Guest Author - Kelli Deister
Every day, in the United States, there are children that are being abused. We might not think that is so, since it isnít reported in the news. However, that doesnít mean it isnít happening. There are children that are being beaten and battered everyday. No one hears their cry for help. No one sees the injuries inflicted upon them. They go to school everyday and no one knows. Their bruises are covered with clothing. Their precious innocence is lost. They do not say a word to anyone, for fear of enduring more abuse.
These children come from all walks of life. They are a variety of ethnicities. They come from homes that appear to others as happy homes, as well as troubled homes. They are both rich and poor. They are both male and female. Their abusers are both male and female. Their parents are both employed and unemployed. Abuse knows no boundaries. It doesnít happen because of a certain ethnicity, religion, gender, race, or income.
Everyday someone comes into contact with one of these victims of child abuse and every day no one knows. Imagine the pain that is in the hearts of these precious children. Imagine the damage done to their self-esteem. They will forever carry the scars of abuse in their lives. The reason that no one knows is not because people donít care. Itís simply that people are often uneducated on the signs and symptoms of child abuse. Many people do not know what to look for or even where to go if they suspect child abuse is happening.
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. Many communities across the United States have special programs and projects during the month of April. There are many communities that offer help in becoming educated on the topic of child abuse. If people call the appropriate agencies within their communities, they will be given numbers to call should they suspect abuse occurring.
What can the general public do in helping to prevent child abuse? First of all, they can become educated on abuse. With the knowledge comes the power to help children. There are abuse shelters that are in need of volunteers for a variety of needs. Perhaps money can be donated to a child abuse agency or abuse shelter so that the needs of those living in the shelters can be met. Perhaps time can be volunteered to help with maintenance jobs in the shelters. Perhaps opening ones home to a foster child can help. There are families that are enduring a high level of stress that are in need of volunteers to help with childcare, chores, and grocery shopping. There is much that can be done to help to prevent child abuse in the United States.
If you suspect that a child is being abused, please consider calling the social services department in your community and reporting your concerns. Please also consider helping at a local shelter with donations of clothes, toys, food, and daily necessities such as toiletries. Remember that education equals prevention. The more people that are educated on child abuse, the more prevention of abuse is possible.