Please look up the Dear Mr. Jesus song from the early 1990’s and watch the official video. Its representing the voice of a 2 year old girl who was killed by her parents in the early 90’s from child abuse.
Child abuse has been around since the beginning of time. Beating children was perfectly normal and not looked down upon during Biblical Times, Mideival Times, the 1700’s and 1800’s. The early 1900’s had child labor along with child abuse. By today’s standards, we are much better off.
Sadly, that’s not saying much. Child abuse was not talked about and if you did talk about it, then you were abused a second time for talking about it or trying to seek help. By fear, threats, and additional beatings you are effectively silenced. I always referred to it as a hostage situation.
What do we do when our children are being abused and are being silenced. The 1970’s child abuse was pretty bad. So bad, more agencies sprang up that were supposed to represent the child. A 1-800 hotline was one of them. Lets take a look at how child abuse was handled in the 1980’s when I had to call the 1-800 hotline that I can’t say the name for fear of me being sued. The responses below from the 1-800 hotline is word for word what was told to me after a beating when I called for help. I’ve changed the name, location, age and situation.
1980’s, Child Abuse Hotline, absolutely NO help
Short Story, Susie’s Call
Its’ the year 1984. Susie lives in Indiana and is 14 years old. Susie comes home from school. Her father is at home waiting to beat her up. Susie’s crime? She didn’t fill the salt shaker. Susie opens the door. A hand grabs Susie by her throat. Susie is thrown into a wall so hard the sheetrock breaks. She’s then thrown to the floor.
FATHER: You need to learn to follow directions girl! Your mother told you to fill the salt shaker and you didn’t do it Susan! (kicks Susie in the stomach) Now get up and fill the salt shaker!
Bleeding Susie pulls herself fromt he floor. She physically, emotionally, and mentally damaged. She stumbles to the kitchen holding her stomach and wailing in tears. She fills the salt shaker. She’s then punched in the eye for a reward. Father leaves the house. Susie has told family members about the abuse before. She’s been to her school, she’s called the police, she’s told her friends parents, she’s tried everything to get the abuse to stop. She’s been told to shut up, called a liar, and told she’s making it up. The school told her its a family problem and that’s where is needs to be solved. Don’t bring it to school.
Susie’s calls her mother at work. Her mother tells her to calm down, its not a big deal. “Take a nap and you’ll be over it in an hour”. Hangs up on Susie. Her mother is an abused woman. She sees nothing wrong with Susie being slapped around. Susie’s grandparents encourage the abuse so she knows not to call them. Susie decides to call the Child Abuse Hotline hoping they will listen and help. They answer.
SUSIE: My Dad just beat me up, he blacked my eye, threw me into a wall, kicked me in the stomach and put his hands around my throat! Please help and get me out of here before he comes back! (panicking)
1-800 HOTLINE: We can’t take your call. A parent has to call and say that this is happening.
SUSIE: What? Why would he do that! He doesn’t think he’s doing anything wrong! Come help me! Nobody else will listen! (Cries) Please listen! ( Begging)
1-800 HOTLINE: How old are you?
1-800 HOTLINE: We can’t take calls from kids under 18. You could be lying just to get your parent in trouble. (hangs up on Susie)
SUSIE: WHAT! What a JOKE!
Susie’s father is a repeat abuser and a wife beater. Susie was told to do something and didn’t do it. Does not filling up a salt shaker warrant a choking, black eye, and kick to the stomach? And Susie’s mother tells her that a nap will make her feel better? Anybody sane can see that this whole situation was handled incorrectly. The repeat beatings on Susie continue to get worse and worse and she’s out of options at this point with no one listening. If she lives long enough to escape, she will have long life lasting effects.
TODAY 2014- Child Protective Services, Not much better
In America, 2013 had over 1000 child deaths resulting from child abuse with children 18 and under. A particular government agency was overseeing half of these. The rest had been reported to schools, churches, the police, family members, and freinds of families. The cries of the abused babies and children fell on deaf ears. Case workers were fired over this.
Adult Survivors of Child Abuse have more of a voice to help people like Susie who are silenced. Smaller children like the 12 year old girl who died in Atlanta last year and the 3 month old in Chicago whose mother killed him. They gave thier lives for silence. Not because they didn’t talk, but because they couldn’t talk. Law suits are in effect for certain government agencies who refused to hear the cries of the child.
What can we do? How can we help the children of the future not to be abused? More importantly, HOW DO WE GET PEOPLE TO LISTEN!
We were faced with and still are faced with the following: “Its not my problem” and “Don’t get involved” and “Let somebody else handle it” Meanwhile, silenced children’s short lives are being sacrificed. Over what? Nothing.