Child abuse is defined by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services as being, "Any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation"; or "An act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm."(Definitions of Child Abuse
and Neglect 2015). Child abuse is a growing social problem which results in the death of about two thousand children annually. In just one day five children will die from abuse or neglect. In fact every thirteen seconds another child is abused in the United States. The fact that so many children are being abused and may be killed by this abuse is significant, but it is also important to realize that there are detrimental effects that the abuse may have on a child ten or twelve years later. The abuse that a child sustains may affect people in very different ways, but child abuse has never and will never have a positive effect
on a child later in life.
A child that goes untreated for having been abused has an increased likelihood of arrest for a violent crime than that of the general population by thirty eight percent.
Children that have been abused have been found to have a greater chance of delinquency and a life of crime. Victims of child abuse have been proven to be more at-risk than people of the general population for negative personal and social events later in life. Since there are so many negative effects that child abuse has on people later in life, there have to be ways for people to speak about their problems and have other people's advice who have experienced similar abuse in their life.
One way in which people may feel comfortable speaking of their past abuse is on-line on the World Wide Web
. They can write about their experiences and get feedback from people with similar problems. People tell their personal stories of the abuse that they sustained as children and the negative effects that it has had on their life as adults. Many of the stories speak of ways in which some sort of child abuse, such as sexual abuse, has affected their lives as adults in their relationships with people of the opposite sex. Anyone can get on-line and tell their life story of abuse whether it be sexual, physical, or mental. Many people then write responses, which may be advice or stories of their own abuse.
An example of a story of child abuse available on the web was the story of a thirty-four year old woman who not only wrote about her story of abuse as a child, but also added pictures that she drew and lyrics from some of her favorite songs. At the beginning of her story there was a warning displayed on the computer screen which stated that you should not proceed any further if you were under the age of eighteen or offended by issues of child abuse. Throughout the story the woman would refer to herself as Jupiter and she would not say exactly who her abuser had been. She did state very clearly though that even though her father had mentally abused her, he had not physically or sexually abused her. She spoke of how she had felt in the presence of her abuser as he/she had surrounded her and the helplessness that she felt. The abuse that she suffered mentally by her father and physically by this other person or abuser made her repress her own sexual feelings for many years. It took her until she was thirty-four years old for her repressed sexual feelings to come out, and for her to realize that in fact she was a lesbian. Many, many years after the abuse had stopped this woman is still greatly affected by the abuse which she sustained as a child. Her therapist recommended that she let out her feelings about the abuse by drawing pictures and writing down what happened to her. Just writing down her story was important for Jupiter to let out her feelings about the abuse. The fact that she did not include the name of her abuser is not important to the impact of the story and the healing process. It is much more important that she deal with the effects that it has on her life now, years after the abuse took place. In this case the abuse affected Jupiter in a way that made her repress her sexual feelings. Her sexual feelings of being attracted to the same sex as a lesbian did not appear until much later in her life.
There are stories written by people who have e-mailed their story to a site on the web. These sites where people can just e-mail their story allow them a way to find someone to talk to about their problem. One such story was the story of a woman who had recently found out that her husband had been sexually abused as a child by his mother and her boyfriend when he was about twelve years old. After she found out about his abuse they started to attend counseling. Soon after she discovered that he was having an affair with another woman at work who was much like his mother. This is only one way that her husband's abuse as a child affected both of their lives. Her husband also sexually, mentally, and emotionally abused her and their three children who were however not sexually abused. This woman's story is a prime example of how abuse sustained as a child has detrimental effects on the person later in life. This man may not realize that the abuse that he sustained as a child would affect his decisions of having an affair and abusing his wife later in life. This man was not taught right from wrong morally as a child because of his mother's abuse. It is important to acknowledge the lasting effects that child abuse has on an adult later in life. It has been shown that males who experience sexual abuse in their childhood may suffer from anxiety, depression, impaired relationships, sexual dysfunction, and low self-esteem. It has also been proven that male survivors of childhood sexual abuse may attempt to prove their masculinity by having multiple female partners and by sexually victimizing others. This seems to explain what happened between the women and her husband in this story. The couple's story shows very clear examples of what actions may stem from sexual abuse as a child, although it is only one story in a great number of stories of people who are suffering from the effects of child abuse in their life.
