Rampant Global Child Abuse
By ROBIN WRIGHT
Pity the children. In numbers sure to shock and numb, UNICEF Thursday issued the largest collection of data detailing violence against children globally.
World-wide, just over one-third of all students between the ages of 13 and 15 regularly face bullying in school, the U.N. agency reported. Western nations that pride themselves on honoring human rights – and condemn others for abuse, usually in high and mighty language – are no exception. In Europe and North America, roughly a third of all students aged 11 to 15 actually admit bullying other students.
Can there really that many child bullies in “civilized” nations? It only makes you wonder how many more are not fessing up? The prospects are scary, for both the young and their parents.
Violence against girls is especially noxious although, sadly, what girl doesn’t know that already?
World-wide, some 120 million girls under age 20 have experienced forced intercourse or other sexual acts, UNICEF reports. That’s roughly one out of every 10 girls.
What is particularly striking are the numbers in Switzerland, a country that can blend diverse languages and cultures but apparently doesn’t do so well with gender. UNICEF cites Switzerland’s own report showing that 22% of girls between 15 and 17 “experienced at least one incident of sexual violence involving physical contact.”
“These are uncomfortable facts—no government or parent will want to see them,” UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said in announcing the report. “But unless we confront the reality each infuriating statistic represents—the life of a child whose right to a safe, protected children has been violated – we will never change the mindset that violence against children is normal and permissible. It is neither.” Lake is a former national security adviser during the Clinton administration.
Tragically, the least surprising number may be the U.N. findings on the murders of children and adolescents under age 20. UNICEF reports that they accounted for one-fifth of all homicide victims world-wide in the latest data.
The U.N. data has been collected from 190 countries. The report can only make you come away asking: What’s wrong with us–everywhere?