Monday, December 21, 2009

so goes the story...

Long time eh? Anyway I'm back

I have recently met a friend of mine, who's working in the UN, during his short trip to Maldives on holiday. He has made some very reasonable query letters along with formal proposals about introduction of Student Counselors in schools and the raising of awareness among the Maldivian families, in an attempt to bring down the rate of child abuse in Maldives. However, his approach to the Unit for the Rights of Children proved to be extremely unfruitious (yup not a "real" word). He was provided a blunt excuse about more important matters on hand. Yeah, right. Of course the topic was child abuse, and I can understand the discomfort, but what a shame that this society is still not ready to hear about incest and child abuse, even when the real story is about healing and growth.

In all possible ways, Maldives claim to be civilizing day by day. If it is so.. Hell, why does our society still frown upon the talk about issues like child abuse? Yeah, such talk is still hushed up, sealed in boxes and kept away. What we've all got to realize is that, silence enables the abuse to continue. Silence protects the offenders and hurts the children who are being abused. Oh, to hell with the 'ladhuvethi aburuveri' talk. We have yet, a long way to walk before we reach there.

In my opinion, the way we accept child abuse to be defined as 'sexual molestation' should also be changed. Child abuse comes in various forms... from which verbal abuse is probably the most common from here in Maldives. Yet, how many parents know that the 'lashing out’ they gave to their child tonight, would have had them sued in international courts? How many children are actually aware that there IS a thing called child abuse, and that they are being treated wrong? Most of the time, verbal abuse is viewed as part of the routine child rearing practices. "Giving 'em a good beating" solves everything.

There are counselors in most of the main schools in Male'.. But what about the others? Child abuse is most common in the eastern areas of Maldives. The children are forced to keep quiet, because they don’t know that it should have been different. They have not known anything different even existed. They aren’t aware of the so-called "child help line" in Maldives. Actually, most of the Maldivian children are unaware of the goddamned child help line. The 'helpline' provided by the URC is 329329, which doesn’t work at all. However, Child helpline International had provided Maldives with a toll free number 1412.

"01.12.2009Child helpline Maldives launched!

Child helpline Maldives will be accessible nationally through the toll free number 1412. The child helpline was launched to commerate the twentieth anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. This means that children in the entire country can now receive assistance if they are in need of care and protection without costs! CHI is proud to have contributed to the founding of this new member. "

Ah, so again, somebody cooked our soup for us. And again, we have failed to make the most of it. How many children are aware of the CHILD helpline? Zilch! Nada! I think it’s high time the so called 'URC' gave some thought about it.

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