Child Abuse Essay, Research Paper
Imagine yourself a little girl, your mom just got remarried, and you’re trying to adjust to a new stepfather, house, and sharing your mom. Your mom leaves to go to the store and leaves you home alone for the first time with HIM. You accidentally break a glass and he goes off the wall yelling at you, calling you worthless. Then, he starts to hit you. While your trying to shield yourself, your mom comes in. Later you tell her what happened and she just tells you that you need to learn to respect your stepfather more. This is the first of the many incidents that happened to my friend Jessi. Growing up I saw Jessi being abused and was always too afraid and confused to do something about it. I didn’t even know what abuse technically was. In my research I learned that child abuse is the physical, sexual, and emotional abuse of a child by an adult. Jessi isn’t alone; “since 1988 the child abuse victims have steadily increased to about 1,000,000 reported abused victims a year. ” I’ve always thought that an abused child is just a kid whose parents hit them but, while researching I learned that there are 3 different types of abuse: physical, sexual, and emotional. Physical Abuse is the most know form of abuse it’s basically involves hitting, kicking of the child with fist or feet or other objects such as belts, baseball bats, and other assorted objects. Another form of abuse is holding a child’s head under scalding water or sticking the child in a washing machine. A child psychiatrist told me that nobody knows precisely how many children are abused a year because for every child abuse incident that is reported 100 go unreported. The National Committee for the Prevention of Child Abuse states in its Annual survey of all 50 states estimates that “1,125 children died from physical abuse in 1988, and this is the lowest estimate possible.” Usually if a child is seriously hurt because of physical abuse, he is not taken too the hospital by the person who injured him. 90 percent of the time another person who knows of the abuse but, does not do anything to stop it. This person is called a facilitator. Personally I was a facilitator I knew about the abuse my friend was going through and did nothing about it. I still have really guilty feelings about it. In many cases a child will look physically abused but, they will actually be victims of sexual abuse. Sexual Abuse is the touching of genitalia or anything, which is uncomfortable for normal person to person contact. It can also be described as being forced to do sexual acts with an adult. There are many categories of sexual abuse such as; pedophilia, incest, molestation, statutory rape, and child pornography. In one of my interviews I was told that “approximately 3 hundred thousand children are involved in child prostitution and child pornography.” In many cases of sexual abuse is used to full fill a sexual fantasy. Again, like physical abuse sexual abuse is increasing steadily, most likely because the sex drive of society has raised. I remember when I would be at Jessi’s house when I was little. Her stepdad would tell us we were ugly or stupid. I always thought he was just kidding but, it always hurt Jessi. I didn’t think stuff like that was actually abuse. During my research I learned that it was the most common form of abuse, mental abuse. Most people don’t even realize they are doing harm to their child by it, but anything a parents constantly says that puts a child’s self-esteem down is mental abuse. “Physical and sexual abuse are like road blocks of life. They are here for a while but eventually you can get over it, mental abuse on the other hand makes you think things that aren’t necessarily true. ” Take my friend Jessi for example, her stepfather used to always call her ugly, now at 15 she believes it. There is another form of abuse that is categorized in the mental section. It is called neglect. Personally I think this is the saddest form of abuse. Neglect is when a parent unlawfully holds back the basic needs of a child when they can afford it. Basic need of a child include food shelter and clothing. “In 1966 the American Humane Association stated that 63 percent of 2,000,000 child abuse cases that were reported because of neglect. ” I ‘ve always wondered why a parent would just go off and abuse their child. Your child is supposed to be your life, you’re supposed to love them. I always knew a reason for abuse was alcoholism but, I never knew that it could be a psychological problem. “43 percent of people who were abused when they were children ” It’s the way the were brought up it’s the way they know to react to things like that. It’s like when I’m baby- sitting and the kids are doing something that they know is wrong like drawing on the walls and I say “how many times have I told you not to draw on the walls?” And I stop and think whoa I just sounded just like my mom. It’s scary. People always repeat things that their parents said like 20 years ago. Child abuse is the same way. They don’t know any other way to react. Alcoholism causes abuse because some people get violent or disoriented and don’t realize what’s happening. Another reason for abuse is problems at home. Whether it’s family problems, stress, or if the child has mental problems or other problems that make it difficult to raise a child. Raising a child can be hard
