime. But if we are fortunate enough to be aware of what it is yet still does not care and chose to let it pass, then we have a big problem with our morality and humanity. The law against Child Abuse is supposed to be very essential. But for now, I believe that we are not yet truly valuing it for what it’s worth.

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