What happens behind closed doors?

Rachel Greene, Opinions Writer

The trend regarding children in the past couple of years has certainly been a positive one; children are valued from the time they are in the womb to the time after their birth. Gender reveal parties begin the process of not only the parents, but those closest to them learning more about the baby. In the past, children were seen as less important than adults and not much fuss was made about them. Society placed them as inferiors to adults and anyone older than them. Nowadays, societies praise children for everything they do. While we are seeing the upward trend in the importance of children, we are also tending to ignore a very prevalent issue that is happening right before our eyes: child abuse. If we place so much importance on children, it hardly makes sense that we are ignoring them as they are being abused. It may not directly impact people, but the statistics regarding it are staggering. While we go on living our normal day-to-day lives, an average of five children die every day at the hands of child abuse. How can we possibly go on living our normal lives knowing that there are children suffering in silence? How do we justify our silence? We seem to do just fine at that every day.

It may seem safe to assume that the reason so many children suffer in silence is due to a fear of reporting their abuse or a lack of trusted adults to tell. However, it seems that the issue may actually be with the adults they do tell. Reportedly, only 58 percent of adults who are told about abuse actually act on it. The other 42 percent brush it off and do not take action. When they do take action, cases are often handled effectively. Sometimes, the parents are even brought in while the children are being questioned. It is safe to assume that a child who is beaten by their parents will not admit this in a room where both their parents and police officers are in.

Whether it’s emotional, physical or sexual abuse, the effects can last a lifetime for these children. Throughout their adolescence, children are trying to learn how to trust those around them, how to have loving relationships and most importantly how to be a kid. They shouldn’t experience trauma. To make matters worse, 90 percent of these children know their abusers. Their trust is violated, their expectation for interpersonal relationships is forever altered and they are never the same. Abused children are more likely to serve time in jail as both juveniles and adults, be diagnosed with a psychological disorder and get pregnant when they’re teenagers. Without proper care during childhood, abused children may fail to learn essential life skills and therefore struggle to function independently in society. In order to foster a healthy society of adults that are less emotionally tortured and more trusting and independent, we need to stand together to address the problem of child abuse.