On her "Crimes of Passion" album from 1980, Pat Benatar sang, "Hell is for children". It is a song that addresses child abuse and how some children suffer. She and two band mates wrote the song after reading a number of articles on child abuse. She made it clear that this song was not about her and that she never knew this sort of thing existed. She grew up, in her words, a very "Happy Days" sort of life. Most of those who grew up with a "Happy Days" sort of life do not know that this sort of thing exists; other than what they see depicted on the television or in the movies. Unfortunately, child abuse is more rampant than ever.
Two glaring statistics stand out:
1. 2.9 million cases of child abuse are reported every year in the United States.
2. In the United States, more than 4 children die from child abuse and neglect on a daily basis. Over 70% of these children are below the age of 3.
While there are many more statistics, let these sink in. Who are these victims? While abuse goes on in any age, children are the most vulnerable. With very little life experience, their natural curiosity will allow them to put themselves in harm's way very quickly. They trust. That is, they trust until given a reason not to. There are so many forms of child abuse. However, the one that I never hear spoken of is as follows. When a parent or adult makes a child do something that they do NOT want to do, this is NOT child abuse; as long as it is in the child's best interest. However, when the parent or adult makes a child do something they do NOT want to do for the parent or adult's best interest, it IS abuse.
While your imaginations can run wild, it is very simple. God gave us children to rear and protect, not abuse.
Psalm 127:3-5 says, "Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate."
Everybody reading this has probably encountered abuse or know of someone who has. With the personal selfishness that grows daily in our society, the "least of these" just seem to get in the way. The statistics that are out there are just numbers. Do all of the "cases" really get reported? People get sick all of the time but go to the doctor only when it becomes more than they feel they can handle on their own. Child abuse is similar. It is very subtle and even as a parent or adult, you may not realize the damage being done to a weaker human.
Fortunately there are many programs for not only the abused, but also the abusers. Romans 3:23 lumps all into the same loaf, "For all have sinned, and come short of the Glory of God." You may be thinking that "bless God I would never abuse a child". Really?
- Have you ever called your child by any name other than their own?
- Have you ever corrected your child without an explanation?
- Have you ever corrected your child in anger?
- Have you ever taken your day out on your child because the ones that deserve it will not allow you to take it out on them?
- Have you ever withheld a necessity from your child to "show them" or "teach them a lesson"?
- Have you ever ignored your child?
- Have you ever talked derogatorily about your child to someone else?
- HAVE YOU EVER MADE YOUR CHILD DO SOMETHING THAT WOULD BENEFIT YOU AND NOT THEM?
While this list is grossly inadequate, the picture should become a little clearer. As it may be adults that do a majority of child abuse, their very own peers can create as much havoc on their life as anyone. A greater form of child abuse is seeing it and doing nothing about it while hoping they get it "straightened out". Scars carry a lifetime. Believe it. Within the walls of our schools, churches, day cares, and our homes, children are being abused. These places should be a safe haven from the world. Please help in making it safe again!
The following is from Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline:
CALL 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453) then push 1 to talk to a hotline counselor. The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The hotline counselors work with translators who speak more than 200 languages to help callers who speak a language other than English. All calls are anonymous. (The hotline counselors don’t know who you are and you don’t have to tell them.)
No one has the right to abuse you.
You don’t deserve to be abused.
If you are being abused, you are a victim.
It’s not your fault that you are being treated this way.
It is wrong that you are suffering this pain, fear or sadness.
You are not alone. Other kids suffer abuse, too.
Sometimes abusers scare or threaten kids so they won’t tell.
There are people who care about you and want to help you.
If you are being abused, please tell a safe person – that’s someone you can trust like a teacher, counselor, school nurse, neighbor or parent. You can also talk to a Childhelp hotline counselor.
How to protect yourself from abuse.
Do not be alone with anyone who hurts you.
Listen to the little voice or gut feeling inside you when it says what is being done to you isn’t right.
Find an adult you trust and tell them what is happening. If they don’t believe you, keep telling other adults until someone does believe you!
The adult you speak to (perhaps a teacher or a neighbor) may want to tell the police or Child Protective Services about the person who is hurting you. If they don’t know the telephone number to call to make the report, they should call 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453) and press 1 to speak with a hotline crisis counselor. The crisis counselor will give them the best number to call in your community.
If you are too nervous or scared to tell someone you know about the abuse, but want it reported to the people who look into child abuse, call 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453), then press 1. A Childhelp hotline counselor can make a three-way call so that you, the hotline counselor, and the person taking the report in your area are all on the telephone at the same time.
Before you call to make the report, the hotline counselor can tell you what may happen after a report of abuse is made.
A lot of people don’t realize it, but every day in the United States thousands of kids are abused. That adds up to millions of kids each year. More than 3.3 million in fact.
Often children and teens are abused by the people who are closest to them like family, friends, sitters, neighbors and sometimes even teachers and coaches. These are the very people that children should feel the safest with.
You are not alone. If you need help or have questions about child abuse, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453) then push 1 to talk to a counselor. The hotline counselors are available 365 days a year to help kids, and adults who are worried about kids they suspect are being abused. You can call this number if you live in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Guam or the U.S. Virgin Islands.
There WILL NOT be a charge for the call on your telephone bill if you use a regular phone or a pay phone. If you use a mobile phone or cell phone, there may be a charge and it may show up on the telephone bill. (Don’t use a mobile or cell phone if you want to be sure your call is a secret.) Do not make prank calls to the hotline. This will tie up the phones and keep us from talking to someone who really needs help right away.