Patricia McKnight's 'My Justice'
What is Child Abuse? According to World English Dictionary; child abuse is a non-accidental injury, physical, sexual, or emotional ill-treatment, or neglect of a child especially by those entrusted with its care.
Indeed there is much to be taken from this shared meaning of child abuse. An average of 93% of child abuse assaults are committed within the child's home by those entrusted with their care or by someone close to them who they are taught to trust and respect. The difficulty with this is that when a child is taught to "trust and respect" they can be easily manipulated by that person and will often remain silent, applying reasoning or their own misguided fault, when that person violates or harms them in some way. The child is forced to accept the cruelty against them by this person simply because our society, for generations, has taught our children not to speak against these persons. It is only by empowering your child with trust in their own voice and belief in their value as a human being, that we can instill them with "Nonacceptance" of this cruelty; teaching them to speak out no matter who is harming them.
As a survivor, I can honestly attest to the power of voice. Millions of adults in our society today have carried, or still carry, the pain of being molested, raped, sodomized, beaten, emtionally battered, or neglected as a child. These same adults are now parents and grandparents who are trying to be "Good" guardians, but have their own past damage and broken souls from the abuses against them. It is a new generation of abusers and we are creating another generation of survivors, who in turn will then become parents or guardians and the cycle of harm will continue.
When we beat and continuously criticize or emotionally destroy who our children are as individuals, we teach them to become submissive and to believe they have no worthy value as a human. It will invade their lives for decades before they are able to face the pain of being torn down, depleted of value, and learn to trust in their choices and decisions. This will reflect in their children's lives as they make bad choices and then place their own children in those same destructive environments. Single mothers who have been sexually violated, beaten, neglected and then forced into silence and acceptance by the blinders of society, will often continue choosing abusers as partners. They don't recognize the dangers attached to those they choose as partners because they did not have safe examples in their own childhood. Fathers who were beaten and raped as children, have a greater risk of becoming batterers of their spouses and their own children, perhaps even rapist or murderers, because of the anger and confusion of "good vs. evil" in their own life.
There are many life-long issues associated with these cruelties against our children. You will find various reports and studies of these facts available through National Institute of Mental Health and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, which reflect the many long-term physical and psychological effects of child maltreatment, along with the socioeconomic impact on our society as a whole for the recovery of these abuses. Survivors most often have battles with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Depression, Anxiety, Dissociation, Bipolar, and Multiple Personality Disorder; along with physical illness of Fibromyalgia, Annal and Gynecological problems, and many chronic illnesses such as; heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, obesity and a varying degree of other issues. You will also find that many survivors of childhood atrocities have battles with Substance Abuse, Alcoholism, Criminality, and are at greater risk of Suicide. The dysfunction of these Adult Survivors also may cause employment issues because of the added stress placed on their psychi. Reports show they struggle within their own family situations, relationships, into their career, early disability due to psychological or physcial disabilities brought on by those abuses. This is shared by the many hundreds of survivors I've personally connected with and various organizations developed to provide rescue, healing and recovery for those harmed. It is crucial for us to recognize the many long-term impacts of these crimes against children, as this will help survivors of abuse heal and create a more vigilant sense of awareness, which provides a stronger base for prevention of these traumatic attacks.
As adults of a new generation, as a society of human beings, it is our responsibility to protect those who cannot speak out or protect themselves. If we continue to turn away and ignore what has been so commonly accepted in our past generations, we allow the destruction of human souls to continue. It is only when we choose to be pro-active in defending our innocent children that we can begin to build a safer world for them to grow and flourish as "Good" guardians and protectors of their children.
Let's take a look at some Silent Signs of Child Abuse:
1) NEGLECT of a child may be seen in many forms. You may notice their lack of ability in social interaction, if they are not taught as young children the positive interaction with those responsible for their care, they will not know how to demonstrate this as they begin pre-school or school activities. Learning social interaction is an important part of a child's development. Other signs of NEGLECT; may be their dental health, physical hygiene or buildup of dirt around the crevices of their wrists, around the hair line, on their ankles or knees. Learning proper hygiene and being kept reasonably clean is a very important sign of a healthy home life and caring guardians/parents.
