4 articles Tag abuse

Child Neglect and Abuse: How to Spot the Signs

As mothers, there’s nothing more worrying than the sight of a child who looks to be abandoned, neglected or abused. Sometimes the signs are obvious. There might be physical damage on the child, scars or other painful marks on their bodies. At other times, it might not be physical at all, but the mental damage reflects on how the child responds to being spoken to and the lack of interaction they go through.

Source: Pexels

There are many signs of child neglect and abuse, and it’s important for us mothers to understand the signs so that we can help not only our own child but to prevent other children from suffering consequences as well. If you’ve ever gone to a school meeting and noticed children with very aggressive parents who push their children around or children that rarely show up to parent meetings, then you might want to speak with the child or their parents and try to understand the situation. If it’s not obvious, then here are a few signs that the child could be suffering from abuse.

Slower Development

If there are children you know who are suffering from slow development, it could be a sign of abuse or neglect. Children who are abused suffer mental damage that prevents them from focusing on school and interacting with other children. As a result, they might fall behind in their studies or decline invitations to birthday parties or outings with their friends. If you think this may be the case, then speak with the child and prepare to speak with their mother and father. If the situation doesn’t remedy itself or improve over time, then consider contacting a service like CICA UK. As parents, we should be intervening when we see a child suffering from abuse and neglect, and services like CICA UK help us get justice for the child.

Source: Pexels

Unusual Behaviour Around Their Parents

Some of the most glaring signs will be when the child is around their parents. If they child is otherwise healthy and happy, but they suddenly turn very frightened or anxious around their parents, then that mood change is most likely a sign of the amount of stress and pressure their parent puts on them. The child might constantly try to make up for the parent’s mistakes or apologise on their behalf, or they might even be completely afraid of the parent. Some parents will claim that it’s doing their children no harm, but that’s just an excuse to cover up their poor treatment of their child.

Acting Violently

Children that have been neglected often pick up behaviour issues because they don’t have a role model or a parent to teach them how to act responsibly. If you notice that a child can get very violent very quickly, or that they are using swear words and vulgar language, then it is likely a case of child neglect that has led to that development. Older children might act more violently or in unusual ways, such as smoking, using drugs or having sex from an early age. These are very major signs and you should do your best to speak with the child or a counsellor so that they child can receive help before it’s too late.

Source: Pexels

Telling a Grown Up

It doesn’t matter what age you are when you finally tell someone that you were abused as a child, the questions are always the same; where, when, how, who…but perhaps the hardest question of all to answer is “why didn’t you tell a grown-up?”. It’s very difficult, as an adult, to look back and try to process the reasoning of a child. Aside from the fact that many survivors of abuse have huge chunks of repressed memories which don’t allow them to answer the questions, even if they wanted to, sometimes the overwhelming pressure which comes from being asked the questions in the first place is enough to render them unable to answer.

I’ve had a lot of time to think about these questions and I’ve come up with a number of reasons:

Fear

When you’re a child and these awful things are happening, there’s fear in all directions. Fear that the ramifications of telling someone about the abuse will be worse than the abuse itself, fear that you’ll upset people, fear that you’ll get into trouble and fear that no-one will believe you. If you keep the abuse hidden until you’re an adult, your thought processes are different but the fear is still there. You also, as an adult, have the added fears of being dragged through the trauma all over again and potentially dragging people with you. I think I kept my childhood abuse hidden because I was scared that no-one would believe me or that I would somehow end up the villain in it all, and sadly I wasn’t wrong to suspect this.

Guilt

When you tell someone about what’s happened to you, one of the overwhelming feelings is guilt. Guilt at having to upset someone by telling them what has happened and having to put them through a horrible experience. Seeing their heartbreak, even though that heartbreak is FOR you, can be unbearable and sometimes it feels easier to internalize it all and not force anyone else to go through the horrible spectrum of emotions that they might have to go through.

Disbelief 

When you’ve been abused by a manipulative older person, you’re often left feeling as though the abuse was somehow your fault or that you’ve somehow encouraged it, or even that you’ve overblown it in your mind and that it’s not worth telling anybody. This is never usually the case but when you’re dealing with something by yourself for a matter of decades it’s really easy to let the disbelief creep in.

 I’m sure there are a million other reasons for not “telling a grown up” or even telling your peers once you’re an adult but these are just a few that spring to mind. If you’re ever in a position where you have to ask someone “WHY”, use one of these answers as your guide, rather than putting it on the person who’s been mistreated.

If you’re an adult who’s dealing with the effects of historical abuse, you can contact The Survivors Trust for support, advice and counselling. If you suspect that someone you know is a survivor of abuse, one of the most important thing you can do is treat them gently. Don’t ask questions which could trigger bad memories and allow them to take the lead. They may not talk to your right away (they simply may not be able to find the words) but if you let them know that you’re a willing pair of ears, they may open up.

