Why Would Anyone Physically Harm a Child?

By definition, child abuse is the deliberate and willful injury of a child by a caretaker hitting, beating with an object, slamming against a wall, even killing. It involves active, hostile, aggressive treatment. The key word in the definition of child abuse is deliberate. Why would anyone physically harm a child? The physical destruction of a child is the extreme reaction of parents to the stress of having children. Most people are not aware of the fact that deliberately hitting a child is considered a felony in all fifty states. Abuse of children is more common than most people realize. At least one out of five adult women and one out of every ten adult men report having been abused in childhood. Recognizing child abuse in its several forms is a twentieth century phenomenon. Child abuse is also more likely to be recognized in economically developed countries than in other parts of the world. Children have been beaten and abandoned for centuries, based primarily on the belief that children are the property of their parents. By educating yourself and your children about abuse, you can help prevent it from happening to your children and better cope with it if it does. (Child 6)

There are four different forms of child abuse. They are physical abuse (child beating and neglect), sexual abuse, incest, and exploitation (such as child pornography). Physical abuse occurs when a caretaker deliberately beats the child. Some examples of

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physical abuse include burning with a cigarette, striking a child, and scalding with hot water. According to social agencies, beatings of children have been multiplying over the past twenty-five years or so. The increasing number of reports could mean that in recent years, social workers, health professionals, and other experts have become better able to recognize cases of mistreatment. Some 60,000 cases of abuse are reported annually. (Sargo 12)

Many battered children must endure a second terrible problem – neglect. Neglect, which occurs when parents or others who are responsible for a child’s welfare fail to provide for the child’s basic needs in any number of ways. Physical neglect occurs when the caretaker fails to provide adequate food, clothing, or shelter. Physical neglect also occurs when the person caring for a child refuses to seek health care or delays in doing so. Other examples are abandoning a

child, either permanently or temporarily, and when a child is kicked out of home or refused to be let back in. There is also educational neglect when parents do not force their children to attend school. Early civilization regularly abandoned deformed or surplus children, and ritual sacrifice of the children to appease the gods took place in Egyptian, Carthaginian, Roman, Greek, and Aztec societies. (Child 2) Either they do not enroll the child in school at the age required by law, or they allow their children to be chronically truant from classes. (Gelles 21).

Another form of neglect is emotional neglect, which occurs when parents or guardians behave “in a way that deeply disturbs a young child.” (Sargo 15) Some examples of emotional abuse occur when parents fight or beat each other in front of a child, when they give a child permission to use drugs or alcohol or when the parents themselves are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Then there is moral neglect, when parents let their children run loose in the streets at all hours so he or she risks getting in trouble with the law. Moral neglect also occurs when the parents allow or encourage the child to perform criminal acts. Of the various types of neglect, physical is said to be the most common. The DHHS study reports that some 571,600

American children suffer from physical neglect . Educational neglect is next at just over 292,000 children. Emotional neglect is third with 223,000 victims. (Child 11)

Sexual abuse, which is also known as sexual molestation, is defined as the exploitation of a minor for the sexual gratification of an adult. Sexual abuse involves forcing, tricking, bribing, threatening or pressuring a child into sexual awareness or activity. Sexual abuse is an abuse of power over a child and a violation of a child’s right of normal, healthy, trusting relationship. Sexual abuse occurs when an older child or more knowledgeable child or an adult uses a child for sexual pleasure. The abuse often begins gradually and increases over time. Its victims range in age from infants to young people well into their teens. Sexual abuse has many different forms. One form is

exhibitionism. This occurs when a person exposes his or herself to a child. Another form of sexual abuse is when an adult forces a child to perform a sexual act. The American Humane Association studied reports from child protection agencies across America in 1994 and concluded that some 100,000 American children were abused that year. Sexual abuse is the least frequently reported type of child abuse. (Faulkner 4)

Sex offenders very cunningly weave the web of abuse and secrecy. The snare is cast ever so slowly under the guise of a loving relationship. By the time many children realize something is wrong, the violation has begun, and the stench of the self-deprecation feelings has already emerged into their terrified reality. The adult who presumes sex on a child is “deceiving” the child into trusting that it is a okay, “tricking” the child into trusting that it’s a love relationship, and engaging in “illegal criminal” behavior. Children don’t always know when they are being abused; they sometimes don’t know what to call it. To add to their confusion, inconsistent parents we keep sending them more and more conflicting messages. (Faulkner 3-5)

Another form of child abuse is incest. Incest can be described as sexual acts between two people who are so closely related that the law forbids them to marry. The Child Sexual Abuse Treatment Program reported that they handle about five hundred cases of incest a year. In a great majority of incest cases, the victim is a female. Her assailant is usually a male adult, uncle, cousin, or brother. Most often, however, he is the

child’s fathers or guardian. Some studies have shown that 40 percent of all women who use drugs have incest in their past. (American 1)

