By Deana Charter, LPC, Infinite Healing & Wellness
Sticks and stone may break by bones, but words can never hurt me. According to Wikipedia, it’s a children’s rhyme used as a defense against name-calling and verbal bullying intended to increase resiliency, avoid physical retaliation, and to remain calm. How many of us have heard this saying or even chanted it as a kid to defend yourself when dealing with a bully and truly believed the message, name calling doesn’t hurt. The body can usually heal from physical injuries and the pain subsides; but what about the underlying damage that remains from hurtful words?
Let’s begin with the definition of child abuse. According to MedlinePlus, child abuse is doing something or failing to do something that results in harming or putting a child at risk of harm. Child abuse can be physical, sexual, and emotional. People often forget that neglect, or not providing for a child’s needs, is also a form of abuse.
Most people are familiar with several of these types of abuse, but let’s break them down:
Sexual abuse is any interaction between a child and an adult (or another child) in which the child is used for the sexual stimulation of the perpetrator or an observer. Sexual abuse can include both touching and non-touching behaviors. Exposing children to sexual acts or pornography can also be considered sexual abuse. The abuse can be perpetrated by both men and women and the child can be either a boy or a girl. Statistics report that one in four girls and one in six boys are molested.
Physical child abuse is physical injury inflicted upon a child with cruel and/or malicious intent. Physical abuse can be punching, beating, kicking, biting, burning, shaking, or otherwise harming a child.
Emotional abuse includes verbal abuse such as yelling, name-calling, blaming, and shaming. Isolation, intimidation, and controlling behavior also fall under emotional abuse. Making insults or exploitation are also emotional abuse. Abusers who use emotional or psychological abuse often use threats of physical violence if children are not submissive. Emotional abuse can be negligence, as mentioned previously, not providing shelter, food, and anything less than nurturing can be considered abuse.
Recent statistics show at least 678,000 children or almost 9.2 in every 1,000 children in the United States, were abused in 2018. These are reported abuse cases, what about all the abuse that goes unreported? What about children outside of the U.S.?
Are we missing the signs or are we just too afraid to get involved? Next month we will take a deeper look at the types of abuse and what each of us can do to end child abuse.
The clinicians at Infinite Healing and Wellness are ready to assist. Infinite Healing and Wellness LLC, in Gilbert at 2563 S. Val Vista Drive #108, Gilbert, AZ 85295, is a collaborative counseling practice designed to serve children, families, teens, adults, couples, first responders and military veterans. For more information, call 480-448-1076 or email: email@example.com. Check out our website, Infinitehealingandwellness.com to learn about our incredible team, upcoming groups and follow our positive and encouraging Instagram and Facebook pages. We are excited to announce the expansion to our second location to be open summer of 2019, in Phoenix off Missouri and the 51.
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