Do you have siblings? Had friends when you were small? Did you fall out with them? Hit them? Be mean to them? Normal children’s behaviour right?
How often do we see children bickering and pushing each other, nipping and biting. I have a granddaughter in her terrible toddler phase. She bites, she kicks and as she does it she laughs. Is she evil for this? A bad child? No, she is simply a two year old being a child and pushing boundaries. She is just a child and her innocence protects her.
What about in five years’ time? She’ll be seven. What if she has a sibling them who she chooses to pick on? Takes delight in making them cry? Or a school friend she falls out with and kicks in some childish temper tantrum?
Granted she’d be told off, reprimanded in some way, or least we would hope so to teach her right from wrong. As with all children the chance of her acting that way again is likely, and again she will be reprimanded and told that her actions are wrong. It’s how children learn.
Any parent reading or someone with experience of children probably agrees that this is just normal childish behaviour, children being naughty nothing more and as adults it’s our job to teach them right from wrong. Age her again, perhaps to ten or eleven this time. Are her actions still wrong? Picking on a younger sibling, does that make her evil? Hitting someone at school, would that make her potentially a threat when she is an adult? I don’t think so. Perhaps something would need to be looked at if it was excessive as to why she was acting this way, but as a society, we would brush this behaviour off as a child being just that, a child.
It’s not the child’s fault right?
What if a ten year old child coerces another child into a sexual act? What if a child subjects another child to watching pornographic scenes or films or even talking about it? What if a ten year old child were to have sex with another child? What if a child raped another child?
Do we say the child is sick? Because the act is different than just violence, do we point at the child and say they should have known these acts were wrong? They should have known not to do that? Do we label them sexual abusers or predators? What if sexual abuse is all the child knows and they are merely acting out what they have been taught? Because they haven’t been taught sexual abuse is wrong. So is what they are doing actually wrong?
Why does society accept children being violent and mean and dismiss it as children being children, yet sexual acts, we have the makings of a sexual monster. Isn’t it just the same?
Can children be sexual abusers in the same context that and adult can?
This blog entry reminds me of the old saying, “Do as I say, not as I do.”
I believe children mimic what they see… what they are taught. It is up to the adults in those children’s lives to set the right example. Period. And I think society is beginning to not be so accepting regarding these types of behaviors…at least here, in the U.S. Some of the reasons being, the generations now, are less secretive, less tolerant of violence, and more aware of the effects of abuse, no matter which side (victim or perpetrator) is being examined. And I believe those changes have come about, because of people like you, James. People who are brave enough to tell their stories. Oh, look at that, more reasons for you to keep writing…