Let’s fight together to end violence against children

By Shamindu, aged 13, Young leader from Sri Lanka

My name is Shamindu, and I am attending the Solutions Summit in Sweden, representing my mother country- Sri Lanka I would like to bring to your attention to the impact of violence against children on their lives and well being. I believe that children are abused physically, emotionally as well as sexually. Let me share a few other ways in which we children are subjected to violence.

Domestic Violence: Violence that children face at home is one type of violence. For example parents or adults use physical force to beat children. Older siblings embarrass children in front of others.  Others sexually violate children and drive them towards the use of alcohol and other drugs.

The biggest impact I see through these occurrences is the trauma on children’s emotional well being. Older siblings or adults scold, beat and humiliate children thus causing them to emotionally break down.

Speaking of disciplining children let me ask you one question; How different are the consequences faced by adults and children upon making a simple mistake? When an adult does something wrong he or she is not beaten or disciplined. However, when a child makes a mistake, discipline is a must. Sometimes we children are given fewer chances than the pets in our houses!

Many parents and adults are convinced that without using physical force it is impossible to discipline a child. Our country even has a popular statement that says “a child who is bought up without punishment is like a curry that’s cooked without being stirred”.

This goes on to emphasize children as unworthy and worthless and makes us feel insignificant and this hurts our feelings a lot.

As a solution I’d like to suggest that the laws and regulations in physically punishing and violating children should be tightened and followed by everyone. This will bring some form of order and control in our communities and we children will be able to grow in a happier and safer environment. In addition, the authorities and institutions established to implement these laws need to be given more authority to actually implement them. Adults must also look into the best interest of the child and provide space and a platform to hear and sort out their grievances, stress and other problems. Finally, there should be no discrimination between children especially at home and in school. Children with disabilities also have to be given equal opportunities and to be protected from violence.

About the Author

Shamindu is a representative of the Children’s Societies in his rural communities. He is particularly interested in addressing the issue of violence against children and trying to find solutions to this problem so children can enjoy their childhood. He is an active member of the World Vision Young Leaders project, which is a global programme that aims to empower and provide spaces and opportunities for young leaders to stand against violence towards children and promote social changes in their communities.