2) PHYSICAL ABUSE may show up in many different forms. You may see unexplained bruises in areas of the body that would not normally be bruised in casual playtime. Many of us know these signs, but a child will explain it away. They are being told they are the "bad" ones and they must be punished. Watch for the purple and yellow bruising on their faces, the upper arms, their back, the upper thigh or buttocks. These are just some general signs of physical abuse more importantly are the behaviors of the physically abused child.
EXAMPLE: Does a child follow directions exactly? (When you ask a group of 5 children to hold their arm up for a long period of time; those not abused or afraid of being harmed will put their arm down when it starts hurting or they get bored. An abused child will keep their arm up until you give them permission to put it down. NO matter how uncomfortable the direction you give them, they will do their best not to disobey so they will not be as risk of being harmed/punished.)
3) SEXUAL ABUSE IN YOUNG CHILDREN: If a young child displays early actions of sexual stimulation, remember we are not born with this knowledge. The acts of learning to touch themselves in certain manners and acting out these signs in playtime with other children or with their dolls, or stuffed animals IS NOT NORMAL. This should be very concerning for any child under the age of puberty. If your child or a playmate of your child is demonstrating these behaviors, then someone has taught them these pleasures. Their bodies will naturally react to the stimulation introduced by others, but it isn't a natural act until they are older and puberty begins. If you see a child demonstrating knowledge of these behaviors, please talk with them. Perhaps these few questions may give you some insight:
A) Is there a reason you keep touching yourself there?
B) Does it hurt or is it bothering you in some way?
C) Has someone else touched you there?
D) Did someone teach you how to do that?
E) Did you see it on television or in a movie?
These are innocent questions, but you must ask them WITHOUT showing alarm or concern. Remember if a child thinks you are concerned or unhappy with something they are doing, they will automatically assume blame on their part. Don't frighten your children into silence.
A child may avoid settings that put them alone with their abuser such as; not wanting to interact with that particular family member or friend; not wanting to hug or sit on their lap; not wanting to go places with them or where the abuser will be; remember to watch for signs of what your child IS NOT telling you. They may not know exactly how to verbalize their dislike, distrust, or what is happening to them. Pay Attention to Silent Signals!!
What is shared here are just a few examples of what to look for in young children who do not yet know how to verbalize what is happening to them or they may be too terrified to speak of what's being done. These are some of the basic signs that all adults should watch for in the children they connect with in family settings, neighborhoods, classrooms, and with other children. It is the way a child avoids others, plays with their toys, or follows direction that may be the first SILENT SIGN that something is harming them in some manner. This is the time to react as a protector and question without demonstrating alarm or concern. Please be aware of the children around you. There are many way that we, as a society, can provide the much needed rescue of a child and give them the tools for recovery; providing them with the positive interaction that will give them a greater chance at becoming healthy functional adults/parents/partners in relationships.
For more information on SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF ABUSE, please visit: Childhelp.org or call 1-800-4-A-CHILD
If you have been attacked please follow these few important steps:
1) If you have just been harmed, physically or sexually attacked, please call 911 in the U.S. or your local emergency response number if outside the U.S.
2) Remember that your body is now EVIDENCE!!! Do not shower, Do not change clothes until you have been checked out by a medical forensics team and they have collected the EVIDENCE your offender has left on your body!!!
3) It is important to make a full police report of any attacks you suffer!!! This gives photographed and recorded proof of the attack so the offense can be charged and prosecuted. If we do not report these acts from our partners, parents, others who are close to us, then there can be no prosecution or end to these crimes.
**Call one of the HOTLINE NUMBERS above to reach a counselor immediately**
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