Children need to be loved and protected from violence to stop them from becoming perpetrators of violence themselves. Photo: Thetravellinged via Flickr
South Africa was recently shocked by the gang-rape of a school girl by three of her fellow pupils. The girl was drugged and raped while other pupils watched and filmed it on their cellphones. Why are some children in South Africa so violent and what can be done about it?
Some people have spoken about a “culture of violence” in South Africa, but implying that violence is inherently South African is not helpful. The cause of the problem needs to be found and addressed.
South Africa is not the only country that struggles with violent and dysfunctional youth. Safe Families Safe Children, an international group of renowned child rights organisations, including ACER Brasil, The International Children’s Trust, JUCONI Ecuador, JUCONI Mexico, New Life (South Africa) and Railway Children (UK, India and East Africa) “promote access for highly excluded children from violent homes around the world to the support and services they require to recover from their traumatic life experiences and gain sustainable access to their rights”.
In this organisation’s “Manifesto of Change” they site the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study which “found a clear link between the adverse experiences in childhood (including physical, emotional or sexual abuse and living in households with domestic violence) and a range of physical, emotional and social problems, including: heart disease, obesity, depression, alcoholism, sexual promiscuity, substance abuse, teenage pregnancy, rape and poor job performance”. (more…)
Scientists at UWC are researching a male contraceptive. Photo: NIOSH via Flickr
Teenage pregnancy is one of the major problems faced by today’s youth. Girls fall pregnant at a very young age and are often left to deal with the consequences themselves, abandoned by the father and their family.
Some cannot see themselves as single mothers and give their children up for adoption or have abortions. In the worst and saddest of these cases, as was reported on the front page of The Times newspaper on 20 July 2010, mothers simply dump their babies.
Women often get the blame for these unwanted babies. People ask why they did not use contraceptive pills. But men must also take responsibility. Not only are condoms freely available in clinics across South Africa, but the University of the Western Cape’s (UWC) scientists, together with colleagues at the University of Missouri in America are now also conducting research on a male contraceptive pill, made from a plant extract.
According to the Cape Times, a molecule found in two varieties of olive trees and cloves, has been tested on males of three animal species including mice, rabbits and rats and was found to have a contraceptive effect.
It is indicated that the results were immediate and reversible. It took a couple of months for fertility to return after the molecule was taken away.
This molecule also has some anti-cancer, anti-HIV, anti-ulcer and anti-microbial effects.
However, Cape Times states that the scientists will not be able to test the molecule on humans until they find out how its contraceptive quality actually works.