This morning, while I was drinking my morning coffee and scanning the news online, a short video broadcast on one of the main German news-websites caught my eye: it was about a newly published book “Deutschland misshandelt seine Kinder” (Germany abuses its children), written by two coroners who call attention to the alarmingly high number of killed children in Germany. And the number is alarmingly high indeed. Various newspapers quoted a statistic by the police according to which three children in Germany die every week due to physical abuse. Three children every week! The articles about that book read like a horror scenario and when I was done, I picked up the little one and hugged her for a minute, being extremely thankful for everything we have.
Three children every week – how can that be? How can that be in a country where sexual education already starts in primary school, where no one can claim not to know about getting pregnant? Where a box of condoms doesn’t cost more than a package of cigarettes? Where, even if you had unprotected sex, you can go to your doctor the day after and ask for a morning-after pill. And where, even if you missed the morning-after pill, you can still decide to have an abortion within the first months if you really don’t want to have children, or where you can give your child up for adoption after you gave birth. How can that be in a country where babies are supposed to go to regular medical check-ups, where we have emergency phones for parents who don’t feel able to cope with their children and where we have a youth welfare service which is supposed to take care of abused children? How can it be that Germany is trying to offer a place at a day-care facility for every child, but apparently fails to provide the youth welfare service with enough resources to take care of emergencies? How can it be that coroners write reports about child abuses only to discover that the children died a few weeks later because the state failed to intervene?
I admit as a mother that I am, from time to time, slightly frustrated – mainly due to a lack of sleep. And I think it is only normal that every young mother feels frustrated and overwhelmed every now and then. But there hasn’t been a single day since last summer that I haven’t been wholeheartedly grateful for our daughter, and not a single day that I haven’t had this warm feeling inside, thinking that she is the cutest little baby on the world.
When I checked the news-website again at lunchtime, the broadcast had already been moved from the important news section to the very bottom of the page.
In 1978, Astrid Lindgren received the German Booksellers’ Peace Prize and she held a speech against child abuse. Maybe people should read that speech from time to time. She ended it with the words:
“Perhaps it would be a good idea for us all to have a little stone on a shelf in our kitchens as a permanent reminder for ourselves and our children: never violence!” (Source)