TRAILER They are young, very young and they have all been abused. In Kenya, children are now protected thanks to organizations and the government.
RUNTIME: 4 MINUTES 52 SECONDS COUNTRY: KENYA FILMING LOCATION: NAIROBI LANGUAGE: ENGLISH AND SWAHILI SOURCE: A24 RESTRICTIONS: NO ACCESS IN AFRICA
01:00 GRAPHIC – UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS (ARTICLE 5) “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”
01:12 VOX POP FROM A MAN (ENGLISH) “Physical punishment, no, that one it causes damage to the body.”
01:16 VOX POP FROM A WOMAN (ENGLISH) “You’ve stolen a ten shilling from me or something and I beat you, like I burn your fingers; that’s the extreme.”
01:22 VOX POP FROM A WOMAN (ENGLISH) “A parent can kill their kid because he or she will do it in a loving way.”
01:26 VOX POP FROM A MAN (ENGLISH)
“Burning a kid or even cutting them or hitting them to a point of probably leaving injuries on them, that is not love. That is torture.”
01:37 TEXT “58,000 cases of child abuse are reported annually.”
01:41 NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS ABOUT CHILD ABUSE
01:49 GIRLS DANCING AT SCHOOL
01:58 TEXT “70% of these cases result in death”
02:02 CHILDREN PLAYING
02:07 CHILDREN AT SCHOOL
02:14 ABUSED CHILD ITV (SWAHILI) “My father collected water, which he then heated. He tied me up with a rope and once the water was hot, he poured it on me.”
02:31 DANIKA SIAGE ITV - SENIOR PROGRAM OFFICER, COMMUNITY LEGAL ACTION NETWORK (ENGLISH) “There are physical abuse cases, abandonment, neglect, children being burnt or someone setting a dog on a child.”
02:40 ABUSED CHILD TALKING TO DANIKA SIAGE (SWAHILI) “My stepmother leaves in the morning and comes back in the evening. Some evenings she’ll come with two mandazis. Other evenings, only hotel leftovers. The next morning I’ll still go to school.”
02:57 DANIKA SIAGE SPEAKING TO ABUSED CHILD Danika: “How come some parts of your head have no hair?” Child: “He’s the one who beats me with a big stick.”
03:04 CHILDREN AT A CENTRE FOR ABUSED CHILDREN
03:09 GEOFFREY BAKHUYA ITV – OFFICER (KIBERA), CLAN (ENGLISH) “This is a centre for children who have been abused, those who have been abandoned, those who have been neglected and those ones who have been abandoned by HIV AIDS. We are targeting more such schools to ensure that the whole of Kibera and other areas whereby child abuse sets in or the areas where working children are protected.”
03:31 ELIZABETH MBUKA ITV – CHIEF CHILDREN’S OFFICER, CHILDREN’S DEPT. HQ. (ENGLISH) “Poverty has really driven some of our people to the wall.”
03:37 PETERSON NDIGWA ITV - CHIEF CHILDREN’S OFFICER, CHILDREN’S DEPT. HQ. (ENGLISH) “Where many people are poor you find there is a lot of frustration. So there is a tendency of people projecting their frustration to the children.”
03:49 DANIKA SIAGE TALKING TO ABUSED CHILD (SWAHILI) Danika: “Did she used to beat you?” Child: “Yes, my stepmother used to beat us. Even when we have done nothing wrong. One day she said that it was us who had broken all the glasses, and if my dad didn’t pay her, we would all be thrown out.”
04:06 GEOFFREY BAKHUYA ITV (ENGLISH) “As we are looking into how can we solve, I mean, how can we help this child, we are also looking at the abuser so that we don’t have these cases of whereby we call recidivism whereby it reoccurs again.”
04:19 SOCIAL WORKER ITV (ENGLISH) “The support that we want the government to give us is dealing with the abuses.”
04:24 PETERSON NDIGWA ITV (ENGLISH) “Everybody has a responsibility to intervene in case of a child abuse.”
