IT happens every day.
The figures released for child abuse cases in the past year showed there were 382 reported cases between January 2020 and February this year. That’s more than one for every day.
That’s just the reported cases, of course. What about the cases we see on the streets or in our families that don’t get reported?
We see the children sent out on the streets to hustle for money, selling cookies or carrying sponsorship forms for events that never happen while an adult sits in a car nearby letting them do the work.
We see the swift hand that comes out to hit a child in the street from their parent or guardian, that seems to be part of the everyday existence for that child.
We see the videos that circulate from time to time showing children being subjected to abuses in places where they should be safe.
Worse, sometimes when these cases come to light, there are those who call up the talk shows and defend the beating of children, such as the woman in January this year who rang a show to say that “if you don’t beat, the children will beat you”.
It’s an all too commonplace attitude. More must be done, call concerned voices, but it seems little is actually done.
We know the roots of much of it, of course. There are the broken families with absent fathers, there is the poverty and lack of child support experienced by many families.
It goes beyond that though with too widespread acceptance of beating of children, with too many saying that they got clipped when they were growing up and there’s nothing wrong with it. They say that even as they raise the hand to hit the next generation, and we wonder why nothing ever changes.
Things are likely even worse under the pandemic – with people stuck in homes and unable to get away from their abuser, and the economic pain hitting harder than ever for so many left without jobs.
That we don’t know how much worse it is shows how little research is going on into the issue – this should be a concern front and centre for those whose job it is to protect those in need, but it doesn’t feel like it is.
But if we are to have a brighter future, we must not forget that every single day a child is being abused. Every single day.
How much longer must that go on before we decide it has to stop? How much longer before we are serious about change?
A group of asylum seekers sought refuge here in The Bahamas after fleeing Cameroon amid fears of persecution. The government detained them. Now the government has to show it didn’t act illegally.
Human Rights Bahamas says the detention was illegal, saying the detainees had not been charged or convicted of any crime in The Bahamas and so the government had no justification for holding them indefinitely.
The government has been on the wrong end of a number of cases involving detention, and now it faces a battle to explain why it was right to keep these people locked up for nearly two years.
Fred Smith, QC, has been a constant thorn in the side of the government on these issues – and he’s on the case again here.
In the meantime, the asylum seekers, who have committed no crime, remain locked up.
If the government loses the case, we would hope it would go beyond simply chalking it up as a court defeat and moving on while operating the same rules.
Isn’t there a better way than to keep locking people up, especially when there is nothing to suggest that they would be a danger or a burden on our society?
Wouldn’t a complete overhaul make sense so that people aren’t being badgered for documents when there is no law compelling people to carry such papers?
That we keep seeing cases come to the courts, and we keep seeing the government lose cases, suggests that something is wrong with the process or the administration. We really ought to learn from that – and stop repeating this same cycle.