Guest Author - Kelli Deister
A child that is being abused lives in a world of secrecy. Granted, times are different now than they were when I was a child. There are more resources and more people are now educated on the signs of child abuse. However, even with the resources we have today, many children still live in this world of secrecy; furthermore, many children live daily hiding bruises, scars, and emotionally battered souls.
Children that are being abused, in any form, do not usually know where to go for help. There are several factors for this, the first being that the child may not be aware of the available resources. These resources may be school counselors, teachers, ministers, doctors, nurses etc. While older children, such as teenagers, may know of some resources, younger children usually do not. Furthermore, even if a child, of any age, is aware of available resources, they may be too frightened and scared to seek out help.
A victim of child abuse may not want to tell anyone about the abuse they are enduring because they donít want their abusive parent or guardian to get into any trouble. The child may dearly love their abuser and does not want to get them into trouble with the law. Another consideration is that the child might not want to tell anyone for fear of retaliation from their abuser. The child might be fearful, with good reason I might add, that should the authorities question their abusive parent, that parent will harm that child for having told anyone.
Lastly, the child abuse victim might not want to tell anyone what they are going through for fear that it is their fault and they donít want to get into any more trouble. Many times, abusers tell their victims that it is their fault they are being battered and abused. This is a power and control tactic that the abuser uses against their victim.
The child that is being abused lives each day in fear and secrecy. They shoulder the events occurring in their home on their tiny little shoulders. They are little children with huge burdens that they must carry. Most times, these children are more concerned with what might happen to their abuser. They donít stop and think of themselves. This makes sense because the abused childís life is centered and focused around the demands, wants, and needs of their abuser.
The child goes through the motions every day. They do what they are told, when they are told to do it. They carry the bruises and scars daily and they hide them well. They donít tell a soul of what they are enduring. Once they leave their home, all secrets stay behind that door. Not a word is whispered about what the child is going through. This is their life.
How then does a child abuse victim get help? Because of the factors listed above, it is up to people in the victimís life to step up to the plate for the child abuse victim. Again, education equals prevention. If more people are educated on child abuse then more people will be able to spot the signs of abuse occurring in the life of a child they know. With this knowledge, the person can then call Child Protective Services, or other resources, to report the suspected abuse.
No child deserves to live their life in secrecy. Every child deserves to live a life filled with laughter, fun, love, and respect.