International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression, observed on June 4 annually, acknowledges millions of innocent children who suffer physical, mental and emotional abuse worldwide.

The day was first established on 19 August 1982 with a focus on victims of the Lebanon War but later, its purpose expanded to protecting all the children suffering violence in any form.

Children should be loved and taken care of, but many across the world undergo abuse and pain in different forms. They become victims of physical, mental, emotional and even sexual abuse. It is estimated that about 200 million children become victims of sexual violence each year.

About 536 million children also live in places where there is conflict and get displaced in large numbers, leaving them susceptible to abuse, exploitation and violence, especially when they are left orphaned or separated from their families.

The United Nations also acknowledges their situation and "affirms" its commitment to protecting children's rights. We can also take part in this commitment by volunteering or donating to groups that help abused children -- consider becoming a foster parent, organize activities that draw attention to the problem or, if you are one of those who experienced abuse, share your story to give hope to millions of children across the world.

On this day, let's look at some poignant quotes on child abuse and violence. (Courtesy-- Good Reads, AZQuotes and WebPlus.info)

  1. "Childhood should be carefree, playing in the sun; not living a nightmare in the darkness of the soul." -Dave Pelzer
  2. "Safety and security don't just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear." -Nelson Mandela
  3. "How do you forgive the people who are supposed to protect you?" -Courtney Summers
  4. "So often survivors have had their experiences denied, trivialized, or distorted. Writing is an important avenue for healing because it gives you the opportunity to define your own reality. You can say: This did happen to me. It was that bad. It was the fault & responsibility of the adult. I was — and am — innocent." -Ellen Bass
  5. "The greater a child's terror, and the earlier it is experienced, the harder it becomes to develop a strong and healthy sense of self." -Nathaniel Branden
  6. "Whilst child abuse may be committed behind closed doors, it should never be swept under the carpet." - Constance Briscoe
  7. "The facts of life are that a child who has seen war cannot be compared with a child who doesn't know what war is except from television." -Sophia Loren
  8. "Child abuse is one of those issues that's very difficult to talk about because it's surrounded by guilt and shame and so on, but us avoiding that issue doesn't help those kids in need out there who need support." -Chris Hemsworth
  9. "Abuse manipulates and twists a child's natural sense of trust and love. Her innocent feelings are belittled or mocked and she learns to ignore her feelings." -Laura Davis
  10. "The impact of armed conflict on children is everyone's responsibility. And it must be everyone's concern." -Graca Machel-Mandela
  11. "Child abuse damages a person for life and that damage is in no way diminished by the ignorance of the perpetrator. It is only with the uncovering of the complete truth as it affects all those involved that a genuinely viable solution can be found to the dangers of child abuse." - Alice Miller
  12. "Compelled to become instruments of war, to kill and be killed, child soldiers are forced to give violent expression to the hatreds of adults." -Olara Otunnu
  13. "Many abused children cling to the hope that growing up will bring escape and freedom. But the personality formed in the environment of coercive control is not well adapted to adult life. The survivor is left with fundamental problems in trust, autonomy, and initiative." -Judith Lewis Herman

Palestinian children look out from a home damaged by Israeli bombardment in Gaza City Palestinian children look out from a home damaged by Israeli bombardment in Gaza City Photo: AFP / MOHAMMED ABED