Monday, December 26, 2011

Part 2: The "Unspeakable" Words: - CHILD ABUSE

"Children will not remember you for the material things you provided but for the feeling that you cherished them"

Richard L. Evans


I want to talk to you, a friend, a little now because I know I will not be in any condition at this end of this. I'd like to say "Thank You" from the bottom of my heart to those of you who dropped me a little note of encouragement either by email, Face Book (Eagle Mind) or on various Bipolar groups and social networks I belong regarding my condition. Those words meant more to me than you will ever know!

I believe that is what all this is about - we share a common "demon" that only we can relate to. I totally admire and respect psychologist, psychiatrist, neurologist and therapists and all the specialists who have devoted their practice and lives to make us better and continually try to find a cure, but it is you and I who lives with this nightmare day and night, and we alone know what we go through. This is why it is so important that we help each other -lifting each other up - with just a note of encouragement from time to time.

I made a commitment that I was going to write about a subject that even under normal mental conditions tears my heart out. As my condition continued to get worse, this is almost impossible for me to write. This horrible subject of "child abuse" has always been a sharp pain in my heart. It has been a long time since I first mentioned to you I was going to write about it, so you can tell I had trouble with this. Now, as I allow myself to dwell on it, a sudden rush of sorrow; pity; pain; and major depression slowly builds into a uncontrollable rage that if I do not force myself to change my thoughts, I truly feel what little sanity I have left will explode. "Then why put yourself through it?" I have been asked. I can only say...I just cannot be quiet. Something inside will not rest until I get this out. It burns within my soul.

"What does this subject have to do with Bipolar, and how will it help me?" To start with, it is written by someone who has bipolar I. This illness can reach down and pull from the heart something that one fills passionate about and magnify it one hundred times until it becomes an obsession. Also, when I first published this website, my goal was to try to tell my story, and include whatever I can to the best of my ability to help someone, anyone, even if it just one person. And finally, bipolar is a mental illness, and as you will find out, this subject has mental illness written all over it.

There are thousands of articles, websites, blogs, and organizations that have written about child abuse, so I am well aware I probably do not have anything new to add regarding basic information and statics. However, there may by a slight chance I may add something here you were not aware of, but most of all, I think maybe using my illness and the ability to draw upon my deepest, darkest feelings, it may bring to light this awful subject from a different point of view. I will share couple of stories with you that will make your stomach churn. In my state of mind I hope, I Pray, I can bring this to you through my eyes. I trust when you are finished reading, you will have just a glimpse of how my heart goes out to all the little ones who never had a chance to know what "real" life is. Whatever pain I may feel here is like a drop in the ocean compared to their pain, mentally and physically. Death, in some cases, is the only release of pain they will ever have. They may survive and grow old, but these types of scars will not heal, and death here also will finally close the "mental" wounds.

ABUSE: I hate that word! For me, there is not list a word in the English language so revolting! Of all the people that breathe, I believe without a doubt child abusers are the lowest form of creatures that ever slithered on this earth. These cowards prey on those who either by strength or will, cannot fight back. Their victims are usually totally helpless, defenseless and at the mercy of one who by definition cannot relate to others as human beings, choosing instead to treat them as "objects" for whatever satisfies their own sick mind!

{Ok, I have to calm down --I am getting ahead of myself. I will get back to these abusers later}

Types of abuse:

Physical Abuse - Physical injuries is one of the most commonly observed signs of child abuse. This includes repeated hitting, beating, shaking, throwing, burning, scalding, drowning or any other forms of physical harm to a child. The child will tend to suffer more fractures than other children and bruises or marks are commonly seen or noticed on their body. All these may cause temporary or permanent disability or disfigurement to the child. In severe cases, it may lead to death too.

Sexual Abuse - Sexual abuse is one of the most disgusting and hideous ways to torture these pure and innocent children. Child sexual abuse includes engaging sexual activities with the child, displaying pornography or using the child for pornography purposes. Sexual abuse may or may not occur physical contact with the child. However, even without any physical engagement, it would have already caused the child's mind to be corrupted with these filthy thoughts, given that they are still a child.

