When 20 children died at Sandy Hook Elementary School there was incredible outrage. There was a national outcry for gun control and for protecting our children. This reaction was justified and necessary. However, by all accounts Sandy Hook was a rare occurrence.
Child abuse is not a rare occurrence. It happens all day every day, over and over again. Five children are abused to death every day in our country. Every week 15 more children die from being abused than died at Sandy Hook. Where is the outrage for the 1825 children that are known to have been killed each year as a result of being abused? Where is the public outcry for the unreported multitude of children that are being abused and neglected on the daily basis? Five children die of child abuse every day. The number of reported cases of physical and sexual abuse is staggering and the unreported abuse is unimaginable.
As a nation, the mechanisms that we have in place to protect our children do not work. They are fraught with avoidance, denial, finger-pointing and a lack of practical experience and knowledge. Even though the situation is dire, there is a way to make the changes that need to be made to protect our most vulnerable children.
The first issue is awareness. People reflexively avoid the situation. It is simply very hard to hear it and see it. However, the biggest problem is that people feel so totally helpless when it comes to dealing with child abuse.
The second issue, when it comes to child abuse there is simply no confidence in the current stewards to do anything that remotely approaches effectiveness.
As a psychologist who has treated traumatized children individually and in large groups for many years I can tell you that the situation is not hopeless. There are effective strategies to protect our children from being abused. There is also much that can be done to proactively prevent abuse before it happens.
Please help me change this tragic situation. I need your help to start a national movement to stop child abuse. We need to start a grassroots movement: a movement that everyone who cares about children can be a part of, a movement where everybody understands what it is that they can do to stop the abuse and takes the responsibility to do it.
As a vehicle to begin this movement I have started Children’s Survival Network, an organization dedicated to meeting the needs of abused children and to preemptively change the situations that lead to children being abused.
This is the time to make this happen. Every day that we wait five more children die.