One man's story on the web was very interesting, yet very sad. A man by the name of Paul Mclaughlin describes his story of abuse sustained as a child. He also describes how he has been helping the fight to stop child abuse from occurring since nineteen seventy-five. He encourages other people living in similar pain because of child abuse to contact him by mail or e-mail and tell their stories of abuse. He collects the stories and has a link on his web page so people browsing the web can read about these other people's stories of child abuse. Paul Mclaughlin's story of abuse as a child is a terrifying one. He was abused along with his twin sister for twenty years. His family consisted of four children one boy, one girl and a set of boy, girl twins. Paul was the boy twin in his family. His older brother and sister were not abused. The violent actions that their parents commited against the two twin siblings were absolutely dreadful. They were sat on a hot stove, made to eat their own stool, tied up and beaten with a stick and belt, stood in the corner for long hours, and made to eat soap. This type of abuse would happen to the twins not once a month, but every day. No one at school asked about the red marks left from the beatings. It seemed to the twins that there was no one to tell of the abuse. After Paul Mclaughlin tells his story of child abuse along with his twin sister, he encourages others to get their stories of past child abuse off their chests by speaking about them on the web. Paul is currently trying to stop child abuse from occurring in the world rather than letting the abuse that he incurred have negative effects on him such as abusing his own children. He is trying to do something rather than letting the abuse that he suffered as a child take over his life. The stories of child abuse by other people that Paul set up a link for on his own web site are very real and many are different from Paul's story of child abuse. There are many different types of child abuse such as sexual abuse or mental abuse and these types of abuse affect everyone differently. Some people suffer negative effects while other others turn the negative effects of abuse into something positive in their life. They may set up an organization for awareness of abuse or some other form of organization that shows that they have not let the abuse sustained when children take over the rest of their adult lives.
The other stories linked to Paul Mclaughlin's site show how different people try to deal with the abuse that they have sustained as children. Some people just tell their story from start to finish including names and details, while others allude to the type of abuse that they sustained as children and leave out the names of the aggressors altogether. There is not one good way or right way to tell the story of child abuse. It is just important to let a person get the story of abuse off of their chest, which is what Paul tries to get people to do by having them send their story via e-mail to him. This also allows the victims of child abuse to get in touch with people who have gone through similar abuse and who may identify with them better to go over their stories of abuse together.
One story that Paul Mclaughlin had a link to on his site was a horrifying story about a girl by the name of Heather. Heather's parents were only married because of her mother's pregnancy with baby Heather. Her father left soon after baby Heather was born and her mother was a drug addict who was too strung out to care for baby Heather. Heather's grandparents, being the saints that they were, offered to care for the baby. Instead of being the saints that people thought they were because they offered to care for Heather, her grandparents turned out to be real monsters who thought of baby Heather as a toy for amusement. The grandmother tried to drown her in the bathtub at age three and soon after her grandfather began to rape her. For the next nine years her grandfather raped her continuously and at age twelve she ended up pregnant with her grandfather's baby. Her grandmother then performed a wire hanger abortion on the bathroom floor. Heather was not allowed to have boyfriends or even speak to boys on the telephone. When she turned sixteen she became pregnant for the second time with her grandfathers baby. Instead of straying around to have another coat hanger abortion Heather packed her bags and went to a clinic to have a real and somewhat legal abortion. She then went to live with her mother in her welfare apartment, finished high school, and worked three jobs to raise money for a future college education. She is now a senior in college and is about to graduate and get a college degree. The negative effects that the abuse that she sustained as a child had on her later in life were obvious in her personal relationships with members of the opposite sex. She seemed to not make the best decisions when it came to boyfriends. One boyfriend raped her and another beat her. She was used to this, which may have been why she allowed herself to get into situations with boys such as these. Heather did make it to college and has almost graduated, which shows that she has great motivation since she has obviously not gotten any support or motivation from her parents or grandparents. It seems that the abuse had more of an effect on her personal life in the way of relationships with the opposite sex. Heather's story of abuse as a child and the way that it affected her later in life in her choices in relationships is in actuality a very common story.
