天下無不是的父母?

:::

1989 / 8月

文‧宋菊琴 圖‧黃麗梨


三歲的陳璇隨父母定居美國,才進幼稚園沒幾天,她父母就收到「兒童虐待」的告發單,原來是老師發現她背上有塊瘀青……,經醫師證明那是「胎記」,才平息了這場官司。


「兒童虐待」是大家熟悉的名詞,但適用的範圍,似乎僅限於西方社會。

今年元月份開始,情況變了!台北市各幼稚園與托兒所都貼上了兒童保護海報,呼籲大眾舉發「兒童虐待」的行為,顯示禁止「兒童虐待」不再是西方的「專利」。

由台北市政府社會局印製的「兒童虐待與疏忽——人人須知」手冊中,更以斜黑字特別標出「每一位父母都有可能虐待自己的孩子!」這種向父母權威挑戰的字眼,令人怵目驚心,我們不禁要問:

現在「孝子」都嫌來不及,怎麼會捨得虐待呢?

問題不小

「過去我們總認為中國人重視家庭,父慈子孝,所以兒童虐待問題即使有也很少」,中華兒童福利基金會督導翁慧圓說。

但不幸的是,事實並不如想像中的樂觀。

中華兒童福利基金會自民國七十六年七月至十二月,統計全國各地報章雜誌報導,有關兒童虐待的案件,高達六百八十二件,「能被地方記者注意到的,已是非常嚴重的問題,其它隱藏不為人知的就更多了」,翁慧圓提醒。

自去年七月起,中華兒童福利基金會陸續在全省各地家扶中心成立兒童保護專線,至今已受理一百多件個案。

台北市政府社會局自今年元月十六日,也成立了兒童少年保護專線,在三個半月內就處理了五十七件個案,受虐兒童共計七十五人。

這是國內目前僅有的兩個兒童保護專線,而台北市政府社會局的服務範圍,僅限於台北市民,所以,根本無統計資料足以瞭解國內兒童虐待的嚴重情況。

台大醫院小兒科醫師周正就憂心地指出,「國內兒童虐待問題最嚴重的就是,不知道問題嚴重的程度如何?」

根據美國的統計顯示,每一百位兒童中,就有一位兒童曾經被虐待。從表面的統計數字看來,我們似乎可以慶幸我國兒童受虐待比例不如「先進國家」;但問題的根本,在於我們對兒童虐待的「敏感度」偏低。

偏差觀念是最大障礙

據剛由中國文化大學兒童福利研究所畢業的鄭瑞隆,於去年六月完成的「我國兒童被虐待嚴重性之評估研究」論文顯示,兒童被虐待名列前十名的行為依次分別是:逼女兒入妓院,拐騙買賣兒童牟利,利用兒童行乞或販賣物品,疏忽使小孩窒息,利用畸形兒童供人參觀,疏忽使小孩墜樓,利用孩子做妨害健康之危險特技表演,允許兒童一起觀賞限制級影片或錄影帶,疏忽而使孩子從床上摔下來。

這些都是在我們日常生活中顯而易見的例子。但是,像利用畸形兒向路人要錢、兒童深夜在路上賣花……等,一般人大都僅投以同情的眼光,而不會想到該向兒童保護專線檢舉;至於讓兒童做危險的表演,則非但未遭譴責,還可能贏來更多的掌聲。

就像曾轟動一時的連續劇「靈山神箭」,劇中的靈芝草人——丫丫,是該劇的靈魂人物。為了收視率,這位童星戲份不斷增加,小小年紀不但日夜軋戲,還因穿靈芝草裝在長時間的密密包裹下全身發癢,經台北市社會局主動告發終止演出,卻引起家長與觀眾的不滿。

「『觀念』是推展兒童保護最大障礙」,東吳大學社會系教授楊孝暺﹛C

中國文化大學青少年兒童福利系系主任周震歐亦表示,「傳統觀念掩蓋了問題的嚴重性。」

在中國傳統觀念堙A父母對子女有絕對擁有權,「孩子是我的」,這種視孩子為私人財產的「物權」觀念之下,兒童的「人權」受到嚴重的忽視。

因此,在管教子女方面,父母一向有著絕對的權威,所謂「不打不成器」、「棒頭出孝子」,子女的所做所為被視為「家教」的鏡子,「管教」就成了父母理所當然的「義務」;而且「天下無不是的父母」,所以,一些虐待行為很容易被淡化為個人的「家務事」,外人根本無從置喙。

