The Tragedy of Child Abuse in America

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Child abuse is the intentional infliction of physical, moral, and sexual pain and suffering on a child. It is performed mainly by parents who were maltreated as children themselves. There are many causes for child abuse. In some cases children are mistreated when parents or caretakers have maladaptive responses to stressful situations or feel powerless. Searching for relief, they may hit someone with even less power than they, and these are often children.

Other times child abuse is the result of family problems over which the abuser has no control. Alcohol was said to be involved in fourteen percent of the cases of abuse and in eighteen and a half percent of the cases of neglect. “Religion, residence in the city or country, region of the country, and race are all related to violence in a home.”

Approximately eighty percent of the child-abusers were themselves abused as children.

A high percentage of abusing parents feel that they are legitimately exercising their parental right. The parents injure their offspring hoping that the child will change a manner or learn a lesson. They take the idea of discipline to a brutal degree. In some cases the parents are simply too young and/or immature to take good care of their children. There is a higher percentage rate of mistreatment in families with mixed religion marriages. Very often it is a recollection of small pressures that finally make a parent explode.

It is most likely that the abuser is employed only part-time or is jobless. Retired men and women are the least likely to harm a child. Most of the abusers do not suffer any kind of psychiatric illness.

Because children with disabilities create more stress, they are more likely to be abused. Physical violence is more common in poor families, families living under

stress or parents who suffered cruelty as children.

Types of abuse also vary. The broad picture includes only moral, physical and sexual abuse, while in the narrower picture each of these has its own sub-topics.

The kind of abuse varies depending on the age of the victim. Infant and pre-school children are more likely to suffer fractures, burns and bruises. This is called the “Battered child syndrome” discovered by C. Henry Kempe. Although school aged or adolescent females are more likely to suffer from sexual molestation, there is a recently growing number of sexual abuse of pre-school and male victims.
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