Violence towards children, especially on the part of parents, is likely to create a generation destined to live with wounded psyche for the rest of their lives, experts in the field of child welfare feel.
The latest such incident was reported from Chottanikkara where a four-year-old was allegedly killed by her mother with the aid of her lover and friend.
Joy James, convener, Kerala Childline Forum, said children often fall victim to the anger and frustration of parents. Childline centres receive numerous calls from children complaining of physical violence at home, especially due to alcoholism or mental tension of parents.
“It leaves the young minds emotionally scarred and when they grow up they mete out even worse treatment to their children. It is something like ragging where a batch ragged by their seniors treating their juniors even worse. Anger when not properly handled will lead to violence. It is high time that the Malayali society was given lessons on handling emotions along the lines of stress management,” Mr. James said.
Fr. Vincent Naduvilaparambil, president of Ernakulam Orphanage Association, said children who end up in orphanages because of troubles in the family more often than not harbour hatred towards parents.
“They maintain the same sentiments towards all adults, including the orphanage authorities. So, any efforts to mend their ways even when done with care and compassion are met with angry and violent response,” he said.
Fr. Naduvilaparambil recollected a few incidents where the children abhorred the very thoughts about their fathers. There was even an incident in which a child drove a car to knock down his father from behind. “In another instance, a child ended up in the orphanage after the father harboured the notion that the child was a bad omen and kept him away,” he said.
Padmaja Nair, chairperson, District Child Welfare Committee, said hostile and adverse family background emerged as the principal problem in 90 per cent of the cases the committee dealt with. “Majority of the cases are reported from the low-income groups compared to high-income groups. But that may be due to low rate of reporting,” she said.
Children were often used as a tool to bolster the accusations against each other in the fight between parents. Recently, a child was rescued by the police from the violence of stepmother, Ms. Nair said.
D. Sreedevi, former chairperson of the State Women’s Commission, said modern times could be easily called an era of sex where means to arouse sexual desires are common, igniting the animal instincts in people. “The urge to satisfy such uncontrollable and insatiable sexual desires lead people to commit unthinkable violent acts. The instance case at Chottanikkara where the mother killed her child for the sake of a life with her lover best exemplifies it,” she said.
Ms. Sreedevi said that during her stint with the Women’s Commission she had come across numerous incidents in which children were made to suffer after their father declined to give money for their upbringing just to prove a point to their mother.