I got an email from someone who wish to share about this child abuse situation. It is very puzzling why parents can treat their own children this way.

Usually, some of the reasons that I can think of are :

1) superstition (some medium may tell the parents this child brought bad luck)

2) mental health (of the parents, i.e. one parent is abusive, the other dare not do anything)

3) mental development of the child (some children have slower mental capability but the parents do not understand and think the child is intentionally stubborn/stupid)

4) I cannot think of any other reasons.

A lot of lives are sometime screwed because we live in this society where we usually do not have somewhere to turn to. For example, there was this case of wife abuse. The child told me the situation, he had reported it to the Women’s Protection society but the sad thing is, if the woman doesn’t take action herself, the society cannot do anything to help. Same with child abuse. Usually, we may have to pay a huge price if we try to meddle and moreover, we also do not know who is the best person to turn to.

So, J, thanks for telling us about this because sometimes, we also like to ‘not get involve’ because we are also not sure how to handle it and who to report to. Moreover, it is not something that you can get other people’s support because only you witnessed some of those incidences.

Let’s hope the girl will eventually grows up with little scars inflicted by her childhood experiences and she doesn’t have to carry too much baggages. Like the girl, Sufiah’s case? I had heard some of the things from a blogger friend who was her counsellor once. (we met for teh tarik and roti tisu, remember?) They (the welfare people in UK) had done what they could to help Sufiah but still, there are too many inflictions done on her as a child and she ended up as world news headlines. We do not know what she had gone through to become a maths genius as a child so we musn’t be too quick to blame her, society and her parents. (though the father is mostly at fault, being a child molester, scoundrel and all that)

J, we shall hope the girl is going to be fine. But whatever it is, she is somehow lucky to have a caring stranger like you whom had watched over her. Children are abused every day, there isn’t enough shelters for them and I think there are not enough trained personnels in our country as well. We can only hope more attention and focus is given to these areas. After all, there are only so many ‘Michael Chong’ and charitable homes.

Mail below from J.

Dear Lilian,

I don’t mean to make this sound like a “dear thelma” letter but today,
it is a rather happy and sad day for me.

You see, for years, 5 to be exact, I have been watching a mother and father mentally and emotionally abusing their daughter and had felt useless when I was not able to do anything about it. The reason is me be ignorant of the system and also not knowing where to go for help for that poor girl.

That family of five (parents, twins and a younger daughter) moved to my neighbourhood 5 years ago. The twins, comprising a girl and a boy is the same age as my eldest child. There were in primary 5 when they moved here.

Initially, the twin girl was asked to do chores around the house. I did not think much of it as I too have asked my children to do chores around the house; ie sweeping and throwing the rubbish.

Things started getting out of hand two years later (when the girl started going to morning session school). She had to wake up at 5 in the morning to start cleaning the compound of the house, feed the dogs, etc. and when the chores are not finished, she is not allowed to attend school. Her twin brother
who is in the same class could not answer the teacher’s question when asked why she is absent.

When there is a family celebration, she has to remain outside the house and not enter the house, do her own laundry and the worst of all, not allowed to eat dinner with her family. She is given a plate of food and has to sit beside the dustbin to eat ( the dustbin is usually kept inside the house compound in my area). Doing homework means standing at the dog house to do it. She would usually finish doing the chores at 9+ at night.

Seeing all these really breaks my heart as to how parents can treat their child like that. FYI, the twin boy is treated like a king in the house. I was at a loss as to how to explain to my children why a mother/father acts this way. My children have even nicknamed her Cinderella as we do not know her

Anyway, last year, I met one of her school teachers and brought up the situation of this child. I was lucky as there are only 2 sets of twins in her school and only 1 set of girl/boy twins. The teachers have been keeping an eye on her and finally last week, called up her parents to school. Her parents were rather argumentative and hostile to the teachers during the meeting.

During counselling with her school teacher, she commented that she sleeps in the toilet everynight. The teacher also informed me that her mother has never bought her “pads” and she has to walk around with stained uniforms when that happens. The school will then provide her with an extra uniform and pads most of the time. The teachers were at first afraid of taking action as they do not know if the father belongs to a “gang” in town.

It turned out that he is not and finally after all these years, the authorities have stepped in and the girl has been removed from her family. Today, I saw her mother throwing away her clothes. What saddens me is that it has taken so long for justice to be served but at the same time, I am sad as I do not know where the girl is now. If she is put into the children’s home in my town, she will only be sheltered for another 2 years (She is 16 now and by 18, most of the children will leave to fend for themselves). I am still trying to find out where she is and pray that she will be given counselling and guidance in her new place.

I hope you can bring up the subject on child abuse and how to handle and contact the authorities in our country so that more people can understand the importance of helping the helpless in our country. Anyway, thanks for hearing my ramblings….I think I’ll go give myself a kick and cry for a while.