Finding the Courage to Speak Up About CHILD ABUSE!

Although SRIRIT UNBROKEN appears to be a novel, the story is true. It is a work of non-fiction, a history that needed to be told.   In my sharing it is hoped that others might gain even the smallest amount of comfort and possibly guidance from my own journey and experiences.  There is the chance that you might recognize similarities to your own youth.  Most assuredly, you know someone with a similar background.  I am anyone; unfortunately, I am everywhere.  My story is told for everyone that cannot tell his or hers.

This writing is an open acknowledgement to a childhood existence that was far from normal and healthy.  There are times that are still beyond any understanding and explanation… and are left unspoken by me, even now.   However, the message within the pages is positive and hopefully healing for those who need to close the open wounds…forever.  This is a journey of human spirit and hope.  Identifying can be on many levels.

The numbers of people in America who have not been able to acknowledge their own difficult or abusive childhoods are far greater than the published statistics. So many generations were silent then and remain so,still today.   Our Society as a whole, only recently increased both its effort and awareness to help protect its children. Recently, the Penn State Child Abuse saga came to light.  When are we  finally going to become  aware of Childhood Abuse’s epidemic proportions?

The published statistics of children that have grown up in families where Child Abuse of some kind: physical, emotional, or sexual exists, as well as children raised in homes which are dysfunctional,  is staggering.   Today, in one year alone, child protective agencies investigate almost three million reports alleging maltreatment. The prevalence of Child Abuse statistically is far greater than most would believe. It’s ugly and difficult to look at, so most people “choose” to look the other way.  Such was the case with Coach Joe et. al. at Penn State.  (If you are going to be a role model for youth, than you must be a role model in all venues of life. That’s only logical.)

STAGGERING  ABUSE TRUTHS:

*In just one area alone, Sexual Abuse, one in four girls, or twenty-five percent are abused…by the age of fourteen!

One in six boys, or roughly seventeen percent are abused… by  the age of sixteen!

Americans, for the most part, are unaware of these facts.

There are approximately 60 million survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse in the United States, today.  Mathematically, that represents almost one fifth of the total population of the 2000 Census. The median age for reported abuse is 9.9 years for boys and 9.6 years for females.  Sadly, only one child in ten ever tells of the sexual abuse.  Fabrication of abuse amazingly occurs in only one to four percent of all reported cases.

Consequences of a negative and abusive childhood affect our society.   Excessive drug and alcohol abuse is reported by seventy to eighty percent of survivors. Young girls who have been abused are more likely to develop eating and psychiatric disorders. Among male survivors, more than three- quarters have a history of substance abuse, more than one- half had suicidal thoughts, one quarter attempted suicide and more that two thirds received psychological treatment.  And if all this weren’t enough, thirty one percent of males victimized…go on to victimize others!

My own story is candidly told to both enlighten and alert. There is no celebrity motivation at all.  I firmly believe Childhood Abuse is a disease that our society can cure and prevent.  It knows no boundaries within Racial, Economic, and Social groups.  There are no clear- cut definitions as to what is and isn’t abuse.  If the action is harmful to the child, it is unhealthy and therefore abusive.

 This is a disease that does not call for extensive scientific research looking for a cure.   Rather, it is a disease that elicits recognition and commitment on the part of all responsible adolescents and adults.  Early recognition, acknowledgement, and subsequent intervention are necessary.  However, the abused, as well as the abuser, need rehabilitation after that point or the cycle perpetuates itself and the statistics remain a constant.  Once the abuse stops…it is far from over, as the startling figures above indicate.

The consequences of Childhood Abuse affect the quality of life for everyone in our country, not just its survivors.  Its effects are far-reaching and negative.  Statistics strongly support that fact.  My own spirit and attitude are the exception for those that are abuse survivors… the overwhelming majority of its victims are not nearly so fortunate.   I am more than aware of my Blessings. If you are someone who needs help or know someone else who does… start now.

Sue

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