Archive | abuse RSS feed for this section

In Support of National Denim Day …

24 Apr

denim-day1

… Because there is NO excuse for rape

When Silence Becomes Dangerous: 10 Signs to Recognize Child Abuse

11 Dec

In recent weeks, the topic of child abuse and public scandal seem to have taken over the media. Stories are being repeated almost daily of children placed in the hands of trusted adults, only to later be victimized. Child Abuse. A crime associated with waves of internalized blame, shame, isolation, and anger. A dangerous, unhealthy game of silence often played by three key players: the victim, the perpetrator, and those on the outside who often suspect something is amiss.

The following are 10 signs to help recognize child abuse:

1) Unexplained injuries: Visible signs of physical abuse may include bruises or burns in the shape of objects. These injuries are often accompanied by unconvincing explanations.

2) Changes in behavior: An abused child may suddenly appear scared, anxious, depressed, withdrawn, or overly aggressive.

3) Age-Inappropriate behaviors: An abused older child may begin bed-wetting, thumb-sucking, or develop a fear of the dark, especially after having once mastering these tasks.

4) Fear of Going Home: A child may express either a fear of going home or a fear of going places with the abuser.

5) Changes in Eating: The stress, fear, and anxiety of  being abuse can change eating behaviors and cause weight loss or gain.

6) Changes in Sleeping: Frequent nightmares or constant fatigue is often present.

7) Changes in School Performance / Attendance: Difficulty concentrating (performance) or excessive absences (attendance) may be due to adults attempting to hide injuries.

8 ) Lack of Personal Care or Hygiene: Abused children may appear unclean, uncared for, or wearing clothing unsuitable for the weather.

9) Risk-Taking Behaviors: Adolescents facing abuse may engage in risky behaviors such as taking illegal drug / alcohol or carrying a weapon for protection.

10) Inappropriate Sexual Behaviors: Children who are victims of sexual abuse my exhibit overly sexualized behaviors, language, and/or knowledge.

In all, while no one clue alone may indicate a child in experiencing abuse, multiple clues could be a cause for alarm. Some may be hesitant to report abuse due to a long-standing mistrust of the Child Welfare System. However, in my opinion, reporting child abuse is like the New York City MTA transportation slogan: “If you see something, say something.”  At worst, you report anonymously and are proven wrong. At Best? You potentially save a child’s life.

*Information gathered from Safe Horizon