Child abuse is rampant throughout the world. It breaks our hearts. But what can we really do?
Recently, I commented on a “Stop Child Abuse” Facebook page:
Child abuse can’t be stopped w/ slogans.
The people who hurt children lie to themselves. They think they’re “teaching” or “disciplining” or they’re so busy w/ their own pain & addictions, they don’t see what they’re doing to their children. And some parents/guardians enjoy hurting their children. Many abused children know nothing different; abuse is normal. Others don’t know where to turn.
Close families & communities are the only means to end child abuse. Recently, a woman I know won custody of her nephews because she & their grandmother discovered the boys were being abused & neglected. My church works w/ Kid’s Hope, a child tutoring/mentoring program. Volunteers get to know individual children. If they learn or suspect a child is being abused, the volunteer calls the police & child services. When a child knows there’s an adult he can trust, then he will tell the secret. But when there is no one to trust, children keep the secret.
I certainly did.
If we really want to end child abuse, we must begin on the personal level. First, we must know our families. And not just the adults, but the children also. Being a good friend to the children in your family is the best way to prevent child abuse or, at least, hasten it’s end. We must also get to know the children in our churches and in every other community we frequent. And seriously consider becoming a volunteer with a tutoring/mentoring programs such as Kid’s Hope USA. In the past few years, I know of several children who have been rescued from abusive situations because they came to trust their mentors and were able to share their secrets: hunger, neglect, emotional abuse, beatings, sexual abuse.
Children can’t process, “say no to child abuse.” And strangers can’t help. Strangers are as frightening as the parents and other adults who are committing acts of abuse. Only friends can help. Adult friends who choose to watch out for children on a personal level can begin to end child abuse. Yet, as long as there are fallen human beings, child abuse will exist. But we can reduce the suffering.