Child abuse (an uncomfortable truth)

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Editorial and Opinion  |  House: Booksie Classic
Something different for a change.......

An essay about child abuse and the danger of it being trivialised and somehow made to be less of an evil through the use of it to sell books.

Also the view that somehow it can be made better with simple answers and the love of a good parent.

Sometimes the apple pie tastes sour........

(No apologies at all about the picture)

Submitted: June 18, 2008

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Submitted: June 18, 2008

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Child abuse
 
(An uncomfortable truth)
 
 
 
 
Child abuse, just two little words out of many many thousands that make up the English language; just two words but they carry an enormous weight.
 
Just two words……….
 
How can words carry such a power?
 
How can two words even begin to encompass the horror and the degradation it describes?
 
There is no easy answer to those questions if there is an answer at all.
 
Only someone who has experienced child abuse can stand up and attempt to describe what it feels like. Only a victim can relate the continuing hurt, guilt and degradation they feel. Even in adulthood the abuse continues. You are never free from it you just develop a way to keep functioning.
 
Only someone who has survived abuse can honestly and truthfully stand up and say “This is what needs to be done” Only a survivor no one else. You could fill a concert hall with psychologist’s psychiatrists, behavioral analysts, nurse’s doctor’s social workers well meaning neighbours and amateurs but if they haven’t experienced abuse first hand actually inflicted upon them how can they understand?
 
To try and put this into context imagine a war veteran reciting his experiences to a group of people. He was there; he stormed the beaches on D-Day into the murderous hail of bullets and shellfire. He can tell you exactly what that felt like. What emotions he felt as he saw his comrades maimed and killed, the horrors he experienced on that day and the horror that still haunts him today.
 
HE WAS THERE
 
Now take a student of modern history and ask him to describe what happened on that June day. He could recite the facts of the day, how the soldiers floundered in the sea weighed down by their equipment and weapons. Also he could recite the cold statistics of that day the amount killed and wounded on both sides. The equipment used and the sheer scale of the invasion fleet.
 
What he cannot convey is the personal horror felt by every solider who went into combat. For one simple reason.
 
HE WAS NOT THERE
 
Many exceedingly clever doctors and child psychologists have published many papers, television documentaries and internet sites. They can describe the physical and emotional damage from a clinical viewpoint. Child A suffered prolonged physical and mental abuse up to the age of X and this is the effect it had on Child A. The doctor will have interviewed Child A and asked a cross referenced series of leading questions designed to make Child A open up the dark secrets locked in the memory. I know from experience that horrible feeling when you do not have to words to convey your emotions. That gut wrenching fear as your mind transports you back into the hands of the abuser. Suddenly I am a child again, suddenly I am curled up against the repeated blows I know are coming for being a “bad boy”. Just like Pavlov’s dogs I am trained never to say, never to admit what happened and trained to expect swift and brutal retribution should I be unfortunate enough to let the secret out.
 
There are no words to convey these emotions, as a writer I have tried long and hard to describe what that feels like. Words like “degraded”, “horror”, “nausea “ “worthless” “dead” “brutalized” these are powerful and emotive words but they do not come close to articulating the sheer scale of the horror. Some things are unimaginable and indescribable unless you have experienced them first hand.
 
Going back to our WWII solider struggling up the beach on D-Day………. I could describe the scene in cold language as I have read many books on that battle and seen many war films including Saving Private Ryan. What I cannot do is even come close to describing what it must feel like to see the person stood next to you blown apart limb from limb and then be soaked in his blood and gore. You escape that time just because you were stood a few feet to one side from where the shell landed, or to see a beach swathed in mangled and dead bodies and not being able to do anything about it due to the scale of the carnage.
 
I cannot describe it because I have never experienced it, I also pray to God I never will.
 
The war veteran would struggle to describe what he saw and felt on that day because like an abused child there are no words to convey what he experienced. Only to other veterans who were there do the words he uses mean anything in relation to the horror. Another veteran would see the scene when the words become inadequate. When the solider break down into silence and stiffens his jaw.
 
THEY UNDERSTAND BECAUSE THEY EXPERIENCED IT.
 
Notice a theme developing?
 
There is a group of people who I know are well meaning in their intentions who are trying to bring the issue of child abuse to the forefront in many forums not just this one. This is to be encouraged to a certain extent.
 
