April is Child Abuse Prevention Month
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For more than a decade, April has been recognized as Child Abuse Prevention Month. During April, public and private agencies, community organizations, volunteers and concerned citizens unite to highlight the problem of child abuse and to educate the public about how it can be prevented. Communities across the country offer special activities to raise public awareness of child abuse prevention. Activities include fundraisers, such as 5K runs/walks to raise money for child abuse prevention programs, poster contests for children, "Family Day" at local zoos, wearing the blue ribbon/mint green ribbon, and special conferences by child abuse prevention organizations.
Child abuse is a community concern. No one professional or single agency alone can protect children from harm and strengthen families. Prevention of child abuse demands that everyone - Federal, State, and local governments, as well as community service providers, teachers, businesses, health care professionals, clergy, families, friends, and neighbors - work together to protect children and support the well-being of families.
If you have any questions or would like additional information or resources, please contact
National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information
330 C Street, SW
Washington, DC 20447
Fax: (703) 385-3206
by Jennifer Amaya
And I prayed and I prayed and I prayed and prayers, prayed prayed
looking up at the clock
wondering where momma was
eyes wide shut
so sfraid of the the frying pans and buckles
that made themselves my best friends
and religiously close
so near... Absorbing my flesh
sinking their kingdoms into the souls of my teeth
and I prayed and I begged and I prayed and I begged, prayers begging
Right along with the baseball bats
if only God knew I was here
making a place for the frying pans and buckles of the earth
me and the little boy tied to my left
we both were naked and ready to welcome the cast iron into our worlds
like a meteor!
A great big ball in the sky!
Come outta no where
Here to find it's way to earth
and the little green men will come and get me
no more the cast iron or fastening belts
so I beg and I beg and i beg and I offers all prayers up to the way they
say God is
but my hands are too little
and the irons bear down on them
No more upwards prayers
they take him again and I wonder why he screams
his crippled lips and hunched over body
they take us all and I wonder why we scream
cause I pray and I pray and I pray and I beg beg beg
and by that time it's all over and I have no feelings in the cushions
my dolls are playing in the dark alleys of the room
barbie doesn't see what they did to him
Ken can't tell they are killing my soul
but we play and we play and we play and play play play
and somehow the bruises turn pretty colors
And momma doesn't see the mean green they will become
she lifts up her wiskey and prays
that with the cheap babysitter
(I call her the frying pan belt buckle queen)
We can pay rent this month
and takes a nice long drink out of her bottle
The abuse of children can take many forms: minor abuse (that which results in minimal physical harm to a child), severe abuse (broken bones, abdominal injuries, head injuries, shaken baby syndrome) and sexual abuse.
The neglect of children also takes many forms: failure to thrive (children who fail to gain weight, sometimes for organic reasons, sometimes due to parental neglect), physical neglect (failure to provide minimal standards of care such as food, clothing and shelter), emotional neglect or abuse, lack of, or inappropriate supervision, medical neglect, abandonment and educational neglect.
Child abuse is preventable.
There are many things you can do to help stop child abuse. The easiest of which is to increase awareness of the problem by wearing a blue ribbon on your lapel for the month of April, or by tying a blue ribbon to the antenna of your car. You can also become involved by reporting suspected child abuse to the proper authorities. If there is a question as to whom you should report, call your local law enforcement agency and they will give you the number to the appropriate agency. Or you may call 1-800- 4ACHILD.
Many people are slow to become involved by reporting suspected child abuse. This occurs for many reasons, one of which is that they fear that their identity will be revealed as the person who made the report. Federal law protects the identity of any person who, in good faith, reports the abuse or neglect of a child. If this is still a concern, then you can make the report anonymously. In most states, if not all, the agency charged with investigating these reports must treat all reports the same, whether the person making the report leaves their name or not.
Some people don't call with concerns because it can be difficult to make a distinction between strict (or harsh) discipline and abuse. Laws pertaining to child abuse and neglect vary from state to state, and it can be difficult to know if a given action if considered abusive or neglectful. A good rule of thumb to follow is: When in doubt, err on the side of caution. Sometimes this means you may be calling to report a suspicion that turns out to be easily explained. Other times this will mean you have a slight concern, make the call, and the authorities are able to intervene in a situation that is much worse than it appears. Parents may not thank you for it, but you may very well end up saving a child's life.
