Posts Tagged ‘child abuse’

Zilch. Zero. Nada.

Every year, between 133 million and 275 million children witness domestic violence in their home. What should this number be? Zilch.

In the United States, EACH DAY four children die as a result of child abuse or child neglect. How many children should die because of this? Zilch.

In the United States, four women per day are killed by someone who is supposed to love them and honor them. How many of these women should be killed? Zilch.

In the United States, 78% of the child fatalities due to child abuse and/or neglect are are a direct result of the parents. What should this number be? Zilch.

The statistics go on and on and on.

What can YOU do? Listen and watch for opportunities to make a difference in your community. Is there an election involving domestic violence, child abuse, elder abuse, or any other kind of abuse in your area? If so, speak up. Vote. Make a difference. Local communities need to do what they can do to make a difference. They can set up shelters, community centers, and inform the public. You can help make that happen. If you know someone who is being abused, you can help support them through it. You can make a difference in their life. You can help inform them. You can help make an escape plan. You can.

Until the statistics reach “zilch” we have to keep on working toward that number, doing anything we can to help the problem; to help the victims; to make survivors out of victims.

For the rest of the posts in this series, click here.

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Although I live in the United States and a lot of what I have posted has to do with the United States, abuse is by no means exclusive to the United States. Abuse is a worldwide problem.

According to the International Center for Assault Prevention (ICAP) approximately forty million children under the age of fifteen are victims of abuse or neglect. Internationally, up to 36% of girls and 29% of boys have suffered child sexual abuse. Between 133 and 275 million children worldwide are estimated to witness domestic violence annually.

According to Living Without Abuse (UK) domestic violence leads to an average of two women being murdered EACH WEEK and thirty men per year. The BBC reports that in the UK, one in ten children is neglected.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that, in developed countries, one in ten elder is abused each month. However, only one in twenty-four cases is reported so the estimates are considerably on the low side. In under-developed countries, the problem is far worse.

Pick any country and search for abuse statistics. You will be shocked. It is not an isolated problem. It is a worldwide pandemic.

Something needs to be done.

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How do child molestors get their victims to go along with what is happening? They tell lies. They tell the child what the childl needs to hear. Sometimes they promise them something or buy them something.

Here’s a true story. It might be a downer but it shows a bit how they operate and how molestation can occur with lots of people around.

Marina is four years old and she is one of many children in her family. She is often forgotten because she’s not the one that is clamoring for attention, positive or negative attention. She’s just there, doing what she’s supposed to be doing, being a kid. One day her grandparents come to visit them. They travel by Greyhound across several states and Marina is really happy to have them come to visit. Her family doesn’t have anyone else around. All the uncles, aunts, and cousins live several states away so having Gramma and Granpa visit is really special. When they get there, Granpa keeps winking at Marina and telling her that she is prettier than her sisters. He has her come over and put her hand in his pocket to pull out a coin. He tells her he’ll give her more money so she can buy a doll.

He does that several times a day. Gives her money. Compliments her. Tells her she’s his favorite and tells her she’s the prettiest. One night, the whole family is watching home movies in the living room. The lights are turned off and there’s no place for Marina to sit because her siblings are fighting with her and they won’t let her sit next to them on the floor. Granpa says she can sit on his lap and pulls her toward him. She sits on his lap as the movies play on the TV and as everyone talks and her dad tells what is going on with the movies he took of the family.

Granpa keeps whispering in Marina’s ear. Telling her lies. He pulls her hand and holds it for a few minutes then he puts it in his pocket. She starts to pull her hand out of Granpa’s pocket and he doesn’t let her. He holds it tightly and whispers that she’s his special girl and that he has dollars to give her so she can buy her doll. She settles down and Granpa puts her hand on something inside her pants. It’s hard and kind of like a stick. He pulls her hand up and down the stick and makes her do it…makes her keep rubbing her hand up and down the stick. He whispers for her not to stop and to do it faster. The lights are off and no one can see. She feels funny rubbing on the stick in Granpa’s pocket but there’s no one lookiing and no one to tell because it’s dark and everyone is talking and laughing. Granpa holds her hand tight and guides it up and down, faster and faster and she can feel the breath coming from Granpa…harder and harder, more and more breath, the little noises. Finally, he lets her go and says he will be right back and she should go sit on the floor now.

They stay more days and Marina doesn’t feel right. She doesn’t want to get too close to Grandpa. It’s in the summer time and Marina and her brothers and sisters get to play outside in the water. They’re all wearing sunsuits and getting wet. When Marina’s straps get untied, Granpa is watching and says she should come to him so he can tie the straps. She does and he stands in front of her with his back to everyone else and he takes her straps to tie them but before he ties them he smiles at her and puts his fingers on her chest and pinches. He smiles and pinches some more and then he rubs her chest on the brown spots and pinches again before he ties her straps. No one sees. Marina wants to cry but Granpa says don’t cry. You’re my favorite girl. Tomorrow we can go buy a doll. Don’t cry. Shhh. Shhh. It’s okay. It’s our secret. Shhh. Shhh.

