The effects of child abuse are multiple. The pain and trauma the abused child goes through is just a small part of how this cauldron of hidden depravity in our society affects all of us. Wrecked lives can be seen in persons of all ages and in all walks of life. Society as a whole is also effected by child abuse both in negative and positive ways. In this essay I will present some of the factor and results of this violent behavior on individuals as well as our culture.
Early American culture did not consider child abuse a crime. Children over the age of 7 were made to work as hard as adults of the time period. They were often beaten if they did not. This changed in the late 19th century when 9 year old Mary Ellen, who endured physical beatings from her foster mother, was reported to the authorities by concerned neighbors who heard Mary’s repeated cries at the hand or switch of her foster mother. In 1874, a mission volunteer named Etta Wheeler was informed of Mary’s cruel life of beatings, imprisonment and cold-hearted servitude. When Etta Wheeler was finally permitted to observe Mary in her living quarters, appalled she began to do everything in her power to get Mary out of her horrid situation. Wheeler convinced the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to intervene and by legal means have Mary removed from the home. Their argument was that “Mary Ellen was a member of the animal kingdom, and thus could be included under the laws which protected animals from human cruelty” (Bell, 2011, p. 3). Out of this advocacy for Young Mary was formed the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. The overall effect of young Mary’s abuse was permanent changes in United States law making abuse, violence, and negle...
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...y know about some forms of family violence, such as child abuse, we should be able to more quickly gain a better understanding regarding every type of family violence that we encounter in our society. What we learn about overcoming child abuse, may be helpful in therapy for partner abuse, or elder abuse.
The continuing cycle of child abuse can be ended when we are willing to look at the devastation it leaves in the lives of not only the child victims, but everyone who is a part of the family or society where family violence dwells. When individuals are willing to stand up for these young victims and get involved, only then will positive change come. Look at the positive change that grew out of the abuse and rescue of one 9 year old girl named Mary Ellen when one person with compassion in her heart was willing and resolute to get involved and make a difference.
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