My heart breaks every time I come across yet another story about the tragic abuse of a child. While I know most parents are good to their kids, it never fails to disturb me when I read about the terrible things some adults do that can cause irreparable harm to their children.
as this topic is to talk about, it’s important that we do. Having greater
awareness about it can make a positive difference for a child who might be a
potential target for abuse.
Each year in the U.S., more than 3 million children are abused by those who are supposed to be caring for them, including parents, caregivers, coaches, ministers, teachers, and others in trusted roles. Abusive acts against children can have far-reaching consequences and adversely affect their emotional, psychological, and physical development.
statistics showed that some form of abuse is perpetrated against 1 of every 7
children. While it can happen at all income levels, some populations—particularly
impoverished communities—are more vulnerable.
concerning now is that since the spring of 2020, many people who are mandated
reporters, such as teachers, day care workers, and medical staff have had less
in-person interactions with children, so it’s likely that there are cases of
child abuse flying under the radar of Child Protective Services (CPS) or the Department
of Human Services (DHS).
on top of the stress, financial strain, social isolation, and mental health crisis
since the start of the pandemic, have me deeply worried about the children who
are at risk.
I have never felt the impulse to do anything that would harm my child. For me, it’s quite the opposite—I am like a mama bear and would destroy anyone who tried to hurt her. I give thanks to my own mother who felt and acted in the same way toward me. At age 11, I was sexually molested by my stepfather and when I told my mother about it, she believed me and responded immediately to kick him out of our lives.
Had she not listened
to me or if she had dismissed my fear in some way, it’s very possible that I,
like others who are not heard, could have had to live with ongoing fear along
with shame and guilt that weren’t mine to own. I can’t emphasize this enough: If
one of your children tells you about an assault or attempted assault against them,
believe what they say and take the necessary steps to report it and keep them
I was also fortunate to escape from an attempted rape at age 16 while on the way to school by fighting off the assailant. Since a sexual assault occurs every 73 seconds in this country, I know that many of you have had similar—or perhaps even worse—experiences.
All forms of
child abuse are harmful, and sadly, most don’t happen in a vacuum. Many of the
people who hurt children were victims of abuse themselves. I often wonder if
their horrific behavior comes from an unconscious thirst for revenge that stems
from the long-term effects of a person’s own unhealed trauma and pain. But even
if that is the case, it’s not an excuse for abusing someone, especially a
and less overt, but still inappropriate, behaviors like these can be
traumatizing to children, and can affect their sense of safety and trust, as
well as teach them to repeat the cycle of abuse.
If you are concerned about how your past can be playing itself out in unhealthy ways in your life now, it is your responsibility to get help. I urge you to take the steps to address your own anger problems, depression, anxiety, addiction, and/or trauma to get yourself under control. You deserve to have a better life, and so do your children.
if you suspect a child is being victimized in any way, please report it to a
professional agency, such as your local CPS or DHS office. They can intervene
and help that child have a better and more healthy future.
To learn more about how I overcame my past trauma, order my recent memoir, The Relentless Courage of a Scared Child: How Persistence, Grit, and Faith Created a Reluctant Healer.
If you’re struggling and need professional help, Amen Clinics is here for you. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, remote clinical evaluations, and video therapy for adults, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or visit our contact page here.
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