Facebook-driven protest message that features a disturbing image of a small child being stepped on by a grown man, asks users who are against child abuse to “like” and “share” the message.
The photograph, first published in news reports in December 2009, depicts a bizarre healing ritual performed by Indian “holy man” Jamun Yadav. Yadav claimed that he can cure illnesses by transferring divine energy into the sick child via his feet. Yadev was arrested on child abuse charges in relation to his sickening antics. Although the picture is genuine, liking and sharing it on Facebook is unlikely to do anything whatsoever to combat child abuse.
This quite disturbing picture of a man standing on the neck and body of a small and emaciated child is currently being posted all over Facebook. The message accompanying the image asks those who are “against child abuse” should “like and share” the image. The message includes no information about the origin of the photograph or the circumstances of the abusive act depicted.
The image is, in fact, genuine and is not “photoshopped” as some commentators have suggested. The picture shows a bizarre “cure” performed by self-proclaimed Indian “holy man”, Jamun Yadav. Yadev claimed that, by standing on the children he could transfer “divine energy” through the soles of his feet, thereby curing them of colds and other illnesses.
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Parents reportedly were not aware of how Yadav was going to “treat” their sick youngsters.
What ever Yadav’s deluded motivations, his antics were certainly acts of child abuse.
That said, the simple act of “liking” and “sharing” this image will not do anything to combat the scourge of child abuse, in India or elsewhere. Reposting such a message may momentarily make users feel good about themselves, but will do nothing at all to actually help abused children. Joining or donating to organizations that fight against child abuse can help. Participating in activities within your own communities that increase awareness of child abuse and how to combat it may help.
Sharing a message that does not even bother to explain the origin or circumstances of the included child abuse image will NOT help in the slightest.
Research by David White and Brett Christensen
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