SPONSORS

SPONSORS

Lived Experiences of Orphaned Children

FEATURED PAPER

Lived Experiences of Orphaned Children with Dehumanizing Orientations in Orphan Support Projects in Homa Bay County, Kenya

By Isaac Odhiambo Abuya (PhD Candidate), Prof. Paul Amollo Odundo, Prof. Charles Mallans Rambo & Dr. Raphael Ondeko Nyonje

University of Nairobi

Nairobi, Kenya

 


Introduction

Dehumanization in the form of emotional abuse and maltreatment has been identified as one of the most under researched issues in child welfare systems (O‟Hagan, 1993, Gabarino & Vondra, 1987; Wiehe, 1990). Whereas this form of dehumanization has not been seriously explored in child welfare systems and projects, O”Hagan (1993) argues that emotional abuse (maltreatment) is one of the most pervasive forms of dehumanization against vulnerable and disadvantaged children (O‟Hagan, 1993). Emotional maltreatment reflects a caregiver’s failure to provide a developmentally- appropriate and supportive environment, including persistent, pervasive or patterned acts such as frequent name-calling (emotional abuse; act of commission) and lack of affection (emotional neglect; act of omission).

Dehumanization of children may take many forms including emotional abuse. Emotional abuse is described as overtly rejecting behaviour of carers, and involves active hostility; verbal or emotional assaults, threatened harm, or close confinement (Gabarino & Vondra, 1987; Wiehe, 1990). Parents and carers who persistently criticise, shame, rebuke, threaten, ridicule, humiliate, put down, induce fear and anxiety, who are never satisfied with the child’s behaviour and performance (and who show this deliberately to hurt a child) are emotionally abusive. Their behaviour towards the child can be described as overtly abusive, actively painful, and developmentally and cognitively damaging (Iwaniec, 1995).

As a form of dehumanization, emotional abuse has been described as overtly rejecting behaviour of carers, and involves active hostility; verbal or emotional assaults, threatened harm, or close confinement (Gabarino & Vondra, 1987; Wiehe, 1990). Parents and carers who persistently criticise, shame, rebuke, threaten, ridicule, humiliate, put down, induce fear and anxiety, who are never satisfied with the child’s behaviour and performance (and who show this deliberately to hurt a child) are emotionally abusive (Gabarino & Vondra, 1987; Wiehe, 1990). Their behaviour towards the child can be described as overtly abusive, actively painful, and developmentally and cognitively damaging (Iwaniec, 1995). O‟Hagan, (1993)identified six types of emotional abuse: (1) rejecting (e.g., constant criticism, belittling); (2) isolating (e.g., keeping family and friends from child); (3) ignoring (e.g., non-responding to child attentional bids, achievements etc.); (4) terrorizing (e.g., threatening abandonment or harm), (5) corrupting (e.g., child involvement in criminal activities); (6) exploiting (e.g., assigning caregiver role to child for parent or other children, expecting child to maintain family finances). Further, other forms of maltreatment – sexual and physical abuse, and physical neglect – are considered to have emotional maltreatment components. Thus, emotional maltreatment may be a stand-alone form of abuse or neglect, as well as a frequently co-occurring form.

Many experts have considered emotional abuse to entail a repeated pattern of behaviour that conveys to children that they are worthless, unloved, unwanted, only of value in meeting another’s needs, or seriously threatened with physical or psychological violence (Brassard, Hart & Hardy, 1991). A common feature of most definitions of emotional abuse is that isolated instances or incidences of inappropriate responses do not constitute sufficient emotional abuse to warrant intervention. Unlike physical and sexual abuse, where a single incident may be considered abusive, emotional abuse is characterized by a climate or pattern of behaviour occurring over time. Thus, emotional abuse is not an isolated event but rather a sustained and repetitive pattern of psychically destructive behaviour (O‟Hagan, 1993).

Extant and recent studies in sub-Sahara Africa have documented the dehumanizing experiences that children believed to have been orphaned and made vulnerable by AIDS undergo in their families, schools, and communities (Skinner et al ,2006; Meinck, Cluver & Boyes, 2015; Thurman & Kidman, 2011; Soneson, 2005; Kotze ,2010; Petersen, Bhana and McKay, 2005; Tsegaye, 200 ). One of the worst forms of dehumanization that has been under researched in child welfare is emotional abuse and maltreatment (Glaser, 2002). However, studies conducted in high HIV and AIDS prevalent countries in developing countries, especially in sub-Sahara Africa, have underlined and confirmed that the distressing psychological harm that these children experience following the death of their parents are compounded further by the emotional abuse and maltreatment that they experience in the hands of their caregivers, peers and teachers (Meinck, Cluver & Boyes, 2015; Thurman & Kidman, 2011).

Skinner et al (2006) argue that the dehumanization and vulnerability of orphaned children are caused by factors that include: direct experience of physical or sexual violence, or severe chronic illness, severe chronic illness of a parent or caregiver, poverty, hunger, lack of access to services, inadequate clothing or shelter, overcrowding, deficient caretakers, and factors specific to the child, including disability. According to Skinner (2006) orphaned children have been suffering from a lot of problems associated with these vulnerability factors. Some of the problems they face include hunger, lack of access to health and education, physical and psychological abuse, lack of love and affection and negative communities’ attitude towards them. Because of these, orphans and vulnerable children require urgent basic needs and services supports that can be provided either within the community or institutionalized care.

