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Protecting Children and Women from Abuse

There has been a dramatic increase in child and women abuse during the pandemic. There must be a joint effort in society to protect their rights, stopping all forms of abuse, and providing them with support and healing.

In my call to the mission of inner healing, I have encountered several female victims of incest which took place when they were still too young to protect themselves. Many of them were ashamed to freely speak about the pain and struggles they had been grappling with.  

Some of them might have experienced it once, others repeatedly, but regardless of how many times they came face to face with this form of violence, the deep scarring it caused them has had long-term repercussions. 

Children and women are among the vulnerable sectors of society, particularly when they are left unprotected from possible predators in their own homes, deprived of basic necessities, and become victims not only of physical abuse but also of verbal maltreatment. 

According to Bantay Bata 163, a non-government organization dealing with protecting children’s rights, there has been a dramatic increase in child abuse and neglect during the pandemic. Before the pandemic, they were receiving about 90-110 calls for help daily. But during the pandemic, this has increased by 200%. 

With or without this sad reality, but urgently prompted by this dire need, we must find ways to strengthen our personal and collective efforts to emphasize the dignity of children and women. Each home needs to strive to build healthy self-esteem in every member of the family, with the parents ideally taking the lead. 

When there is a vision of families deeply rooting themselves in God’s Divine Plan of empowering every individual as a son or daughter of God, each child will grow up feeling safe, secure, and properly nurtured. The children will know their rights to be taken care of, as demonstrated by their own parents’ initiatives in rearing them in Godly ways. They will learn to practice self-respect. The men in the family will know by example, how to treat the women in their lives with proper boundaries.

When families need help, they need to bravely seek it. The government, the Church, and private institutions must continue to provide, and even increase initiatives to offer avenues for healing from brokenness, addictions, and violations. 

One thing is clear. Celebrating the gift of children and women in society must be a joint effort of communities protecting their rights, stopping all forms of abuse, encouraging them to have proper representation in various groups, and providing them with opportunities for healing, support, and growth. Valuing children and women, in particular, is a concrete manifestation of respecting and caring for humanity as a whole. 

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