For more poss on Abuse, click here.


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Survivor or victim?

Words are important.

When a person is abused and victimized, their life is shattered. There are lifelong effects of the abuse. The person can remain a victim in their eyes and in the eyes of others, always feeling “less than” because of the actions of another.


They can survive the abuse. Surviving involves moving past the abuse and living a full life in spite of it. Surviving means being the person you were meant to be before the abuse; in fact, being a better person because of it. Surviving means taking your past and incorporating it into your life to become stronger and, often, to help others get past the victim stage and to the survival stage.

I guess that makes me a survivor. I wasn’t always comfortable with that title but now I am. I’ve picked up the pieces. I’ve learned more about abuse. I am trying to help others become aware of abuse. I’m trying to help others that have been in my position.

It’s a tough thing to write about. You have to experience it to understand but if that means you have to be abused, then I would rather you did not understand because I don’t wish abuse, of any sort, on anyone.

For more posts on abuse, click here.

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There are many questions surrounding abuse. While we are getting good at finding answers, we still don’t have all the answers. Below are a lot of questions and some links to help YOU find some ways to understand and to help. Some of the questions have no links. Why? Because there are few answers and few lights to shed on them. For now, they are “thinking questions.”

Why do people abuse?


Why do abused people stay in those relationships?


compelling reasons women stay




Why do parents put their kids through the horrors of domestic violence?


Why do children keep their abuse a secret?




Why are children abused?



Why do parents abuse their children?


Why do people abuse elders?



Why do abusers pick the most vulnerable people?

What is domestic violence and abuse?


What’s the big deal about verbal abuse? It’s only words.

Click to access What_Is_Emotional_Verbal_Abuse.pdf

What is emotional abuse?


How can you help an abuse woman in an abusive relationship?



How can you help a child in an abusive home?



How can you tell when a child has been abused?




How can you tell when a spouse is covering up their spouses abuse?

How can you tell if an elderly person is being abused?

What can communities do to help those in abuse relationships?

What can communities do to help protect children from abusive adults?

What can we do to help protect children from abusive children?

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Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome happens when a person experiences or witnesses a traumatic event such as an accident, a death, a physical or sexual assault, war, famine, etc., that causes terror, fear, or feelings of helplessness and loss of control. These feelings interfere with the normal every day life of the person and can last months, years, or entire lifetimes.

How does this fit in with abuse? Abuse is a traumatic event, whether experienced as a victim or as an observer. Incidences of abuse can cause post traumatic stress syndrome in which the person feels anger, nervousness, helplessness, anxiety and other feelings that can recur, keeping them from living a normal, productive life. The person will often relive the events surrounding the trauma. They just cannot get past it.

Treatment can include medication or counseling, and often includes both components in an effort to relieve the person of the physical and emotional symptoms to get back to their normal life.

From my research, it appears that the PTSD caused by physical, emotional, or sexual abuse (or witnessing it) is the most difficult to treat. The events that caused the PTSD were in most cases, ongoing, long-lasting, and very damaging.

For more posts on the topic of Abuse, click here.

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My mom and dad are fighting again. Well, at least my dad is fighting with my mom. I can’t hear her saying anything but I can hear my dad yelling at her and saying some of the words we aren’t supposed to say because they’re bad words.

It happens all the time but more when my dad doesn’t have to go to work the next day. He starts out happy but then he ends up angry and yells at all of us. My mom sends us to the other room or to bed if it’s night time. He keeps yelling at her and sometimes I can hear him slap her or hit her. Sometimes I can hear him push her down on the floor or against the wall.

This time it was because my dad yelled at my brother and got up to hit him and my mom got in between them so he couldn’t hit my brother. Instead, she sent him to bed along with the rest of us and when we left he started yelling at her and calling her names then he hit her.

It happened last night, too. And a few days ago. My birthday was last week and it happened then too, after everyone went home. He always starts when everyone is gone. He’s nice to everyone until the company leaves then he starts hitting us and yelling at us. He has a whip. It’s made out of a long extension cord. He folds it in half and whips us with it. Then my mom comes and tries to get him to stop and he starts whipping her, too.

It happens all the time. Over and over again. All the time.

For my other 2016 A to Z Challenge posts, click here.

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Lisa is bruised today. She knows she needs to cover up and wear clothes that won’t show her bruises when she goes to school. Her dad was really angry at everyone last night. Lisa didn’t get out of his way fast enough.

He yells at her. The next day he apologizes and he cries and he brings her some special treat. It has always been that way, since she was a little girl. He told her she can’t tell anyone. It happens to everyone, her dad says. It’s normal. It just isn’t talked about because it’s supposed to be kept secret and private. He smiles at her and caresses her cheek. He’ll try not to do it again.


