Few days back, I received an email from UNICEF. UNICEF has started a nationwide movement called "Get on Board" to provide the public with the information, insight and resources to stop child abuse. This knowledge will empower everyone to protect the children in our families and communities. The more people who raise their hand to be counted, the stronger the campaign becomes to deter an abuser from hurting a child.
Average of 7 children in Malaysia were reported to be victims of child abuse each day in 2008. Statistics show that there has been a rise in reported child abuse incidents. Moreover, these numbers could merely be the tip of the iceberg because many cases are believed to have gone unreported. Some may even have been reported to the authorities but remain unproven. Neglect is the most common form of child abuse in Malaysia, followed by physical abuse and sexual abuse. Failure to provide care and supervision has become the most frequent cause of death among children. What is most disturbing is that many child abusers are parents, immediate family members, relatives or foster parents of the victims themselves.
Child abuse distorts and destroys a child’s development and has serious consequences that affect the child for life. Unchecked, child abuse leads to a disturbed adulthood. At worst, it ends in the death of the child. In between these two possible consequences, many children live their lives neglected, unwanted, unloved, fearful and without hope. Evidence shows that the physical, psychological and behavioural consequences of child abuse have a serious impact, not just on the child and the immediate family, but on the community as a whole.
Child abuse is not someone else’s problem. It is OUR problem. We can do our part to help and make a difference: By learning more about abuse. By talking about it and raising awareness. By asking questions and staying alert. By minimising opportunities for abuse. By getting involved and reporting abuse or any suspicion of abuse. Children need love and support if they are to grow and develop to their full potential. They need protection from abuse which can distort and destroy their lives.
Get on Board is a "peoples' campaign" by UNICEF to provide the Malaysian public with the knowledge, insights and resources to stop child abuse. The digitally-driven campaign, a first by UNICEF in the region, aims to unite 100,000 supporters to raise their hand in support of children. We hope the Malaysian public will embrace this campaign as their own, and support and promote it in their own unique ways to ensure a safe and protected childhood for every child in Malaysia.
You can become a Campaigner for Children by hopping on the bus, and rallying others to join us on our journey to end child abuse in Malaysia. UNICEF has prepared materials for you to use to help spread the word and to get as many people as possible to sign up for children. Here are some of the things you can do to promote the campaign for children:
- Blog about the campaign.
- Donate your Facebook status message or change your profile picture to the picture of your designed hand.
- Email you friends. (We even pre-made an email template for your convenience)
- Create conversations on Twitter.
- Send a letter to the Editor of your daily newspaper.
- Organise a sign-up at your company, college, place of worship.
Every choice we make on behalf of children today, impacts their tomorrows. With appropriate attention and guidance, children can flourish in safe and protected childhoods. Get on Board and help us spread the word to stop child abuse today! What will you do today that is more important?