「在處理個案訪問時,甚至有些家長都不知道他們的行為已構成『兒童虐待』」,台北市政府社工員高昭美說。

家庭危機是動力

所謂兒童虐待,台北市社會局的定義是:父母或任何有照顧責任的人,重覆、持續地對未滿十八歲的兒童(含少年)施予虐待或疏忽,而造成生理或心理上的傷害。其中「疏忽」,也是包括在兒童虐待之中。

這個定義是根據美國的標準訂定的,而美國兒童虐待的觀念,則是一九五九年聯合國所頒佈的「兒童權利宣言」的延伸。

但因國情不同,對兒童虐待行為的認定也仍有所差異,台北市社會局局長白秀雄說,惡補、體罰在美國都屬於兒童虐待,在國內就行不通。至於何種行為才構成虐待,目前國內尚無法條列出來,「只有依兒童虐待的大原則,在累積個案之後,才能定出」,台北市社會局督導蕭孟珠說。

或許有人會反問,現在一般家庭孩子都只有一、二位,個個像個寶,都快寵得不像話了,誰還捨得虐待孩子?

而事實卻是「殘酷」的。「這是富裕社會的貧窮現象」,台大社會系教授丁碧雲形容道。

依據美國夏威夷東西中心第三組主任吳燕和於一九八一年所寫的一篇「台灣的兒童虐待」報告中指出,台灣早期兒童虐待多起因於傳統文化價值及窘困的經濟壓力,尤其在一九五○年代,常有養女被毒打、傷害、強暴、賣入妓院……等慘無人道的事件。近年來,由於社會文化結構的改變,直接因為家庭經濟因素而虐待兒童的例子較少,但日益嚴重的破碎家庭及小家庭之挫折容忍力低,漸漸成為導致兒童被虐待的重要原因。

「現在兒童虐待問題,已不是特殊階層的產物而是更普及化了」,蕭孟珠說,它可能發生在任何家庭、任何地區或任何人,並不會因高低層家庭或城市、鄉村而有所不同。

工業社會變遷快速,家庭生活面臨的困難與壓力也越來越多,例如婚姻亮起紅燈,子女首當其衝;職業婦女工作壓力太大時,孩子就成了出氣筒;在向「錢」看的社會中,六合彩、股票的暴起暴落,孩子也難逃父母情緒的陰影。而在家庭危機出現時,正是最容易發生兒童虐待的問題。

尤其是那些不擅於「察言觀色」的孩子,不能「成熟」地體諒父母的危機,想以哭鬧方式來引起父母的注意與關愛;或不巧在父母心情欠佳時,拿出一張難看的成績單,看太多的電親……都可能火上加油激怒父母。

一旦「管教」子女變成「情緒發洩」時,後果就堪慮了。尤其是現在都是小家庭,住在公寓中鄰居也不相往來,關起門打孩子,小孩連逃的機會都沒有。若是家庭危機短時間內無法解除,子女很有可能成為被持續虐待的對象,外界若不能適時伸出援手,對孩子的身心將造成終生無法彌補的創傷。

後遺症可觀

它的「後遺症」更是層出不窮:

根據鄭瑞隆所做的研究顯示,「曾有被虐待經驗者,對兒童被虐待嚴重性的看法易淡化之。」也就是說,小時候被虐待過的,以後也很有可能虐待自己的子女,這是會「代代相傳」的。

更令人擔憂的是,依據士林看守所科長陳超凡於去年六月所撰的「兒童被虐待與少年犯罪相關性之研究」,兒童被虐待與少年犯罪有顯著相關性,只要社會上多一名被虐兒童,十年後就可能多一名少年罪犯!

由此觀點來看,兒童虐待更不只是家庭問題,而是誰也不能忽視的社會問題。

然而,目前國內有專人負責處理兒童虐待問題的機構,僅有中華兒童福利基金會在全國廿二個家扶中心設立服務專線,及台北市政府社會局的兒童保護專線。

過去,台北市政府社會局是以個案方式處理兒童虐待問題,但這類問題所涉及的層面相當廣,常需要醫療、警察、司法、心理輔導、教育等單位的配合,來做診斷、調查、輔導的工作,這是一份專業性的團隊工作,台北市政府已積極地為建立這個兒童保護服務網而努力,經常找相關單位一起開會,建立共識。

但是,即使這群必須參與的工作人員,都有兒童虐待的認識,卻也常常面臨有心無力的困難。尤其是在醫院、社會局……等都缺乏專門處理此類問題的法律代言人,若是舉發的兒童虐待必須經由法律訴訟來判定時,這些專業人員就必須在日常工作之外,不停地出庭作證,難免會造成不必要的壓力,而影響舉發的意願。