There are other ways in which child abuse may affect a person such as the story of Jennifer. Jennifer's story is very much like the previously mentioned story of Paul Mclaughlin. Jennifer has a twin, just as Paul does, and suffered through physical abuse starting as a child until the day that she left for college. She suffered through being hit with hangers, beaten with wooden cooking utensils, and slammed up against walls. Up until the day that she wrote her story as a link to Paul's web site she had not told her story at all publicly. She had not wanted to tell her story publicly because she did not know if there was anyone who would understand where she was coming from. Sending an e-mail to Paul Mclaughlin about her story was a way for Jennifer to reach out and ask for help with dealing with the abuse that she has suffered. It seems easier to speak to people who can really truly relate to your own experiences than to speak with therapists who can only speak about the things that they have read in textbooks or learned in study for their career, but who have no personal experience in the field of child abuse. Jennifer does not explain how the abuse that she sustained as a child affects her personally in her present life. She does state though, that she has felt very confused and could use someone to answer her questions about what happened in her childhood. Paul Mclaughlin's web site helps people like Jennifer by giving them a way to release their story of past child abuse and speak to other people who genuinely relate to them personally. Paul's site helps people such as Jennifer with their pain.
A story is told as a link to Paul's site about a person by the name of Morgan Night. Morgan Night was sexually abused or raped at age eight by a male figure that she loved and trusted. As it has been stated in this paper, everyone deals with the pain of child abuse differently. In the case of Morgan Night, she repressed her feelings of pain for twenty years. This is a very common way for people dealing with the pain of child abuse to react. By repressing their feelings, they do not have to deal with the pain. Once Morgan Night began to remember the memories of the sexual abuse she sought therapy. It was very hard for her to speak of the painful memories, so as suggested by her therapist she began to write down her memories. Morgan Night has found one very creative way of expressing her feelings, which is through poetry. She speaks of a poem entitled, "Lost," in her e-mail to Paul Mclaughlin. This poem describes the inability of Morgan Night to scream during the rape and the nothingness that filled her soul because of the lost childhood. Morgan Night seemed to turn her repressed feelings from the sexual abuse that she encountered as a child into something positive just as Paul Mclaughlin did. Her reason for putting her story on the web was to collect other stories from survivors of child abuse to help her put together a book of poetry, prose, and artwork by other female survivors of sexual abuse as a child. Morgan Night is hoping to put together a book that reflects the survivors feelings and reactions to the sexual abuse that was inflicted upon them as children. Morgan Night uses the web as a tool which will help to enable her to put together a book on stories of survivors of child abuse. She included an address for people to write to as well as an e-mail address for people with access to e-mail. The story of Morgan Night is yet another example of how past child abuse affects people in many different ways positively and negatively.
The story written on the web entitled, "A Flower Growing in the Desert: My Story," is about a twenty-five year old women named Holli Marshall. Holli was raped at age five by an eighteen year old male baby-sitter. From the age of eight until she was fourteen she was raped repeatedly by her brother who suffered from mental retardation. She was also raped by about six different boys in the neighborhood from age of ten until she was about fourteen. Holli's mother has dissociative identity disorder or what is formerly known as the multiple personality disorder. Her mother abused in every way other than sexually. She was suicidal and had tried to commit suicide numerous times since Holli was born. She would try to commit suicide right in front of Holli by slitting her wrists or overdosing on pills. Holli's father was an alcoholic and tended to be controlling as well as being emotionally, verbally, and mentally abusive. Her parents would always tell her how unlovable she was and she was constantly told to "shut up." Holli was severely neglected and abandoned as a child, so it is for the most part a miracle that she survived through her childhood. The effects that this abuse as a child has had on Holli are amazing and terrifying. Holli has been diagnosed with anorexia and post-traumatic stress disorder (P.T.S.D). She also suffers from severe anxiety, panic attacks, nightmares, and flashbacks. The effects that the abuse that she has sustained as a child have had on her have been very disabling. Her life may never be normal because of the negative effects of the abuse that she has to deal with every day of her life. Holli is hoping by writing her story on the web that she will help to increase the awareness of child abuse in this country. It is important for people to understand just how severe the consequences of child abuse can be for the survivors of the abuse many, many years after the abuse has stopped. Holli states that her husband calls her a "flower growing in the desert," since she has grown and blossomed into a wonderful women even in a harsh environment. In order for Holli to help in the awareness of child abuse, she began a Mint Green Ribbon Campaign for the awareness of child abuse. Holli Marshall would like people to show their support of building awareness of child abuse by wearing a mint green ribbon. Holli even sent a copy of her story and her mint green campaign to President Clinton and legislators to gain their support in her plight for awareness of this horrible problem of child abuse plaguing this country's future generation. She is very serious about making people aware of the child abuse happening in this country and hopes to get a lot of support for her campaign for awareness. Holli attached a mint green ribbon to her site for people to download. Holli uses the web as a way to promote her campaign for awareness of child abuse.
