REXBURG, Idaho — Within the last two decades, more and more forms of violence against children has been uncovered. With these various forms of violence comes more and more children being abused mentally, physically and emotionally.
UNICEF recently released a report analyzing violence against children entitled Hidden in Plain Sight. In the 206 page report, UNICEF uncovers all types of violence on children, varying from sexual abuse to physical abuse to bullying.
UNICEF reports that the most common form of violence against children is discipline from caregivers. Within this form of violence comes physical discipline, which includes kicking, spanking, hitting and shaking and violent psychological discipline, which includes threats, intimidation, guilt, humiliation and withdraw of love.
It is reported that seven out of 10 children experience psychological aggression, while six out of 10, which is close to one billion children, experience physical punishment, with most children enduring both types of violence. UNICEF also reports that about three out of 10 adults believe physical punishment is necessary in cultivating children.
Though violence against children is sometimes thought of to be a minor problem in the United States, the U.S. Department of Justice reported in 2009 that 60 percent of children surveyed were exposed to violence either directly or indirectly.
Violence in America alone has been growing in numbers just this year. Most recently, players in the National Football League have made national headlines after having allegations made against them for abuse against children.
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has been deactivated among accusations of abusing his two children. Another player, backup running back for the Arizona Cardinals Jonathan Dwyer was arrested after accusations of abuse against his unidentified partner and their 18-month old, throwing a shoe at or toward the infant.
More and more reports of violence against children have been reported, both minor, for example, throwing a shoe, and significant, even going as far as murder.
A horrifying statistic showed that almost one out of five homicides were children in just 2012, which is almost 95,000 children under the age of 20.
To combat abuse inflicted upon the young, UNICEF has begun a campaign with an accompanied the hashtag #ENDviolence, noting that violence against children can be completely avoided and people joining this movement will “make the invisible visible.”
Jeff O’Malley, Director, Division of Data at UNICEF said, “The first step in curbing all forms of violence against children is bringing the issue to light – in all its complexity.”
The campaign’s aim to end violence against children is to do just what O’Malley said- bring the issue to light. In doing so, actor Liam Neeson, a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador, decided to join the fight after seeing how the impact of violence against children has not just on children themselves, but “families and communities” as well.
The campaign’s and Neeson’s hope is to “shine a light on the invisible horrors of violence and abuse that undermine the lives of hundreds of millions of children,” and once the public is informed, the hope is they will speak out about violence in their communities; let the problem be heard and make a change in the lives of countless little ones.
Neeson said in an interview on violence against children, “In order to address the issue of violence, we need to speak out to highlight the problem and take action. I wanted to do that, and I urge everyone else to do the same.”
– Kori Withers