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What's the Matter Here?
"His mother, I never see her, but her screams and curses, I hear them every day! Threats like “If you don’t mind I will beat on your behind!” “Slap you, slap you silly!” Made me say “Oh, what’s the matter here?” I’m tired of the excuses everybody uses, “He’s your kid, do as you see fit” But get this through, that I don’t approve of what you did to your own flesh and blood"
A little boy leaves home in the morning; he is only 7 years old yet, he had to get himself ready in the morning. The cloths he wears are too big, but they hide the bruises on his arm where his dad had grabbed him the night before. His stomach is rumbling from hunger, he couldn’t find any food in the cupboard that morning. He goes to school, same as everyone else, but his mind is filled with thoughts of fear, would the teacher get mad at him? Would he get hit? To everyone else he seems normal, maybe a little scruffy and unclean, but normal never the less. No one knows the things he goes through at home, or what he has to face everyday behind closed doors, where no one can here their silent cries for help. And the worst part? He doesn’t know the words thrown at him, degrading him, making him believe he is something he’s not, are untrue.
Throughout America alone, 3 million children live a life like that little boy. They are unable to fight for themselves, speak out against their abusers; they are like fires extinguished before they could catch, not given a chance. Think of the society you live in today. Imagine if you would, one thing you would change if you could. Something you don’t believe is right, something you believe is damaging our world, anything your heart is set against. Now take all those thoughts, all those suggestions, and add one more to your list. It is something so unknown, and unheard of, it is almost as if it no longer exists. But since the dawn of time abuse has been happening, and it continues now behind closed doors every day, children are neglected, beaten told they are worthless, and even killed. This is what’s happening under the radar of our child protection laws. Is enough being done to stop it? Prevent innocent lives from being taken for someone’s sick twisted games? No, not enough is being done. If people were more educated to the symptoms of abuse, more victims were believed when they tell, and the home lives of children and parents were more closely looked into, this humongous issue plaguing our country could one day come to an end after centuries of being allowed to run rampant.
There are many people in a child’s life that could notice and help stop the abuse, some of these include the child’s doctor or physician, their teachers, even the parents of their best friend or their neighbors. The problem? These people aren’t educated enough to know the signs of abuse and the way to report them once it is noticed. If these people, if everyone, was educated to the signs of abuse it could be stopped once and for all.
First, physicians or doctors of the child would know what to look for on the child’s annual checkup. They would know to look for flinching at a touch or the weary looks in the child’s eyes as they check their heartbeat or takes their temperature. It wouldn’t be out of their way, and it would help benefit the futures of these children. Though, it is a growing issue in some cases that the doctor may notice the signs of abuse, but do not believe it bad enough to report. They don’t want to write the reports and testify in court over something trivial. While this does not happen with all children physicians, there are some, and even though that number is small, it would make a difference. Doctors could also notice when a child doesn’t return to the same medical ward to often. In many cases of abuse when the child needs medical care “Because of a fall” or “Because they accidentally touched the stove” The parents go to different places to avoid suspicion. All it would take is the doctors a glance at the child’s records to see the irregular pattern of visits, and the more prominent pattern of injuries or “Accidents” the child has come in for.
A second prominent figure in an abused child’s life that could help is their teachers. These teachers see the student every day; maybe more than their parents do at home. Think about it, in the younger ages, a child spends six hours five days a week with one teacher. At this stage it would be a miracle for the teachers to look and spot abuse. It could completely change the life of a child forever for the better. It would be incredibly easy for the teachers to notice also. At young ages the signs of abuse are very easy to spot because the child has yet to develop the fear and shame at what happens to them. They don’t hide the abuse from others because they don’t know how. All the teachers would need to watch for are a child wearing the same clothes for days at a time, a child who isn’t as friendly with the other people in the class, one who doesn’t talk, one who fears physical contact, one who fears loud noise, even one who seems to forget their lunch far too often. Simple things like these are all singes of abuse. Easy enough to look for? I think so.