The many stories of child abuse told by the real life survivors of the abuse provide a great way to really show that child abuse is not like a rare disease that only affects certain sectors of the population. Instead child abuse has the ability to affect anybody and everybody in society. The survivors of child abuse who tell their stories of abuse publicly do so for a number of reasons. Telling their stories of abuse publicly can be a part of the long process of healing from of abuse. By telling their story of abuse they are able to release feelings about the abuse that they may not have ever really paid much attention to. Describing just how the abuse occurred and how they felt when they were being abused allows the survivor to vent their feelings and get their feelings off their chest. Being able to tell one's story of abuse sustained as a child is one way and only the start of the healing process. There are many people that may never fully recover from having been abused as children. The abuse that a person may sustain as a child may effect the person's life in many ways, even if they undergo lengthy counseling about the abuse. The way that child abuse may affect a person's life is shown very clearly in the previously cited stories of abuse. The effects of the abuse may be very different depending on the type of abuse and the type of person who sustained the abuse as a child. It does not matter what the type of abuse, or how it has effected the person, everyone who has sustained abuse as a child needs to ask for help. They need to get some kind of counseling to help them deal with the negative effects of child abuse so that they can go on to lead as normal and happy of a life as is possible. The web may be a wonderful resource for a person who has been a victim of child abuse to learn about the possible effects that it may have on them and to reach out and find an organization to help them deal with the numerous effects that it may have had on their life.
The web is not only used as a way for people who have experienced some sort of child abuse to tell their story, but it is also a way for people to learn about the lasting effects of abuse. It is possible to learn about these effects by reading personal stories such as the previously mentioned ones on the web, but there is also factual information about what effects should be expected of an adult living with the pain of having been abused. As it has been shown through reading the personal stories of child abuse victims on the web, the effects of abuse may differ depending on the person and the type of abuse that they have sustained. One of the key issues that goes along with the effects of child abuse is whether child abuse may lead a person to become delinquent and be involved in criminal behavior later in life. Will sexual abuse as a child make it more likely for these people to be charged with a sex crime later in life? Will sexual abuse lead a child to run away as a juvenile and possibly be arrested for prostitution as an adult? Do victims of physical abuse as children tend to be at a greater risk for committing crimes such as rape and sodomy, than physical abuse victims? There is also the question of what the logical progression may be for people that go from being sexually abused as children to running away as adolescents to the life of prostitution as adults. Each of these questions has to do with the "cycle of violence" or the "intergenerational transmission of violence," which in other words means the effects that all types, physical, sexual, or emotional, abuse has on a person's life.
One of the most common effects that childhood abuse, especially physical abuse, has on a child later in life is that they have an increased chance for violent behavior. These people who have experienced physical abuse as children therefore have a greater likelihood for being arrested for a violent crime later in life. The people that have experienced neglect as children may also be very likely to become violent or show aggressive behavior as adults. Sexual abuse victims have also been found to show violent behavior as adults because of the abuse that they encountered as children. In general, any person who has sustained abuse as a child, whether it is physically, sexually, or in the form of neglect, has a greater chance of being arrested later in life than a person that has suffered no type of maltreatment as a child. The following quote by the National Institute of Justice, Research in Brief states a statistic that proves the theory that survivors of child abuse have a greater chance of committing crimes than people not abused. "Twenty-six percent of the people who were abused and/or neglected were later arrested as juveniles, compared with only 16.8 percent of the people who were not. The figures for adults also indicate a greater likelihood of arrest among people who were maltreated during childhood"(National Institute of Justice, Research in Brief).
The effects of child abuse on the person later in life are numerous. Violence is a very common form of the effects of abuse on a person although there are several other ways in which child abuse may affect the individual as shown in the previously mentioned stories of abuse on the web. It is very important that survivors of child abuse be counseled and healed in order to avoid many of the bad or negative effects of abuse. One quote
by an anonymous person about the importance of healing after child abuse is, "Children who go unhealed will turn on the society that neglected them." People that have experienced abuse as children must get professional help to work through the pain of abuse and start the heeling process. Maybe if the survivors of child abuse would do this then there may be a reduction in violent crimes, since it has been previously shown that a person's violent behavior as an adult, may be caused by the abuse sustained as a child.
