There is no excuse for abuse.
Six words to say it all. It is intimidating to stand before others and fight for beliefs, even though it is justice served to stand up for others. The adage actions speak louder than words rings true still someone needs to speak up for the voiceless. We can come up with a million excuses while the following happens in America yearly…
Nearly 700,000 children are abused in the U.S annually. An estimated 683,000 children (unique incidents) were victims of abuse and neglect in 2015, the most recent year for which there is national data.
CPS protects more than 3 million children. Approximately 3.4 million children received an investigation or alternative response from child protective services agencies. 2.3 million children received prevention services.
The youngest children were most vulnerable to maltreatment. Children in the first year of their life had the highest rate of victimization of 24.2 per 1,000 children in the national population of the same age.
Neglect is the most common form of maltreatment. Of the children who experienced maltreatment or abuse, three-quarters suffered neglect; 17.2% suffered physical abuse; and 8.4% suffered sexual abuse. (Some children are polyvictimized—they have suffered more than one form of maltreatment.)
About four out of five abusers are the victims’ parents. A parent of the child victim was the perpetrator in 78.1% of substantiated cases of child maltreatment.
These are the children known about. Who else is out there silently crying in the corner?
Personally I hide behind the written word to let others know how I feel about atrocities against the vulnerable but to be seen and heard is another thing. I guess I am use to being voiceless. Shot down by those who want to steal my being. I once felt I was no one and often return to past behaviors. It is hard to believe when trust is broken. I question those who say they love me. “Do they really?” an inner voice asks. “Do they?” Is that maltreatment not enough to be there for others facing neglect and emotional abuse? It is even more heart-wrenching to know others face physical and sexual abuse.
I recall a few years back, tutoring at a women’s homeless shelter, a sixth grade boy came in for help. He sat down and could not make eye contact. For a half hour I waited and in time he turned towards me. During our conversation he told me of the bullying by fellow classmates who stole his backpack and ridiculed him for wanting to get an education. Mind you this is in the inner city where gangs, drugs and distaste for others is the way of life. The behaviors are learned and passed down through generations stemming from neglect by society at large.
There is blame to pass around but to point fingers does not solve the situation. Instead we need to roll up our sleeves and get to work. Whether it is hands-on, one-on-one, or directed to groups at-large, everyone must pick up the torch and move forward. Let no one be subjected to demeaning and shame for being. Humanity needs healing. We are a fallen people hanging on by a thread.