兒童保護工作待加強

這問題在歐美各國就有較好的解決方法。他們不但設有法律代言人,還強制性規定醫生、護士、教師、警察、鄰居、社工員等最易發現兒童被虐待者,有責任主動向有關單位舉發,國內卻沒有這項制度,使兒童虐待問題發掘更不容易。

在法律方面,我們能給兒童的保障仍然不足。我國雖於民國六十二年即通過兒童福利法,但缺乏有效的施行細則,對虐待的認定不易,又未賦予調查權,更使處理兒童虐待的專業人員無法「理直氣壯」地保護兒童。

後援機構的不足也是一個問題。例如,需要暫時離開家庭的兒童,目前僅能安置在育幼院之中;但受虐待兒童心理的創傷,需要長時期的輔導,與一般院童共處,對育幼院也是一項負擔。所以,「中途之家」的設立、兒童心理輔導機構的增加也都是必要的。

兒童幸福有賴大人努力

在社會資源那麼缺乏的情況下,台北市社會局與中華兒童福利基金會自然做得分外辛苦。然而這真是份「吃力不討好」的工作,社工人員在登臨受虐兒童家門時,常遭到的待遇,就是被「轟」出大門。

為此,台北市社會局局長白秀雄特別對社工人員進行心理建設:設立兒童保護專線並不是就否定了「天下無不是的父母」。「父母基本上是愛孩子,這個專線的工作,是在協助父母找出『病因』,加以輔導改善」,他說。所以,社工員在介入處理個案時,都先努力贏得受虐兒童父母的信任,避免挑起親子間的仇恨,待家庭危機解除後,孩子仍可安全地重回家庭。我們必須體諒:「父母也是社會壓力下的受害者」,蕭孟珠說。

歸根結底,親職教育的加強更是刻不容緩的事,現在社會變數太多,生兒育女已不能只是本能,而應視為一門「專門」的知識,能為兒童提供什麼樣的保護,仍有待父母的努力。

期望白秀雄所說的最終理想目標——「父母都能知道如何做個好父母,子女也都能健全地成長」能早日達成,那麼現代兒童的「幸福」才有保障。

〔圖片說明〕

P.110

體罰,一向是校園教育中常見的情形,孩子們的自尊和心理,是否因此受到不良的影響?(林毅攝)

P.111

(右)卡通片看得正入神,小弟弟毫沒察覺母親今天的神色有異,一陣雞毛撢子的抽打,恐怕很難避過了!

P.112

過去,幫助家計,本是子女孝順父母的方式之一;如今,這樣的做法該如何定義呢?

P.113

童年本來應該是無憂無慮的,電視劇「靈山神箭」堛漱X丫,卻因為長得可愛,小小年紀就得頂著靈芝草裝日夜軋戲。(中視公司宣傳組提供)

P.114

股市中的「小觀察員」每天與父母擠身在烏煙瘴氣的號子堙A對他們的成長有不良的影響。(張良綱攝)

P.115

小姊姊照顧小弟弟,但是,誰來照顧她呢?(林毅攝)

相關文章

近期文章

EN

Growing Pains

Theresa Sung /photos courtesy of Lily Huang /tr. by Phil Newell

Child abuse is a term that everyone is familiar with. But the scope of its use, it seems, has been limited to the West.


Starting from this January, things have changed. All the nurseries in Taipei posted a child protection poster, urging everyone to expose child abuse cases.

The Child Abuse and Neglect--What Everyone Should Know handbook, published by the Department of Social Affairs (DSA) of the Taipei City Government, writes, "It is possible for any parent to abuse their child." This kind of phrase, directly challenging the authority of parents, can't help but leave people asking, "Today there's not enough time to spoil the kids; how can there be child abuse?"

"In the past, we generally believed that Chinese stressed the family, with the benevolent father and filial son; therefore child abuse, though it existed, was rare," says Wong Huei-yuan, supervisor at the Chinese Children Fund, Inc. (CCF). Unfortunately, the facts are not so upbeat as what is imagined.

CCF tabulated the reports about child abuse in publications from July to December, 1987. The total reached 682. Since last July, the Fund has had child protection hotlines, which have received more than 100 cases. The DSA established a similar hotline on January 16 of this year. Within three and a half months they had 57 cases involving 75 children--and that only covers Taipei city. So you can get a glimpse of the seriousness of the problem.

Dr. Chou Cheng-cheng of the Department of Pediatrics at National Taiwan University Hospital says, "The most serious problem in child abuse is that we don't know the real degree of seriousness of the problem." The root of this is that our sensitivity to child abuse is low.

