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Child Abuse: An Exposition

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Child Abuse: An Exposition

Imagine for one moment that you are not yourself any longer.

Visualize instead that you are a young girl; old enough to know right

from wrong yet still young enough to be terrified by the dark shadows

in your room. It is a cool autumn night and your parents have opted

to attend a party which you are not allowed at. 'It will be fine,'

they say. Although you already know what is to come. Your uncle comes

over to watch you for the evening, and your parents are so pleased by

the fact that they do not have to find a sitter. As soon as he

arrives, your mother kisses you on the cheek and scurries out the door

to join your father already waiting in the car outside. The nightmare

begins. His slimy hands casually slide an ebony cartridge into the

VCR as he smiles at you seductively. You can feel his eyes worming

their gaze through your clothes every time that he looks at you. You

feel dirty and violated every time you think about what he does to you

when you are alone. He walks over to the couch and sits down next to

you. His hand slithers it way onto your knee and you cringe in

revulsion. 'Don't be afraid, I won't hurt you,' he chides. Your mind

feels panicky as you feel his touch in more intimate places and you

scream involuntarily. His grip tightens as he places his hand over

your mouth. 'We'll have to do this the hard way!' comes his intense

whisper. You flail your arms at him, but it doesn't help. His

writhing massive body is on top of yours, and you feel so powerless.

Eventually, you sink into a sobbing heap and simply wait for his

passions to stop. You wait for the nightmare to end. When he is

done, you limp to the laundry room and try fruitlessly to get the

blood stains out of your clothes. It is all your fault...

Abuse: The violation or defilement of;

What you have just experienced is one type of abuse that

occurs millions of times every year across America. Estimates of

abuse range wildly depending on the source of ones information. From

one to two million children per year are victims of child abuse.

(Dolan p.3) All sources agree on the simple truth that not nearly all

cases of child abuse are reported or even estimated. Man cases go

unreported, less than 50% by current estimates. (Dolan p.3) The

amount of child abuse is staggering to think about, let alone deal

with. By the age of eighteen one in three girls will have been

sexually molested and one in six boys will have been molested in that

same time frame. (WWW site). Although, throughout this paper we shall

discuss not only the effects of sexual abuse but abuse in all its

forms. These include Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Mental Abuse and

Neglect. We will also Touch upon the basic question of this report,

and that is, 'How has child abuse changed over the last 100 years and

what effects has this had on the family?' This brings us to our first

research area, change.

It is clear that families are undergoing a number of important

structural changes: families are smaller than in the past, with fewer

children and sometimes with only one parent; parents have children at

a later age; more couples live together without the bonds of matrimony

which was accepted as a sacred bond so few years in human history.

The source of this degradation of such a basic unit of society is

unknown throughout all areas of research which I canvassed in my

quest. It is a question that one person needs to answer for himself

and solve for himself. Something a young child is not capable of


Physical abuse has many forms. It may involve the hitting or

kicking of a child with the fists or the feet, or with another object;

such as belts, shovels, changes, ropes, electric cords, leather

straps, canes, baseball bats, sticks, broom handles, or assorted large

objects. Other forms of abuse include the pouring of scalding water

or coffee on a child's body, holding a child's head under the water of

a toilet bowl, stuffed into running washing machines, throwing a child

against a wall, shaking a child with extreme force or placing parts of

a child's anatomy on hot or burning objects to cause pain. (Author's

note: Sometimes in extreme cases the shaking of a child with such

extreme force as an aggressive abuser possesses can cause severe brain

damage as the brain is crushed from repeated impact against the skull.

This type of injury is especially damaging in babies and small

children.) Some experts say the For every reported case of physical

abuse over 100 are not reported. (Dolan p.7) Nobody knows precisely

how many children die each year from physical abuse at the hands of

adults. The National committee for the Prevention of child Abuse in

its annual survey of all 50 states estimates the 1,125 children died

from abuse in 1988, a figure that, according to the Committee's report

'most likely represents the lowest estimate of the problem.' What is

known is that reports of child fatalities resulting from abuse are

steadily increasing... (Neal p.1) Many times when physical abuse is

caused by a parent or guardian, the child is not taken for medical

help, even when wounds or injuries are very severe. When they are

taken into the hospital it is usually be a secondary member of the

family, one who may not have caused the abuse but did not stop it

either. This type of person might be called a facilitator. In the

past, there was much more discipline in homes and schools then there

is today. In one interview, I had the following response to the

question, What do you consider to be abuse; as compared to punishment

and discipline? 'Beating with a stick the size of a telegraph pole.

Or forcing a kid to eat ...

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