The Child Abuse Cycle

Based on statistics alone, I’m three times less likely to practice safe sex, have an 80% chance of meeting the criteria for at least one psychological disorder by the age of 21, and, if I were a girl, be 25% more likely to get pregnant while I’m still a teenager.* And that’s not the worst of it, at least to me.

What really scares me is that I possess a 30% chance of abusing and neglecting my own children.* Although that’s simply a statistic, it still makes me fearful to have children in the future. I would rather die the most painful, dreaded death before making a person suffer by the hands of their own parent.

90% of child sexual abuse victims know the perpetrator in some way.*

The obvious question raised is: why? Why does this horrible cycle of abuse and hurt continue? I’m no expert on child abuse, but as someone who is a victim of it and has attempted to understand it in its various forms, I feel like society as a whole is not doing enough to overcome this serious issue. There are commercials against smoking, bullying, drugs, and using the words “retard” and “gay” with negative connotations, but none informing of the fatal effects of child abuse. I know I’ll receive criticism for being melodramatic and selfish by saying this, but it’s my honest opinion.

When abused children don’t know how to cope, they often utilize the same aggressive behaviors inflicted upon them to make themselves feel better. In some cases, without knowing it, these children are perpetuating the exact practices used to torment them. It’s not even their fault. They just don’t know any better.

14% of all men in prison in the USA were abused as children, and 36% of all women in prison were abused as children.* According to the American Medical Association, a myriad of abuse victims progress to the point of obtaining professional careers and maintaining a normal, healthy lifestyle but resort to negative behaviors intrinsic to their abuse when additional stress is introduced, such as the death of a loved one or an ended romantic relationship.* It almost moves me to tears that there isn’t more being done to help people whose lives have been perforated by such an unfortunately common cruelty.

The message I’m trying to get across is this: do something. Educate someone about child abuse by telling them a few frightening statistics (to inform them, not to scare them!) or asking someone who looks down if they’re okay – if they’re not, follow up and ask why. Chances are that you’ve met someone who has either suffered or suffers from child abuse, or knows someone who has.

Today, after an incident involving my mom, I felt alone, miserable, and almost suicidal until I talked to my friend about what went down. My family may not be there for me all the time, but my friends are always available, and I’m truly indebted to them. It would be much worse to have no one and no ability to learn about the facets of abuse and how to prevent them from recurring in one’s life.

You can learn more about child abuse or donate to the fight against it by visiting the website for Prevent Child Abuse America, or the website for the Tennyson Center for Children.

Thank you for reading this post, it means a lot to me.

*statistics used were taken from these two websites, though I’m sure they’ve appeared elsewhere:
National Child Abuse Statistics, and
Child Abuse: An Overview

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16 Comments

Filed under Personal, Society

16 responses to “The Child Abuse Cycle

  1. Just wanted to add that in the UK, the equivalent is the NSPCC, an organisation that tries to deal with this issue.

    http://www.nspcc.org.uk/

  2. Crystal

    I’m totally moved by your post.
    Child abuse is a very serious issue and you’re right when you say that more should be done to bring awareness about it.

    I don’t mean to go all cheesy on you, but everything you’re doing is already making a difference. Just by telling people and having really strong intentions to help this cause when you’re older- it really does help. I think you already know that.

    Another thing you’re right about- your friends will always be available. 🙂

  3. I too am doing my best to help create awareness about this problem. I too can’t believe how entire countries don’t DO anything about it. Some day, children will be recognized as what they truly are: precious and deserving of the most loving care. God bless you! Congrats on helping thru your site.
    I too have one in Spanish to create awareness within Hispanics community where beating children is normal to many. Drop by one of these days.

    http://www.espadamour.com

    Bely

    • Thank you for reading this post and leaving a link to your site, I wholeheartedly appreciate it. It’s so sad that child abuse is considered acceptable in certain cultures when it shouldn’t be no matter what. Keep up the great work, it makes me happy knowing that there are others fighting against this issue as well. 🙂