Emotional Abuse - Emotional abuse includes words, actions, comparisons or even indifference that are always discouraging or demoralizing for the children. Emotional abuse often results in impaired psychological growth and development. The children are often rejected, ignored, belittled or even criticized by the abusers. This may occur with or without physical abuse; however, there is often an overlap. For instance, unreasonable demands on a child's performance and penalizing a child for positive behavior are forms of emotional child abuse. Any individual who is under prolonged emotional abuse often loses self-confidence and suffers from low self-esteem. Similarly, development of the abused children is often affected in terms of social, cognitive and psychological behavior. Unfortunately, it is detrimental and long-lasting.

Verbal Abuse - Verbal abuse happens when the child is being yelled at or scolded or even humiliated using harsh words. The verbally abused child may develop negative behavior, physical aggression and misbehaving at a higher rate when they are compared to others. In some cases, when they are agitated by the comparisons or comments made by the abusers, they may hit or quarrel with other children or classmates. When the child is constantly abused verbally, the child may become self-destructive and depressed and do things that may harm them.

Neglect - Neglect is a type of abuse where the child is not well taken care of. This includes parents or caregivers paying little or no attention to the child or basic requirements are not fulfilled. Basic requirements like food, proper clothing, hygiene and the attention that the child needs. In most cases, these children will suffer from emotional or mental pain.

Substance Abuse - Substance abuse is also a type of child abuse where child is exposed to illegal drug activities. This includes child being drugged so that parents or caregivers are able to control him/her, using the child as a middleman to sell or distribute the illegal drug and other substances, or manufacture of a controlled substance in premises occupied by children.

Abandonment - Many people do not know that abandonment is also considered a type of child abuse. Abandonment is when the child is being left behind and the parent's identity or their whereabouts are unknown. This may cause the child to suffer from serious harm (physical or mentally). Physical harm such as improper upbringing that causes the child to be lead astray. Mental harm such as the child will be growing up without their real parent and that might make them feel inferior to other children.

STATISTICS: 

In 2009*: 

* 3.3 MILLION Child abuse reports and "allegations" involving an estimated 6 million children each year!

 * More than 5 children die Every Day as a result of Chile Abuse.


* About 30% of abused and neglected children will later abuse their own children, continuing the horrible cycle of abuse.


* Approximately 80% of children that die from abuse are UNDER the age of four!! Of these - 46% were a year old or under.


* Response Time: "The time between the receipt of the call to the State or local agency alleging maltreatment and face-to-face contact with the alleged victim or the appropriate party." According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources, High Priority cases are often stipulated to occur within 1 - 24 hours. However, for all states reporting the "average" response time is 69 hours!


* It is estimated that between 50-60% of child fatalities due to maltreatment are not recorded as such on death certificates.


* 80.9% of duplicate (Same child -more than one substantiated report) perpetrators of child maltreatment were parents, and 6.3% were other relatives of the victim. Of the duplicate perpetrators who were parents, four-fifths (84.7%) were the biological parents of the victim.


* 83.2% of all the unique perpetrators were between the ages of 20 - 49 years old.
* More than 90% of juvenile sexual abuse victims know their perpetrator in some way.


* About 80% of 21 year old that was abused as children met criteria for at least one psychological disorder.


* 14% of all men in prison in the USA were abused as children.


* 36% of all women in prison were abused as children.


* Children who experience child abuse and neglect are 59% more likely to be arrested as a juvenile, 28% more likely to be arrested as an adult, and 30% more likely to commit violent crime.

[Childhelp; http://www.acf.hhs.gov/ ]

America! A country once regarded as the greatest and most envied country on earth! A country that no matter what type of financial crises we ourselves are in, will rush to the aid of another country with funds; troops; first-aid and supplies. Because we care. That is the backbone this country was built upon. I love my country! The American flag that hangs in my front yard waving in the wind makes chills go down my spine when I stop for a second and watch its beauty, realizing what it stands for. I love my country...but I do not have to love the Leadership! What type of leaders from the President, Senators, Congress and all the way down to the Commissioner and Secretary of Social Services in each state "ignore" over 1.7 million substantiated (actual investigated and documented) child abuse cases each year? Why do we not hear them crying out "this criminal, inhumane stigma is NOT slowing down, but rises each and every year...why?" I love children no matter what race, color, nationality, religion - it does not matter, but what does matter to me is when our leaders send billions of dollars overseas to help other children (are we even sure it reaches the children?) when we have this horrific problem right here in our back yard. Listen, by the time you read this blog, over 350 calls will be made reporting a child being abused - what about their cries that we cannot hear? What we need to inform our government is these are not numbers but they are children - they have names --they have pictures - and as long as you just look at them as a number, you will NOT feel their pain!!