Another reason that people are reluctant to call the authorities is that they do not want the family to be split apart. In most situations abuse is the result of an inability to deal with the stress of life, coupled with poor parenting skills, a limited understanding of developmentally normal childhood behaviors and limited knowledge of age appropriate discipline. Because child abuse is preventable, and in most situations the authorities can assist the family in reducing the risk of abuse and neglect to the child, thereby allowing that child to remain in the home with their family.
Parenting is not a skill you are born with.
It is a skill you learn.
Most children are abused by family members or close friends. Many different things can cause a person to become abusive to a child. Most people who become abusive to children were abused when they themselves where children. The pattern is learned in childhood and carried on to their own children. These are patterns that can be altered. Life is not easy, and being a parent does not lower your stress level. Parents can learn new ways of coping with their own stress, frustration, anger and uncertainty. They can learn new ways of parenting, and can learn to not take it out on the children.
Neglect is also something that is learned, and can also be unlearned. People who were neglected as children pass that on to their own children as well. Children don't come with "owners manuals" but parents can learn the skills that are needed to raise a healthy and happy child.
Child Abuse is a legacy we can live without.
"Remember what they taught you
How much of it was fear
Refuse to hand it down
The legacy stops here"
"Silent Legacy" - Yes I Am
National Children's Advocacy Center
Child Abuse Prevention Network
To become involved in your state, here is a state by state list of Prevent Child Abuse Advocacy Chapters:
Prevent Child Abuse America State Chapter Directory
Raising Awareness of Emotional Neglect
What is emotional neglect?
Emotional neglect is ignoring or refusing to consider a child's emotional needs. Emotional neglect happens when children don't get the love and attention that they need to feel good about themselves.
What happens to children when they are emotionally neglected?
When children are emotionally neglected, they don't feel important or loved. They may begin to think something is wrong with them and that they don't deserve to be loved. When children feel this way, they may become sad and withdrawn or they may become angry and get into trouble.
Children who are emotionally neglected have a hard time making and keeping friends. They may argue and get into fights. And they are likely to be poor students.
When these children grow up they often have a hard time getting along with others. They are isolated and depressed because they don't trust other people.
Why are children emotionally neglected?
There are many reason why parents emotionally neglect their children. We know that these parents come from every part of society. They may be rich or poor, they may have a good education or no education at all, and both mothers and fathers emotionally neglect their children.
Some parents think that taking good care of their children means taking care of their physical needs. They may not realize that their children need more than food, clothing, and shelter. Many parents are afraid that they will spoil their children if they tell them they love them, give them lots of attention, and hug or cuddle them.
Some parents are too overwhelmed by their own problems to think of their children's emotional needs. These parents may be depressed or under a lot of stress, or they may abuse alcohol and other drugs.
Some parents were emotionally neglected when they were children. They don't know what they missed. They don't realize that it is very important to be loved, to receive attention, and to be praised for accomplishments. So they don't do this for their own children.
How can emotional neglect be prevented?
Recognizing that emotional neglect is a problem is the first step in its prevention. Emotional neglect takes place over time. All parents have moments when they don't want to be bothered by their children. If this becomes a regular or frequent attitude, parents are at risk for emotionally neglecting their children. Here are some things you can do to prevent emotional neglect.
Spend lots of time with your babies. Hold and cuddle them. Talk to them.
Talk to your toddlers. Play simple games with them. Ask them questions about their likes and dislikes.
Keep track of your older children's activities. Let them know you are interested in what they are doing.
Attend your children's school events and extracurricular activities.
Get help for yourself if you are depressed or lonely. Be a friend. Reach out to those around you who may be emotionally neglecting their children.
I hear you say everyday,
"Don't cry, you better be strong."
Even though I'm just a kid,
The things you say, I think are wrong.
When you are done with me each day,
I want so much to sit and cry.
But you won't let me, instead you hit me,
All I want to know is why?
My mom is the lucky one,
The only one to get out.
I want so much to be with her,
But for now you mustn't see me pout.
I like to write my feelings down,
I won't let you take them away.
You might hurt me every night and day,
But these are my words, and my words they'll stay.
You'll find me under here I know,
You never just let me be.
I wish I were invisible,
I have to go before you find me.
It hurts so much to keep my tears in,
Why can't I cry? I want to know.
