Post Mortem

An uproarious discourse in the contemporary Naga society

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 10/3/2020 1:11:01 PM IST

 “Child abuse casts a shadow the length of a Lifetime”- Herbert Ward

Children are the most beautiful gift of God to a family and to the world. To mould, guide and protect the innocent child is our responsibility, but today even the basic rights of a child are violated. A child requires utmost attention, affection and constant support for their holistic development because this stage is considered to be the most vulnerable, crucial, fragile and complex phase in a human’s life.

According to NCRB (National Crime Record Bureau) data, in India 21,605 child rapes were recorded in 2018 which include 21,401 rapes of girls and 204 of boys. Also, since the inception of Childline in Dimapur in 2011, it has intervened 1457 cases pertaining to various “Child protection risk areas”. According to the records most of the victims belong to the poorer section of the society and the abuser is usually the richer section.

Many scholars has given various definitions and explanations, but in general term child abuse can be best understood as any kind of physical, sexual, psychological maltreatment; neglect of a child, emotional abuse, financial abuse, verbal abuse, abandonment, etc. I would like to elucidate with the story summary of three cases in Nagaland.

Case 1. A child girl was brought down to Dimapur by a family for domestic help. Having brought her at a very early age, she was oblivious of her identity. During her stay, many a times she was ill treated and was force laboured and was not even allowed to go back home. At times she would be physically abused which rendered her with health problems. One day she absconds from the house, and was later rescued by the police and NGO’s, then, she was taken to her parents.

Case 2. Thirteen (13) year old mentally challenged girl was raped several times by her neighbour. The matter came to light when her physical demeanour started changing, and when examined, the Doctor determined that she was pregnant for some months. Heinous depravity was rendered to this innocent girl. However, with the intervention of the NGO’s and the police, the matter was investigated apprehending the accused. It was learned that a baby boy was born to the victim and the trail is still rounding the table in the district court.

Case 3. A baby boy being born deaf to a family, he was sent to a differently able school for education. But later the boy was abandoned by his parents as they took this responsibility to be embarrassing and cumbersome. This boy was later taken in by the NGO’s.

Child abuse or child maltreatment is becoming an uproarious discourse in our contemporary society. The Naga society never practiced slavery but it was never uncommon to see the poor working for the rich. And still today the sight has not much changed. We see children from poor families leaving their home with the hope for a brighter future. And no doubt, some get the lives they dream, but there are thousands of instances where many others become the victim of these abuses. Many children went through such traumas eventually losing their big dreams they once had.

Traditionally, children and women were not given the right to voice out their opinion, as only the voice of the men was heard. This crude tradition is still passed on into our present times. Children are hushed down when they ask questions, and some are even whacked by parents. This kind of environment makes the child uncomfortable to open to a lot of things. Today, in a world where our children’s’ voices need to be heard across spheres (even in the legislative assembly) they are unable to voice out even in the family gatherings. 

Many children are not safe even in their own homes, schools, colleges, religious places and many other atmospheres as well. Children are denied the freedom of growth which results to a poor self esteem and detachment from others which hinders their growth. A child’s outlook of the world will also be affected because the remnant of abuse in their life will continue to torment them mentally, emotionally and physically. In some scenarios, it is difficult for a child to get over the incidents and they become the absolute victims of that dreadful situation. 

Speaking of the corruption in our context and the actual situation behind the lime light, we also, cannot ignore the fact of “ism” that shadows every air which is also the root cause of every closed files and cases. Also, many times cases are closed down at higher levels because of the fear of community stigma and social contempt.

When we look at the churches today, there is no question asked that the churches work for the upliftment of the society, but the view of church and the society as two different entities have made us lost its engagement in the societal matters. Today, we need our church to come and voice out for the society. And, what better voice do we have, than the church?

However, in order to purge out this evil problem of child abuse in the society, the families, the Churches, the governing bodies, NGO’s, educational institutions, community leaders, different apex bodies, should come out stronger than other days before our land becomes a land of child abuse.

One of the best ways to overcome problems by a child is through proper education, as education plays a vital role in identifying the inception of these atrocities. Education motivates and enables a child to learn the life skills: social skills, problem solving and coping skills, promoting peace and self protection training etc. These trainings help a child to build up more etiquettes and confidence in socializing within the society.

Therefore, as Good Samaritan Christians, we should all come together and reach out to the unreached, and be the voice for the voiceless to share the love of God in humanity and in justice. “Our Children is our Pride”.

Nentimo Kath, Administrator, Shepherd’s School Dubagaon, Dimapur

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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