941-462-4807 meg@megyounglcsw.com

Child abuse is so prevalent around the world, but even in the United States it is staggering. It is estimated that between four and seven children die per day in the United States due to abuse or neglect and a report to child protection agencies happens every 10 seconds. (See Childhelp.org). Children who are abused or neglected are at a higher risk for developing mental health and physical health problems later in life. One study showed that 80% of people 21 years of age who reported being abused in childhood met the criteria for at least one mental health disorder. (See Childhelp.org). There is also a disproportionate number of people in prisons who have childhood abuse histories (14% of men and 36% of women). Furthermore, of people involved in drug/alcohol programs, as much as 2/3 have childhood abuse histories. (See Childhelp.org). With all the financial, social, psychological, legal, and medical effects child abuse has, it is sad to see that our country (along with others) is still suffering with this plague. I mentioned in an earlier post about secrets. Child abuse, especially sexual abuse, is shrouded in secrecy. If we can teach our children not to hold secrets – ever – we can start to bring this issue to the surface and really strike hard at it. Let’s teach different wording. If it is a surprise birthday party and you’re not supposed to tell the person, it’s not a “secret” but a “surprise” or something similar. If you are giving a cookie to a child and say “It’s our secret” because it’s almost dinner time, say something different, like “this is a treat” or something similar. Let’s teach our children not to ever use the term “secret.” By teaching children that secrets are bad, if they get into an abusive situation, they will understand it is NOT a “secret” and they absolutely have to tell someone about it. Let’s learn to be good mentors and teachers to our children. Please go to Childhelp.org or National Children’s Alliance or any other website designed to bring the issue to light and offer ways to battle this illness our country is gripped with. Let’s strike back at child abuse.