Essay, Research Paper: Child Abuse


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The recent investigations of child abuse in America have become a recent
epidemic that have had surprising discoveries. A survey taken in 1999 regarding
child abuse revealed that 22 percent of abused children were done so physically,
8 percent sexually, 54 percent through neglect, and 16 percent by emotional
abuse. Psychological abuse can include a number of different factors including
neglect and verbal abuse. The majority of abuse that takes place is done so
psychologically rather than physically. Many children are simply ignored by
their parents and have little or no involvement with them because of this.
Children are also verbally abused and therefore get “beaten down”
psychologically. Those who are abused psychologically tend to be very dependent
and take care of themselves, have poor self-esteem and confidence, and can have
a poor relationship with their peers. On the other end of the spectrum, physical
abuse occurs in 30 percent of child abuse cases. A very serious result of
physical abuse is known as SBS (Shaken Baby Syndrome). This condition is cause
by violent shaking of a small child, which in turn causes the brain to bruise
and eyes to bleed. Seizures, partial or total blindness, paralysis, mental
retardation, and death are all results of this form of abuse. The main reason
why this abuse occurs is the parent’s frustration from a crying baby. The
parent doesn’t want to hit the child, so they shake the child back and forth
to make him or her stop crying. Children show many signs of physical abuse in
their day-to-day life. These signs include: shying away from adult contact, lack
of trust, aggressive behavior, self-destructive behavior, extended days away
from home, and even suicide attempts. On average, fifteen out of every 1,000
children in the United States are abused either psychologically or physically
each year. In 1999 1,185 children died from physical abuse. An important thing
to consider regarding child abuse is the child abuser. There are many ways to
identify whether or not someone is an abuser or not. Typically, a child abuser
is a harsh disciplinarian, describes his or her child consistently in a negative
way, the explanations of the child’s injuries are not probable, and he or she
becomes defensive or refuses to explain when asked about the child’s injury.
The abuser may have a social or psychological problem such as depression or low
self-esteem. Other conditions may be that there is an alcohol or drug-related
problem, some lack basic skills of normal child development and parenting. Some
of the child abusers have unreasonably high standards for the child to love up
to, and when the child can not live up to them then he or she feels that it is
their duty to discipline the child. This discipline may lead to child abuse.
Stress is another factor for child abuse, but probably not the only factor. The
abuser may never have even had the thought or the urge to abuse the child but
under so much stress sometimes they do not understand that their punishment
would be considered abuse or they do it not realizing what they are doing. The
abuser may show signs of disregard for the child's needs, welfare, limited
abilities, and feelings. Many abusive parents believe that children exist to
satisfy the parents needs and that the child's needs are unimportant. The
children who don't satisfy their parent’s needs may then become the victims of
abuse. Sexual abusers may have unusual personality traits and behaviors that can
result in sexual contact with a child. Sexual abusers may use threats, bribery,
coercion or force to get the child to engage in sexual activities. This violates
the natural trust between the child and adult, and if goes untreated may lead to
emotional and mental problems later in life and the abused child may become the
abuser. The child may not tell anyone because the abuser has threatened him or
her not to tell. Although child abuse is something that has just recently been
taken seriously, many advances have taken place to prevent it. The CPS (Child
Protection Service) has grown by 40 percent over the past two years. Public
awareness about this issue has grown enormously as well. Child abuse is very
hard to get rid of completely because of human nature. However, if people can
try and identify the problem before it grows into a way of life, perhaps it can
become less common.
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