Menstuff® has compiled information, books and resources on the issue of abuse.

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Abuse Definitions

The Big Secret
Abusive Behaviors
Reporting Abuse
About Male Sexual Victimization
Myths about Male Sexual Abuse
Sexual Abuse of Boys
What To Do
Smacking Hurts Parents Too
National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information
Information on Child Abuse
Stand for Children
Double-Standard Treatment for Child Abusers
Breakdown of Substantiated Cases of Child Abuse
Protecting Children from Abuse & Neglect
False Allegations
Impact from False Charges
Snippets on Child Abuse & Neglect
The Story of the Blue Ribbon
Things You Can Do to Prevent Child Abuse

Stop Being a Victim
Related Issues:
Talking With Kids About Tough Issues, Abued Boys, Children, Circumcision, Gangs, Hazing, Incest/Molestation, Malstreatment, Ritual Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Sexual Harassment, Violence, Domestic Violence, Women's Violence and Prisons.
Books - Abuse - Boys, Abuse - Children, Abuse - MPD, Abuse - Ritual, Abuse-Sexual, Circumcision, Anger, Forgiveness, Violence, Domestic Violence, Sexual Violence, Sexual Harassment, and Women's Violence
Journals & Periodicals - on Child, Elder, Emotional, Religious, and Sexual Abuse and Trauma
Bumper Sticker - Make the World Safe for Children

Definitions of Abuse

Let's look at the five main definitions of abuse, emotional, intellectual, physical, sexual and spiritual, derived primarily from within the Recovery community.

We all probably have one or more examples of at least one of these in our lives.

Breakdown of Substantiated Cases of Child Abuse

The following breaks down the percent of substantiated cases of child abuse and neglect but type - 1993 NCPCA Annual Survey

Protecting Children from Abuse & Neglect

On December 15, 1997, the cover of People magazine showed the solemn and frightened face of a two-year-old named Peter who was on his way to a New York City shelter after violence broke out in his home. The article inside the magazine, called "A Day in the Life," was unusual in its approach to the emotional issue of child abuse. Rather than give a wrenching account of Peter's experiences, it focused on the unseen adult holding Peter's hand - on of the child protection caseworkers described here as "the last line of defense for America's children."  Responding to calls from doctors, police, teachers and grandparents who believe a child has been mistreated, not to mention parents who are misrepresenting the situation to get back at their former partner, caseworkers knock on doors, ask personal questions, look inside refrigerators, and check children's bodies for bruises and burn marks. They have the power to take children temporarily from their homes and parents, if the risk of harm appears severe. They also have the discretion to determine that nothing serious happened, or that it is safe for the child to remain home while the parents are urged to change. The stakes are high. Overestimating the degree of danger could needlessly shatter a family and rupture the child's closest relationships. (Over 2 million or the 3 million cases reported each year are unsubstantiated and dropped). Underestimating the danger could mean suffering or even death. The decisions caseworkers make every day would challenge King Solomon, yet most of them lack Solomon's wisdom, few enjoy his credibility with the public, and none command his resources.

The nation's fight against the heartbreaking problem of child abuse and neglect is led not by Solomon but by child protective services (CPS), the government agency that employs the caseworkers described above and that is changed with investigating and responding to allegations of child abuse and neglect. Child protection is a function of state government that is ruled by state law but supported by significant federal funding and - in many states - carried out by local government entities. For simplicity, the generic term "CPS" is used here to refer to these varied state and local agencies.

Compared to the schools that most of us attended and to the police departments we see in our communities and on TV dramas, CPS is a mysterious agency. We know it is there to tackle the "national nightmare" of child abuse and neglect that most of us cannot bear to think about. Few of us want to know the details. But without public attention to those details, there cannot be a consensus on the expectations, boundaries, powers or budgets that should frame government efforts to protect children from harm by their parents or caretakers.

The flurry of recent reports indicate that CPS is overmatched by the scope and complexity of its task. The spread of substance abuse among parents, rates of family breakup, deepening pockets of poverty, and cuts in government services have intensified family problems and reduced options for helping. In 1995, nearly 3 million children were reported to CPS as possible victims of child abuse or neglect - triple the number of reports made just 20 years ago. CPS has the dubious distinction of being among the most maligned public agencies. In 1991, the National Commission on Children charged: "If the nation had deliberately designed a system that would frustrate the professionals who staff it, anger the public who finance it, and abandon the children who depend on it, it could not have done a better job than the present child welfare system."