Instead of piling them up inside,
I wish I could let my tears flow.
A Child's Tale
Listen to a childs tale as we walk the awkwardness,
Of being different from the rest ,
A tale of darkness, the things unseen,
By those whom we shouldn`t trust ,but feel we must,
As we are different from the rest,
As this childs tale is told, another just begins,
One of shame and disgust,
Is it our fault, we feel it must,
What did we do to deserve all this,
Just then it all starts again,
The hidden places , the hidden pain,
No where to run and no one to tell,
As we are just different as can be,
As some may die emotionally, while yet another by suicide,
But then there`s me , whos just different as can be,
Dieing more every day, while hiding it all inside,
As you see a smile, I wear a frown,
From the inside out, in a childs heart deceptions found,
Taught by those, who ought to know,
What loving hands, are suppose to show,
Confusing thoughts, you might say,
Place yourself in this childs shoes for a day,
When silence is tought to be the way,
For fear of what people say,
Will be forever taken away,
As this childs about to stand up,
Fears what will happen this very day,
As I tell the secrets that were done,
In that awful hidden place,called home,
As this wounded child stayed,
A little longer each and every day,
After school just to get away,
From the secrets of home, one day I shared,
Looking for help, while it never comes,
As the silent code was erased,
The healing started that day,
And continues still each and every day.
The Teddy Bear
Teddy, I've been bad again,
My Mommy told me so;
I'm not quite sure what I did wrong,
But I thought that you might know.
When I woke up this morning,
I knew that she was mad;
Cause she was crying awful hard,
And yelling at my dad.
I tried my best to be real good,
And do just what she said;
I cleaned my room all by myself,
I even made my bed.
But I spilled milk on my good shirt,
When she yelled at me to hurry;
And I guess she didn't hear me,
When I told her I was sorry.
Cause she hit me awful hard, you see,
And called me funny names;
And told me I was really bad,
And I should be ashamed!
When I said, "I love you, Mommy,"
I guess she didn't understand;
Cause she yelled at me to shut my mouth.
Or I'd get smacked again.
So I came up here to talk to you,
Please tell me what to do;
Cause I really love my Mommy,
And I know she loves me, too.
And I don't think my Mommy means,
To hit me quite so hard;
I guess sometimes, grown ups forget.
How really big they are!
So Teddy, I wish you were real,
And you weren't just a bear;
Then you could help me find a way.
To tell Mommies every where.
To please try hard to understand.
How sad it makes us feel;
Cause the outside pain soon goes a way,
But the inside never heals!
And if we could make them listen,
Maybe then they'd understand;
So other children just like me,
Wouldn't have to hurt again.
But for now, I guess I'll hold you tight,
And pretend the pain's not there;
I know you'd never hurt me,
So Goodnight, Teddy Bear!
Author - Cindy Pike Dunning -
Beyond the door. There's peace I'm sure.
And I know there will be no more
Tears In Heaven.
Childhelp is a national agency which has been helping abused children since 1959. They have a national child abuse hotline you can call at 800 4A-CHILD.
CURRENT VICTIMS: If you are currently suffering from abuse please get help! Don't wait! Go to a pay phone or any phone where you can speak freely. Call 1-800-4-ACHILD (1-800 422-4453) any time day or night (other confidential hotlines are also available). PLEASE believe us! You are not alone. There are many many people who care. There are many many people who have been through what you are going through. DO NOT accept "the lie" that somehow you are to blame. That is absolutely NOT true. DO NOT pay attention to any threats you have heard. Such as "if you tell I'll hurt your mother, or your brother or sister, or your pet." PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE MAKE THE CALL!!!!!
SURVIVORS: If you have experienced abuse in the past but have never talked to anybody about it---now is the time! Some things are so painful there is no substitute for getting help. It may seem hard to believe now but there is healing from the hurt you have suffered. We encourage you to recognize that there is more than one component to healing and it is important to deal with all aspects of it the physical, the emotional and the spiritual. If you have sought help in the past but things just didn't seem to change perhaps you neglected one aspect or another. Do it now. Talk to someone who has been where you have been. Don't suffer alone even one more day. Take that first step. Not just for your own sake but for the sake of all the people you love--your spouse, your children, your brothers, your sisters, your best friend! PLEASE!
Please........We Can Make A Difference......Spread the Word.........Share this information........SAVE A CHILD!
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