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The impact of abuse reaches all levels of a childs emotions. The two most common emotions are confusion and guilt. Confusion is usually the initial reaction of the child. They will usually wonder what is going on or if this is right or wrong. For a young child these types of questions can be a huge burden on their physiological development. Once the abuse begins the victim experience a tremendous conflict with their emotions.
They feel pleasant due to the attention they are recieving from the parent, as well as the sensual pleasure. On the other hand they experience pain, guilt, and anger for what is being done to them. The questions this is right or wrong is the greatest conflict within the childs mind. The abuse feels so wrong yet the abuser inside it's okay, taking advantage of the childs mistrust and naivety. Below are the thoughts of an abused victim as she thinks back to her abuse and questions her father. It is an example of this mistrust as well as the confusion which goes through a childs mind. "Since I was a little ten-year-old child, I had to deceive and hide from the world and my mother that my father took a sexual interest in me.
Remember how you taught me that art of deceit? First you put me in a situation that had to be kept a secret then you pledged me to secrecy... As a ten- year-old child, what was I supposed to do? You are an intelligent man-you figure out the options available to a ten-year-old in that position. " (Dolan 58) Guilt is also a huge emotional trip for the child. The abused will feel tremendous guilt for a numerous reasons: they feel they did nothing to stop the abuse therefore they are responsible and it should continue, they felt uncomfortable but the abuse was sometimes pleasure able, or they somehow deserved and / or caused the abuse.
A victim will usually feel this way when their self-esteem has diminished and they have no more answers for what is happening. The following quote illustrates that guilt makes the child unable to clearly see reality. It also gives insight into the mind of the abused. "A nine-year-old girl had a nightmare and went to her fathers room for comfort but instead he sexually abused her. The girl then concluded that she caused the abuse by going to his room. The abuse thereafter continued and she now felt she deserved for it to continue. " (Green 24) Another major source of guilt comes from the mother. Often when the mother is told about the abuse she will not want to believe the accusations and will blame the child.
Other reasons for why the mother may pass guilt are that she may feel weak adn unable to challange the husbands actions and therefore she looks over the husbands faults and looks to the child for blame and / or the mother doesn't want to lose her husband. She does not want to give up the security provided by her husband and will block out the abuse. For these reasons much of the child abuse in the United States and else where goes unreported and continues. Reports show that out of the one to two million children abused every year in the United States only about half that number is reported to anyone. Man cases are teh most common cases that go unreported, less than 30 %by current estimates. Also about 11, 120 of those cases reported have been because of the death of the child.
The amount of child abuse is staggering to think about, let alone deal with. By the age of eighteen one in three girls will have been sexually molested and one in six boys will have been molested in that same age. These include physical abuse, sexual abuse, mental abuse and neglect. (Lesar 419) One reasons why abuse is on the up rise every year could be that families are undergoing a number of important structural changes. Families are smaller than in the past, with fewer children and sometimes with only one parent; parents have children at a later age; more couples live together without the being married. All these factors could in some way contribute to the family value system tumbling downward. (Lesar 421) Physical abuse has many forms.
It may involve the hitting or kicking of a child with the fists or the feet, or with another object; such as belts, shovels, changes, ropes, electric cords, leather straps, canes, baseball bats, sticks, broom handles, or assorted large objects. Other forms of abuse include the pouring of scalding water on a childs body, holding a childs head under the water of a toilet bowl, stuffed into running washing machines, throwing a child against a wall, shaking a child with extreme force or placing parts of a childs anatomy on hot or burning objects to cause pain. Sometimes in extreme cases the shaking of a child with such extreme force as an aggressive abuser possesses can cause severe brain damage as the brain is crushed from repeated impact against the skull. This type of injury is especially damaging in babies and small children. Many times when physical abuse is caused by a parent or guardian, the child is not taken for medical help, even when wounds or injuries are very severe.
When they are taken into the hospital it is usually be a secondary member of the family, one who may not have caused the abuse but did not stop it either. This type of person might be called a facilitator. Physical abuse is termed sexual abuse when it involves the display or touching of genitalia or anything which is not a comfortable part of a normal person to person contact. This brings us to our next form of child abuse, that of Sexual or exploitive abuse. Sexual abuse is described as those activities by an older person for his or her sexual gratification without consideration for the childs psycho-social sexual development. Also, as contacts or interactions between a child and an individual of higher power when the child is being used for the sexual stimulation of that adult or another. (Smith 9) There are many categories of sexual abuse, these include; incest, pedophilia, exhibitionism, molestation, sex (statutory rape), sexual sadism, and child pornography.
It is estimated that approximately three hundred thousand children are involved in child prostitution and pornography. (Smith 9) Many times men or woman who abuse children were abused when they were young. Sexual abuse was not as much of a problem as it is in modern times. Incidences of sexual abuse are highest in urbanized technologically advanced societies. Sexual abuse can have severe consequences on the mental development of a child. Mental Abuse of a child can involve several different activities.
These can involved the common verbal forms: yelling, neglect, constant insults, etc. They also involve certain forms of mental torture and neglect. Mental abuse is one of the most damaging forms of abuse, because unlike rape or other forms of sexual or physical abuse, mental abuse will be with you all of your life. "I would offer this analogy to shed light what I am trying to communicate here. Physical and sexual abuse are like roadblocks in the road of life. They are there for a while, but you get over them eventually. Mental abuse, on the other hand, catalyzes the disillusion of the view of the street.
If someone is always insulting you, always telling you that you are no good: then with time, your mind becomes accustomed to it, and begins to believe it. This especially is a damaging consequence for young children and infants, who are as dependent upon mental support as they are for their physiological needs. It is an utter violation of such a relationship. " Mental abuse not only affects the child, and the family, but society as a whole. Neglect is the most prevalent form of child maltreatment.
A recent Study prepared by the American Humane Association states that, nationwide, neglect consistently has accounted for the greatest number of maltreatment reports; in 1998 alone it represented sixty three percent of the approximately two million cases of reported incidents of the three predominant forms of child maltreatment: physical abuse, sexual abuse and neglect. (Steinbach 8) Neglect is the unlawful withholding of a childs basic needs: Food, Water, Shelter, Clothing. All these are all things that a child needs to live an effective life in todays society. To deny a child these things is to leave him lower on the ladder of needs than he or she would conceivably be otherwise. Neglect is by far more prominent than any other forms of child maltreatment, but, continually it is the least prominent in child abuse advertising schemes. This quote by Andrew Vachss accurately sums up what is said in this essay: The effect that child abuse has not just on the victims, but on their subsequent victims and on society as a whole, is, in my judgment, far more devastating than the threat of drugs, of political upheaval, of economic disaster, or of environmental destruction... I really think that child abuse is the most significant threat not just to the quality of life in this country, but to life in this country. (Kesegich, p. 33) Child abuse has always been around, and it always will be around as long as other people care more about themselves, than about others.
Bibliography: Lesar, Jenny. "Abuse. " Statistics. Connecticut: Black birch Press Inc, 1999. Kesegich, Ken. In Defense of Children.
National Press. February, 1990: 33 - 35 Steinbach, Alice. Neglect: the most prevalent form of child maltreatment. Honolulu Star- Bulletin & Advertiser 30 July 1999: A- 29 Dolan, Edward F. Big book of abuse. Pennsylvania: Rodale Press, 1999.
Smith, Lisa. "Emotions and Effects of Abuse. " Big book of abuse. Pennsylvania: Rodale Press, 1999. Green, Victor. "Child Abuse: National Problem. " News Week. Spring/Summer 1999: 23 - 29.
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