With April being National Child Abuse Prevention Month,(NCAPM,) I am dedicating my blogs and podcast around subjects I find important to talk about when it comes to child abuse/neglect. The first week is What is Abuse? Week two, Who are The Perpetrators? Week three, Signs of Abuse. Week 4, How Can you Help? Abuse/neglect come in all different forms. Abusers can be anyone from parents to pastors and everything in between. In my case, it was my mother, stepfather, pastor and youth pastor. More on the who the perpetrators are next week. Today, let’s look at what abuse is.
Abuse of any type occurs when someone has power over another and uses that power to hurt. Physical abuse means that someone exercises physical power over another, causing physical wounds. Sexual abuse means that someone exercises sexual power over another, resulting in sexual wounds. And spiritual abuse happens when a leader with spiritual authority uses that authority to coerce, control, or exploit a follower, thus causing spiritual wounds.49
Out of all of the different types of abuse, I am ask mostly about spiritual abuse. Other than the kind mentioned above, I am going to explain, in my opinion, the one that is by far the worse. The minute a child is abused, emotionally, physically, or sexually, the spirit of the child has been assassinated. In most cases, not all, that child will never be the same. Intrinsically our innate God given survival skills kick in. These survival skills are a way of protecting the inner child within us. For years, these skills can sustain us. Over time these skills are refined and we learn to do whatever it takes too protect our inner child. While these skills do help us to survive various traumas and tragedies in our lives, at some point they start working against us. This is the point that we must choose either to seek professional health or one continues down a path of emotional and spiritual death. Next, lets look at some statistics.
According to Statista Research Department, Jan 26, 2022, The United States has one of the worst records among industrialized nations – losing on average 5 children every day to child abuse and neglect. In 2020, the child abuse rate for children aged less than one year stood at 25.1, indicating that 25.1 out of every 1,000 newborn children in the United States were victims of child maltreatment. This was the highest rate of child abuse among all age groups in that year. It decreased to 11.2 per 1000 by the age of 1 year old and by the age of 17 decreased to 3.6 per 1000.
According to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Approximately 70 percent of children that die from abuse are under the age of 4 and according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (2005), physical violence is often accompanied by psychological violence. Insults, name-calling, isolation, rejection, threats, emotional indifference and belittling are all forms of violence that can be detrimental to a child’s well-being, especially when it comes from a respected adult such as a parent.
Now let’s talk about sexual abuse
As I was doing my research on statistics of sexual abuse and abuse over all, I discovered only one consistency in the statistics. They are not consist in any way. So the list I have put together is a combination of what I found to be the most common and consistent with my experience of talking with and working with hundreds of people over the past 16 years. I have also included the source of my information with these statistics.
- 1:3 girls and 1:4 boys are sexually abused before the age of 18 (Lisa project 2010)
- One in six boys before the age of 18 are sexually abused (1in6.org) – taken from a report by Jim Hopper, Ph.D., Sexual Abuse of Males (1996)
- A study released in 2005 by Johnson et al. – found that 59% (1:1.7) of their samples had been sexually abused – 100% of abuse victims had reported some use of drugs
- Less than 10% of child sexual abuse is reported to the police (Megan’s Law and Crime Victims Center)
- 80% of men that have been sexually abused have a substance abuse history (as reported by the Mental Health Association in New York State Inc.)
- Children are most vulnerable between ages 8-12 (Megan’s Law and Crime Victims Center)
Abuse of any kind can be a life altering event, in a bad way, for many people. If not addressed at an early age it will affect their lives in ways they cannot see when stuck living in their victim roll. It will tear families apart. Cause devastating financial situations. Destroy marriages and cause mental illness in individuals. As a society we must come together and be a part of the solution. The first part of that is to own our part in complacence, quit living in denial, reach out for help, and become an advocate for abuse survivors.
If you are a survivor, male or female, parent or guardian, I encourage you to read my book – Healing The Wounded Child Within – it provides tremendous insight as to what goes on in an abuse victim/survivors head and how you can better help a survivor or yourself.
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