The third figure in an abused child’s life that could help if educated is their neighbors or even the parents of their best friend. Neighbors could help because they would know better than anyone not living in the household, how a family lives behind their walls. Do you hear yelling from one household more often than you hear it from another? Do the parents in one certain house argue and yell too loud too often? Do you see the child left on its own more than it should be, or doing more around than the house than they should at their age? All of these are potential signs of abuse. If the community was educated to this fact they would know which family to watch for signs of abuse, or, if they notice abuse happening, would be able to report it knowing full well it’s not something normal or something to be ignored. Also, the parents of an abused child’s friend, even a specific neighbor they seem to be close to, could play a huge part in their lives. Their role would be much like that of a teachers, only it could be more soul focused because of less students or children there and less going on at home than there is in a classroom environment. It is shown that if ever a child gets to the point in abuse when they are going to tell someone, they would go to an adult they trust, such as a teacher, doctor, book club buddy, librarian, or neighbor. When a child tells someone though, it is best for the listener to remain calm and let on no signs they are disgusted by the abuse or angry at what was done. The child victim to the abuse would be used to these feelings at home and may interpret them aimed towards them for telling. Would that person being told know this if they were not first educated? I think not, though it seems more common sense than anything.
The second thing that could be done to help stop and prevent abuse, or at least help the victim through the abuse would be if more people believed when victims told of abuse. In a lot of unreported cases of abuse the victim forgets unintentionally the events witch happened to them growing up because they are too traumatic or to damaging for the victim to remember. It can take years, even decades, for the memories to resurface. Things that may cause these memories to suddenly be remembered are a specific even with triggered the memory from childhood, a hand raised to hit, a certain name they were called all the time, even something as small as a smell, especially in cases of sexual abuse. In modern day societies with therapists and psychologists many adults who suddenly remember the events of their unfortunate childhood are unrelieved when they want to testify against their abusers. Many critiques now and days believe these therapists and psychologists trained to help the abused victim in fact installed the memories of the abuse in the persons mind, creating an alternate childhood the patient believes they lived in which is in fact untrue. Why they believe this? It is unknown. There are cases where an adult remembers the events and is, as of the moment, not seeing any therapeutic help. But somehow, the critiques point the fingers at them for doing nothing at all. Cases such as these can be extremely harmful to the victim because the memories they remembered are still going to be from the child’s point of view, however old they were when the abuse took place. Therefore, the thoughts of shame and helplessness would remain. When the victim is told in this weakened state that what they went through is untrue, the damage can be drastic.
Similarly, this is said to happen in court battles with children. In court a child may come to the stand and ask to stay with one parent instead of the other because one parent abuses them at home and they want to get away from them. In most cases like this, if immediate evidence can’t be found the child is thought to be set up by the favored parent against the other. If in fact the child is abused by that parent, the result could be horrific if the trialed parent gets custody. Does this sound to you like a child protection system at work? Allowing a child to return to an abusive household because evidence couldn’t be found at the time of the court battle? To me, it sounds plain stupid. Children, especially at a young age, lack the ability to make up the issues of abuse and in most instances, give such full details and accounts of what they suffered at the hands of their abusers. And in most cases of courthouse battles involving abuse, the children give vivid accounts of their abuse. While at this point some people may argue the child was staged to say that, or they are old enough to know if they make that claim they would get to go to the other parent I have to say one thing to you. Think back to the time when you were a child. Living your young life, and then your teenage life, did you ever spend time sitting on your bed or in your room plotting ways to potentially get your parents thrown in jail? Or ways to create a massive void between the parties of your families? To those who answer yes, did you go through with them? That is what you would be accusing these children of if you answered yes to the above questions.
As it is, most children in abusive situations are afraid to tell of what happens to them. All abused victims have that shame at being so helpless in their situation and it gets worse when the person abusing them is a relative. The feelings they get when they think “The person who is supposed to love me and take care of me, is hurting me…does that mean I’m bad? Do I deserve this?” Because of this, they won’t tell. They might be too scared of the abuser, to ashamed, to injured, whatever the reason, because they aren’t believed and are too afraid to tell and not be believed, many cases of abuse are overlooked and unreported. And from those unreported cases, many children die each year from abuse, and those who survive are emotionally scarred their whole lives.
