IT’S horrifying these days to read the news. Last week alone, there were three high-profile child abuse cases. The worst one involved a father who abused his 9-year-old daughter so severely that she died.

While these were widely reported, I’m quite sure there are many more which have gone unnoticed.

The perpetrators could be fathers, mothers, childcare providers or family members.

Recently, my wife and I overheard some children crying in our neighbourhood. There was prolonged screaming and crying so we immediately reported it to our resident association committee. Guards manning our neighbourhood were then called to check it out. Thank God we have not heard such anguished cries since then.

What we did was out of concern that it might have been another child abuse case. We may not know for sure but why take such risk? A child has a right to live a happy and fulfilling life but this can easily be taken away by abusive adults.

We may think that something like this would never happen in our neighbourhood. We may believe that it’s not something that will happen in our own family. We may think that we’d never meet or be acquainted with abusive adults.

Unfortunately, statistics show that abuse can happen at any time and place, and very often, it happens right in our neighbourhood or even homes.


Everyone has a responsibility and opportunity to prevent such abuses. But what can we do to tackle this menace?

First, and foremost, let’s acknowledge that we’re capable of being abusers ourselves. Sometimes, we feel that

we have to show our power to solve a problem.

In doing so, we may even force our way through. Yet, the little ones may resist us by misbehaving and rebelling. This, in turn, makes us frustrated and thus a negative environment is created.

The problem arises when we lose control and start to use violence to get our way. Soon, we realise that it’s more effective that way and we get addicted to the approach. Before we know it, we are the abuser.

The stakes are high. Parents must eliminate all forms of emotional abuse in their families. The key is to control

our emotions when our anger is at its peak.

Don’t deal with anything in anger. Instead, walk away and cool yourself down first. Allow your rational mind to be more dominant.

Now that we’re in control, let’s extend that to people around us. Try to recognise the signs of abuse in other families.

These may include physical signs as well as emotional ones. If you suspect there’s someone being abused, don’t just do nothing. Quickly report it to the relevant authorities for immediate action.

Child abuse is a social problem. We

all have roles to play. Let’s send a strong signal to the abusers that they’re being watched.

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