Youth Day is all about recognizing the youth in our society and why it is important to remember our children and how they are affected by our decisions. Think of the way that the protests held on the 16 June had an effect on future generations. The event brought to light the bravery and conviction of those students. In a broader aspect, Youth Day also represents the children of the world. Children we should be nurturing and protecting, but still there are many out there that experience abuse every day.
This special day should be a reminder, that the youth are our future and that they have the chance to make changes for the better in our world, and need to be protected and guided in the right direction. Children learn from their environments and from the people who take care of them. Those who are nurtured and grow in a loving environment, should become healthy members of society. Those who are exposed to abuse and unstable environments will suffer long-term effects, both with their emotional and physical health.
Each person and child manages stress differently; there are certain factors that can contribute to how a child responds. The child’s age can influence their response to bad situations, how often has the abuse being going on, how severe the abuse is, amongst other factors. Even if the child is a bystander to abuse, there are going to be negative effects.
Children also learn behaviour from their parents, a boy witnessing abuse towards his mother, learns to be violent against women. There has to be a break or a turning point in the cycle of abuse.
Here are a few long-term effects of abuse:
- Problems with communication
- Suffering from depression and anxiety and even suicidal behaviour
- Trouble with school work, which can affect their chances of gaining entrance into a higher educational facility.
- May turn to alcohol and drugs or suffer from eating disorders
- Children who have been abused or witnesses abuse, are more likely to end up in an abusive relationships.
- Long-term physical health problems
This is where women’s crisis shelters play an important and pivotal role in the community. The shelters provide much needed assistance both for the abused and their children.
Benefits of shelters:
- Shelters provide a safe and secure environment
- Child protection is offered
- Emotional and physical support
- Many offer a number of services from support groups, counselling, and legal assistance
- Some even help the victims find employment and schooling options for the kids
Women who are being abused may feel that there is nowhere safe to go, and many times they are not self-sufficient and therefore feel trapped in their situation. Having a crisis shelter within the community provides a way out, a place to go where they can be safe. Especially if there is a child involved.
All shelters require donations to be able to provide all of these services. This is where the community should be standing together with these types of organisations. This is especially in the case for children, as they are usually the silent victims and need somebody to stand up for them. Many of the shelters can then implement support programmes where children are encouraged to develop healthy relationships and to overcome the negative results of abuse. The mother’s and children can both look to a future filled with hope and opportunities.
Without adequate funding, the services offered to these vulnerable children and women are limited. Many of the women rely on shelters for their safety as well as for basic needs like food and toiletries. So let’s remember the children and those who need somebody to stand with them in times of great need.