The third event that could be done to prevent and stop child abuse is to have the lives of families and family members more closely investigated. This could be partaken in many different ways. It could be as simple as in school checks with the nurse every other week, to as complex as background checks on the parents of new babies before they can take their child home. No matter what, this newly gathered information would definitely help the amount of abused children decrease.
Simple doctoring checks in and out of school would efficiently stop the amount of abuse occurring throughout America. Before the child is in school more annual checkups at the doctor’s office would be very beneficial in spotting abused children. The doctors could monitor how many injuries the child seems to get unexplainably, the amount of times they miss these mandatory checkups, and whether or not the child is being cared for at home as they should be. In these young ages, when the child has to memory of what happens to them, it would be the perfect situation in which to remove them from abuse at home. They could be placed in a new family with no memories of the past and no need to deal with the traumatic things that accompany abuse.
After the child starts school these checkups could be continued even more frequently by the school nurse. These checkups would be no more than scheduled. Check their weight, their height, ask them if everything is ok at home, and subtly check the obvious places like face, arms, or legs for injuries, though not with scrutiny, they wouldn’t want to be invading the personal space of the students. These checks could also benefit children not in abusive households. It could help spot children with eating disorders, those who are beaten upon in school, maybe as small as offering a child a person to talk to about their parents getting divorced or how they don’t like them fighting at home. Whether the issues the nurses find are small or large doesn’t make a difference. I don’t think anyone can argue they would be unbeneficial.
Lastly, checks could be help at the homes of parents to check up on the child at a young age, going along with frequent checkups. This would be key to preventing the deaths of thousands of babies killed each year. It is proven that many single teen parents kill their babies in the first few years of their lives, especially if they are still in school. If these checks were made, even to just make sure the child is still alive, would allow them to find a better home for the child if needed or provide aid such as day-care to the child while the parent is at school. These checks could also be help before the child is even taken home to check up on the backgrounds of the family. If they find, perchance, that one of the parents has been known to have been the dominant in an abusive relationship before actions could be taken to prevent it from happening again before the damage is done. They could also check to make sure the household in which the child is entering would be a safe living place for the child of that age. Again, things like these seem like they would be common sense, and they really don’t require that much work to accomplish, but somehow they aren’t being done.
In America today where people are so concerned with solving every problem and making everything run smoothly, you’d think such a controversial issue as abuse would have been solved by now. Issues such as poverty, unemployment, debt, and abuse have yet to be solved yet they pose such an important problem for everyone living with them. And even once they are solved, the abused child is removed from the household, the issues and problems associating themselves with abuse still remain. There are hundreds of thousands of death each year directly or indirectly caused by abuse in people ages 12 to 24. For elder of this age group may have outgrown the abuse and moved away from home. But they have to live with the memories and shame and disgust everyday of their lives. 60 percent of suicides committed by people 20 to 24 in age are caused due to abuse, whether it is from a relative or a spouse. The worst part? On the death certificates it is not stated that people who died from abuse died the way they did. Most often it is stated as “natural causes” abuse doesn’t seem natural to me. As sad and devastating as the deaths of these innocent people are, more devastating are the ones who survive. The victims who live their whole lives with psychological disorders, fear of the most common objects such as loud noises and raised hands, people who will be paranoid no matter how many times they are reassured that they are going to lose everything they have one day and go to bed hungry, or get locked outside at night. They will forever have to deal with these fears and phobias and still be expected to live their lives as normal people do. This for me seems like the worst punishment imaginable. Much, much more can be done to stop abuse; we just have to get started.
"Answer me and take your time, what could be the awful crime he could do at so young in age? If I’m the only witness to your madness, offer me some words to balance out what I see and what I hear. All these cold and rude things that you do, I suppose you do because he belongs to you? And instead of love, the feel of warmth, you’ve given him these cuts and sores, that won’t heal with time, or with age…What’s the matter here?"