Child abuse victims are more prevalent in the prison system as well as in statistics shown for juvenile delinquency, mental health problems, and drug abuse. Dr. Robert Chapman has found that violence is a common thread among child abuse victims in his twenty years in forensic psychiatry. He states, "It is very rare for me to examine someone who is a violent person who has not been the victim of violence in their youth." A child is not born violent, which is the reason why it is safe to believe that something has to happen before the child's first violent behavior. The major question is who teaches them this violent behavior. The answer to this question may be that it is home-schooled or taught at home. The violence that they have learned at home through their own physical abuse as children becomes their main tool for solving problems. As quoted by Dr. Robert Chapman, "The thing that teaches them the most is when people are violent with them as children"(American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry). He is referring to parents teaching their children violent behavior by being violent with them as children. Lisa Pieper, child protection supervisor with the State Department of Children and Family Services in Bloomington states that, "It's a cycle. They learn first-hand about violence. They don't see people solving problems. They see that for years and it is really hard to break those patterns without intervention." (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry). She supports the idea that children may learn the violence that contributes to their behavior later in life as physically abused children, and suggests that someone needs to step in and help these children. These abused children need help as soon as possible. The number of cases of reported child abuse is horrifying.
A child that goes untreated for having been abused has an increased likelihood of arrest for a violent crime from that of the general public by thirty-eight percent. This particular statistic shows very clearly how abuse really does effect violent behaviors later in life. Nationally about two million children are abused each year. This number is enormous. Every thirteen seconds another child is reported abused in the United States. Today about five children will die from abuse or neglect. Sixty percent of children who decide to drop out of school have experienced some sort of family violence or abuse. This statistic is just another example of how abuse as a child may effect a person later in life. Another statistic that shows the effects of abuse is that abuse victims are six times more likely to abuse others later in life than people of the general public. Ninety percent of juvenile delinquents and adult prisoners have reported being abused in some form as children. After reading the statistics of child abuse and the statistics of the effects of child abuse on a person later in life, it is important to explore what different organizations or programs are out there to help people, who are survivors of child abuse, voice their pain. If these abused children go untreated for their abuse then they have a much greater chance of a life of violent behavior. It is therefore of great importance for an abused child to know that there are organizations out there that can help them get through and deal with the negative effects that child abuse has had on their life. It is also important to promote awareness of child abuse, which the world wide web is a great tool for as we have previously seen in the abuse story of Holli Marshall and the Mint Green Ribbon Campaign of awareness.
The world wide web offers many sites for survivors of child abuse. There are organization's home pages as well as stories such as the previous ones for people to read and respond to by e-mail. The support system of child abuse survivors on the web is extraordinary. Many of the children and adults traumatized because of past childhood abuse may end up hurting others unless they receive sufficient therapy in secure environment. One program advertised on the web that offers counseling and therapy for abused children is called the Childhelp U.S.A. foundation. Childhelp U.S.A. offers residential treatment centers for victims of child abuse, counseling for families in crisis, and therapeutic foster homes. This organization is one of the leading organizations in child abuse prevention and treatment. They not only deal with events that may lead to abuse, but also the effects of child abuse on people later in life. Childhelp U.S.A. believes that, "Untreated children who go on to dysfunctional lives, full of drug and alcohol abuse, failures in school and the workplace, anti-social and sometimes criminal behavior - and the cycle begins again"(Childhelp USA). The organization lists the problems that result from a person who is abused as a child and is not given therapy in order to get over the painful emotional scars of the abuse. By offering the therapy necessary for the recovery from child abuse through residential treatment centers, counseling families, and therapeutic foster homes, Childhelp U.S.A. gets positive outcomes. Ninety-five percent of the children treated at the residential treatment centers go on to successful, non-institutional homes, and thirty-five percent of these children are even reunited with their families. Those families that go through Childhelp counseling no longer pose any risk of harm to their children. The Childhelp site on the web states that the graduates of Childhelp USA:
- Understand their past trauma and are ready to move on with life.
- Have learned to manage their anger and express it appropriately.
- >No longer need psychotropic mediation.