enough but, when your child has difficult problems it can raise the stress in your life by 50 percent. Which for some violent people, causes abuse. Other problems such as; marriage problems, or maybe a sick relative that you have to take care of also can rise the stress level, but, it still doesn’t give anyone the right to hit a child. I interviewed a man who used to beat his child. He asked to remain anonymous. He said that, when he used to abuse his daughter, he would get so angry his mind would close out and it would be like he snapped. He didn’t realize he was doing it till he was finished and his daughter was lying there all bruised and bleeding. He would apologize, but he knew that would never ever make up for what he did. Finally he decided to get help. He went to a psychologist where she would help him learn to deal with his anger instead of taking it out on his daughter. If he got mad since he had an unusually bad temper he would count to 50 (instead of 10 like normal people) or he’d go on a long walk. He had a punching bag in his exercise room so if he felt the need to hit something he would go hit that instead. I completely agree that abusive parents need counseling but, I believe that the child needs it more. The depression that a child can fall into can be there for a lifetime. Children are young and things affect them easily. Children who are abused experience some symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In children and adolescents may be acute or delayed, that is they may experience symptoms that immediently or after a long time has passed. The symptoms can be re-experienced in their head, called flashbacks. Children may be “spaced out” when reminded of the perpetrator, or maybe they will be really withdrawn when he is near. They might do role-playing to try to act out their issues by doing things like punishing the bad guy while playing with dolls or action figures, to make the “yucky feelings go away.” When children go to the psychiatrist the first thing he does is listens to the child, so they can sometimes for the first time get the story out and just talk about it. Then, she help him realize it’s their fault. They didn’t do anything to cause this abuse. A lot of the time the children blame themselves and they think that there is something they could have done to avoid it. Also 74% of children that go to see the psychiatrist are depressed. I don’t think children should ever be in a situation where they’re depressed. They’re still young and shouldn’t have any worries. They have the rest of their life to worry about stuff. The psychiatrist helps them look on the happy side of things and usually introduce them to another child who has been through the same thing, so they can at least have a friend to confide in Jessi said that she didn’t want to go to therapy at all. But, that’s what actually helped her get her head on straight and make her and her family get back to a normal functioning family. Now, Jessi isn’t deathly afraid when her stepfather walks in the room. She still has resentments against him but, at least he doesn’t hit her. And, they get along great. But, not all child abuse incidents happen in a happy ending. In fact Jessi’s situation is probably one in a million. Most child abuse incidents end in a tragedy. Twenty years ago child abuse was legal. If a child was beaten people thought the child did something really bad and it was just a form of discipline. But now, with violence increasing the need for laws is more and more needed. In the past 15 years, child abuse laws have been created. Now if your suspected of abuse you will be questioned, your child would be checked for signs. If you admit and or proved guilty you can get at least a couple years of jail and your child can be taken away from you and put into foster-care or live with another relative. I read a story about a father who abused all three of his children. One was 4, one was 10, and the other was 17. The mother died when the baby was born and he was dealing with the stress of losing her, and raising 3 children all by himself. He was an alcoholic, a workaholic, and in my opinion a very mean man. He abused all of his children physically, and mentally for almost 4 years. Finally he was reported to the Child Services. He was sent to jail for 10 years and his children practically disowned him. when he got out he tried to contact his children. But, they would have nothing to do with him. He killed himself 1 year later. Isn’t that sad? School Age children that are abused physically, mentally and sexually tend to get poorer grades, and are more aggressive with other children their own age. Often Abused teenagers turn to drugs or anything else that they think helps them feel better. “54% of abused children end up in a detention home or in jail ” The possibilities are endless of what could happen. I believe that child are the most important key to the future. If we teach them that abuse is right. Then, slowly that’s what this world is going to come to. Everyone is just going to be hitting each other for no reason. Children don’t deserve to be hit, raped, beat, or have anything done to them for no reason. One they can’t defend themselves, and two. It will teach them to be awful violent people of the future. So I believe t that if we play good role models for our children then, together we all need to work together and maybe, our children can have a peaceful future. Bibliography Anonymous, personal interview February 25, 1999 Jessi Barbour, personal interview, February 25, 1999 Child Psychologist, personal interview, February 25, 1999 Ludwig,Stephen. Child Abuse; A Medical Reference. New York: Churchill,1992. Steinbach, Alice. Neglect: the most prevalent form of child maltreatment. New York: Blackbirch Press, 1989. Larry Jones,The Big Book of Raising Children. New York: Halloway Inc,1976.