The moment it is decided to bring a seed to fruition, those responsible for this decision has chosen to protect and serve that child with every bit of love a human can offer. This is a pronouncement that becomes an obligatory indenture no matter what the circumstances may be. It ensures that the parents belonging to their child pursues an abundance of healthy practices that encourage child development. Thus, it is expected that the child should be raised to speak like a child, think like a child and reason as one. Never should they be unhappy to be who they are nor rebuke the decision made for their life to be procreated. Though life can be a provocative time for parents, it is essential that their love and composure towards their child be maintained always. How they address life’s unfortunate events, should not be how they address the child throughout their childhood. A reflected appraisal is what determines the child’s meaning in life if they feel they cannot please the parent. Therefore, when there is recurrent longing for recognition projected by the child, the parental reaction can lead to either abuse or neglect. Taking this into consideration, one can perceive the later effects of child abuse on the victim.
Children are often prone to manipulation because of the reward system parents have instilled within them throughout their childhood. Therefore, they understand the consequences of lying versus telling the truth. Depending on the situation and the spheres of influence, they are likely to tell the truth the first time around. However, if the parent(s) does not acknowledge what they child is saying, may be true, then that child becomes subjected to a world of longsuffering and distrust amongst their guardian. Whether it is the mother or father doing the abuse, because of the love for their spouse, they will not be quick to believe the child. It will be concluded that the child does not know what he is saying or experiencing, by the abuser, which allows the spouse and child to be submitted unto the exploitation by the offender. In the article “Protection Children from Exploitation” it is agreed that “Punishment and mainly physical is the most common type of child abuse which is more tolerated by society in the guise of re-education and the demarcation of the child” (Tsitsis N., Chrysomallis M., Kourkouta L. 147). This then allows the abuse to be further dismissed without any repercussions. Moreover, when confronted, their reasoning is “[I]t is hard to have discipline without punishment or fear” (Tsitsis N., Chrysomallis M., Kourkouta L. 147), while in retrospect, the “discipline through punishment [and] fear does not lead to the adoption of desirable or acceptable behavior but rather enhances the event of inappropriate behavior and contributes to increased aggressive behavior” (Tsitsis N., Chrysomallis M., Kourkouta L. 147). Vindictively, this allows the appropriation of abuse to continue. Without any intervention, abuse, once committed, can be repeated and lead to revictimization.
Through negligence and exposure, does passivity and receptivity bring forth revictimization. Defined as the occurrence of multiple instances of abuse across childhood and adulthood, children at their tender age, lose the ability to self-disclose about their incidents. Their perceptions regarding their life has been ruled, useless, due to the lack of competence in pleasing their offender. Their self-concept begins to affect their self-esteem, for children begin to form negative thoughts which is reinforced by their negative behavior. Being that self-esteem is something that is developed during childhood, it takes a lot to reimagine their poise. Children, unconsciously, begin to develop a form of cognitive conservation in terms of everything that they are plausibly doing wrong which has led them to a life of unfortunate events. Furthermore, they become stuck in a translucent trance of manipulation (as previously touched upon) because they are targeted due to the child’s projected feeble disposition. The article “Child Sexual Abuse, Peer Sexual Abuse, and Sexual Assault in Adulthood: A Multi-Risk Model of Revictimization” pleads that “Child abuse critically damages identity, functioning, and relationships. This damage [often leads] to greater high-risk behaviors and decreased self-protective skills” (Maker, Kemmelmeier, Peterson 353). In other words, how a child is treated/mistreated, is detrimental to the equivocal existence of their social moral and character as a whole. Similarly, the article “The Consequences of Childhood Abuse” advocates for the claim made by Maker, Kemmelmeier, and Peterson by inciting that:
The experience of abuse in childhood has many unfavorable consequences for the physical and mental health of children, but also their social and interpersonal functioning, both during the childhood and later in life… [It] is [imperative] to emphasize the importance of early recognition and discovery of child abuse to be able to react in good time and reduce the severity of possible consequences (Tusic, Flander, Mateskovic 9).