What I have personally found disturbing as well as offensive is that a lot of the material written seems to be taking a very naïve viewpoint. For example, a child is being abused by a person outside their family circle. That child should feel empowered enough to approach a responsible adult and tell them what is going on. The responsible adult then believes the child and goes away and does what is necessary to get the abuse to stop. The child then goes on to lead a full healthy and productive life secure in the knowledge that their abuser is or has been punished and has seen the error of their ways.
 
In the real world this does not happen!
 
Also I do find there is a certain amount of making the abuse seem trivial that it is just something that happens. Something that can be fixed by waving a magic wand and reciting the spell which empowers Mummy to make the hurt all go away………. This attitude is both offensive and Patronising in the extreme.
 
The pain cannot be removed with a simple gesture or a meeting of a Mothers group who hold hands and recite the Lords prayer after eating cookies and discussing sewing patterns.
 
The pain does not go away if Mummy cooks the child’s favourite meal with really expensive ice cream to follow. Then a nice warm bath and an early night with the child’s favourite teddy bear.
 
This is the real world and it is not made better easily and it never will be.
 
Here is a thought for you to ponder for awhile, what if the abuser is God forbid of course Mummy!! The responsible adult who the child is programmed to trust above all others? Or even Daddy? The man with strong arms who should be twirling their beloved child round in the garden and making sandpits and tree houses, playing piggy back through the house on the way to dinner?
 
Interesting question isn’t it?
 
Or what if the abuse is done by both parents in collusion? What then? Who does the child turn to? Who does the child trust with the most important secret they will ever have in their lives?
 
Another interesting question.
 
Sadly there is no simple answer to any of these questions. We would all like to live in a perfect world were children are safe from the predations of sick people who would hurt them or worse. Where a child could be left unsupervised to play in the park without the fear of them coming into contact with pedophiles or murderers, a parent should be the one looking out for the child as much as they can.
 
Quite often the child is abused by someone they know and trust be that a sibling, relative or a parent. This makes the trap even more dangerous because the child comes into contact with the abuser on a regular basis and there is always the threat of the abuser towards the child “If you tell anyone I’m going to kill you” and so on.
 
Child abuse is a trap that ensnares the most innocent and trusting part of our society. If we are going to make a society that even comes close to humane and fair there needs to be a better mechanism to ensure the safety of our children.
 
Stronger powers for family doctors to protect a child from abuse as soon as they start to suspect that it is taking place, surely it is far better to err on the side of caution with regards to a child than it is to just assume that the bruises for example are just another case of boisterous play as opposed to the physical evidence of abuse.
 
We also need stronger powers for our social services to be able to place the child in a safe and secure environment until the truth can be ascertained. This requires certainly in the United Kingdom a government that is willing to fund a child protection service that is fit for purpose and one that is able to respond before we have yet another tragic case of a dead child.
 
Recently in the UK there was a child who was systematically abused, starved beaten and sexually assaulted. The child was admitted to casualty on numerous occasions with some quite severe injuries. Still nothing was done until an ambulance was called for the child at home. The child was then declared “dead on arrival” when the ambulance reached the hospital.
 
The parents, lets not be nice about this, slowly murdered that child making her short life a sickening misery of pain and degradation. Is that plain enough?
 
They murdered the child……….
 
The social services are now in the midst of reviewing their procedures to ensure that this never occurs again and that the correct steps are taken to ensure a child safety.
 
Yet again a child is dead before anything is done.
 
The neighbours say that they were unaware of anything being wrong in the house or that a child was being abused and tortured. In modern society how well do you know your neighbors or people who just live a few houses down?
 
If we are to tackle the sickening continuation of child abuse we need to be more aware of its existence and be prepared to sometimes answer a few nasty questions. We need to look at what causes someone to abuse a child as well as how to prevent it happening in the first place.
 
We also need to be more neighborly and try to get to know the other families who we see from day to day. Create a neighborhood where you actually speak to the people around you and get to know which child belongs to which family.
 
This is not a call for mob rule as soon as abuse is suspected, more a call for just reaching a point where you would notice a difference in a child behavior or the way they interact with certain people.
 
Then surely alarm bells would ring?
 
Surely then that little girl would have led a good long life free from abuse?
 
There are no simple answers to any of these questions and there never will be. I only hope that it is not made to be trivial or just another way for an author to reach the bestsellers list with their true story.
 
Child abuse prevention starts with us. Every one of us…….. Every single one.
 
 
 
 
Boneman 18/06/2008
 
©Boneman productions 2008
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


© Copyright 2017 boneman. All rights reserved.

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