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