Cheng Jui-lung, recently graduated from the Graduate School of Child Welfare at the Chinese Cultural University, revealed in his dissertation "A Critical Study of the Severity of Chid Abuse in the ROC" that the most common forms of child abuse are things we see often in daily life: children forced into prostitution, using children to sell things, using deformed children as shows, using children for dangerous performances, permitting children to watch restricted films, and so on.

But most people only limit themselves to a sympathetic glance and don't consider reporting to the child protection hotlines. Child performances not only aren't criticised; they even win applause.

Yang Hsiao-jung, professor of sociology at Soochow University, believes that "Viewpoint' is the biggest obstacle to promoting child protection." In the traditional Chinese view, parents have absolute authority over the child. The children are seen as personal property, and children's "human rights" are seriously neglected. Authority extends to disciplining the child. "Discipline" is the natural duty of the parent; therefore, some abusive activity is easily lightly treated as a private "domestic matter."

Taipei city social worker Kao Chao-mei says that, "In making visits to handle cases, some parents don't even know their behavior constitutes child abuse."

Perhaps some people will respond that today most households only have one or two children. They are treated as precious. Who is still abusing the children?

But the facts are "cruel." According to the article "Child Abuse in Taiwan" written by Wu Yen-ho in 1981, early child abuse was mostly due to traditional cultural values and economic pressure.

In recent years, along with changing cultural values, cases of abuse directly due to family economic factors are relatively less. But increasingly, broken homes and the low tolerance for frustrations in small families have become important causes leading to child abuse.

Hsiao Meng-chu, supervisor in the DSA, notes, "Currently the child abuse problem is not the property of a special class; it has become extremely common."

With the rapid changes of an industrial society, the pressures faced by family life become greater. When marriages hit the rocks, children are the first to bear the brunt. When pressure on working mothers gets too severe, children easily become vents for their anger. In a society increasingly directed toward money, it is hard for children to escape the mood of their parents. When a family crisis hits, it is easy for child abuse problems to arise.

The aftereffects are even more widespread. Studies have pointed out that "Those who have had the experience of being abused easily look lightly upon the severity of child abuse." That is, those abused when small will very possibly abuse their own children.

According to the study, "The Relationship Between Child Abuse and Juvenile Delinquency" completed by Chen Chao-fan last June, there is a clear relationship between the two. One more abused child, ten years down the road, can mean one more juvenile offender. Thus, child abuse is not a family problem; it is a social problem no one can afford to ignore.

Currently, institutions specializing in handling child abuse in the ROC are limited to the 22 Family Projects of the CCF and the DSA hotline.

In the past, the DSA dealt with child abuse as separate, individual cases. But this problem involves broad areas, requiring coordination of medical, police, legal, psychological, educational, and other units. The city has already begun to build a child protection service network.

But there is often the problem of inadequate capabilities. Institutions lack legal spokespersons to specially deal with this kind of problem. If cases go to trial, those involved, in addition to their daily work, must endlessly traipse to court to give testimony. This affects willingness to expose cases.

Legally, the protection given to children in the ROC is inadequate. Though the Child Welfare Law was passed in 1973, it lacks effective steps for implementation and gives no clear definition of child abuse.

Inadequacy of supporting institutions is also a problem. For children who need to temporarily leave home, currently they can only be placed in orphanages. There is a need for half-way homes and psychiatric guidance institutions.

Child protection work is not easy. When social workers approach the homes of abused children, they are often kicked out the door. Pai Shiu-hsiung, director of the DSA, prepares social workers, saying that establishing the hotline is not to undermine parents: "Parents basically love the child; the work of the hotline is to help the parents discover the cause of the problem and to improve things."

Educating parents is not an easy task. Currently the social variables are overwhelming. Parenting is already not a "natural ability," but should be seen as "specialized knowledge." As to what kind of protection with which to provide children, this requires work on the part of the parents.

It is hoped that Pai Shiu-hsiung's ultimate ideal--mothers and fathers all know how to be good parents, sons and daughters can all grow up safely--can be realized soon. Only then can the welfare of contemporary children be guaranteed.

[Picture Caption]

Corporal punishment is a common sight in school, but what's the impact on a child's self-respect and psyche? (photo by Edward Lin)

(Right) Engrossed in the cartoon, this little boy hasn't detected the change in mother's mood; it's going to be hard to escape from a swat with the duster now.

In the past, adding to the family income reflected filial piety, but how should it be defined today?

Childhood should be carefree. However, this child from a television series works day and night wrapped up as a mushroom. Overwork is a serious problem. (photo courtesy of China Television advertising department)

These little observers brought by parents to the stock market take in more than the action as they breathe the smoke-filled air. (photo by Vincent Chang)

Little sister looks after little brother; but who looks after her? (photo by Edward Lin)

 

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