by Ed Harpring
In the United States, alone, 2.9 million cases of child abuse are reported every year, and more than 4 children die from child abuse and neglect on a daily basis. Over 70% of these children are below the age of 3.
The statistics are gut-wrenching and a clarion call to action for all of us. We can take steps to educate ourselves but the most important factors are to:
- Know the signs. Unexplained injuries aren’t the only signs of abuse. Depression, fear of a certain adult, difficulty trusting others or making friends, sudden changes in eating or sleeping patterns, inappropriate sexual behavior, poor hygiene, secrecy, and hostility are often signs of family problems and may indicate a child is being neglected or physically, sexually, or emotionally abused.
- Report abuse. If you witness a child being harmed or see evidence of abuse, make a report to your state’s child protective services department or local police. When talking to a child about abuse, listen carefully, assure the child that he or she did the right thing by telling an adult, and affirm that he or she is not responsible for what happened.
Sadly, our “throwaway culture” as Pope Francis tells us, diminishes the dignity of human life . . .
“Human life is sacred and inviolable. Every civil right is based on the recognition of the first, fundamental right, the right to life, which is not subject to any condition, of a qualitative, economic and certainly not of an ideological nature. Just as the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ places a clear limit guaranteeing the value of human life, today we must also say ‘No to an economy of exclusion and inequality.’ This economy kills. Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded. We have created a ‘throwaway’ culture which is now spreading. In this way life too is discarded.”
Child abuse has dramatically increased in direct correspondence to the legalization of abortion. Paradoxically, we were told by abortion proponents that legal abortion would not only reduce the number of abortions, but related social issues, such as child abuse, would be significantly reduced as well. On the contrary, 44 years later we know the true and grim fact facts of abortion and child abuse. More than 58 MILLION babies have been aborted since the Roe v. Wade decision and child abuse has increased more than 1,000 percent since the legalization of abortion in 1973.
These statistics clearly fly in the face of the abortion proponents’ argument that “unwanted children” prevents child abuse.
Recent studies suggest that strong traditional marriages and families are the best protection against child abuse.
“The safest family environment for a child is a home in which the biological parents are married. Contrary to current theory about the effects of marriage on children, recent research demonstrates that marriage provides a safe environment for all family members, one in which child abuse and fatality are lowered dramatically.” http://www.heritage.org/marriage-and-family/report/the-child-abuse-crisis-the-disintegration-marriage-family-and-the#8
Again, Pope Francis points this out:
The joy of children makes their parents’ hearts leap and opens up the future. Children are the joy of the family and of society. They are not matter of reproductive biology, or one of the many ways of producing them, much less their parents’ possession. Children are a gift. They are a gift. Each one is unique and unrepeatable, and at the same time unmistakably linked to his or her roots. Indeed, to be a son or a daughter according to God’s plan, means carrying in oneself the memory and hope of a love that has become tangible by kindling the life of another human being, original and new.
Indeed, children are a gift and to prevent child abuse, we must defend, protect and promote strong marriages, families and a culture that values the gift of life.