Story & Photo – Joseph Boyle
We live in America, one of the greatest countries in the world. It is then, difficult to understand why we still have children in our country who are verbally, physically, psychologically and sexually abused.
The other day I counted 25 customers inside Starbucks. Based on current statistics that suggest 1 out of 5 children are abused, there were 5 adults inside Starbucks who had suffered in their childhood. That is an amazing number.
Recently a friend, who had suffered a torturous childhood, shared a book with me called, A Child Called “It”. The author is Dave Pelzer. ISBN 1-55874-366-9. It is his story. He lived it.
My friend made a list of 34 of the abuse descriptions Mr. Pelzer related in his book. The list documents that my friend, before reaching adulthood, experienced 34 of the same child abuse events as Mr. Pelzer.
My friend at age 12, while locked in a closet for hours thought, “If I survive my mother’s abuse, I will never treat children in this manner.” My friend did survive and successfully broke the child abuse chain. This is somewhat remarkable since frequently an abused child will be damaged beyond repair and based on their life experience and negative training will abuse their children.
While reading A Child Called “It”, two people commented to me, “That is a good book”.
For me it is not a good book in the sense that the read was entertaining, fun, exciting or escapist. It is a good book because it took huge amounts of courage for Mr. Pelzer to tell his own true-life story. It is a good book because after the pain of reading what he had to say, the reader will be much better equipped to identify a child abuse situation when it is right in front of them.
I thought to myself, “He lived it; the least I can do is read Mr. Pelzer’s book.”
Your job, as a caring adult in our community, is to “observe and report”.
Even if you are not certain, report what you observe as at least possible child abuse to one of the following: Law enforcement, Child Protective Services (CPS), a doctor, a nurse or school staff.
The above listed individuals are what we term mandatory reporters. There is an expectation that once you provide them with your possible abuse information; they will follow through with a proper investigation.
Please do your part. You can make a difference in a child’s life for the rest of their life.
Bravo. A topic which deserves and demands greater public awareness. Thanks Joe, for keeping the light on this tragic dark corner of behavior.
This is a great article to remind us all of our role in safeguarding our children. The Lakewood community, under the banner of Lakewood’s Promise and the Community Collaboration has been working together since incorporation in 1996 to provide caring adults for all kids. Six times the city has been recognized for this work by being named one of 100 Best Communities for Kids in the US by the America’s Promise Alliance.
I encourage everyone to participate. On Weds, Oct 10 at 9 a.m. we expect 90 people from throughout Pierce County to come to the School District offices on Gravelly Lake Dr. to begin to work ever more to build community engagement. To participate, call Arielle at the City 983-7718