Please tell me; with everything in my heart I ask you, what type of person could physically abuse an infant? How can anyone mistreat, harm, torture, rape and beat a cute little innocent child. I was just about to call them animals when I stopped...no animal kingdom on earth treats their young like this!! I watched a documentary of a true mother in action. A herd of wild buffalo's was being approached by a pack of hungry lions. The Buffalo's formed a line; long horns lowered slightly, slowly approaching the pride. There was a little calf standing next to the mother near the front. You could see by the way the lions were approaching; they had singled out the calf. The mother buffalo dropped back some near the middle of the herd, as not to outrun the calf. As the buffalo's started a slow charge, then gaining speed, the mother had to hold back a little so the calf could catch up. She had to slow down so much, probably before she realized it; the herd was quite a distance ahead of her. Out of the grass on the other side of them, three lions came out of their cover and charged strait for the calf. I witnessed something that I will never forget. The frightened calf stood so close to the mother, it was almost underneath her. The mother buffalo spun in circles keeping the calf under her, flipping her horns at the charging lions. Once she connected and sent one lion several feet in the air. Quite a ways ahead of her, several of her herd saw what was happening and turned around and headed back to help. In a split second a lion leaped and landed on top of the mother, burying the claws deep into her back. With the lion on her, claws burying deeper, razor sharp teeth sinking into the back of her neck, the mother buffalo lowered her head and hit the bottom of the calf shoving it in the direction of the rescuing herd. It stopped, cried out looking at its mother. Another lion leaped and sunk its teeth into her throat. She did it again --actually forcing the calf to meet the herd rushing back to help. The calf ran into the herd safe. It turned. It watched. The mother was on her front knees, getting weaker by the second. You could see pounds of flesh hanging from all over her. I, a grown man, almost cried as she lay there, and with the last ounce of strength she had turned her head and looked at the calf watching. It was safe. One last bellow in its direction...and she was gone. That is Motherhood! There is more motherhood in one small drop of the mother buffalo's blood then all the unfit, uncaring, scum that will DARE to call themselves a mother.

Listen, these little innocent little children did not ask to be brought up in this world in the first place! If given a chance, do you think they wanted to be born into a home of parents who treat them worse than animals? If - I stress "IF" - the five little precious ones that die every day (God only knows what they endured seconds before death) were old enough to decide do you think they would choose not even to be born? I think we all know the answer. What about the ones who most assuredly, abused day after day, death would eventually come?

 If nothing I have said so far stirs you in the least, if I could ask you parents, as soon as you read this next paragraph to close your eyes and deep down picture this scene - hold it until it becomes real to you -and you will "feel" what I am, and realize this kind of abuse happens every second of the day:

There is a little month old girl. She is so precious! She is in the bassinet; her arms and legs jerk in every direction as she sees her mother reach down to pick her up. Remember how you used to sweet talk in the "baby tone" as you lifted her into your arms? Remember as her soft cheek touches you, the aroma of that sweet "baby smell" of baby powder and freshness fills your nose? Remember those little fingers grabbing your cheeks...even then at that age they could grip until it almost hurt? --Now picture you doing to this little innocent angel what this mother and her boyfriend did to theirs --lifted her up and dipped her little feet and legs in a pot of boiling water on the stove...a true story.

Look, compared to most I know I'm not a great writer; I have so many problems getting what is going on in my head and heart, in words, for you to read on your screen. The grammar is awful, and sometimes "spell check" laughs at me. My condition at times makes it almost impossible. But I will say this, whatever I write, it is not just because I want to post something -it comes from my heart. When I wrote "Upbringing" I had done very little research on the subject beforehand. Most of it was "borrowed" from the way I was raised, and watching my own four daughters. Three are now married and have children of their own, and I still have a young girl at home. We saw obvious traits of their mother and me, but watched each one respond differently to needs, likes, personalities, discipline, and love. In "Upbringing" I quoted the piece entitled "The Science of Early Childhood Development" form the Harvard University as saying:

Like constructing a house, brains are built on a strong foundation. This starts before birth, and is very important during the first three years of life. The Brain cells are the "raw materials" and a child's experience and interactions help build the structure."

"A child's experiences, good or bad, influence the wiring of his/her brain and the connection in their nervous system. Loving interactions with caring adults strongly stimulate a child's brain, causing synapses to grow and existing connections to get stronger. Connections that are used become permanent. If a child receives little stimulation early on, the synapses will NOT develop, and the brain will make fewer connections."