04:31 SOCIAL WORKER ITV (ENGLISH) “These days there are many centres, very many centres that work with tormented children or abused children. So whenever you see that child being abused, don’t hesitate and don’t take your time watching what will happen tomorrow.”
04:46 DANIKA SIAGE TALKING TO ABUSED CHILD (SWAHILI) Danika: “How are you feeling now?” Child: “I am happy now. But I get angry when I feel bad.” Danika: “Why do you feel bad?” Child: “I feel bad because of my dad.”
05:07 SOCIAL WORKER ITV (ENGLISH) “A child has a right to live.”
05:08 PETERSON NDIGWA ITV (ENGLISH) “All children should be protected from any form of abuse and exploitation.”
05:13 SOCIAL WORKER ITV (ENGLISH) “The child has no right to be abused in any way.”
05:17 CHILDREN RECITING A POEM ABOUT ABUSE (ENGLISH) “They physically abused us, and denied us basic rights. Finally, we started roaming aimlessly, far and near the neighbourhood, looking for food.”
05:28 TEXT “Thousands of children living on the streets have left violent homes, it takes 5 minutes, 10 minutes, to abuse a child, but the destruction lasts a lifetime.”
Abuse and violence against children is not a new phenomenon. It has been recorded in history books, literature and science around the world for over two thousand years now. In 2008 alone, about 40 million children were victims of mistreatment around the world, according to a United Nations report.
It is difficult to come up with a comprehensive approach to explain a practice seen by many as normal, if not essential in bringing up children according to some traditions. However, there is a general understanding, a standard definition, which states that the abuse of minors occurs when an individual or institution, directly or indirectly, injures or causes damage to a child thus endangering his or her health and personal development.
Child abuse has become common in Africa. What was considered normal practice in the beginning has become a serious problem of enormous proportions. In Kenya, at least 58,000 cases of child abuse are reported annually. It is estimated that thousands of similar cases go unreported. Among these 58,000 cases, 43 percent occur when the child is below the age of 4 years.
In 1996, with government assistance, an association (Legal Action Network for Children) was created to combat violence against children by raising awareness among the population and assisting victims. Studies have shown that violence against minors is a normal practice and that lack of institutions and policies to deal effectively with the problem has contributed to the escalation of child abuse cases.
In its early years, the organization benefited from the input of former government officials and non-governmental organizations. Recently the private sector, the police and hospitals have joined in the efforts to sensitize the public and prevent cases of child abuse.
Recently, the organization launched an initiative to help the children speak of their own experiences through the organization of workshops, plays and songs. After beginning slowly, the initiative has now moved up a gear and is being held at regional and even national levels. On the basis of information from the organization, the results have started being felt as a drop in violence has been registered.
In 1998 and 1999, researchers and other experts, had conducted conferences to discuss child abuse. Although it is difficult to explain and analyze the reasons for the violence, Kenyans are now warned and aware of the problem. Steps are being taken to provide assistance to the victims as well as their families as soon as a case of abuse is reported.
In developed countries, poverty and child abuse often go hand in hand. Insufficient education and income increases the likelihood of violence against children. The areas that are most affected by poverty have record numbers in terms of child abuse. The higher the percentage of poverty goes, the more cases of child abuse are reported. Girls are the preferred targets of such violence, victims of their parents, but also their peers at school.
Numerous studies show that parents who have suffered cases of abuse in their youth apply the same violence in dealing with their children. For many, such acts of violence respond to a syndrome of revenge for years of violence suffered in a distant youth.
The prevention of violence against children is a universal principle. However, very few associations and official institutions have taken time at the roots of the problem. In order to remedy the situation, the Kenyan experts have concluded that success will come through better education and enhancement of opportunities to find decent wages. To ensure normal growth, even happy, protective measures should focus on parents and
other guardians of victims of violence which will forever mark the existence of these children.