“Cycle of Abuse” by Mary Mattison

“Children sleeping in Mulberry Street” by 19th Century reformer Jacob Reis (1890) (PD)

The history of child abuse in all its forms would astonish many.  It leaves little hope to be vanquished, considering in many countries it is deemed “culture”.  Although we can not stop child abuse in its entirety, we do have the power to help save one child at a time in America, and hope for humanitarian efforts to continue their fight for children around the world.

The life of Mary Ellen Wilson started an increased awareness for the need to protect children.  She was born in 1864.  When her Mother became  widowed, she sent Mary to boarding school, but could not continue the payments.  By the age of two Mary Ellen was placed in foster care, suffering the abuse for eight years.  Although neighbors heard the cries, and saw the condition she lived in, they did not come to her aid, but thankfully one concerned woman could not forget her.

In 1874 a Methodist missionary, Etta Angell Wheeler, was asked to check on Mary Ellen, since she made frequent visits to the poor tenements.  After seeing the badly bruised and neglected child, she set out to take legal recourse and remove her from the home.

A court case ensued, and the judge placed Mary Ellen with a loving family.  She went on to lead a productive life, and some have deemed her a “dandelion” child, which are children who seem to thrive and do rather well, despite living through horrific experiences.  Sadly not all cases have such a happy ending.

There have been many changes in child welfare since 1874, yet the circumstances that left Mary Ellen in an abusive home for years are still much the same.

With all the recent effort to decide who will fund woman’s reproductive health, four children die every day from abuse.  This is only an estimation, and fatalities are rising.  Each state has a data base, and the numbers are heart wrenching.  See, for example, https://dcs.az.gov/news/child-fatalities-near-fatalities-information-releases .

Child Protective Services stood to receive 3.3 Billion dollars in 2016 to fund their programs.  The bleak reality is, there is not enough money, or man power to stop the abuse and neglect of children.  Valuable time is wasted investigating false claims, while serious cases of abuse and neglect go unreported.  In some cases children are placed in poorly screened foster homes where the abuse continues.

Would it not be more economical to address the social issues?  The lack of moral values, compassion for human life, and self-seeking behaviors that are behind the suffering of innocent children?

And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony” (Colossians 3: 14).

Like Etta Angell  Wheeler, Mary Mattison is a woman with a loving heart.  She blogs at Anchor Thy Soul https://anchorthysoul.wordpress.com and Pennies for Dreams https://penniesfordreams.com.

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: https://alawyersprayers.com

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13 Comments

Filed under Child Abuse, Christianity, Community, Emotional Abuse, Law, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Religion, Sexual Abuse

13 responses to ““Cycle of Abuse” by Mary Mattison

  1. “Would it not be more economical to address the social issues? The lack of moral values, compassion for human life, and self-seeking behaviors that are behind the suffering of innocent children?” – I absolutely agree with this. So much money is being pumped into child welfare in the form of social services and children’s charities which is good, but it’s not about the money, it’s about valuing our children, loving our children, treating our children as if they are flesh and blood. Basically, do not abuse children and if you witness or see a child being abused – for God’s sake, do something about it! So angry about this!! Sorry Anna for my rant here.

  2. I forgot to include Mary’s name here : So sorry Mary and Anna for the rant, but for some reason, this post had me in tears, and I don’t know if Mary Ellen Wilson’s name so close to my own initials triggered it.

  3. Thank you Anna 🙂
    God Bless

  4. “Would it not be more economical to address the social issues? The lack of moral values, compassion for human life, and self-seeking behaviors that are behind the suffering of innocent children?”

    Speaking strictly from a monetary viewpoint, enough money cannot be printed to wipe out child abuse. This is yet one more area where we have absolved ourselves of any responsibility to take an active part in our communities. After all, there are “programs” out there to tend to those kinds of kids. By effectively making child abuse “their” problem, we can wash our hands of it and sleep well at night.

    Nothing, and I mean nothing makes me as angry as seeing on the news that another defenseless child has been killed by the child’s mother’s boyfriend. Where I live it is at epidemic proportions, and no one has the answer to stop it. Nearby, there are charitable auctions every winter when the snowbirds come back that raise millions for children’s causes, yet still the abuse rages on. When will we finally come clean and acknowledge that we have failed miserably in our feeble attempts to create a utopian society devoid of God?

    What no one wants to address with this nightmare is what has happened to natural parental instincts? Have opioids driven the God given instinct to care for our own completely out of us? Has violence? Unemployment? What has changed within us that we can so coldly inflict pain and suffering of helpless children?

    As I’ve said so many times, we have a God problem, and until we recognize that and come back to Him, the poor and defenseless among us will continue to be victimized. What is so painful is that this doesn’t have to be so!!

    As Marie already stated, sorry for the rant Anna.

  5. Anna, as a so called intelligent species,
    we certainly have a lot to answer for.
    If we cannot even protect all innocent children,
    then we have failed miserably.

  6. Hi Anna,
    I do so hope my above comments
    did not come across as insincere.
    If so, I truly apologise.
    Alan.

  7. Interesting to learn about Mary Ellen Wilson and how the project began to take shape… Child abuse is in my opinion the worst kind of abuse, although every type is awful… Children sometimes can´t differentiate what is good and what is completely wrong. Imagine, if women being adults could at times consent abusive relationships (part of the Cycle)… and even feel shame and blame themselves… What is left for kids? .
    The statistics speak out, by the way: really sad. Thanks so much for raising awareness on this tough issue, dear Anna. Love & all the best to you 🙂

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