The issue of child abuse is an increasing concern worldwide. Whether the country is developed or poor, child abuse still exists in every region in some form. The common forms of child abuse include physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. The definition of child abuse, according to Professor Vincent Iannelli, is “harm to, or neglect of, a child by another person, whether adult or child” (Iannelli 1). Even though this common definition is applicable in most cases of child abuse all over the world, there are some forms of child abuse that exist in a specific region which are different from those found in another area. Sexual and physical child abuse both exist in countries like Pakistan and America, however the type of emotional abuse seen in Pakistan is very different from the type seen in America. While factors such as tumultuous economic and political conditions, child labor, and kidnapping scar Pakistani children emotionally, beatings, rape, molestation, and neglect due to recurrent stress are the common forms of abuse in America.
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Child abuse in Pakistan over the years has grown because it reflects upon the weak economic and political state of the country. Poverty and austere living conditions are some of the factors that account for this existence of child abuse. The fact that poverty encompasses nearly 60 percent of the nation leads to events which result in abuses. Most of Pakistan’s population lives in squalid slums where the children are forced to help in the survival of their families (Galpin, 1). However, dire measures are taken for this survival. Typically one sees children on the streets begging with arms mutilated and scars across their face. The common theory goes that these children have had a harsh life; rather its just that these children have been purposely abused to gain them pity so that they can be given money. This desperate need for survival also leads to child labor. The problem with this is that this means a child will have to work in various environments, which are usually dilapidated. Thus the child is exposed to numerous threats and he/ she becomes a victim of abuse. In America, however, this type of abusive mentality does not commonly exist. The abuse existing in America is mostly due to stressful lives or frustration. “Almost half of Americans say that they are increasingly stressed about their ability to provide for their family’s basic needs” (“APA” 2). Unlike Pakistan, the solution to this type of financial stress, however, is not child labor.
Child abuse is a major concern these days and a lot is being done in America to prevent this. In Pakistan, however, a poor political administration causes child abuse to be more likely. Statistically, there are more reported cases of child abuse in the Unites states than Pakistan. In the year 2007, 3.2 million child abuse cases were reported in America (“Childhelp” 1). In Pakistan, there were nearly 1,600 reported cases of child abuse in the year 2007 (Khan, 1). However, the difference in the size and population of the United States and Pakistan, along with the fact that nearly 80% of child abuse cases in Pakistan are unreported, shows that a statistical comparison of the two countries cannot be accurate (Khan, 1). Pakistan’s statistics show that there is a lack of consideration being given to child abuse by the political administration in Pakistan. Laws against child abuse, in fact, exist, but there is not a strong, central government to enforce these laws. Thus, the perpetrators of these crimes are encouraged. In comparison, there are strict laws in America that are enforced strongly to prevent child abuse.
One of the differences between Pakistani and American child abuse lies in the Pakistani culture. As a cultural norm, children are taught to be obedient to their parents so that even if a parent beats their child once in a while, it is not considered a big issue. Zia Awan, chief of Lawyers for Human Rights and Legal Aid (LHRLA) in Pakistan, stated in an interview that, “Children, like women, continue to be vulnerable because they are considered personal property in our[Pakistani] feudal-minded society” (Khan, 1). Many unreported cases of child abuse exist in the rural areas of Pakistan because the realization that this abuse is a big thing is not present in the people’s minds. Furthermore, cases of sexual abuse are not reported because, as a religious custom, sexual contact with a person is forbidden and looked down upon. This is why reporting this type of case to the police remains a taboo in the country. In present-day America, however, this taboo and a Puritan ideology does not exist. Thus, most cases are reported making it easier for organizations to protect the children’s rights and to help eliminate child abuse.
There is a great difference between Pakistan and America in terms of chid abuse. In America child abuse is systematically fought, while in Pakistan there is a lack of proper administration. The lack of a strong, central government, along with poverty and the “feudal-minded” Pakistani culture, make child abuse more likely in Pakistan (Khan, 1). There is not a lot of recognition for the increasing child abuse in Pakistan making child abuse a growing concern in the country. In America, there are prominent measures being taken to eliminate child abuse by the creation of various child care organizations and a strict law being enforced upon the perpetrators of child abuse. Regardless of the country, child abuse is still widespread throughout the world and it is an issue, like racism and sexism, that needs to be dealt with. After all, the children are the future.
“APA Press Release: APA Poll Finds Women Bear Brunt of Nation’s Stress, Financial Downturn.” American Psychological Association. 10 Sep. 2009
“Child abuse and child molestation.” Vision Pakistan – Home. 10 Sep. 2009
Galpin, Richard . ” BBC News | South Asia | Pakistan’s wall of silence on child abuse.” BBC NEWS | News Front Page. 10 Sep. 2009
Ianelli, Vincent. “Child Abuse Facts for Parents.” About Pediatrics – Pediatric Parenting and Medical Advice. 10 Sep. 2009
Khan, M Ilyas. “BBC NEWS | South Asia | Child abuse ‘growing’ in Pakistan.” BBC NEWS | News Front Page. 10 Sep. 2009
“National Child Abuse Statistics – Childhelp.” Welcome to Childhelp – Childhelp. 10 Sep. 2009
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