In a very recent study by Meinck et al (2016) in South Africa among a sample of 3515 orphaned adolescents, 35.5% of the orphaned children reported life time emotional abuse, 31.6% reported past-year emotional abuse, and 20.7% reported frequent monthly emotional abuse victimization, with past-year incidence of emotional abuse at 12.1%. At follow-up, 14.8% of children reported lifetime sexual harassment and 12.8% reported sexual harassment in the past year. Up to 2.4% reported lifetime forced exposure to pornography, and 2% reported forced exposure to pornography in the past year.

In the same study nine per cent of children reported lifetime contact sexual abuse, 5.9% reported past-year contact sexual abuse exposure, and 2.8% reported frequent monthly sexual abuse victimisation. Up to 3.3% of children reported lifetime rape, 0.8% reported past-year rape, and 0.3% reported frequent monthly rape victimisation. Past-year incidence of contact sexual abuse was 5.3%; past-year rape incidence was 2.1%. Since sexual harassment and exposure to pornography were not measured at baseline, incidence of either was not calculated. Multiple victimisations: Up to 27.1% reported being victims of two or more types of abuse victimisation in their lifetime, with physical and emotional abuse most commonly co-occurring. Up to 19.6% reported frequent multiple victimisations. At follow-up, 56.3% of children reported lifetime physical abuse, 37.9% reported past-year physical abuse and 16.6% reported frequent monthly physical abuse victimisation. Past-year incidence of physical abuse was 18.2%.

More…

To read entire paper, click here

 


 

About the Authors

160912-abuya
Isaac Odhiambo Abuya

Homa Bay, Kenya

flag-kenya

 


Isaac Odhiambo Abuya
is a PhD candidate in Project Planning and Management at the University of Nairobi. He holds Masters of Arts in Project Planning and Management from the University of Nairobi and Bachelor of Education from Egerton University. Isaac Abuya is the Chief of Staff in the County Government of Homa Bay, Kenya. Mr. Abuya has 22 years’ experience in designing, implementing and evaluating high impact educational, health and social projects for vulnerable populations and communities in Kenya. He is the chairman of the Kenya Association for Performance Management (KAPM), and the Value Chain Management Association (VCMA). He can be reached through his e-mail: [email protected]

 

160912-odundo
Paul Amollo Odundo, PhD

Nairobi, Kenya

flag-kenya

 



Prof. Paul Amollo Odundo
is Professor of Education and Chairman of Educational Communication Department, University of Nairobi. Prof. Odundo obtained his PhD in Administration from the University of Nairobi, Master of Arts degree in Administration from Lagos University, Nigeria and Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Nairobi. Prof. Odundo is a distinguished scholar and has published a number of research papers and articles on Public Governance, Educational Management, Public Administration, Project Planning and Management and Project Financing and. He has supervised a number of Masters and PhD students in diverse areas. Jointly with Professor Rambo and Dr. Nyonje, Prof. Odundo is supervising Isaac Abuya’s doctoral research on Deficit Designs in Orphan Support Projects in Kenya Prof. Prof. Odundo can be reached through his E-mail: [email protected].

 

160912-rambo
Prof. Charles Mallans Rambo, PhD

Nairobi, Kenya

flag-kenya




Prof. Charles Mallans Rambo
is Professor of Education and Chairman Department of External Studies, University of Nairobi. Prof. Rambo holds a PhD in Financing University Education from the University of Nairobi, MBA (Finance) from Newport University, California, USA, and Bachelors of Business Administration (Finance & Accounting) from Newport University, California, USA. Prof. Rambo is a distinguished scholar and published over 50 research papers and articles on Project Financing and Financing of Distance Learning Education, Project Planning and Management. He has supervised a number of Masters and PhD students in diverse areas. Jointly with Professor Odundo and Dr. Nyonje, Prof. Rambo is supervising Isaac Abuya’s doctoral research focusing on Deficit Designs in Orphan Support Projects in Kenya. Prof. Rambo can be reached through his e-mail: [email protected].

 

161008-nyonje-photo
Dr. Raphael Ondeko Nyonje, PhD

Nairobi, Kenya

flag-kenya

 

 

Dr. Raphael Ondeko Nyonje is a senior lecturer at the Department of Extra- Mural Studies, University of Nairobi, and the Resident Lecturer, Kisumu Campus, University of Nairobi. He holds a PhD in Education (Measurement and Evaluation) from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA-Kenya), a Master of Education Planning from the University of Nairobi and Bachelors in Education from Kenyatta University. Dr. Nyonje has published a number of research papers and articles on Project Planning and Management, Project Monitoring and Evaluation, and has supervised a number of postgraduate students. Jointly with Professors Odundo and Rambo, Dr. Nyonje is supervising Isaac Abuya PhD research based on Deficit Designs in Orphan Support Projects in Kenya. He can be reached through his e-mail: [email protected]