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Koleinu anti-abuse programme essential for our children

  • Letter3
Thank you for the recent article about safeguarding our children from inappropriate internet content. As parents, we need to get involved in our children’s phone usage, and teach them how to keep themselves safe from harm online.
by Michele Engelberg, Johannesburg | Apr 04, 2019

There is another area where we as parents and as a community should guard our children and teach them to keep themselves safe from harm.

I’m referring to abuse. All kinds of abuse, whether it be physical violence or sexual abuse of children and/or women. Our community is similar to other communities. We have our share of monsters. But, as a religious community, we are even more at risk than other communities. Why? Because we don’t talk about it. We don’t tackle it head on. Silence works in favour of the abuser. Silence tells the monster that they can continue with the abuse because no one will find out. A community that does not actively peel away the shroud of silence is guilty of facilitating the abuse.

There was also an article about Dr Pelcovitz, a professor of psychology at Yeshiva University in New York. He gave an informative talk about pornography at this year’s Sinai Indaba. He also wrote a lengthy “Endorsement for Koleinu SA SchoolSafe Programme”.

No doubt, we are lucky to have an organisation like Koleinu in our midst. But are we, as a community, open to what Koleinu has to offer us and our children?

So far, I’m afraid not.

Koleinu should visit every primary school in the country. And we, as the community from which it has sprung, should be lining up for it to teach our children to keep safe from the monsters in our midst. But we are not doing that. Therefore, our children are left vulnerable. We have not equipped them to deal with situations that may arise – bad situations that may damage them for life.

Because we love our children, I urge every school to take up the Koleinu programme. I urge every parent to make sure that their school is implementing the Koleinu programme. Because the few rands it costs to implement the programme now is mere pocket change compared to the cost of a child not having the skills to protect themselves against the monsters.

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