In The Silence
to the victims of abuse
WHY YOU SHOULD REPORT CHILD
the world over and yet, in most countries, it is ignored and even
thought of as not actually existing.
abuse is one of the largest causes of death in children under 5 years
of age in many western countries and this is a most alarming statistic
and one that should be of concern to all of us who believe that
children have a right to be children and live uncomplicated lives, free
of unnecessary hardship and avoidable complications. It is estimated
that at least one child in four will have suffered child abuse in a
western country (similar statistics probably exist world wide), so that
means that such a large number of children will grow up having been
humiliated and sometimes permanently damaged in mind and/or body. That
should not be acceptable to anyone.
It is extremely sad that
many adults consider children to be just objects that they can use for
their own sick pleasure, beating them, sexually using them and, sadly,
sometimes even killing them, just so that they (the perpetrator) can
have their moment of pleasure.
The other aspect of this is that
around 90+% of abused children will continue that cycle when they
become adults themselves, and so the process continues into the next
Why does this happen?
no-one has told them that this behaviour is not normal. For many
children, abuse has been an intimate and integral part of their lives
since the day they were born and the many years of habitual abuse make
them believe that this is the normal way to live and so they
to keep that myth going into their adult years, making sure that their
children will also feel the same way for when they grow up. This is not
necessarily a deliberate action but rather an instilled one.
of the statistics quoted earlier, if you are not a victim of abuse then
there is a very strong chance that many of even your closest friends
are victims of abuse. However, the chances are that you will never know
about these as there is a sub-culture in western society (in
particular) that says we mustn’t talk about such things because it
brings shame to the family and to the community. While that may be
true, up to a point, the cost to society of this horrendous, cowardly
act cannot be measured. Whilst the monetary cost can have some measure,
there is the social cost to the community. The two most common costs
are suicide and social withdrawal.
Some experts believe that child abuse (especially sexual and physical)
can be listed as among the top three causes of suicide, especially in
teenagers. This is alarming. Of course, the exact figure can never be
known because so many victims of child abuse are actually not really
aware that this is the cause of their depression and the subsequent
action it can cause. So, even if they were to leave a suicide note,
this aspect would most likely never be mentioned. This aspect relates
to the fact that they are not aware that this is abnormal behaviour on
behalf of the perpetrator.
This is far more wide ranging than may at first appear to be the case.
Because the child (and subsequently the adult) may feel “unacceptable”
in society (without knowing why they feel that way), as a result they
“withdraw” from many aspects of social interaction. In extreme cases of
abuse, this can even mean total withdrawal from social interaction. Not
only is this detrimental to the individual but it creates a tragic loss
to the community. People who might otherwise be pillars in their
community in some way, are lost completely to that community because of
their fear of rejection and of becoming “unacceptable” to their peers.
This second aspect is often used as an indicator (especially in
children) that the person may be a victim of abuse. One aspect of adult
abuse, in particular, is that the perpetrator may severely restrict
(even totally) the social activity of their partner and/or children.
Thus a once outgoing individual, suddenly “loses interest” in doing
things or meeting with friends.
These are just two of the many
outcomes of abuse in our community life. No matter what the outcome,
abuse ultimately costs the community dearly, especially in small
communities where everyone knows everyone. Yet, it is often in these
communities that abuse can be happening unreported because no-one wants
to offend anyone in the community.
What can be done about it?
the best thing that can be done is that if you suspect or know about
abuse, then report your suspicions to the authorities. They will accept
that it is only a suspicion but once a report has been made, then they
are in a position to follow it up. This becomes especially important if
more than one person reports their suspicions. Most authorities
(especially the police) will follow up on such reports and do so
without revealing the source of information. In fact, in most western
countries, it is actually possible to report such matters in a totally
anonymous manner. This is a good thing in a small community because
then no-one can point the finger of blame at someone for upsetting the
equilibrium of the community.
It is much better to find that your
suspicions are proved to be wrong than to have someone continue to
suffer the ordeal with the potentially terrible consequences and the
ongoing cycle that can, and does, happen.
Remember that the
favorite weapon of an abuser is fear, especially where children are
concerned. By one method or another they will instill so much fear into
their victims that they will never report it to anyone because they are
told that they will be punished or misunderstood if they do. For a
young child that is a most powerful weapon and the perpetrator knows
that, using it to their advantage to make sure their victim never says
anything to anyone.
It is that fear that often leads to
suicide because they feel so degraded, yet cannot talk about it, so
they end up so depressed that suicide remains the only option.
What if the incident occurred a
long time ago?
does not make any difference. The general aspect of an abuser is that
they do not change. Now it needs to be pointed out that some do abuse
because there was some mitigating circumstances that caused the
original incident to occur. However, on the whole, perpetrators remain
perpetrators unless they are stopped. By not reporting an incident,
even if it occurred 25-30 years ago (or even longer) you are allowing
this person to go on destroying other lives, especially if they like to
Reporting it may not bring about criminal
prosecution for your personal release from the horror of that abuse,
but your actions will most probably prevent other people having to
suffer the same shame and fear that you went through. Some countries
have quite lengthy periods after you become an adult to be able to
report for prosecution, but even if that time has expired, do it for
the sake of the potential victims that may still be within their reach.
Once authorities are aware of past incidents, they can watch
the person more closely to check on any current potential victims and
to prevent anything disastrous happening in the future.
way child abuse will be reduced is if people stop thinking about their
personal feelings of shame and think of the countless others they are
allowing to be potential victims like they themselves have been.
LET CHILDREN SUFFER THIS HUMILIATING
IMPASSE ON THEIR LIVES.
SPEAK UP NOW!
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