Expected to straddle two core values of U.S. society - the protection of children and respect for the privacy of the family - CPS is accused of both "unwarranted interference in private life" and "irresponsible inaction" when children are truly threatened. It is called incompetent, "confused, mismanaged, and staffed with untrained workers." An inadequate knowledge base undermines the actions of its staff. But, because children's lives are at stake, CPS cannot stop its work while the public debates its mission, or while researchers discover which interventions might help which families. This plane must be fixed while it flies through the air.

There are no easy or inexpensive answers to any of the questions. Instead, the path toward more effective protection for children will require public debate over appropriate societal goals related to child maltreatment. It will demand a new emphasis within CPS on prioritizing, decision making, and creating partnerships with service providers. It will require an ongoing commitment to capacity building and practical research. And it will take significant government resources to create and sustain a safety net for poor families and a service system for troubled families.

Snippets on Child Abuse & Neglect

Source: The Future of Children, a publication of the Center for the Future of Children, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation. See also "Maltreatment".

The Story of the Blue Ribbon

Bonnie Finney, of Norfolk, VA took a stand against child abuse after the death of her grandson in 1989. He was found in a weighted tool box, at the bottom of a swamp, three months after he was killed.

Bonnie tied a symbolic blue ribbon to her van as a signal to her community to involve everyone in the battle to stop child abuse.

She chose the Blue Ribbon to symbolize the bruised and battered bodies of her grandchildren.

Today, the Blue Ribbon is recognized as a national symbol of child abuse awareness. Tie a blue ribbon to your car antenna, on your book bag, or display it at your workplace as a reminder that child abuse can be prevented.

Things You Can Do to Prevent Child Abuse

Help a friend, neighbor or relative. Caring for children can sometimes be stressful. Offering a helping hand can provide relief.

Help yourself. Take time out. Don't take it out on your kid. Take a deep breath. Know who to call for help, and keep the numbers next to the phone.

When baby cries...Learn what to do if your baby won't stop crying. Never shake a baby - shaking a baby may result in severe injury or death.

Call Child Protective Services (or talk to your therapist, lawyer, health care professional, etc.) if you suspect abuse. The number is on the inside cover of your yellow pages if you suspect abuse. It often happens in public, almost daily in your local grocery store.

For more information, call 1.800.CHILDREN (244.5373)


How Harmful is Childhood Trauma?

“Children are resilient, right?” Though children can often successfully bounce back from emotional trauma, certain conditions strongly influence the extent of the emotional damage.
Source: www.impactpublishers.com/pressrel/How%20Harmful%20is%20Childhood%20Trauma.htm

Psychological, Physical Abuse Equally Harmful To Health

Abuse by an intimate partner can have serious immediate and long-term health consequences for both men and women, according to a new, large-scale study. And that abuse does not need to be physical or sexual to be harmful.
Source: enter for the Advancement of Health, www.intelihealth.com/IH/ihtIH/EMIHC000/333/333/357258.html

Childhood Sexual Abuse in the Jewish Community

The history of the Jewish People is one filled with a series of traumatic experiences. This includes one topic that up until now has been taboo to discuss: Childhood Sexual Abuse.

Contrary to what we might want to assume, childhood sexual abuse is not limited to the gentile population. It is also a Jewish issue, and one that needs to be addressed. In the United States one of every three to five women, and one out of every five to seven men have been sexually abused by the time they reach their eighteenth birthday (Editor: Not counting circumcision.). Unfortunately, due to the fact there has been little research on this issue in the Jewish Community, we don’t know how prevalent it is. Most mental health providers around the world who are based in Jewish Communities, will admit that they have survivors (of childhood sexual abuse) of Jewish origins as part of their caseload.

