‘South Africans are de­sen­si­tised to vi­o­lence’

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - Mpiletso Motumi

ONE OF the big­gest frus­tra­tions faced by South African so­ci­ety is the nor­mal­i­sa­tion of vi­o­lence.

“It’s a common ex­cuse: we grew up be­ing hit and we turned out fine,” said Divya Naidoo, the Save the Chil­dren pro­gramme man­ager. “The role cor­po­ral pun­ish­ment played in the home had be­come so in­grained in many fam­i­lies that a neg­a­tive as­so­ci­a­tion to it is frowned upon. We never know the op­por­tu­ni­ties we de­prive chil­dren of when we hit them,” she said.

Yes­ter­day marked In­ter­na­tional Chil­dren’s Day and the 35th an­niver­sary of the ban on cor­po­ral pun­ish­ment in Swe­den. The em­bassy and Save the Chil­dren held a sem­i­nar to dis­cuss ways to com­bat cor­po­ral pun­ish­ment.

Though South Africa had signed the UN Char­ter and African Char­ter on the Rights of Chil­dren, it had a long way to go. Naidoo said the main chal­lenges in­cluded the ab­sence of reg­u­la­tions, lack of ev­i­dence-based pro­grammes, limited skilled child-pro­tec­tion-ser­vice pro­fes­sion­als and ther­a­peu­tic support for vic­tims/ wit­nesses, and limited col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween role-play­ers.

“It’s a long jour­ney and we can’t af­ford to wait any longer,” she added. –

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