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What should I do to protect my son from child abuse?

Q: What could be the causes of lip-licking? Whenever my son comes back from a weekend visit to his father, he has a severely chapped area around his mouth, which is red, scaly and raw. I treat it with vaseline as per the pediatrician's suggestion, yet it reappears after the next visit. Someone told me this could be a sign of abuse. My son is very anxious about the time spent with his father. He complains of stress occurring during meal time, like being forced to eat food he doesn't like, in large quantities so that he vomits; not being allowed to go to the bathroom when he needs to go; no heating in the house in cold months and sleeping on the floor in his father's room with the television going on all night.

A:What you say sounds very much like child abuse. Please do your best not to send your child to the father, at least until things are sorted out. You may need to get the help of a lawyer and if possible some organisation for the protection of children, like the Indian Council for Child Welfare. Also try and get the support of elders in the family and neighbours who will support you in your decision not to let the child experience such abuse. If you are hesitant to go to a lawyer, try Legal Aid. In any case, do not keep this matter to yourself, but share it with others. Do not suffer in silence, but take courage and expose the matter, after you have taken precautions to protect yourself and the child. What the child's father is doing is unforgivable. I guess that it must be his way of punishing you for asking for a separation/divorce. I do not know where you live or what your resources are, so my advice cannot be more specific. Surely there must be someone you can reach out to at this time, to keep your son from being abused. Think about everything coolly and with deliberation and take action.


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