Children suffer widespread abuse

Child Abuse
I looked into your eyes,
Famished for wombwarmth.
And all I saw was void.
A hollow wasteland.
My being screamed for love,
But barrenness raised his hand,
And kept me at distance.
I struggled in this new place.
Diminished in my hope,
And grew smaller,
And finally vanished.
Buried beneath the dungheap of rejection.
Worthless, unloved and unlovable.
And in this dark place,
Grew to hate

Jim O’Shea

Bullying, of course, is only one aspect of child abuse. Many of the types of abuse explored above can also apply to children. Because child abuse has serious long-term effects, it deserves separate examination. A definition of child abuse normally covers four types of child mistreatment – physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and neglect. However, I have included verbal abuse as a separate entity. This chapter, which contains shocking material, will look at these, and the immediate and long-term effects of such behaviours. These behaviours are nauseating in any context, but particularly so in relation to precious, vulnerable, and innocent children. Not only are they despicable, but they are illegal, widespread and under reported.
It is impossible to get any reliable global statistics on child abuse, because definitions of this abuse are culturally biased. On a global level, it is estimated that 53,000 children were murdered in 2002, and an alarming number suffered physical abuse and neglect in their homes. It is reckoned that 150 million girls and 73 million boys under 18 experienced forced sexual intercourse. Almost one million children suffer abuse each year in the United States, 63% of these suffer from neglect, 17% from physical abuse, 9% from sexual abuse, and 7% from emotional abuse. Boys and girls are equally likely to suffer abuse, and the most targeted are the youngest age group (birth to 3 years). The majority of abused children range from 1 to 15 years old (10-15 for sexual abuse). It has been estimated that the annual cost of child abuse and neglect in the United States is over $100 billion.
Adapted from Jim O’Shea’s book Abuse. Domestic Violence, Workplace and School Bullying published by Cork University Press

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