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Associated Evils of Abuse

Actual drawing from deceased abuse victim Lisa Steinberg


In addition to the unspeakable pain suffered by the victims and survivors of child abuse there are a large number of associated evils which cause untold pain to victims and survivors, their families and unfortunate individuals. While some of these issues are highly controversial one thing upon which everyone can agree is that, if not for child abuse itself, these problems would not exist.


The Refusal To Discipline

Though there is room for disagreement as to the methods

to be employed most people agree that loving discipline is

an important part of a child's upbringing. However in

many instances children no longer receive appropriate

loving discipline. Among the reasons this occurs is that

a parent may have suffered abuse (or at least inappropriate

discipline), as a child, and is therefore reluctant to administer

discipline to his own children. In other cases publicity

regarding abuse may cause a parent to avoid rational

discipline altogether since he is afraid of "crossing the

line" into abuse (rather than seeking instruction regarding

appropriate discipline). It is, of course, impossible to gauge

the effect of this failure to parent on future generations.


False Claims of Abuse

It is the nature of human beings that wherever society

establishes consequences for wrongdoing some individuals

will take advantage of that situation by falsely accusing

others. By its very nature child abuse lends itself to false

accusations since there are rarely if ever witnesses to the

crime and the severity of the crime is enormous.

Conversely the willingness of some to accuse falsely

undoubtedly leads to some number of guilty individuals

escaping punishment for the horrible evil they commit.


© 1988 Ladies Home Journal



One area especially prone to accusations, both true and

false, is that of child custody disputes during divorce

proceedings. Courts and judges are routinely faced with

decisions which would tax the wisdom of Solomon in

attempting to make good judgements in these cases. Again,

due to the nature of child abuse itself, it is extremely

difficult to determine the truth. How many marriages,

families, careers and reputations have been destroyed

via false accusations? How many children have been

assigned to live with their abusers by a court which

has been duped by a clever attorney and a lying client or

a judge more interested in technicalities of the law than

the well-being of the child? Another issue which frequently

arises in the area of custody is that of parental kidnapping.

When this occurs is it due to a parent's selfishness or valid

concern for the protection of a child?


Abuse by Those in Authority

Of all the perpetrators of abuse, aside from one's own

parents, perhaps the most heinous are those people who

are in positions of trust. It is sickening to hear how often

a child is victimized by someone in whom he has been

taught to trust-- sometimes after having confided his

awful secret to this new perpetrator. The listof these cruel

individuals includes among others psychiatrists, psychologists,

counselors, priests and other clergy, doctors, nurses,police,

teachers, social workers, foster parents and coaches.

We are in NO way condemning these livelihoods or all of

the individuals who work in these fields, since so many of

these individuals are truly genuine and helpful in the lives

of these hurting children. It only takes one evil person to

give the system a bad name and create additional fear in the

ranks. In some cases there is even evidence that a perpetrator

has chosen a particular field in order to be in contact with

children. In other cases when a perpetrator is finally exposed

it is revealed that serious suspicions have existed for a long time.


Child Protective Services

This agency, the arm of the government responsible for the

wellbeing of children, is frequently accused of contributing to

the harm of children. Imagine the difficulty of investigating

a report of abuse and attempting to decide whether or not it is

accurate, whether or not a child is in immediate danger, and

whether or not to forcibly remove a child from his home. Consider

the damage even the most well-adjusted youngster might suffer if

suddenly hustled from his home to placement in foster care or a

juvenile facility and kept there, unable to communicate with his

parents for what might be a matter of weeks or even longer. On

the other hand in cases of abuse which end in a child's death it

is not terribly unusual for Child Protective Services to have at

least been aware of the existence of an abusive situation in

advance. Some people who work for Child Protective Services,

perhaps in response to their own experiences, are overzealous

in their actions while others might tend to suffer from a

bureaucrat's mindset. It goes without saying, of course, that

many wonderful, caring and dedicated individuals also work for

Child Protective Services. These days individuals and parents must

become more discerning than ever before.


