Ignorance About Child Abuse Essay, Research Paper
Ignorance about Child Abuse
Many people say that our children are our most precious resource. They should be protected at all costs and allowed to grow up with out being mistreated. Child abuse is a disturbing problem in our country. Most people don’t think about child abuse. They just go about their everyday lives doing nothing to combat this issue. They choose to ignore that the problem exists because it is too ugly to look at. It is easier to not do anything if you don’t see it in your own life. Therefore, it appears that those people who try to make a positive impact have in someway come in contact with abuse themselves. For this reason child abuse still exists and will probably always exist.
The way to stop the abuse is to educate our society about this issue. In recent years we have progressed a great deal in the awareness of this problem. A few decades ago it was not mentioned at all in the media and rarely at home. The subject was taboo and only brought to light in the most extreme cases. Parents using corporal punishment was more common in those days and therefore true abuse was harder to detect. Now many instances are reported on the news and in other media. We are saturated with the reality of violence by TV shows, movies, ads, books, and other art forms. Children’s faces are on milk cartons and billboards designed to raise the public’s awareness. Most people, such as teachers and parents, know the basic signs to look for in an abused child.
It seems that we have come a long way in the battle against child about. However, there are still many problems we must still overcome. Most people don’t know that even when a case is reported there is still a high chance that nothing will be done to protect the child. The psychological abuse which children suffer from is rarely shown in dramatizations and the fact that domestic abuse and abuse of the child is directly related is something which has not been explored.
Domestic violence can be related to child abuse in many ways. Forty five to seventy percent of women in battered women shelters say that their abusers have also abused children at some point. It has also been found that the chance of a mother committing child abuse doubles when she herself has been abused. This seems hard to rationalize to someone standing on the outside. One would think that a mother would be pre-disposed not to inflict harm on her child if she herself is a victim. That instead she would be more protective. But in some cases the mother devotes all of her attention to caring for her abuser in order to prevent future attacks. When this happens she is prone to neglect her child and possibly begin to abuse the child herself. She may take out her aggression and frustration on the child, as this may be her only outlet. She may also punish her child severely in order to hide the child’s behavior from the abusive figure. Sometimes children can get caught up in the violence, which occurs in the home. If a child tries to stop a conflict their parent might hurt him or her. In other cases the child may simply be hit by accident as the fight occurs. Violence and other forms of abuse in the home always affect the children who experience it even if they don’t get directly involved.
We are driven to believe that when child abuse is reported, it is quickly alleviated within our judicial system. This is not always the case. When a dysfunctional family goes through an intervention there is usually a high probability of violence. When mothers try to leave with their children an abusive spouse may attempt to harm or kill them. For this reason many mothers stay in relationships where they or their children are being abused. When these cases go to court, the abuser is usually able to convince the court that the mother does not deserve sole custody of the child. In the most extreme cases, the children are given under the custody of the batterer. Finally, in some cases, the children are forced to visit with the non-custodial parent, in many cases the abuser, in an unsupervised setting. According to the American Judges Foundation, this happens in seventy percent of all child abuse cases. There is something intrinsically wrong with our legal system when defenseless children are repeatedly placed in harms way by our courts. Judges are less likely to believe women’s claims about what has happened in the home. Many choose to ignore or not take seriously such claims when place in the context of a divorce or custody battle. It is viewed as just a means to getting what is wanted, whether it is property or custody. This circumstance shadows the fact that abuse may be taking place. This is a problem which most people are not aware of. The structure of our judicial system is to blame and it must be revised.
Another form of child abuse is psychological. Psychological abuse is particularly destructive and difficult to detect. It is devastating because usually the abused child does not know he or she has been abused. The abuse, which they experienced, is worked into there thinking process. This kind of abuse can affect the victim very seriously later in life. They may feel like they are no good and have no confidence, without knowing why they feel this way. Children innocently trust their parent’s guidance and if that guidance is negative they internalize that criticism. For instance, if a child is repeatedly told that they are stupid they will begin to believe it. If parents are not supportive and loving the consequences can be great. Just watching mistreatment, which occurs between the mother and father, can damage a child’s psyche. They may identify with the abuser and repeat this behavior later in life. Also they may become passive and let people take advantage of them if they identify with the abused parental figure.
As we go about our daily lives, it is important to not forget about those who are helpless to aggressors and batterers. It is partly our responsibility as a society to make an attempt to erase child abuse. We can no longer selfishly ignore the plight of the abused child. Changes in our laws and in our awareness can help to turn these issues around. Research shows that child abuse remains something in which we have a lot of learning to do. However, if these issues are discussed then we will be one step farther at combating a destructive future of a child. There are just a few of the issues being discussed and shared with society. By speaking out and learning about child abuse, we can help stop what is happening to children everyday. With hope, we will be able to use this new information to prevent the dilemma from getting worse.
Our country vitality relies on youth. To ensure this vitality and movement forward, and our society must be educated and simply take a stand to protect children from abuse.
a. Searched for child abuse, child abuse articles, and child abuse prevention
1. Invisible Scars by Dr. Stacy Becker
2. When Children Tell and No One Listens by Sherry A. Quirk
3. The Link between Child Abuse and Domestic Violence written for Child Protection Leader
1. Child abuse Deaths Go Unpunished, by Associated Press
1. Adult-Child Sex: Is It Abuse or Misuse? by Nancy Faulkner, Ph.D.