Child abuse a ‘worrying phenomenon’
His mother employed harsh treatment toward him and his sister, 2. A victim of divorce, Amjad lacked the care of a father, leaving him alone with a mother who knew only how to parent through physical abuse.
“My mom uses the belt to beat me,” he said. “I won’t go to her.”
Amjad is afraid of his mother.
He said that, back then, most days his body and his sister’s body were subject to beatings, their hearts subject to a bombardment of insulting words. Unlike his classmates, prior to school, Amjad’s mornings included a blow to his face and a bite to his hand, not to mention the emotional assaults. Today, he still hates school, and he feels psychologically unprepared to study.
Abduh Al-Baradooni, Amjad’s father, didn’t know how his ex-wife treated his two small children until his former wife’s siblings alerted him.
“I began to realize his nervous psychology and incontinence each Thursday I visited him,” Al-Baradooni said.
Within a year, Amjad’s mother had abandoned her children under the pretext that she desired to enjoy her youth, he said.
Amjad and his sister are currently are under their father’s guardianship, and Al-Baradooni endeavors to erase all the painful memories so they won’t suffer in the future.
But Amjad is not the only victim of child abuse in Yemen.
According to Shawthab Corporation, which protects children’s rights, family violence against children is one of today’s society’s biggest problems.
Mariam Al-Shawafi, executive manager of Shawthab Corporation, said children are mainly subject to violence in schools, in the workplace and at home.
She said Shawthab Corporation has executed many enlightening programs aimed at protecting children in schools. Programs include lectures that mosque preachers take part in.
“The corporation receives many complaints with regard to violence against children,” she said. “We do our best to tackle the problem.”
She remembers a nine-year-old girl who came the corporation, her body covered in burns. The child’s mother-in-law “tortured the little girl, who was incapable of defending herself.”
Al-Shawafi said they tried to contact the girl’s father to convince him to stop his second wife from mistreating his little girl.
Dr. Saleh Al-Jamaei, a psychologist, said Yemenis deem child-beating an ideal way to raise children.
He said mistreating children has become a worrying phenomenon and leads to behavioral problems, from which many Yemeni children suffer. He said violence against children results in an irresponsible, dependent personality.
There are two types of violence, Al-Jamaei said, physical and psychological. The latter leads to inner disintegration of the child’s personality and then the child becomes like a time bomb.
He said all parents should care for their children in order to help them avoid complex, violent personalities.
Al-Jamaei stressed that beating children in the head is extremely dangerous and can lead to eye or ear impairment, or even death, but he said it is acceptable to give children light punishments. According to Al-Jamaei, hinting at physical punishment in the presence of a child could help, as could depriving the child from something he or she likes. Parents can reward their children in order to persuade them to behave well as another educational means, he said.
“Anyone involved in violating the rights of children must be punished,” Al-Shawafi said. “Unfortunately, decision-making in terms of this matter is not in our hands.”