Hundreds of children in Sri Lanka witness domestic violence on a daily basis. Some of these children are themselves victims of domestic violence in Sri Lanka.
Any form of verbal, physical or emotional abuse inflicted by someone living with you in the same house is domestic violence.
The most common form of domestic violence that children see is fighting between their parents. While adults think that fighting between parents doesn’t affect the children, this is not the case.
In many cases, children directly see fighting between parents and are caught in the middle in the same room. Sometimes they overhear it, or see the aftermath of violence (bruises or crying for example). In many cases they even have to take part in it and intervene on behalf of one parent, becoming themselves victims of domestic violence. Whatever way they are involved; exposing children to domestic violence emotionally scars and harms children for life.
Children who grow up with violence are often scared and anxious. They are emotionally torn between the mother and the father during fights at home, leaving them confused and insecure. They also have trouble learning in school and could turn to self-destructive habits such as drug or alcohol abuse. Children may also try to copy the aggressive and violent behavior they see at home, growing up to become abusive adults themselves, thereby perpetuating a cycle of domestic violence in Sri Lanka.
If there is domestic violence within your home, and if your child’s other parent is abusive towards you or your children, what can you do to protect your child? Here are some simple but useful tips:
- Try your best to ensure your child doesn’t directly or indirectly witness any form of domestic violence.
- Stay calm during arguments with your partner and try your best to not let disagreements aggravate into verbal or physical fights, especially if your children are anywhere around.
- If you anticipate a violent episode, move least temporarily to a safe refuge with your children.
- If your child has been exposed to domestic violence, encourage him/her to talk about any fears or questions your child may have afterwards.
- If your child has been a victim of physical or verbal domestic violence and you cannot do anything to prevent a recurrence, seek help. A counsellor for example could guide you on what to do in your situation.
- If your child has been a victim of sexual abuse, seek help immediately. The women’s and children’s bureau at your closest police station can help you protect your child.
We like to compare children in Sri Lanka to delicate flowers in poems and stories. Domestic violence can brutally harm children with serious consequences. If your child is being exposed to domestic violence, seek help today to protect him or her. Don’t know where to seek advice? Write confidentially to www.mummypages.lk and we will try out best to guide you to relevant sources of help available in Sri Lanka.
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