Thursday, 10 September 2020

I am Full of Worth

10 September 2020

Domestic violence is the act of being angry and taking the wrong actions about the anger. Violence and neglect are a part of many families' everyday lives which should not be considered a normal thing. Physical neglect is just one portion of domestic violence. Failure to provide food, medical care, or shelter is described as physical neglect. Abuse can be a whole range of physical behavior —slapping, hitting, beating, or using weapons to hurt someone. Abuse includes verbal and emotional abuse; where someone is constantly insulted and beaten down to feel sad and worthless. This can also cause one to have mental issues, like depression. Is it worth it to hurt an innocent child of yours, or even someone else's child let alone a girl child? Domestic abuse can also include rape and sexual abuse. The mistreatment of children takes many forms that at times lead to death. Just as the 16 year old girl child who was found dead in her room and beside her lifeless body was a note that reads 'I am not worth it' –very pathetic! 

But what possibly could have made a child of that age felt worthless? I mean what could have been that heavy within her to a point she resolved to commit suicide? Whatever she must have been battling with must have been for a prolonged period with a number of factors contributing to it.

Suicide is never triggered by one factor. According to World Health Organisation, there are many factors and combination of factors that may lead to suicide such as depression, feeling hopeless and worthless, physical illness, feeling detach and isolated from friends, peers and family, domestic violence including physical or sexual abuse, lack of a support network, hostile social or school environment (bullying) to mention but a few.

Suicide just like any sickness has symptoms called warning signs. In the case of the 16 year old girl child, there must have been noticeable warning signs. According to such signs could be but not limited to sudden sense of calm, self loathing or self hatred, seeking out lethal means, withdrawal from others, self destructive behavior etc. But while this signs were there, it was neglected or not taken seriously by family, friends or caregivers etc.

All of these can be combated. There are weapons to fight every enemy. One of such weapon that could have been used to help in the case of the 16 year old overcome such problem after noticing the warning signs is by talking openly with the child and expressing concern, support and love. Assuring and reassuring of her worth, trust and show of love. That way she would have been ready to confide in you whatever she is secretly passing through. Having a trust worthy someone to talk to may be a slight relieve to a person who is planning/considering suicide.

Getting a professional help for her such as a counselor/psychologist and building a support network would have been the next possible way to help the girl child overcome the problem while making a safety plan for her.

As people, as citizens, as neighbors, as friends, as lovers, as family and as caregivers, should we not be doing all we possibly can to defeat this monster called suicide be it child or adult? Why do we continue to be fearful to talk about it? Let's be bold and open to talk about domestic violence and especially abuse a child is battling daily with be it physical, emotional or sexual. Let's show concern, support and love; and be ready to help a potential victim out of such situation. The never ending cycle does not have to be never ending – a girl child is full of worth.

Lets join hands to prevent suicide!

Bassy Edem (Edem ChildrenFoundation)
Writes in commemoration of World Suicide Prevention Day 2020

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