*** "Stress can become toxic when a child has frequent or prolonged experiences like abuse or neglect. High levels can cause the brain cells to die and reduces the connections between the cells and certain areas of the brain, harming the vital circuits."***

That article perfectly fit the point I was trying to make on how the Upbringing -Can and Does - affect the child. But how little did I know then, as I was trying to catch up on my reading and doing a little background for this piece how accurate it measures the percentage of abused children either having some form of mental instability, mental illness, or become child abusers themselves.

Between when I wrote that and now, trying to look ahead at something I was going to write about down the road, I read a book by Dr. Dorothy Otnow Lewis entitled "Guilty By Reason of Insanity" Dr. Lewis was director of the DID clinic at Bellevue Hospital where she treated hundreds of young patients. She had personally spent hours upon hours with famous serial killers like Ted Bundy. This is a little excerpt of her studies:

 "Dr. Lewis focused on some of the most violent criminals; she has interviewed 150 to 200 murderers, sorting through their medical histories and, as much as it can be done, their brains. In 1986 Dr. Lewis and Dr. Pincus published a study of 15 death row inmates that found all had suffered severe head injuries in childhood and about half had been injured by assaults. 6 were chronically psychotic. Far from invoking an "abuse excuse," Dr. Lewis said, all but one had minimized or denied their psychiatric disorders, figuring that it was better to be bad than crazy. Many, she said, had been so traumatized that they could not remember how they had received their scars. The answers had to come from childhood medical records and interviews with family members. In another study, of 14 juveniles sentenced to death, the researchers found that all had suffered head trauma, most in car accidents but many by beatings as well. 12 had suffered brutal physical abuse, 5 of those sodomized by relatives."

This is a quote from Dr. Dorothy Lewis's book "Guilty By Reason of Insanity."

"We met no Jimmy Cagney's or Robert Mitchum's among the inmates in the prisons we visited. We found ourselves, rather, in the company of a pathetic crew of intellectually limited dysfunctional, half-mad, occasional explosive losers. Long before they wound up on death row, their similarly limited, primitive, impulsive parents raised them in the only fashion they knew. They battered them. They would use them sexually. They sold them for food or money. They neglected them. Sometimes they tried to kill them. These brutish parents had set the stage on which our condemned subjects now found themselves playing out the final act. It was a drama generations in the making. The mothers and fathers of our subjects had held their children out the windows of moving cars; they set them on fire; they had shot at them; they had slashed them with knives and machetes. But in spite of their efforts to destroy them, the children had lived to adulthood; they had lived to perpetrate on others the violence that had been visited on them. That's how traditions get started. Now the State, in loco parentis, was about to finish the job the mothers and fathers had bungled. [Death]

Now, I do want to make one thing perfectly clear: I AM NOT, and WILL NOT make excuses for child abusers, and maybe, another time, another place...a future post...especially if I am in the state of mind I am in this very second, I will share a little secrete what I think ought to be done about them. But I am stating facts. How can a child have any remote chance of a "life" if they are emotionally, physically and sexually abused by the SAME person they was born to, who was supposed to love, cuddle them, protect them?

In understanding the magnitude of the shock and horror that a child must go through, we must first ask ourselves "What do children really want? More importantly what do they expect; crave? You would be surprised at the garbage you read if you punch that question into Google! We need to go back to when we were a child and look at it through their eyes! This is just a couple of the most important thoughts and fears of a child.

1) Safety: They want to know, and yes they expect, that the mother and father will protect them from ALL harm. They need to feel safe in our arms. Whatever they are scared of, they must know the we, as loving, caring parents would protect them. And we in turn, deep down in our soul, would do anything to make them feel secure.

2) Trust:   They trust us in that whatever we say, whatever promise we make to them and until they see differently, they can count on it. We parents tell our teenagers "I will trust you to make the right judgment calls, and follow the rules until you give me a reason not to." What about the little ones? What about the infants? They trust us also and it comes natural to them because it is built inside them at birth.

3) Care:   They just know, God given instinct, that we will take care of them. When they are sick and cry, they know "mommy" will pick them up and hold them; rock them for hours. I am amazed at what I saw from my girls when they were young. One of my little girls was running and fell down hard. It was quiet for a second then the crying started. As she pulled herself up, I was not five feel away and with my arms open wide said "come here sweetie." What did she do? Ran right past me into another room and into the arms of mommy. It was mommy's voice she heard for the first time; it was usually mommy who stayed up nights holding her when she was sick...mommy would take care of her.

