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We must speak up about abuse

We must speak up about abuse

In the last couple of days the phrase #MeToo has flooded social media with men and women speaking out against the sexual abuse they’ve suffered. It’s been both inspiring and saddening to see how many people have experienced sexual abuse in some form.

Which is why I was so incredibly angry when I saw some advertising a t-shirt on Facebook that said, “wooden spoon survivor.” The shirt is meant to be a joke that even though their parents “disciplined” them with a wooden spoon they still turned out ok. Any discipline that involves physical, emotional, or mental harm isn’t discipline, it’s abuse. And to call it anything other than that is downright wrong.We must speak up about child abuse.

Through my associations at work, I hear the stories of the children who have been so incredibly abused—sexually, physically, mentally, emotionally that they struggle to be part of society. As a result they struggle to control their emotions, they believe they have no self worth, they have a hard time believing that everybody isn’t out to get them, they wonder why people who love them do this to them, and they have difficulty forming meaningful relationships. But, the worst is they struggle with knowing that abusing others—verbally, physically, mentally, sexually—isn’t ok because that’s all they known.

It takes a lot of work for children to overcome the effects of abuse. While some can, many can not. And when children suffer, society suffers too.

The 2014 ODI commissioned a report on the global effects of abuse. The report estimated that cost of abuse of children worldwide could be as high as $7 trillion dollars per year with an estimated 275 million children worldwide experience abuse in their own homes. Think about that. 275 million!

The effects of child abuse are chilling. Children who have experienced domestic abuse are more likely to have higher mortality rates, chronic absenteeism from school, long or short-term disability, increased physical injuries, more mental and health issues, and lack of prospects once leaving childhood. (Read the article here)

When we make light of abuse it becomes harder for someone—especially children—to speak up about the horrors they are experiencing. Children may not be able to speak up, but we as adults must. If you suspect someone, adult or child is being abused, please say something.

National Domestic Abuse Hotline 1−800−799−7233

National Sexual Abuse Hotline 1-800-656-4673

Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-422-4453