Another form of abuse is child pornography. Child pornography by definition is the sexual exploitation of children. The concern is greater than the distribution of offensive images. The real fear is that pedophiles who trade child pornography will, sooner or later, commit sexual crimes in their neighborhood. Child pornography is nothing new. It has been around for centuries. This form of child abuse first began in foreign countries. In the 1970’s, sales of child pornography boomed. Most of the children in child pornographies are runaways who find themselves broke. The acts of child pornography that are vicious and the damage to the children is tremendous. There is also great possibility that, raised in sexual cruelty, they themselves will become sexually abusive parents. Thus, a terrible tradition has been started. (The-Sexual 23)

Who is a child abuser? Abused children are found in all types of homes – in the poorest neighborhoods, in middle class and wealthy neighborhoods in all parts of the country. No one can define one group of people to be child abusers. However, the “greatest numbers of cases of mistreatment are seen in families with annual incomes of about $15,000.” (Child 9) The rate of mistreatment is five times higher than in higher income families. Reports have also shown that the rate of physical abuse and neglect is higher in families with four or more children.

By far the greatest number of beatings come from parents who have trouble handling the problems in their lives. “ About 80 percent of all abusive mothers were at one point and time abused children.” (Child 13) For this reason, people can expect most of today’s abused children. (Child 9-13)

Abuse survivors tell us that one of the problems that lingers into adult hood and that keeps the secret intact for years, is the child’s feelings that they are somehow to blame and as a result, they are “dirty” or soiled.” Sex offenders are smart. They know about the “pleasure quilt” and may even emphasize it to keep the sordid secret, – “If you tell anyone about this, they will think you’re bad.” (Faulkner 3)

Abuse does not just mean that the child is likely to become an abusive parent. There is another great danger. Studies show that abused children have a habit of getting into trouble with the law. There are no statutes that clearly distinct between what is and what is not considered to be child abuse and neglect. Therefore, police and other public officials must take each case separately into consideration. All states have three sets of laws relating to child abuse and neglect. One law requires all physicians and other public officials to report to the local police any situation in which they suspect a child has been intentionally abused or neglected. The other two laws deal with the criminal code by which an accused child abuser is punished. Child abuse is considered a felony, but by the time most families in trouble come in contact with the law it is much too late to help.

Some people believe it is better for an abused child to be placed in foster care. Yet, foster care, in some cases, may be more harmful to the child’s health. Despite a department policy that says children should not be put in homes with more than six children, sixteen percent are. One fourth of all abused children in foster care return to their parents. It has been estimated that some ten thousand children are severely battered every year, fifty to seventy-five thousand are sexually abused, one hundred thousand are emotionally neglected, and another one hundred thousand are physically, morally, or educationally neglected. (Innocents)

“It only takes a quick scan of the headlines to see that sex offenders come in a variety of shapes and sizes – principals, teachers, coaches, doctors, lawyers, scout leaders, ministers, priests, neighbors, relatives – the butcher, the banker, and the candlestick maker.” (Faulkner 6)

Every child is vulnerable to abuse. Today’s parents must face the possibility that someone may hurt or take advantage of their child. Research indicates that as many as one out of every four children will be the victim of some type of abuse. Very young children as well as older teenagers are victimized. Almost all of these children will be abused by someone they know and trust. (Faulkner 1)

There are many organizations that were formed for the sole purpose of helping to prevent child abuse, such as the Committee for the Prevention of Child Abuse, Societies

for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, and Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America. There are also thousands of thoughtful and concerned Americans working to halt the spread of child abuse. There are many things people can do to help this cause, so one day there may be a conclusion to a horrible problem that haunts many American children. One way for someone to help children is to speak out. Silence enables the abuse to continue. Silence protects the offenders and hurts children who are being abused. Abuse is an extremely difficult and damaging experience.

Thesis: What is Child Abuse and what are it’s effects on the child and his/her family?
I. Introduction
II. Different types of child abuse
A. Physical Abuse
B. Sexual Abuse
C. Incest
D. Exploitation
III. Neglect
A. Physical Neglect
B. Educational Neglect
C. Emotional Neglect
D. Moral Neglect
IV. Sexual Abuse
A. Exhibitionism
B. Sexual Acts
V. Incest
A. Sexual acts between relatives
B. Victim statistics
VI. Child Pornography
A. Boomed in the 70’s
B. Abused passed on through generations

VII. Where abused children are found
A. All neighborhoods
B. Low income families
IX. Abuse Laws
A. Laws in all states
B. Abuse statistics
X. Conclusion

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Why Would Anyone Physically Harm a Child?. (2018, Jun 29). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/essay-child-abuse/