Don’t Smack That Child!

Otiko Afisa Djaba – Minister of Gender and Social Protection

From the tale of female suicides which baffled us last week and earlier comes the unnecessary assault on very young girls. The dying week has been worrying. It comes at the heels of the celebration of the International Women’s Day.

As parents and concerned citizens brooded over the rising spate of female suicides, the story of an eight-year-old Rebecca Dogah also made the headlines.

The KG girl had been assaulted by her father who allegedly used a machete on her, leaving her seriously injured. The innocent girl is recovering from the brutish attack and expectedly, the purported act is attracting widespread condemnation.

Besides the physical pain that she is suffering, the abused victim would contain, perhaps for the rest of her life, the thought of her own father showing such magnitude of wickedness to her.

Even after the brutish act, her father reportedly locked her up in a room and fled with his wife, perhaps expecting her to die. The couple is, without a fear of contradiction, mentally unsound and should lose custody of the child.

We are glad though that the police are on the trail of the defaulters whose conduct defies understanding. When a father and mother conspire to mete out such a barbaric act on their child, their case can best be handled initially by a psychiatrist.

We recall when a top psychiatrist said that there are many persons suffering mental challenges in town than we can imagine. This certainly is a case of one of the many mentally challenged persons in town who even though look normal, need attention and should in no instance be allowed to father children.

We had reason to, sometime ago, call on people sharing same neighbourhoods to be observant of developments in their areas. The little girl under review should have suffered many abuses before this last one but for fear of being labeled busybodies, nobody bothered to interfere in what was not their business.

The kid could have been killed by the couple. They would have fled thereafter as they have done now after the machete attack.

Let all those who can support the police to track the couple down do so now because they have committed a criminality for which they must face the law.

Parents must learn to be patient with their children, the extent of provocation notwithstanding. They must avoid causing injuries to them because the psychological impact of such treatment is near indelible; can lead to the feeling of rejection and even depression.

Children as gifts of God belong to society and so it behooves all to come to their aid when they are being abused by not only their parents, but anybody, including teachers.

It is not for nothing that a special unit was established in the Police Service to take care of such weird cases.

The Gender Ministry is also mandated to ensure that our children are protected from such extreme treatments.

We know that in the developed world such as the United States, parents would lose custody of their children when they show propensity to harm them, and lack the capacity to offer adequate parental care.

It is clear that the parents under review are unable to take care of Rebecca and so she must be transferred to an appropriate state agency otherwise she could lose her life at the hands of her crazy father and mother.