Ten Ways to Help Prevent Child Abuse

Be a nurturing parent.

Children need to know that they are special, loved and capable of following their dreams.

Help a friend, neighbor or relative.

Being a parent isn’t easy. Offer a helping hand take care of the children, so the parent(s) can rest or spend time together.

Help yourself.

When the big and little problems of your everyday life pile up to the point you feel overwhelmed and out of control take time out. Don’t take it out on your kid.

If your baby cries…

Never shake a babyshaking a child may result in severe injury or death.

Get involved.

Ask your community leaders, clergy, library and schools to develop services to meet the needs of healthy children and families.

Help to develop parenting resources at your local library.

Promote programs in school.

Teaching children, parents and teachers prevention strategies can help to keep children safe.

Monitor your child’s television and video viewing.

Watching violent films and TV programs can harm young children.

Volunteer at a local child abuse prevention program.

For information about volunteer opportunities, call 1.800.CHILDREN.

Report suspected abuse or neglect.

If you have reason to believe a child has been or may be harmed, call your local department of children and family services or you local police department.

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Don’t let blame be the crutch that holds you back

I have given a lot of thought to blame.  Coming from a wildly abusive home it would be easy to assign blame for my life.  It would be easy for any survivor of such things to give up.  After all, this terrible thing happened.

I find blame to be a slippery slope. At some point I decided to let go of blame and see the past as an experience that colored me.  Understanding the why allowed me to change.  My three brothers have not fared as well.  Violent, abusive, substance abuse and denial.  Why indeed can one child have the will to go on and thrive, while others flounder.

At what point are we in charge of our own lives? At what point do we tell ourselves “Yesterday is on them, today and tomorrow is on me.”  I think this is an important decision.  Don’t let  blame  cripple you.

The hardest story to tell is your own

I was watching a movie about the holocaust last night.  It was such an awful and for some an unspeakable time in history.  I thought not about the movie today though, but about the opening line,

 “The hardest story to tell is your own.  If you never tell it, it disappears and never happened.”

Sad to say but, you and I know, it happened.  We study history to ensure that we do not make the same mistakes.

Adult survivors of sexual abuse…  It happened!   There is and unspoken shudder that runs thru society and thru time and tells us all, this is unspeakable, turn away, do not look and for God sake do not blather about it to anyone.

Don’t tell.  It will make the family look bad. My husband would not do that to you. My brother would not do that to you. __________ (fill in the blank) would not do that to you.

And the comment that hurt me last year from my own brother. “YOU are ruining the family name by talking about this!”

While the media offers up the child molester as the big ugly and very identifiable stranger down the block it gives good-looking Auntie, Uncle, Daddy, Mommy or valued family friend a free pass.  They could not have   done this heinous thing survivors speak of.  Look at them!  They are good looking, charming and successful.

The media is not reporting the truth or telling the story that survivors know to be true.

IT HAPPENED

There are people who don’t believe the holocaust happened.  There are those who don’t believe children are raped.   Tell your story.  Don’t let it disappear.  Don’t let that criminal go free.

From Suicide Letter to Survival Letter

“Life has taken its toll on me. I can no longer carry these secrets of being physically and sexually abused by both my parents and many others. Since the nightmares and flashbacks have taken control of my life I can’t function in society. I know no one could understand this shame and pain I carry. The feeling of it being my fault hangs over my head.”

Hi, my name is Malisia McKinney and those are the things that were running through my head the day I decided to kill myself and started a friendship with the author known as Annie O Sullivan of Can You Hear Me Now. I had sat at the computer to write a suicide letter and explain to people how important I felt it was to seek help but I was sorry I had waited too long.

I signed into Facebook to find a reply message from Annie regarding a message I had sent in regards to being sexually abused by my mother and how society didn’t believe mothers sexually abuse and how difficult it was. In Annie’s reply she told me that sometimes just living 15 minutes at a time was ok. It was like a light turned on in my head and a sense a relief come over me knowing I didn’t have to take it all on at once. What Annie didn’t know until much later had I not received that letter I would have been dead in 15 minutes.

I took Annie’s advice and decided to live within that 15 minutes and the next 15 minutes. It’s been almost a year now. During these months Annie listened to my story and gave me guidance from her own experience as a survivor. I have learned some important things from Annie that has saved my life this year.

  1. It’s never too late
  2. You are not alone
  3. Never give up
  4. It’s ok to just live 15 minutes at a time
  5. It’s ok to seek help
  6. You have nothing to be ashamed of
  7. It’s not your fault
  8. You are acting normally in an abnormal situation
  9. Tell your story
  10. Speak out against child abuse

So today I would like to write my survival letter instead of a suicide letter:

It’s never too late to start a journey to heal. I’m not alone and you aren’t either.

I no longer carry those secrets and I gave back the shame to the abusers. I let the little girl in me tell her story as much as she needs to. It does get better. I have days where I live 15 minutes at a time and that’s ok because I also have days of happiness I never thought possible. I have begun to experience new joys and a peace that was once strange to me. I’m glad I chose life.

If you are struggling know YOU ARE NOT ALONE and it’s OK TO ASK FOR HELP and if you know someone who is struggling please LISTEN to them it will make a world of difference in their life. Encourage them to SEEK HELP as well.

Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or suicidepreventionlifeline.org

RAINN-Rape Abuse & Incest National Network 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or rain.org

Mia