Women Not Reporting Rape Because of Lack of Faith in Legal System

Following the post I wrote last week on Michael Le Vell and a few of the comments on that post, after receiving a press release today with the above headline, I thought I’d write about the survey conducted by Reveal Magazine, for the sake of balance.

The survey revealed that of the women asked, a rather shocking 16% said that they’d been raped at some point in their lives. Of those in the 16%, only 20% reported the crime to the police and the main reasons for their reluctance was a combination of thinking that the chances of conviction were too low and lack of faith in the legal system.

Perhaps the most shocking part for me, though, was the following passage:

“Latest figures from Ministry of Justice and the Home Office estimate up to 95,000 rapes committed each year, but as low as only 15% are reported to police, only one in five of those cases end up in court and only a third of those result in convictions”

In my previous post, my main focus was on the false claims made by people in court and how damaging they can be to genuine cases. The fact that of the almost 100,000 cases of rape every year, roughly 5000 of those result in conviction, is it any wonder that women are feeling totally despondent about their chances of finding justice?

Further to this, statistics from RAINN suggest that around 70% of cases of sexual assault are perpetrated by someone who is already known to the victim, leaving many women in a position where, if they don’t get a guilty verdict, they’ll potentially have to have daily contact with their assailant, the bleak truth becomes all too clear.

The main point here is that somewhere along the line, thousands and thousands of women are being let down by a legal system that only seems to make the vulnerable more vulnerable and we need to find better ways to encourage women to report crimes and methods of supporting them once they do.

For more information on where to get help, please look at the Rape Crisis site. You can also call 0808 802 99 99 and speak to a trained advisor who can help you to find your local rape crisis center.

(Lines are open 12noon-2.30pm & 7pm-9.30pm every day of the year)

 

Bullies.

My lovely little sister.

Something happened today which upset me a lot.

I went into town to meet my little sister, she’d been working a lot and hadn’t had a chance to give Sausage her birthday present yet, so we met for coffee, a chat and a bit of toy and nail varnish shopping with the kiddo. It was lovely to see her, we often go weeks without seeing each other as her working days vary and I’m a nightmare to pin down sometimes, and we ambled around the high street for an hour or so, letting Sausage chatter away about her birthday and newly painted nails.

Just after we’d come out of Greggs, where Lil’ Sis’ had bought Sausage some lunch, a guy and his girlfriend walked past us. I noticed them at first because the female appeared to be giving my sister a really filthy look, which seemed odd. Then, as they got closer the male leaned right into my sisters path and said, with real vitriol, “Look at the f*cking state of that…”, before walking quickly off.

I stood, open-mouthed, watching them walk off sniggering to each other.

If I’m honest, my first reaction was to chase after them and give them both a serious amount of verbal, but as I had Sausage with me I restrained myself, although the anger was truly bubbling over in me. That was my baby sister (she’s 19, nearly 9 years younger than me) whose feelings they’d gone out of their way to hurt and I honestly felt like punching the guy. Lil’ Sis’ was naturally upset, but handled it with more grace than me, she just carried on walking and said “Oh well, he’s probably got a tiny willy…!”.

All of this got me thinking about a similar event that happened to me last year, as I was walking home from a hospital appointment. I was standing at a pelican crossing, waiting to cross a dual carriageway when a car full of blokes went past and one of them screamed “FAT PIG” out of the window at me. I was genuinely devastated and spent the rest of the walk home shaking and crying on the phone to my Mum. These weren’t children, they were all guys in their mid-to-late twenties, wearing suits, yet they felt it was appropriate to bully a woman on her own like this.

If I wasn’t already disillusioned, I am now.

The thing is, I am fat. There’s no denying it. But what on earth goes through the mind of a grown person who feels the need to shout it at someone from a moving car? My little sister isn’t average, she’s unique and makes some bold fashion choices. She’s a huge Gaga fan and expresses herself with hair, make-up and clothes and while I wouldn’t choose to wear studded leggings, she’s a really pretty girl and makes an effort with her appearance. But do you know what? I shouldn’t even be explaining that to you, what we look like is SHOULD BE inconsequential in all of this. The real question is – why are there some people in the world who are so filled with bile and hatred feel that they feel the need to bully, intimidate, abuse and attack innocent passers-by?

I can honestly say that I will NEVER get my head around the need some people feel to hurt other people’s’ feelings for their own amusement. There’s just no need and it makes me feel really sad about what our society must have become to allow things like this to happen. I know nobody is perfect but feeling the need to hurt the feelings of a stranger is a serious character flaw and the worse thing is, we’re the ones left stewing over it – the idiot who chose to attack my sister probably doesn’t even remember doing it.

Bullying is a serious problem and it’s not just happening in schools, it seems endemic in most walks of life. I know it probably makes me a terrible person for saying this, but I just hope this bloke says the wrong thing to the wrong person one day and gets a punch in the mouth.

That seems to be the only language that bullies understand.