The Zambian Catholic  church speaks out against child abuse

Dear all

Yesterday Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu, the president of the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops, revealed that there are 120 cases of abuse to children under the age of 8 recorded every month at the University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka. Today he called for a change in attitude saying that this figure is evidence of a tragedy in his nation. Some quotes from his speech are below:

“Let us put together whatever we have so that we can move ahead. Our cry is to mobilise everyone in the church beginning from the family. Children are most abused by the people who know them. We have to mobilise small Christian communities, lay apostolic movements, the clergy, the religious, just everyone to fight child abuse.”

“The church stands ready in a singular position to spearhead this campaign”

“There is a conspiracy of silence in our society. Anything that elders do cannot go wrong. And if it goes wrong people try all ways to dismiss it. But in other parts of the world people are a lot more open about these things but here in Zambia and Africa in general we are silent”

“The future of this country is not our children of tomorrow but our children of today. Because what happens to children today remains with them for the rest of their lives. Our mission is out there. The mission of protecting our children”

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The abuse of one child is traumatic. To know that 120 children each month under the age of 8 are experiencing neglect and cruelty is devastating. To know that these are only the recorded cases of child abuse is shattering. We know that there will be thousands more who are suffering in silence.

As I write, a sharp wave of helplessness overwhelms me.  

And yet, in the midst of this darkness, there is hope. This high number of recorded cases shows us that victims are beginning to find the strength to speak out about their experiences and seek the medical care that they need. Furthermore, an inspirational and influential church leader has decided to boldly make a stand about the plight of these children and the unspeakable ordeals that they have been and continue to face. He is breaking the silence of child abuse in this nation. Others are speaking the Tehila vision. This motivates us to continue the fight. We will connect with this leader and explore how we can protect children together.

Please join us in praying or thinking about the children in this report. I believe that with God, anything is possible. A difference can be made! So let’s pray and/or think about those 120 children each month, who have experienced unbearable trauma. We pray that they would know that they are safe, loved, cherished and valued. That they would find full restoration and healing for the physical and mental damage inflicted upon them. We pray for the police as they carry out investigations. For resources and committed government staff to ensure perpetrators are brought to justice. We pray for medical staff and social welfare as they provide the care that is needed. We pray for communities paralysed and silenced by fear. That people would be encouraged to speak out about abuse taking place in their homes, neighbourhoods, churches and schools. We pray for the Zambian government as they respond to the archbishops plea to the nation. 

And let us thank God for answering our cry. Each month 120 children are being rescued because they have been cared for by doctors who know the signs of abuse. Children are finding the courage to speak out. People in positions of responsibility are making a stand. Our vision to end child cruelty is being announced in other places. God is on the move. “So let’s not get tired of doing good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up” (The Bible: Galations 6:9)

Thank you for journeying with us in this battle. Have a great week. 

Han and the team xx