One of the major problems in discussing the issue of Childhood Sexual Abuse in the Jewish Community, is that doing so threatens the cultural perception of the wholesomeness of the Jewish family. The time has come to break the taboo and allow the Jewish Community to face reality and to begin the healing journey. While this process is taking place, we will also be able to compile valuable statistics on the prevalence of childhood sexual abuse in our community. It is important to note that when we refer to the Jewish Community, we are including everyone from the unaffiliated, Reform, Conservative, through the Orthodox, "Charedi" and "Chasidic" communities.

It may be surprising that despite Israel’s world-leading status in treatment of Post Traumatic Stress, the study of childhood sexual abuse in Jewish Communities around the world is still in its infancy. Over the past two years I've been working with years Na'ama Yehuda (of New York). Our dream is to create an international organization to address the issue of childhood sexual abuse in Jewish Communities international.

As you might have noticed, the first phase has already begun, by the updating of my web page for Jewish Survivors of Childhood Trauma and Domestic Violence. hometown.aol.com/vickipolin/Page26.html

The goal is to develop an International data base/web page. The second phase will be to develop and implement an international conference on childhood sexual abuse. The third phase would be developing a treatment center and on going educational programming in Israel, the United States, and throughout the world. Our long term goals is to have network of researchers, development self-help groups and an international speakers bureau. If you are interested in joining forces, please contact me at: VickiPolin@aol.com

Catholics more obsessive?

People who are devout Roman Catholics are more likely to show signs of obsessive-compulsive disorder, an Italian study has suggested. Researchers at the University of Parma found that Catholics are more likely to engage in ritual behaviour than non-Catholics, and devout Catholics the most. Lynne Drummond, a consultant psychiatrist at St George's Hospital in London said many patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder said they had had a strict upbringing.
Source: London Daily Telegraph

Mom Strips for Her 10-Year Old Daughter's Birthday Party Guests

Some moms hire a clown or magician for their 10-year-old daughter's birthday party. But Melissa Balkcom allegedly opted for a lewd version of "Truth or Dare" and, as an added bonus, performed a bunch of naked jumping jacks for her young guests. Honest, we don't make this stuff up.
Source: www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/balkcom1.html

Stop Being a Victim

If you are experiencing abuse from a loved one, empower yourself with information to stop being a victim.
Source: www.intelihealth.com/IH/ihtIH/WSIHW000/9273/9348.html

Sexual abuse in girls leads to later substance abuse

Young girls who are forced to have sex are three times more likely to develop psychiatric disorders or abuse alcohol and drugs in adulthood, than girls who are not sexually abused, researchers report.

The study, which involved more than 1,400 adult female twins, found that the sibling who was abused had a consistently higher risk of psychiatric disorders, such as depression and bulimia, despite being raised in the same family and having the same genetic makeup as her sister.

"These results strongly suggest that...childhood sexual abuse and subsequent psychological disorders and substance abuse is indeed causal," Dr. Kenneth S. Kendler, the study's lead author, told Reuters Health in an interview.

Kendler and colleagues, from the Medical College of Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, examined the psychological impact of different types of childhood sexual abuse ranging from exposure and sexual suggestions to unwanted intercourse. Their findings are published in the October issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

In the study, women had psychiatric evaluations and answered detailed questions about their sexual experiences as children. The women's parents were asked about their history of psychiatric disorders and their relationships with family members.

Just over 30% of women reported some form of childhood sexual abuse, with 8.4% reporting that they had unwanted intercourse. These women had the greatest risk of being diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder or substance abuse problem, results show.

"The strongest association was confined to those exposed to the most severe forms of sexual abuse," Kendler explained.

He noted that the relationship was only slightly less when other factors, such as psychiatric problems or substance abuse among parents, and family income were taken into account.

Sexual abuse was also more strongly linked with substance abuse than with psychiatric disorders. Kendler speculated that sexual abuse might affect certain personality traits that involve impulsiveness and predict drug abuse in girls.

He also suggested that sexual abuse may lead some girls to become sexually active at an earlier age and seek out older boyfriends who might, in turn, introduce them to drugs.

Future studies, however, should help clarify the association between sexual abuse and the increased risk of substance use, Kendler noted. www.healthcentral.com/News/NewsFullText.cfm?ID=42714&storytype=ReutersNews

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