- Are age appropriate in their social behavior and social skills.
- Have recovered their self-esteem and learned that they can succeed.
- Are able to laugh and dream again.
- Have a better chance for a positive, successful life.
Each one of these outcomes of the Childhelp U.S.A. foundation shows how important it is for survivors of child abuse to seek treatment (Childhelp USA Foundation). There are so many ways in which treatment for past abuse can enhances a persons life. For this reason Childhelp U.S.A. is a very genuine organization that does the very tough job of treating children who have been abused. The advertisement for the Childhelp U.S.A. foundation on the web does ask for donations in order to help provide this important organization with the ability to have the resources to change the life of an abused child. Childhelp U.S.A. is only one of many organizations to help children deal with the effects of child abuse promoted on the web.
The Victim Services organization has a web site about their Brooklyn Child Advocacy Center. The article touches upon one of the most traumatic events that can happen to a child, which is sexual abuse. A child may find it very hard to tell someone about abuse, since it may incriminate another family member. The investigation may also be very difficult on the child having to deal with child protective, medical, and law enforcement agencies. A study done by victims services found that an abused child may have to tell his story to eight different child abuse investigators. One child had to tell his story to twenty-six different investigators. In many communities across our country private and public organizations are collaborating in their efforts to make safe havens for these children called advocacy centers. These centers help to support the child through the investigations as well as start on the healing process. The Brooklyn Child Advocacy Center, as advertised on the web, brings together a multidisciplinary team at one site including detectives, caseworkers, and child advocates, to make for less interviews and hopefully less trauma for the child during the investigation. The Brooklyn child advocacy is decorated to fit a child with child sized furnishings in an effort to make the children feel comfortable and secure. The center represents a public/private partnership to help protect children that are victims of abuse and prevent further abuse. This center is one of many organizations advertised on the web for helping children who have experienced some sort of abuse be able to deal with the trauma in their life.
The organization called "For the Children" has a web site to promote their cause. The organization was founded by a man who has lived through child abuse and is therefore a survivor. He was sexually abused at age five by his brother. He had two brothers and one sister. He found out twenty-five years later when the brother that had sexually abused him was caught and confessed to over five hundred cases where he sexually molested children that his other brother and sister were also sexually abused by his brother. Each of the people that were sexually molested by the founder's brother along with the founder of "For the Children" has to deal with the pain that the abuse has caused. The organizations web site states that, "If we save just one person from a life of pain and struggle, we have been successful." It is impossible for one person or one organization to heal every child abuse survivor's pain in the world, but it is possible, and therefore special, to be able to help just on individual heal their pain. "For the Children" makes it clear through their web site that it is important to encourage victims of child abuse to come forward with their story, so it may be possible to get their offender off the street. It is important to have this done so that the offender will not find other victims. The web site for this organization tries to teach people how to know if they have been a victim of child abuse or molestation. The site also has a link for other stories of survivors of sexual abuse. The reason for this link of stories is to show the victim of abuse that they are not alone. The organization's web site also has a comment's page, which encourages people to e-mail their comments to the victims, the families, and to the founder of "For the Children." This web site is yet another example of an organization using the web as a tool to promote their cause.
The Child Advocates is another organization advertised on the web. Child Advocates was founded in 1984 with the hope of reaching out to the innocent victims of child abuse. The organization trains court appointed child advocate volunteers who are appointed by a judge to speak on behalf of a child abuse victim. The organization makes a plea for help on their web site by stating, "Currently, we are only able to serve one out of every four children who need us. We need your help in any way that you can give it" (Child Advocates). They are asking for the public's support in their venture to help abused children. The point of the organization is to take these court appointed advocate volunteers and have them defend the rights of abused and neglected children. They hope to provide opportunities for the children to allow them to develop to their full potential. The program also hopes to educate the communities about child abuse and neglect by emphasizing the importance of a stable and healthy family. Child Advocates is asking on their web site for the public's support for their organization in any way possible.
