This post is so hard for me to write. Some of you know that as a child I had some “rough patches’ that involved quite a bit of abuse.
“There are a ton of signs of child abuse this post is only going to cover a few of them.”
This post isn’t about me or what I went through. This post is here to help adults know what to look for in children that may be being abused. I know that not every child that shows these signs/symptoms is being abused, but it is a good place to start.
If you think of some signs/symptoms that I have left off, PLEASE share them in the comments.
Before I get started, I would like to say that I adore my mom. She is a wonderful woman and has always loved me. I love seeing her with my girls and knowing that they have an amazing role model.
However, when I was younger, my mom made some not so great choices in men. She was in a place that a lot of women get into where they feel like they have to have a man to be “complete” no matter what kind of man that may be. She didn’t realize that she deserved better.
I am happy to say that today my mom is a strong, independent woman! She has ended her cycle of dependence and has an amazing boyfriend that treats her better than I could ever hope. She knows, and instills in myself, my sister and my girls, that we deserve the best and that it is never okay to allow someone to treat you badly.
I’m not sure how she will feel about me posting this…and I’m sorry if it bothers her. I didn’t write it for that purpose. I wrote this because I felt like it needed to be written. I don’t blame my mom for anything that happened to me and I know that if she could change it she would.
Okay…5 signs of abuse…just 5
Why 5 you may ask?
Well, because I don’t want this to be a long post that brings people down…
I am doing this post based on ways that I tried to hide it…I really hope this helps! I will end with a few ideas on how to help as well.
Frequent unexplained injuries
That was what I wanted EVERYONE to think of me! I must have been the clumsiest child ever! I had an excuse for every little bruise or scrape. Tripping over nothing, walking into walls, heck I even started playing soccer so I had an even better excuse!
Sadly…it seems most people fell for it. Very few teachers or other adults in my life ever questioned it.
Okay so as an adult I actually AM clumsy lol but there is a difference in clumsy injuries and inflicted injuries.
Fear of going home
I participated in every single extra curricular activity possible! Was I an over achiever back then…no not at all! I just didn’t want to go home!
Changes in behavior
I was always a talkative, out going, bubbly child basically a mini version of what I am now but that changed. I would switch between two completely different people really. Going from an overly social kid to one that just wanted to hide in the corner because she felt like she wasn’t good enough.
A lot of children that are being abused feel this way.
It’s almost like I was ALWAYS waiting for something bad to happen.
I would flinch if someone yelled…and goodness, if someone fussed at me at school…I was pretty much cowering in a corner by the time it was over. Heck, they didn’t even have to be fussing at me…I just KNEW that I was next.
This behavior can happen two ways really: fear of all adults or a fear of adults the same sex as the abuser. For me it was men….if a man yelled or got upset….I broke down.
Can you believe that I told a TON of people what was going on in my home?!?
Either they didn’t believe me or just didn’t care. I honestly don’t know which it was. Maybe they just weren’t LISTENING!
Eventually people did listen and the local DSS was called. Here is another part of my story that as an adult I just can’t wrap my head around…
They interviewed us in the room with HIM! Like I could tell them anything! I couldn’t mention the bruise I was hiding on my arm, how much I feared another late night visit, I couldn’t tell them about the drugs or any of it! I was too scared of what he would do. I was smart enough to know that they wouldn’t leave with me that day…and if I told them ANYTHING…the consequences were something I just wasn’t willing to risk.
What can you do?!?
First and foremost…REMAIN CALM!
Do NOT freak out and whatever you do, think through exactly what you plan to say to them before you have the talk. The very last thing you want to do is scare them or word it in a way that they feel “guilty” or “accused” of something.
TELL THEM THAT YOU BELIEVE THEM!
You have no idea what those three little words will mean to them! I promise, “I believe you” can change a child’s world and trust in adults instantly!
Show an interest in what they have to say…even if you are appalled by their situation/story try to keep your face calm and understanding.
The most important thing that you can do is TAKE ACTION in support of the child.
Your actions could save that child’s life. Report child abuse to your local or state child protective service agency.
Check the web! Around here we have something called The Pee Dee Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Assault that is a huge help to both women and children. They even offer counseling and emergency housing if a woman (with or without children) is trying to escape from a dangerous situation.
Things to think about…
Talk to your kids about what is okay and what is not okay. Especially when it comes to touching and their body.
[Tweet “Pay attention to your children as well as their friends and any other children you see regularly. Look for the signs & symptoms…most of all LISTEN.”]
No one is “safe” from abuse. Just because a family is well off or “respected” does not mean that they are “above abuse”. It can & does happen in all neighborhoods! The same should be said that: Just because a family is “poor” or looked down on does NOT mean that they are abusing/neglecting their children. Look at a situation with non-biased eyes and see what is really happening before you come to a conclusion.
And now for the song that I heard on the radio that made me decide to finally sit down and write this post. I have heard this song many times and it makes me cry every single time…