Love:   Beyond all measure, all a child really wants is Love. Unconditional love. As an infant, growing into a small child, they want more than anything in the world to be loved. They want it so bad, they will do anything you ask of them if just mommy and daddy will love them. Listen to me: they don't want it, they want to feel it! They long for, wait for, cry for, just a little "I love you honey!" And guess what? They will give that love back to us one-hundred fold! And there is no doubt it is unconditional, true, unadulterated love. Why do you think there are so many children who does not report abuse on their parents. Sure it may be shame, humiliation, but most of all it is proven it is because of their love for them, even when they are betrayed! They don't want to get mommy and daddy in trouble. 

 Dr. Lewis in "Guilty By Reason of Insanity." had spent hours upon hours interviewing and evaluating this young girl who was waiting on death row. They had found through mostly their investigations this girl -not yet an adult -had suffered a horrible life of abuse that one could only imagine. Dr Lewis and her partner did not discredit the murders she committed, but knew with the evidence the conditions she went through and her current state of mind the Judge would overturn the death penalty for life in prison, without parole. This is a story Dr Lewis told that coincides with what I am talking about:

"I was frustrated and angry. Why wouldn't this women help her own daughter? It just didn't make sense. Years would pass and Jonathan and I would evaluate many more Lee Annes before we come to appreciate how much the families of the children who murder have to hide. Only after Jonathan and I had evaluated a group of juveniles condemned to death, after we had tried to talk with their parents, their brothers and sisters, struggled in vein to reconstruct their past, would we understand that many of these families would rather see their children put to death then reveal what happened behind the closed doors of childhood. What's more, we would find that many of the adolescents themselves preferred death to exposing their abusive parents."

Let me ask you something. Take all the above things a child desires and rightfully so expects, and then out of no where, for the very first time their mommy she loved and trusted, either on alcohol or drugs did what this one women did and throws her as hard as she can against the wall across the room. Other than physical pain, what went through that child's mind? "Mommy...why? What did I do?" Picture the horror in her mind; the absolute pure hurt in her little heart! "Why?" Oh God please help me. I can just as sure as I am sitting here writing this see the expression; I can hear what's going on in her mind; the shock! In her little mind she just has to think she did something wrong because mommy never done this before..."but what did I do?" I can see (Oh can't you?) the fear in her eyes. Little did this poor, innocent, good little child know this was the beginning of a long life of hurt, pain, broken trusts, and nightmares.

Can you tell me you cannot read this story and not feel something?

In 2009, the Cabinet for Child Services investigated a home for "alleged" domestic violence. Nothing in their reports indicated any follow up procedures. Later the parents of the home took their 3-month old infant girl to the Harden Memorial Hospital in Kentucky reporting the baby had suffered seizers. The infant, who survived, was transferred to Kosair Children's Hospital in Louisville where the doctors determined she had been beaten with a belt and suffered 16 bone fractures.

Oh, I wish I could say what I am thinking this very second! The rage that comes upon me under certain occasions and situations is at its ultimate boiling point this very second. I won't do it. What I really want to say is not what this topic is about, and not for this audience. But I may someday; in another post and to a different audience. I cannot get over this little 3 month old! I have not seen a picture of this little one but images of a cute little thing with a smile that would light up a room floods my mind. How can anyone be so heartless? What type of parents can be so cruel, so evil? Have we lost all humanity?

I had so much more I wanted to say, but I cannot continue this. Maybe a doctor can answer this, but as I type this my heart is pounding through my shirt. I actually feel like a pound of bricks is on my chest. I am having trouble breathing...I cannot help it. Is it because I feel so strongly about this and my condition magnifies it one - hundred times over? Can't you picture these little ones? I can! Some nights when I lay down and try to sleep, I can see the little sweet innocent child laying in the bed, her little chin quivering, a tear releases down her cheek as she hears the footsteps coming up the stairs. Oh...please...how I would like to be the one to meet him at the top of the stairs!!

I have to close, I'm sorry...I hope this makes everyone think about this useless, senseless preventable subject of child abuse. Later...I don't know when mentally I will be able to, but I will share with you some ideas how this pathetic crime can at the very least be cut in half if not stopped altogether.


"My (Hurting) Mind"

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