It has been shown that there are many organizations available on the web to advocate programs to support child abuse survivors, and help in the prevention of further child abuse. It is important that people realize that the web is a wonderful way to research information such as these organizations. The web not only allows a person to look up information about organizations dealing with child abuse, but it also has a great deal of factual information on the topic. In recent years there has been a growing number in the reports of physical and sexual assaults on children. The web also deals with psychiatric organizations that handle the issue of child abuse, rather than a public or private organization that has been previously discussed. The psychiatric issues of child abuse are of great importance in the healing process of an abuse victim. One of the psychiatric organizations that discusses their issues on the web is called the "American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry." Some examples of what the organization does are: set guidelines for the clinical evaluation of child sexual abuse victims; suggest questions for parents whose children are recommended for psychiatric hospitalization; and they research scientific initiatives on children with AIDS. Although this psychiatric organization does not solely work with issues of child abuse it puts its emphasis on the overall mental health of children. The organization also deals with adolescents with schizophrenia, substance abuse, and eating disorders. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, is a very different type of organization promoting their service on the web than the previously mentioned organizations for victims of child abuse. This organizations web site deals mainly with the mental health of child abuse victims as well as other mental disorders adolescents face. While researching child abuse on the web many different types of sites came up such as the previously mentioned ones about organizations for child abuse survivors.
One site in particular caught my attention while doing research about child abuse victims on the web. This site on the web was a site for the Montgomery County
Department of Health and Human Services. The site basically just describes what the department does and displays a list of hotline numbers such as the twenty-four hour Crisis Services hotline: (301) 656-9161. The reason why this site caught my attention is because I was born and have lived in Montgomery County, Maryland all of my life. When I am not living in Syracuse New York pursuing my college education, I stay with my mother in Montgomery County, Maryland. I personally hope to further a career in some sort of social or human services organization as a social worker. This web site for the Department of Health and Human Services has everything listed from numbers for homeless shelters to an abused person's crisis hotline. The part of this web site that really caught my attention because of my personal interests was a paragraph at the bottom of the web site about volunteer and community service work. Working to help children in need whether they are victims of child abuse or neglect, or just in need of some extra attention is a goal of mine. The web site advertises a way for a citizen to make a difference in a child's life by being a volunteer in a program, such as the special friends programs, clinical activities, or a twenty-four hour hotline. I believe that every one should take just an hour out of their weekly schedule to do some sort of volunteer work. This does not have to be with children, but for the purpose of this research paper I am focusing strictly on children and specifically children that have been abused. It is important to research all of the different issues of child abuse and the web is wonderful for doing so.
The research done for this paper was done only on the world wide web. The different aspects of child abuse that were researched on the web ranged from true stories by survivors of some sort of child abuse to discussing information that organizations provide on the web about the effects of child abuse and what their organization does to help and provide help for these abused children. It is important to really study the effects that child abuse has on a person for the rest of their life in order to really understand why child abuse may become such a tragedy in a person's life. Child abuse may have profound effects that may be hard for many people to understand for the rest of the person's entire life. As it has been shown throughout this paper, people may be affected by abuse in many different ways, none of which are positive. Some people may go on to abuse their own children, while others create child abuse awareness programs to try to get the issues of child abuse known.
Learning and researching how child abuse has affected peoples lives by reading their true stories of abuse and how it has effected them will hopefully open many people's eyes to the truth about what is happening to children in American society and throughout the world. Maybe if people gain knowledge of child abuse then they will begin to take action against child abuse and help in the fight for awareness. America in particular needs help in reducing their rates of child abuse. The statistics say that every thirteen seconds another child is being abused in the United States of America is astounding. America is supposed to be the land of the free. Many people even try to emigrate here, which brings up the question of why are problems such as child abuse so common in such a wonderful country. This does not seem to make sense. With all of the statistics that have been shown on child abuse, why is there not more prevalent action being taken by our government and our community to stop this outrageous number of children being abused in this country? One of the main goals of this paper was to show people how real and horrifying the problem of child abuse is by telling true stories of abuse by people that have suffered through the abuse, and who know what the effects of the abuse has been on their life. It is a shame that it is a fact that if a child goes untreated for having been abused that they have an increased likelihood of arrest for a violent crime than someone in the general population. Society needs to realize that if we take action at the root of the problem, which is to help these abused children, then we may have a reduction in child abuse as well as violent crimes. It seems like it would be well worthwhile for the government to spend some more time on developing a more effective way for reducing the rate of child abuse. Through reading the previous true stories of child abuse, told by the survivors of abuse, becoming aware of the organizations available on the web for the survivors, and after reading the statistics of child abuse it should be very clear that this country has a major problem on its hands, which it really needs to become aware of and do something about.
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