As it stands, these counter measures can produce safety for children, if it is practiced relentlessly. However, in most circumstances, such options never present themselves which tend to create psychopathological problems for the child.
Psychopathology, ambiguously defined as the collective study of mental disorders, is the sequential resultant of manipulation/exploitation, and revictimization. Children can be classified by the Michelangelo Phenomenon—the way how significant others sculpt one another’s self-concept. In other words, children are moldable beings, by human intervention. Their survivability is dependent upon how their spheres of influence (parents, family members/friends) impact their lives. Whether it is a virtuous or depraved engagement that is transplanted within the livelihood of children, it becomes a pillar of guidance. Children tend to embrace the environmental upbringing for what it was and how it gave the direction towards one’s true self. Consequently, such embrace can lead to an inhibition regarding the conformality towards human beings. It is the experiences that determine how a child communicates in social affairs and the implicit perception given towards others who have not sustained any form of abuse. In the article, Child Sexual Abuse: Contributing Factors, Effects, and Relevant Practice Issues” it states:
Victims of child sexual abuse describe feeling rejected, used, trapped, confused, humiliated, betrayed, and disgraced. Other victim reactions include fear, anger, phobias and mood changes, hysterical seizures, hyperactivity, nightmares, anxiety, guilt, complaints, withdrawal isolation, self-mutilation, and suicidal tendencies (Wodarski, Johnson 162).
Videlicet, the emotional instability probed by trauma, creates a fountain of self and involuntary-inflicted torture towards children. However, by means of hope, the article “The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse” denounces such destitute carnal feelings. The article states that “[H]ealing is possible. The victim is not at fault, the victim is not alone as there are many victims, healing is possible, and the healing process is predictable” (Bass, Davis 1), thus proving my point accordingly. In order to inspire the wandering souls of children to come forth from the pinnacle of darkness, they require encouragement and endearment. It is the only way children will be able to properly (emotionally and socially) flourish as human beings in a world tainted by evil.
Indubitably, child abuse is a heinous crime that cannot go unpunished. How children are raised, determines the future of society. Abuse at a tender age ultimately, in some way or form, will lead to abuse during adolescence, which then causes the adolescent to reenact the maltreatment provided by their abuser, unto another child. It becomes a cycle that is not as easy to stop nor prevent. Thus, it is repeated. While it is agreed that intervention is key, some children’s inclination proves to be ineffective towards acquired help. This is due to snap judgments and first impressions that the child may have in recognition to the attempt of creating a safe space by an individual. To avoid this phase of discomfort, it is essential in the recovery process that children learn not to let things go, nor leave it be. All things, no matter how little, is of great importance when it comes to the lives of children. Their safety, by the parent(s), was promised and should be upheld. That is their sole duty in life when it came to a consensus that their child would roam the earth in search of joy and frivolity.
Tsitsis, N., et al. “Protection Children from Exploitation.” Progress in Health Sciences, vol. 3, no. 2, Dec. 2013, pp. 145-150. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=93517278&site=ehost-live
Maker, Azmaira Hamid, et al. “Child Sexual Abuse, Peer Sexual Abuse, and Sexual Assault in Adulthood: A Multi-Risk Model of Revictimization.” Journal of Traumatic Stress, vol. 14, no. 2, Apr. 2001, p. 351. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=11308686&site=ehost-live.
JELIC TUSCIC, Swea, et al. “The Consequences of Childhood Abuse.” Pedijatrija Danas: Pediatrics Today, vol. 9, no. 1, Jan. 2013, pp. 24-35. EBSCOhost, doi:10.5457/p2005-114.58.
Wodarski, John S. and Sandy R. Johnson. “Child Sexual Abuse: Contributing Factors, Effects and Relevant Practice Issues.” Family Therapy, vol. 15, no. 2, 1988, pp. 157-173. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=psyh&AN=1989-16467-001&site=ehost-live.
Alpert, Judith L. “Review of the Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse and the Courage to Heal Workbook: For Women and Men Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse.” Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training, vol. 28, no. 1, Spr 1991, p. 188. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1037/h0092236.
Resident Writer Camois Foster