‘South Africans are desensitised to violence’
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. –