Friday, November 14, 2008

No heads in the sand

I have deliberately subjected myself to a harrowing ordeal today. Am I some kind of masochist?

Not really, but there are times when has to put one's personal preferences aside. This is one of them.

I don't like reading about child abuse. I don't like watching movies that include child abuse, wife battering or rape scenes. I find no entertainment value in them. I usually groan or whimper audibly and leave the room. When the abuse is real, I find it very difficult not to resort to the same coping mechanism. I want to slap my hands over my ears and go "Lalala". I don't want to have to process that kind of information.

But I must.

In quick succession, the UK has been hit with news of Baby P and the Mulling-Sewell brothers. I feel quite traumatised by the reports, but I truly believe that it would be a heartless act to indulge myself and turn away. After everything these children have endured, the world needs to wake up and pay attention. "How many times can a man turn his head, and pretend that he just doesn't see?"

I am outraged. I am grief-stricken. I am frustrated. I am squirming in my seat. I don't want to read about this. I don't want to know. I don't want this unseemliness infringing on my nice, neat life.

Tough.

Our systems are failing our children.

Something needs to be done.

4 comments:

Jim C said...

We require people to pass a test and be licensed to drive a car, but not to raise a child.

Still most of us turn out OK. Looking around the village do you want them raising your child?

Where does the balance lie?

Karyn Romeis said...

@jim C I'm struggling to make the connection between the atrocities that happened to these babies and whether or not I want the 'village' raising my children.

In my view, while parents have primary responsibility, the community has a role to play and parents should be held accountable by and to the community for both the treatment and actions of their minor children. And I'm not referring to empowered officialdom. I'm referring to the citizenry, who should give a d*mn simply as evidence that they're human.

Michele Martin said...

Karyn, on a related and also sickening note, there was an article on CNN today about the fact that Nebraska's law allowing parents to leave a child at a hospital without being charged with abandonment has resulted in 34 children being dropped off--not ONE of whom was an infant! One parent dropped off a 17 year old and his 14 year old sister. Other people flew in from out of state! Although obviously this is far better than hideous abuse, I have to wonder about the world we're living in.

Karyn Romeis said...

@michele That is sad! I don't know what it's like in the US, but in the UK, a baby has become something of a fashion accessory. You see girls pushing prams who should be pushing bikes on their way to school. Because the UK is a welfare state, they get some funding to assist with raising the child, but it's a bit like the "a dog is for life, not just for Christmas" campaign - they seem to forget that babies grow up... and that they cost money!

A friend of mine reckons we should stop referring to "having a baby" and start referring to "having a person" because it might serve as a bit of a reality check and make it a little less appealing to those not yet mature enough to take responsibility for themselves, let alone a child!