THE increasing cruelties our society harbours have moved to insistent assaults on children by guardians, who descend on their wards with the most puerile excuses.Gory media images of children dismembered, beaten to death, with shrivelled fingers, or reduced to skeletons are becoming common.
In all these instances, the criminals find excuses for abusing the children, perhaps knowing they would get away with their dastardly acts. Why would a society erect such wickedness for its young ones, the most vulnerable, and expect to make progress? Why are these acts continuing? How would these acts, which portray us as primitive, be stopped?
The foundation of these perfidies is the social dynamics of a society that seeks solutions to mere economic and social challenges in spiritualists and shrines. Without lifting a finger, most people expect they would find the riches that would catapult them out of their economic woes.
Others want to attain political power or improved social standing through cultic powers. Many of the assaults on children cannot be explained by the presumed anger of the culprits or the frequent excuse of not knowing “what came over me”. Whatever the reasons, our society must stand up firmly against the cruelties that are defining it.
The stories are endless, and the extent of the injuries inflicted on children, sometimes resulting in deaths, paints a picture of utter madness. Men and women are killing the young and getting away with it. Sometimes there are debates whether their excuses for murder should be accepted. We have to enforce the law.
Unfortunately, some churches prescribe these punishments for children who they identify as witches. Some parents have no qualms punishing their children to death in line with prophecies. Some of the dead are children recruited as house helps, or whose parents sent to relations to assist with their upbringing.
We think that these incidents are continuing because law enforcement is weak. Offenders are getting away with murder under spurious explanations. The few cases that make it to court are at the instance of civil society groups, which have the heart, but hardly the war chest for the lengthy legal tangles these matters involve. Society’s insensitivity to the plight of the victims, some of whose minds have been shattered from their tortures, is gradually defining our lives.
These stories no longer shock. Is our society exalting brutality to one of its ethos? Section 34 (1 a) of the Constitution states, “Every individual is entitled to respect for the dignity of his person, and accordingly, no person shall be subject to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment”. We cannot build a society on cruelty – it is illegal.