Here is my follow up post on child abuse.
I sat down and googled “child abuse statistics”.
(I will include the links to the two articles I read at the bottom of this post)
Fair warning: This post may trigger you!
The knowledge I have from reading, researching, listening, lived the life of an abused child was minimal compared to what I could find on Google.
In 1999 (that’s a long time ago, I know!) it was reported that 14% of men and 36% of women who were in prison were abused as children!
Children who experience abuse and/or neglect are 9 TIMES more likely to be involved in criminal activity.
2/3 of people in drug abuse treatment were abused and/or neglected as children. This statistic is reported from 1998!
Are you a little shocked? Are you eyes a bit more opened to the hurting world around you?
Let’s move to statistics I found for 2015.
Nearly 700,000 children are abused annually.
In that number, 205, 438 are abused sexually.
“Of those alleged to have abused children, nearly a quarter were abused as children.”
Hurt people, hurt people.
Is your mouth on the floor?
As I type this, I am aware of a clock, ticking. I am scheduled to be at my son’s school today to help with Bible Memory testing. In that class of 29 kids, I wonder often what stories they have lived. What life holds for them.
I am aware too, as you should also be, many cases of child abuse go unreported.
Many children are silently suffering a hell, terrified of the consequences of speaking truth.
Does that make you angry? Does that break your heart? It should.
We should be angry about this, we should be heart broken. We should resolve to live and love, making ourselves and our homes safe places for any one of those 700,000 children that may reside on your street, in your schools, or in your family.
Child Abuse is defined by Federal Law as:
“Any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation”;
“An act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm.”
Use this link to read more or read the definition for your specific state: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/can/defining/federal/
Child Abuse doesn’t always mean bruises and tears, declarations of honesty.
Sometimes it’s the quiet kid in the corner, scared of every male (or female!) in the world.
Sometimes it’s the loud, boisterous girl, labeled a rebel because she defies every authority above her.
Sometimes it’s the kid who flinches when you extend a hand toward him or her.
Sometimes it is the bully. The kid knocking other kids around, needing to feel in control of his (or her!) life.
Abused children have no specific mold other than this: Fear grips their lives and hearts. They feel like even if they look and dress and act like all the other kids, they are still marked as different.
I was the loud, boisterous girl. I was the one who refused to respect and honor men, other than my Dad and brothers. I was the girl who clung tightly to her secret, convinced that there was no way God could love her. I was the girl whose nightmares and flashback kept me from feeling like a normal pre-teen girl. I am the girl whose walls were so high, no guy stood a chance.
I was the girl.
I was the girl who became a pro at faking, a woman determined to never, ever be hurt ever again.
My sins are forgiven. My abusers forgiven. My grudge is gone. My nightmares are gone. My eating disorder is gone. My anger is gone.
My joy is restored.
I have mentioned before about key ladies in my life. One was a lady who worked where I volunteered. I will refer to her simply as L. I was a bit of a, oh I don’t know. I had some maturing to do. In order for that to happen, I needed some safety. And she provided that. Many times I am sure she was absolutely frustrated and annoyed by my antics, but she was always kind. While I am not sure she ever knew my story, at that time, she saw behind my walls. She saw a hurting heart, and she loved.
Who do you now that is hurting?
A hurt person can deal with their hurts in so many ways.
Drugs. Alcohol. Promiscuity. Self Harm. Suicide attempts.
Abuse, especially sexual, takes a child and destroys them. Nothing is safe. No one is safe. Fear has a deep, lifelong hold because of threats.
This cycle continues, and given the sin cursed world we live in it will never cease.
There are practical things we can do.
Be a kind human. No, don’t scoff at me as you scroll this, sipping your coffee. Have you ever mocked a drug addict, jailed for the umpteenth time? Have you ever spoken unkind things about that promiscuous cousin who is pregnant AGAIN? Have you ever looked down your nose at the kid in your child’s classroom who is ALWAYS mean?
I am not saying every person/child who does these things has been abused.
But do you know each person’s story?
Imagine if L had never been kind to me. Imagine if I had never finally confided to my parents the nightmares I didn’t understand? Imagine if Lamar had walked away the first time I pushed away because trust is so, so hard?
Imagine if just once, I had allowed Satan to convince me that death was the only way I would have peace.
Imagine if, it was you. Imagine if, it was your child?
Would you want grace? Would you want love? Would you want someone to stand beside you. thick and thin, and love you?
My clock is still ticking. And it’s time for me to close.
I hope I have poked your safety bubble, pricked your heart for the people in your life who are hurting and need your kindness and love.
If you have questions, feel free to email me at: email@example.com
In the meantime,