Childhood should be a happy time for children. This should be a time when they are allowed to be themselves, experiencing love and care from their family, community, and those around them. Frequently, children are now facing abuse and neglect from parents, facing assault from their siblings and intimidation from other children. Children suffer more victimisation than other age group members, when considering forms of victimisation as a whole. Victimisation- someone singled out for unfair treatment or punishment (Finkelhor, 1995). This means that someone is picked on to be hurt, either emotionally or physically, for someone else’s satisfaction. Children have become victims of victimisation because they have no way of expressing how they feel about what has happened to them. In some communities, especially in cultures communities in South Africa, whereby a girl may be raped by a close family member and when she discloses what has happened to her to her family, she will be punished for ‘lying’ about the close family friend, or she can even be chased from home is she falls pregnant as a result of the rape. Violence has always occurred between women and children but is only being brought to public attention recently. This may be because of the fact that everyone is free and there are certain laws that have been put in place that allow children to have a voice when they are being violated. This legislation allows for fair trials against the perpetrator and proper sentencing for the crime they committed. FORMS OF VICTIMISATION
There are various ways a child can be victimised (Lewitt & Baker, 1996). This includes: Sexual misconduct- this is when non-consensual sexual activity is committed by mental, or force, or fear, or physical weakness, including the use of alcohol and drugs. It can vary in brutality, involving a range of behaviours, including rape, statutory rape, sexual touching, sexual exploitation, and sexual harassment. Conduct is suggestive of attempting to commit any of the mentioned acts. Rape- this is the sexual penetration of the victim’s mouth, vagina or rectum without their permission. This act comprises penetration with (a) the use of force or threat (b) while the person is incapable of giving their consent. Sexual touching- the act of making sexually offensive and unwanted contact with a person’s intimate body parts, causing instant anxiety when the sexual touch will occur. The intimate body parts may include: sexual organs, the anus, the groin, breasts, and the buttocks. Sexual Exploitation- this act entails someone taking advantage of a non-consenting person or situation for their own personal benefit or gratification besides the alleged victim; their behaviour may not constitute rape, sexual harassment or sexual touching. This act includes taking photos of another person’s sexual activity without their knowledge; allowing others to view without the partner’s consent or knowledge; and, but not limited to, knowingly transmitting HIV or sexually transmitted infections to another person. Sexual Harassment- an unwelcomed sexual demeanour that may create an intimidating, offensive, and hostile for a person’s educational or work environment. Stalking- this is a malicious, wilful, repeated act of following someone, therefore putting the person in reasonable fear of personal safety or the safety of those around them, such as their family. It includes notes, mail, or gifts in order to convey the threat. Physical Assault/ Domestic Violence- touching or striking a person against their will or threatening the use of violence against them. The violent action may be emotional, physical or sexual abuse to intimidate the partner or their family members. Homicide- a person killing another person. This may be done for various reasons but looking at the scope of child victimisation, it can be said children are often killed because of having to keep a secret of sexual or physical abuse, or they are killed because...
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