Child abuse takes place when a parent or caretaker physically, emotional, or sexually abuses, neglects or abandons a child. Sadly, this is nothing new, child abuse has a long history–catching the nation’s attention in the late 1800’s with cases of children being beaten by their parents. Soon following this event, people began taking actions in forming societies against cruelty. Although actions have been take to help stop it, they still continue as of today. Child abuse is way more common than people care to believe. In the United Stated alone there are about three million reports of child abuse each year. Each day four to five kids lose their life to child abuse. Children whose parents abuse alcohol or drugs and twice as likely, and four times as likely to be neglected.
Victims of child abuse often have problems as they grow up. For example, they develop anxiety, depression, low self-esteem eating disorders and alcohol or drug use. “Every day I fight to believe I’m not the person my mother said I was. The biggest struggle [was] to build up my children’s self-esteem while working on my own,” says Angela Goodwin, a victim of abuse. It’s hard to know the scope of how much child abuse and neglect really affects someone. Abused children are often isolated, especially when the trauma involves a caregiver or parent that they depend on every day.
With all the reported cases, many children are still suffering. Similarly, just recently there was a case about Larry Nassar the former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University doctor. He was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison, after more than 150 women and girls said in court that he sexually abused them over the past two decades. This situation went twenty years without being stopped, which left these girls weak, without a voice. This goes to show that many people struggling with abuse have trouble reaching out for help or advice.
Overtime many people from across the country have created organizations to help with preventing child abuse before it happens, helping for those in need while it’s happening, and for people who have experienced it and been affected. These societies have helped over thousands of people who find themselves struggling with depression, self-harm, low self-esteem etc. If not that, they help people find the guidance they need. Studies have shown that many abusers are people who have been abused themselves. This shows how much victims lives can be impacted and how the influential behavior can be passed down. Childadvocacy, Childhelp, and National Children’s Alliance are some of the big organizations that have helped tons of people. So, though child abuse is still a big problem in the US, it’s certainly not being ignored.
Many kids experience abuse, neglect, or abandonment each year. Instead of being able to enjoy their childhood with family and friends while making happy memories, they’re fearing coming home, adjusting to new foster homes and transitioning to new schools. All while struggling with physical and emotional damage. That’s a heavy burden for any child to carry.
Every child who has experienced abuse or neglect will have their own response to the trauma. While some children have longer-lasting effects, others are able to recover quicker and with ease. There is not a right or wrong way for a child to cope or manage effects of the abuse and neglect they have suffered from. I feel as though a big issue is that people don’t always feel like they can reach out and get help. “I thought I was too old to call but I was reassured that I wasn’t. I spoke to a woman called Veronica who sounded so kind,” said Charley, another victim of child abuse. This was before she realized that calling Veronica from Childline and having that support saved her life.
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