It is estimated by the World Health Organisation (WHO), that about 1 billion children between the ages of 2 and 17 experience different forms of abuse, globally.
Child abuse or violence against children includes forms of violence, i.e. physical, sexual and/or psychological maltreatment against people below the age of 18, whether perpetuated parents, peers, caregivers, or strangers. As revealed by key facts from WHO, “experiencing violence in childhood impacts the child’s development and wellbeing” (https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/violence-against-children). It is against this backdrop, that the inclusion of a specific target (SDG 16.2) in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to end all forms of violence against children gives renewed impetus towards the realization of the right of every child to live free from fear, neglect, abuse, and exploitation. Several other SDG targets address specific forms of violence and harm towards children, such as child marriage and female genital mutilation (target 5.3) and the eradication of child labor, including the recruitment and use of child soldiers (target 8.7) (see https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/topics/violenceagainstchildren).
In support of the 2030 SDG targets, the Department of Public Relations and Advertising in the Faculty of Communication and Media Studies, Eastern Mediterranean University organized a walk around the university’s campus on December 10, 2019, to create awareness and support the movement to end all forms of violence against children. Tagged “RAISE YOUR VOICE AGAINST CHILD ABUSE”, the walk was attended by Faculty members and students from within the university community.
A press release read by Assist. Prof. Dr. Umut Ayman, the Vice-Chair of Public Relations and Advertising Department, stated the importance of creating this awareness in the university. “Today, we all came together as EMU family to draw attention to the forms of child abuse that take place in many countries. Child abuse is one of the most dangerous social problems that harm the future of societies. Therefore, the people who were gathered today in front of EMU’s main gate, are all sensitive to the problems that took place in our society recently. Thus, we as the Public Relations and Advertising Department, think that it is our responsibility to raise our voices against child abuse. That is why we organize the awareness walk within EMU’s campus to raise our voice against all forms of child abuse which have been taking place not only in our own society but all over the world.”
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Anil Kemal Kaya, the Chair of Public Relations and Advertising Department, added that “nowadays, because everyone is too much focused on their own lives, they are not aware of what is going on in their environment. Unfortunately, child abuse is not far away from us. Therefore, everyone needs to react to these problems in society and make an effort to do something to eliminate them. Families have many responsibilities to prevent child abuse. They should make sure that their children do not remain silent to the threats that started as “If you tell someone………!”. Thus families need to be in good communication with their children at all times and make them feel confident to be able to discuss their problems with them. Child abuse is a crime. If we want to protect our future, children’s rights have to be protected. Healthy minds enlight healthy individuals and healthy individuals enlight healthy societies. “If you want to shed light on the future and society, don’t stay silent on child abuse! Protect your child! Protect Your Future!”, Assoc. Prof. Anil concluded.
The walk was indeed a success as it recorded mass support from staff and students across departments and faculties in the University.