Foster Parents

This is a position of extreme trust which provides a place to

stay for children in need, often who have suffered severely.

Sadly many cases of abuse and neglect have been reported even

within foster care. As might be expected some foster parents

are driven by greed or even the desire to be close to children

for purposes of perpetrating abuse. As so often is the case

reports regarding these foster parents tend to taint those

foster parents whose motives are wonderfully pure.


Ritual Abuse

For years certain individuals have claimed to be victims of

a type of organized cruelty known as ritual abuse. According

to these individuals they have been victimized by groups of

perpetrators ranging from parents to Satan worshippers. This

type of abuse is extremely controversial and opinions vary

widely as to its very existence. Each of us must form an

opinion regarding this issue armed with a variety of facts

including: authority figures of all types are known to be

perpetrators of abuse, perpetrators are notorious for their

desire for secrecy, having committed the horrible act of child

abuse other crimes in an effort to cover it up are well within

the scope of possibility for a perpetrator, there are no

"open and shut" textbook cases of proven ritual abuse, it

appears that on occasion individuals and groups have been

falsely accused of ritual child abuse, one would expect that

if a group were guilty of planned, premeditated child abuse

they would prepare for the eventuality of being accused, whether

a given case ends in conviction or acquittal there is a real

possibility a horrible injustice has been committed-- either

ruining reputations and even lives or allowing victims to

be victimized anew.


Recovered Memories

Another controversial area involving child abuse is that of

recovered memories. Since abuse often happens while one is

very young it may be effectively forgotten for years while

having a profound effect upon an individual's life. This can

result in troubled relationships, addictions and any number

of personal problems. In some cases as part of an individual's

quest for healing from his problems, as a natural part of his

recovery, he may discover his past abuse. Occasionally there

have been reports of overzealous therapists who may have

"helped" a client recall events involving abuse which might

not have ever occured. Given that an individual may not

seriously suspect possible abuse until decades after its

occurence there are cases in which it is nearly impossible

to objectively determine whether or not abuse has actually occured.

Some memories are recovered only through the use of hypnosis--

the truth of which depends upon the integrity of the hypnotist

and one's personal conclusions about the effectiveness of

hynotherapy itself. We do know these facts-- many young

children suffer abuse; abuse often causes an individual to

struggle with numerous issues throughout his lifetime; it is

reasonable to assume that some number of individuals seeking

therapy have suffered abuse of some sort earlier in their



Multiple Personalities

One mechanism many children utilize for coping with the

effects of child abuse is the development of multiple

personalities-- Multiple Personality Disorder or MPD. In

addition to the many challenges facing survivors large

numbers of former victims find themselves dealing with the

many issues associated with this coping mechanism. It is

reasonable to assume that without the trauma of child abuse

far fewer instances of MPD would occur.



As with any area of life which means a great deal to

certain individuals there emerge various human scum which

attempt to take advantage of people in their most

vulnerable positions. Like an attorney who shows up at

the site of a disaster there are unscrupulous people who

attempt to take advantage of victims and survivors. For

this reason it is important to be alert to various

counselors, therapy methods, cults and charitable

organizations. When in doubt it is important to seek

independent references for any person or individual who

promises to be engaged in helping the victims and

survivors of abuse. In order to avoid any possible

concerns one might have regarding the motives behind

Day of the Child we have chosen to refuse any and all

financial contributions, instead encouraging donations

to other worthy organizations.



One word comes to mind as we look for a common thread

in the above associated evils of child abuse-- sad. It

hurts to know that the horrible crime against children

known as child abuse so often continues to hurt throughout

much of the life of the individual. Fortunately there is

another word which also comes to mind-- hope. Hope

because of the thousands of survivors with stories to

tell-- stories of pain, stories of suffering but also

stories of victory. As there is pain there is healing.

It's real. It's true. It often takes amazing courage.

But those who emerge on the other side of healing are

some of the most beautiful, caring, empathetic, whole

individuals walking the face of this planet. If you

are hurting, please take just one step towards healing today.

May God bless you.


© 2024 Day of the Child