Michael’s dad left last year. He just didn’t come home one day. His mom was glad at first but then she got sad. She missed him. She was lonely. She had Matt come into her room to sleep in her bed because she was lonely. She didn’t want to sleep alone. Michael didn’t mind. He didn’t like being alone in his room either. Then one night when he was sleeping, he woke up and his mom was touching him. It felt good and when she saw he was awake, she stopped. Then another night, she kept on touching him and she asked him to touch her. She took his hand and touched her breasts with it. That was all. But as time went by, she made him touch her more and she touched him more. When she touched him it made him feel good. She told him not to tell anyone. Everyone does it. It is just not talked about. It’s private. It’s secret. Shhh. Shhh.


Why don’t people tell when they are abused? One of the reasons is because it has happened to them for so long that they don’t know any other way. And in most cases, they have been told by their abusers that what is happening is normal. It’s a secret. Don’t tell tell. It’s private. Everyone does it. And the know no other way of life so they believe that it is normal. It may not feel right but they have been made to believe that it’s normal. Shhh. Shhh.

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All citizens have a responsibility to protect those who cannot protect themselves.

Without a meaningful consequence for violating Oregon’s mandatory reporting law, there is little incentive for compliance. Without a real risk of meaningful punishment, laws that impose a duty to act have no deterrent effect.”— Erin K. Olson, Portland attorney and a co-founder of the Oregon Crime Victims Law Center. 

What is a mandated reporter? A mandated reporter is someone who is required by law to report suspected abuse (child abuse, domestic violence, child neglect, and elder abuse all have specific lists of those who are mandated to report such abuse). In the case of child abuse and child neglect, the list of mandated reporters encompasses many specific people in the medical, educational, legal, law enforcement fields as well as other fields. Some states also make any adult working with a children’s club or organization (Cub Scouts, Girls Scouts, Boy Scouts, Campfire, Y, etc.) a mandated reporter.

Mandated reporters are required to report when they suspect abuse or when they are told by a potential victim that abuse has/is occurred/occurring. That means that if a child comes to school and tells a teacher that his/her parents are abusing them, that teacher is required to make the report to the local agency for child protective services. They don’t have to have actual first hand knowledge of the abuse. They are required to make the call and let another professional make the decision as to whether it will be investigated or not. The identity of the reporters is supposed to be kept confidential. That doesn’t always happen. Most states have laws and penalties against anyone in a “mandated reporter category” NOT making a report.

I have been a mandated reporter in my teaching capacity as well as a Scout leader. I have made those calls to Child Protective Services several times. In one case it was investigated and found to be true. In the others, it was either not investigated at all or investigated and not found to be credible. And, although my identity was supposed to be kept confidential, it wasn’t. As a result, in two cases, parents came into my classroom and confronted me and verbally abused me in the presence of my students (this was in California which, incidentally, has a law on the books making it illegal for anyone to verbally or physically attack a school teacher or administrator in the presence of students) and no one backed me up. Administrators are supposed to do that yet in both cases, they failed to do so. It left a bitter taste in my mouth but I don’t regret having made those calls. I will do anything in my power to protect a child from any kind of abuse. Any day. Every day.

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Did you know that in 2013 (the most recent year for which national statistics are available) an average of 4 children died EACH DAY as a result of physical abuse and/or neglect? The estimated number is 1,520 deaths in the United States that year. This shows a slight decrease from 2012 statistics.

Did you know that 46.5% of those 1,520 deaths were children under the age of one? An additional 34.5% were aged 1 to 3. The youngest children are the most vulnerable, probably due to their dependency on the adults around them, their size, and their inability to report what is happening to them. Children aged 4 to 7 accounted for 11.7% while those aged 8 to 11 account for 3.5%. The remaining number is the total of those aged 12 to 17 years of age.

Did you know that in 2013 parents were responsible for 78.% of the fatalities?

Did you know that the FBI estimates that 30% of fatalities among women are committed by their husbands, boyfriends, or exes? This also translates into 4 women per day killed by someone who is supposed to love them and honor them. In most cases, when a woman is killed by a partner or former partner, it is after they have left the abusive partner; after they have made their escape. They are stalked and attacked, just as they are beginning to feel safe.

Did you know that when a battered woman kills her abuser, it is most often due to self-defense or to protect their children? Statistics vary from agency to agency and state to state but the high numbers for these self-defense/defense of others murders is 67% in California.

“When domestic violence results in homicide, it is often a reflection of the community’s failure to recognize the severity and potential lethality of the problem, and to address its critical role in early intervention.”Strengthen Our Sisters

These posts have been increasingly difficult to write because of their subjects. However, I do feel it is important to highlight some of these issues. I’ve resorted to some dry statistics and some fictionalized case studies, along with some true events. I hope you forgive me for not being more creative. My hope is that someone will be helped, either by reading these posts or by having the information shared with them.

If you’re inclined to do so, please read this important news story of a current case in California. It highlights how some children are failed by they system.

When parents abuse and kill and the system covers it up

My 2016 A to Z Challenge Posts



Child Abuse


Elder Abuse

Families & Domestic Violence





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