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Easter is beautiful, child abuse ugly

Well, what a difference a month makes, right?

I pen this article for the first Sunday of each month (for those who keep asking me when). I might comment on the coronavirus before I’m done, but you’re probably tired of hearing about it.

The month of April holds a couple of very important events, so let’s get started. If you are reading this article on April 5, it is Palm Sunday, which means the 12th is Easter Sunday.

What a beautiful time of year! Just look outside or go for a walk and you’ll see God’s handiwork on display — trees are budding, flowers are sprouting and the grass is growing.

Birds have returned and are singing; the sky has been a very pretty shade of blue.

Spring is my favorite season of the year.

Easter is the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The story of the crucifixion and resurrection is found in the Bible. Matthew 27:32-66 and Matthew 28:1-20 are both sad and joyous to Christians everywhere.

Billy Graham once said “God proved His love on the Cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world, ‘I Love You’.”

A children’s author, Sarah Chauncey Woolsey (pen name Susan Coolidge) born in Cleveland, Ohio, was known to say, “Earth’s saddest day and gladdest day were just three days apart!”

Think about it.

So, as you prepare for the Easter season, however you celebrate it, please take time to give thanks to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Happy Easter to all of my readers — I appreciate each of you and your feedback!

April is also Child Abuse Prevention Month.

This is very dear to my heart and I would like to share this information with you — definitions, stats and where to find help.

There are five main types of abuse — neglect, physical assault, sexual abuse, domestic violence and mental abuse. Parents need to instill good qualities, compassion for others, trustworthiness and honesty into our children from a very early age. Leading by example is one of the most profound teachers of our youth, whether good or bad.

NEGLECT is defined as “the failure of a caregiver to meet the basic needs of a child.” It is currently the most common of child maltreatment in the United States. According to National Child Abuse Stats, 74.9% of instances of child maltreatment are instances of neglect.

PHYSICAL ASSUALT shows on the outside as bruises or broken bones. However, on the inside a child of this assault blames himself (or herself) for the attack, that somehow it was his fault. Physical harm to a small child not only fills him with terror but also teaches him that it is okay to hurt others. Nationally, 18.3% of child maltreatment cases are for physical abuse.

SEXUAL ABUSE is the forcing of unwanted sexual activity by one person onto another, usually by the use of threats or coercion. With a child, this would be a sexual act that is improper or even harmful. Behavior of this type towards a child has such long lasting effects. They feel it is somehow their fault. If this abuse is not taken seriously, it can have devastating effects even years later. Nationally, 8.6% of victims are sexually abused.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE is violence toward or physical abuse of one’s spouse or domestic partner. It is the leading cause of injury to women- more than car accidents, muggings and rapes combined. In the United States, 1 in 10 women will be raped by an intimate partner in her lifetime. Approximately 16% of women and 8% of men will experience sexual violence other than rape by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime. Every year more than 10 million men and women in the United States are subjected to domestic violence. More than 1 in 3 women (35.6%) and more than 1 in 4 men (28.5%) in the U.S. report domestic violence. Nationally, 50% of batterers who abuse their intimate partners also abuse their children.

MENTAL ABUSE is also known as “playing mind games.” Both children and adults can be victims of this abuse. Mental or psychological abuse can be as devastating to one’s spirit as physical abuse. Adult victims ultimately feel as though they have no self-esteem or worth. Nationally, 7.1% of victims are mentally/psychologically maltreated.

Additional facts on this topic include: Almost five children die every day from child abuse; 72% of all child fatalities were younger than 3 years old; 80.1% of all child fatalities involved at least one parent.

Of the children who died, 75.4% suffered neglect; 41.6% suffered physical abuse either exclusively or in combination with another maltreatment type; 49.6% children who died from child abuse are under 1 year old. More than 90% of juvenile sexual abuse victims know their perpetrator.

Eighty-three percent of preps were between the ages of 18 and 44. 54.1% of preps were women, 45% of preps were men and .09% were of unknown sex.

Consequences and Risk Factors include: Abused children are 25% more likely to experience teen pregnancy. Abused teens are more likely to engage in sexual risk-taking behaviors, putting them at greater risk of STD’s. About 30% of abused and neglected children will later abuse their own children, continuing the horrible cycle of abuse. The financial cost of child abuse and neglect in the United States is estimated at $585 billion. Approximately 5 million children are exposed to domestic violence every year. Children exposed are more likely to attempt suicide, abuse drugs and alcohol, run away from home, engage in teen prostitution and commit sexual assault crimes.

If the abused child is not taken care of properly, most likely he will grow up to do the exact same things to his children. This is why we MUST break this cycle of abuse! Teach our young children that there are no secrets between them and their parents. Allow and encourage open dialogue at a young age.

THERE IS HELP! Locally we have wonderful organizations to help those looking for help. Of course, in an emergency, call 911. The Tri-County Help Center can be reached at 740-695-5441. Personally, I have used their services and think they are wonderful, kind and caring. This number answers 24/7. The National Domestic Violence Hotline number is 1-800-799-7233.

No room left to comment on our current pandemic, so just let me say that my prayer is that we come out of this crisis much more thankful than we entered into it. Stay safe and healthy, my friends.

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