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Help us, Please?
“My first real memory was at age 4 being beaten due to a scratch in her new table, but the cigarette burn scars and hot coffee burn scars tell of earlier abuse at the hands of my mother. Then she remarried and the sex abuse started by both my mother and step-father. My step-father would sexually abuse me on his own and then with my mother. I was forced to watch them having sex then they would place me in their bed. My mother also prostituted me to other men for drugs, alcohol and money.
I left home at the age of 16 after my mother beat me so bad that I ended up in the hospital. I go out but still struggle with nightmares and horrible memories.”
Written by Cheryl, a victim of sexual and physical abuse. I took it from childhelp.org.
Daddy was your lover, who you danced with on chilly nights. Daddy was your airplane taking you on daily endless flights. Mommy was your cook. Your maid, and your queen. At least that’s how it may have been if they hadn’t been so mean. According to Colorado State law child abuse is only abuse if it leaves a mark or other permanent damage. You can hit your child with an open hand, so long as it doesn’t bruise. You can punish them in any way. So long as no outside mark is left. But do the children ever forget the scars that are left inside. When they are told Prince Charming will never love them. Or that their mommy doesn’t like them anymore. Or how can it feel that your father and mother don’t want you anymore. Or slap you for getting on the computer. How does it feel being ignored by your parents? How does it feel being told you hurt them. That you don’t deserve to live. Nobody likes being put down. Especially by someone who is supposed to love them. Why are we letting this continue? Why are we not putting a stop to child abuse?
There are four forms of abuse. Mental/emotional, neglect, physical, and sexual. Often they go hand in hand with eachother. Humanservices.mesacounty.us says that mental or emotional abuse is “an identifiable and substantial impairment of the child’s intellectual or psychological functioning or development or a substantial risk of impairment of the child’s intellectual or psychological functioning or development.” Emotional abuse is not easy to prove. According to humanservices.mesacounty.us neglect is “Any case in which a child is a child in need of services because the child’s parents, legal guardian, or custodian fails to take the same actions to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care, or supervision that a prudent parent would take.” “The child’s environment is injurious to his or her welfare”. Or basically when the parent or guardian fails to properly provide for the child. The extent of this it food, clothing, shelter, and a place to sleep. Physical abuse is constituted as “Any case in which a child exhibits evidence of skin bruising, bleeding, malnutrition, failure to thrive, burns, fracture of any bone, subdural hematoma, soft tissue swelling, or death and either: Such condition or death is not justifiably explained; the history given concerning such condition is at variance with the degree or type of such condition or death; or the circumstances indicate that such condition may not be the product of an accidental occurrence” “Parents are allowed to use physical discipline, such as spanking, when disciplining their children under Colorado law, but they are not allowed to leave injuries when using physical discipline.” And finally, sexual abuse is “Any case in which a child is subjected to unlawful sexual behavior”
From a young age children are taught; “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” But one must begin to question this. If words don’t hurt why are children landed in the hospital for suicide attempts. Why are our teens put away for cutting. Words do hurt. And often they hurt more than just the heart. You often hear of kids becoming depressed from bullying. Child abuse is a less talked about form of bullying. And often it hurts more. You choose to be hurt. In the split seconds in which you decide whether you care about what the person says or not you make a decision whether or not to be hurt. The thing is usually you do care. And when someone close to you says something hurtful to you; someone like a mother of father; you get hurt more than when its someone who shouldn’t and doesn’t matter in your life.
So now you ask, what is our part? How can we help? Well, one of the main ways to help an abused child is to recognize the signs and report abuse when you see it. Some of the signs often seen for physical abuse include: unexplained injuries, many injuries, delays in seeking medical help for the child, multiple injuries in various stages of healing, injuries of unusual shape,
reports of non-accidental injury, fear of certain people, extreme behaviors including withdrawal and anger, wearing inappropriate clothing for weather, feeling deserving of punishment, and inconsistent stories explaining injuries. Common signs of sexual abuse include Injuries in genital area, Bloody stained, or torn under clothing, STD’s, Pregnancy, unusual knowledge about sexual behavior, sudden behavior changes, and poor peer relationships. And finally some indicators of emotional abuse include speech disorders, failure to thrive, sad, or emotionless, habit disorders, and mood swings.(humanservices.mesacounty.us)
In order to make a report, it is best you know the following information
“The name, address, age, sex, and race of the child
The name(s) and address(es) of the person(s) responsible for the suspected abuse or neglect
The nature and extent of the child’s injuries
Any evidence of previous cases of known or suspected abuse or neglect of the child or the child’s siblings
The family composition, including any siblings
The name, address and/or contact phone number, and occupation of the person making the report
Relation of the person making report to the child and/or how information was obtained
Any action taken by the reporting source
Any other information reporting person feels is important.”
Once you have gathered the information you should report it to the police or a child protection hotline near you.
Child abuse has become an epidemic in the 21st century, but it is time it comes to a close. We must take action, and stop letting the abuse continue. You may save a childs life.