Gender Gender

The trauma GBV leaves on children


Speak Out on Violence: DORIS KASOTE
THE concerns by the Young Women Christian Association (YWCA) on the Copperbelt on the increased number of gender-based violence (GBV) cases in the province are indeed a source of worry.

According to Copperbelt YWCA regional co-ordinator Sharon Chisanga, the province has recorded 755 cases of GBV from January to date.
Ms Chisanga said cases such as spouse abuse often leave children suffering, particularly if one of the parents is incarcerated or murdered.
Children are left as orphans because both parents are not available to offer the much-needed parental guidance.
Ms Chisanga has since urged couples to dialogue whenever they are aggrieved rather than resort to violence.
Parents who involve themselves in violence should not be quick to act but to instead reflect on the repercussions their actions will have not only on their partners but their children as well.
According to Domestic Violence Roundtable, children who are exposed to abuse become fearful and anxious. They are always on guard, watching and waiting for the next event to occur.
They never know what will trigger the abuse, and therefore, they never feel safe. They are always worried for themselves, their mother, and their siblings. They may feel worthless and powerless.
Children who grow up with abuse are expected to keep the family secret, sometimes not even talking to each other about the abuse. Children from abusive homes can look fine to the outside world, but inside they are in terrible pain. Their families are chaotic and crazy. They may blame themselves for the abuse thinking if they had not done or said a particular thing, the abuse would not have occurred. They may also become angry at their siblings or their mother for triggering the abuse. They may feel rage, embarrassment, and humiliation.
Children of abuse feel isolated and vulnerable. They are starved for attention, affection and approval. Because mom is struggling to survive, she is often not present for her children. Because dad is so consumed with controlling everyone, he also is not present for his children. These children become physically, emotionally and psychologically abandoned.
The emotional responses of children who witness domestic violence may include fear, guilt, shame, sleep disturbances, sadness, depression, and anger (at both the abuser, for the violence, and at the mother, for being unable to prevent the violence).
Physical responses may include stomach aches and/or headaches, bedwetting, and loss of ability to concentrate. Some children may also experience physical or sexual abuse or neglect. Others may be injured while trying to intervene on behalf of their mother or a sibling.
The behavioural responses of children who witness domestic violence may include acting out, withdrawal, or anxiousness to please. The children may exhibit signs of anxiety and have a short attention span which may result in poor school performance and attendance. They may experience developmental delays in speech, motor or cognitive skills. They may also use violence to express themselves displaying increased aggression with peers or mother. They can become self-injuring.
So parents should realise and appreciate the problems that they put their children through because of being abusive.
Meanwhile, here is a response from last week’s article with the headline ‘Walking out while you can’.
Dear Doris,
Great article in the papers dated August 09, 2017. I wish those who are abused could listen.
Until next week,

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