Monthly Archives: January 2020

Vigilance, Part 4 – Sexual Abuse

National Institutes of Health Sex Abuse Disorders Graph
(PD as work product of federal govt.)

These days, children can become victims of sexual exploitation in a variety of ways.  If the sexual predator is a parent, the incest is likely to be a closely held secret.  Whoever the predator, sexual abuse has long-term, devastating consequences.

The warning signs of sexual abuse include the following [1]:

  • A young child who suddenly has difficulty sitting or walking, suggesting injury to the genital area.
  • A child who suddenly refuses to change for gym or take part in other physical activities at school.
  • A child whose hygiene changes suddenly, since children who have been sexually abused may feel “dirty” and stop bathing (or become obsessed with cleanliness, and wash constantly).
  • A child who demonstrates unusual knowledge of sex or sexualized behavior.
  • A child who becomes pregnant or contracts a venereal disease, especially under the age of fourteen.
  • A child who says s/he has been sexually abused by a parent or caregiver.

We assume that the predator parent or caregiver (uncle, boyfriend, etc.) is likely to be secretive and isolated.  This is not always, however, the case.

The sexual predator may be unusually “protective” of the abused child, often sharply restricting a child’s contact with other children – particularly those of the opposite sex.

Guardians

We are the only guardians children have against the darkness of this world.  It is vital that we remain vigilant on their behalf.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5: 8).

[1]  Prevent Child Abuse America, “Recognizing Child Abuse:  What Parents Should Know”,   https://preventchildabuse.org/resource/recognizing-child-abuse-what-parents-should-know/.

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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Filed under Child Abuse, Child Molestation, Christianity, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Religion, Sexual Abuse

Vigilance, Part 3 – Physical Abuse

Rib fractures in an infant, secondary to child abuse, Author/Source National Institute of Health (PD as work product of US Dept. of Health and Human Service, a federal agency)

Physical abuse is the form of child abuse most frequently reported by the media and most familiar to the public.  It is, also, the form most frequently fatal.

Children can and do sustain bumps and bruises, in the course of ordinary play.  Physical abuse, however, is deliberate harm by a parent or caregiver.

An abuser may characterize physical abuse as punishment for a perceived infraction.  But such punishment is out of all proportion to the infraction, and severe beyond a child’s capacity to understand or endure it. Continue reading

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Filed under Child Abuse, Child Molestation, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse

Vigilance, Part 2 – Emotional Abuse

Frightened child, Author Jean-Francois Gornet, Paris, Source Selfie Velib, Originally Posted to Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic)

Emotional abuse is an underrated form of abuse, but no less damaging for that.

The warning signs of emotional abuse include the following [1]:

  • A child who exhibits a lack of attachment to the parent.
  • A child who is delayed in physical or emotional development, unrelated to an identifiable medical or psychological condition.
  • A child who is either inappropriately adult (parenting other children) or inappropriately infantile (constantly rocking or head-banging, for example).
  • A child who exhibits behavioral extremes (acute passivity or serious aggression; demanding behavior or abject compliance).
  • A child who attempts suicide.

The parent who rejects his/her child will constantly blame, belittle, or berate that child.  The parent unconcerned about his/her child’s well-being may refuse offers of help for that child’s school problems.

On the other hand, a parent can be so self-involved that his/her child becomes little more than a pawn for manipulation.

[1]  Prevent Child Abuse America, “Recognizing Child Abuse:  What Parents Should Know”,   https://preventchildabuse.org/resource/recognizing-child-abuse-what-parents-should-know/.

This series will continue next week with Part 3 – Physical Abuse

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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Filed under Child Abuse, Child Molestation, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse

Vigilance, Part 1 – Neglect

Image courtesy of NSPCC

There are a thousand ways to harm a child.  The evidence of child abuse may be subtle or more obvious.  To remain vigilant against such abuse, those of us concerned for the welfare of children must learn to recognize the warning signs.

This series of posts will address such warning signs.  The signs here are derived from lists compiled by Prevent Child Abuse America [1A].  They fall into 4 categories:  neglect, emotional abuse, physical abuse, and sexual abuse.  More often than not, these categories will overlap in the experience of a child.

No single warning sign, by itself, is considered definitive.  Occurring repeatedly or in combination, however, these signs warrant further investigation.

General

The general signs that child abuse may be present in a family include unusual wariness on the part of a child; sudden changes in a child’s behavior; deterioration in a child’s school performance; and learning disabilities on a child’s part unrelated to an identifiable medical or psychological condition.

But the children of abuse may, also, be overachievers, anxious to please.

That said, we will begin with neglect. Continue reading

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Filed under Child Abuse, Child Molestation, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Poverty, Sexual Abuse