On 20 November 2019, World Children’s Day was universally recognized. The Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) was ratified by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1989. Jamaica has dedicated itself as a signatory to the Convention to protect children’s rights. Kids were allowed to talk to our Parliament on a landmark day on 19 November 2019. In their words, we have been told that our children face violence and abuse every day.
For many of us, these stories sound familiar, because previously, in our communities, homes, schools, and churches we heard things similar. By the way, sport is one of the common areas in which child abuse takes place worldwide. In their option to turn the spotlight on coaches-increasing concern about sexual and physical abuse of sportsmen, RJRGLEANER Communication Group sports journalist Karen Madden highlighted some of the problems faced by children who play sport.
This month is a time for us not only to think about the situation of our children but also to recognize that sport can be a major source of child violence. We have a role to play for everyone. One in four girls in Jamaica is believed to have been subjected to sexual abuse; while one in five girls in Europe was subjected to sexual exploitation in some manner.
One great reason why child abuse in sport can be rampant is that pain and injury are highly tolerated and accepted. Children are pushed beyond their borders and told they are part of success. Many parents also support this idea and allow coaches and managers to continue to use it physically and emotionally.
Sporting children are encouraged to trust in their coaches and it is sometimes hard to distinguish between confidence and encouragement from sexual contact or treatment. The athlete must listen to and obey commands and is always afraid that, if he or she complains, he or she will not be taken seriously.
There is also a sports cover-up dimension where the various institutions also say that they are aware of scandals, but fear scandals. And, too, they do nothing to stop the abuse. Then children start to take it or go to a depressed state.