  4. That’s very sad and I know how it feels I used to get hit when I was younger but not anymore,thank goodness.Child abuse is very serious indeed.Here in South America it’s common for parents to hit their kids or else they will be spoilt and disobediant and more,that’s what alot of people think.Nonsence,I say!It’s traumatizing and can ruin a child’s life!
    By posting this you took a step in help spreading awareness.I too want to avoid sounding cheesy but I’ve got to admit it was touching.I’m not actively fighting for childern’s rights but I hope to be very soon.Thanks for the motivation!
    I’d like to leave a link to this post on my blog with your permission.But nobody visits it though,hopefully someone will get your message.

    • Exactly. There are more effective ways to raise respectful and courteous children than to hit or harm them. It hurts that a lot of people are unaware of the repercussions of abuse and I hope this issue can be ameliorated in the future – at least I’ll continue to try to do so.

      You’re welcome, and of course you can leave a link to this post on your blog. I dropped by for a bit and found some really relatable posts. I’ll continue to check in, so know that it isn’t true that “nobody visits it”. (:

  5. Anonymous

    First of all, I would like to say I’m sorry you were abused because I was too at a young age by my mother. I feel the bad effects have developed like depression but I’m over that, and hurting others, but I’m trying to stop. I felt like I’m not that close to my mom like I can’t talk to her well because I’m afraid she’ll flip out or something. But I know she really cares for me.
    I admire you for talking about this issue and helping others cope with their problem. I hope to do the same.

    • Thank you, that really means something from someone who’s gone through abuse as well. It’s great that you’ve recovered from depression (which I also wrote a post on related to child abuse) and that you’re aware of what you’re doing to others (and that you’re attempting to stop).

      I feel the same way with my mom, regarding how you’re fearful of her reaction to what you tell her. It’s sad that you and I cannot connect to someone who’s supposed to be close to us. But I’m glad you know that she cares for you, which is better than nothing.

      If you want to talk some more, don’t hesitate to contact me. 🙂

  6. My parents have always been abusive, more to me than my brother. I guess it’s because I never listen, the more they tell me more, the more I feel like actually doing what they told me now to do, whether it’d be messing up my room, or walking home alone, or buying what I wanted.

    I’m scared to have children too, I’m terrified that I’ll end up hurting them, which I don’t want to end up doing.

      • I’m sorry, that’s horrible. Is your brother younger or older than you? If he’s older I suggest talking to him about it if he’s available, or seeking another trusted adult for help. Keep in mind the websites I provided in the post and this number: 1-800-4-A-CHILD.

        As for having children, you seem to be aware of your situation and mature enough to realize that what your parents are doing to you isn’t right. That’s a good thing because many victims of child abuse think that they deserve to be hurt or that being abused is a natural aspect of growing up (which it obviously isn’t). I believe that because you have this awareness it’ll prevent you from continuing the child abuse cycle – you’ll know what to do and what not to do if you decide to have children of your own.

        Keep fighting! (:

  7. Thank you for this post. There has been a related incident of this matter in my family, involving two people I was quite close to, and it is a grotesque subject matter, but everyone else is right, it needs awareness.
    I don’t think if You had a child, you would abuse it (personally) because mothers and fathers grow a bond over their child and that love stops that happening. It’s only a few cases where the parents abuse that love/trust.Thank you for this post. It means a lot to me, but I just can’t see it stopping. Some people in this world are monsters, and that will never change. We just have to protect our children until they are ready to fend themselves. As a teenager, I still feel vulnerable, but there are people like you who still want to help.
    x

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this subject. I agree that abuse probably will never end completely, but we have to do our best to raise awareness so that people will be able to help when they see it, like you said. I’m glad that you don’t think I would hurt my children in the future, it means a lot. (:

  8. jan

    I have shared your post on facebook, I am so pleased to see people “going public” with these pleas and honesty. Thank you.

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