In today’s custody courts and departments of child services, mental abuse is not taken as seriously as physical abuse is. Many people may wonder why, and some may think that mental abuse is just a way for a kid to claim they are being hurt. One thing for sure is that mental abuse is one hundred percent real for many kids...
In today’s custody courts and departments of child services, mental abuse is not taken as seriously as physical abuse is. Many people may wonder why, and some may think that mental abuse is just a way for a kid to claim they are being hurt. One thing for sure is that mental abuse is one hundred percent real for many kids.
Though mental abuse can be hard to prove in some cases, in others it can be very noticeable. Physical abuse leaves marks on a child and can leave internal issues such as mental problems, while mental abuse leaves marks on a child's personality, mental state, and the way they view themselves. Since mental and physical abuse both have some severe life-changing effects on children, our custody courts and departments of child services should view them both on the same level of severity.
Mental abuse is real and preventable.
Most kids that suffer from low self-esteem could have a mental abuse background that started it all. For example, the neglect a child feels when one parent may leave the child’s life. According to the article “Emotional abuse and neglect”, “Emotional abuse and neglect are an under-recognized, but actually common, form of child abuse. Professionals in the field continue to find difficulty in recognizing and operationally defining it, and experience uncertainty about proving it legally.” Children that experience mental abuse does not always have a straightforward way to prove, which leaves the child with very little hope of ever trying to be happy in general or simply happy with themselves.
Imagine a child that suffers from mental, people may picture a child that is never happy or never seems to have any hope, but most children that suffer from mental abuse normally have an effective way of hiding, giving people the false sense that the child is perfectly fine. Though many may argue that mental abuse is not real or that it does not qualify as abuse since the child is not harmed physically, abuse is defined as using maltreat to a person or thing. The Webster dictionary states, “1a: to put to a wrong or improper use abuse a privilege. b: to use excessively abuse alcohol also: to use without medical justification abusing painkillers. 2: to use or treat so as to injure or damage: maltreat abused his wife. 3: to attack in words: revile verbally abused the referee.”
Definition number three that Webster states are a form of mental abuse, which proves that mental abuse is in-fact real and of-course does have serve long-term and/or short-term effects.
Physical abuse is another severe form of abuse in children, but unlike mental abuse, physical abuse can easily be legally proven by evidence. Yes, that does make this easier for the courts and departments of child services, but that does not mean that it should be held to a higher severity level than mental abuse. It is argued that physical abuse could result in a child losing their life by the hand of a parent, but mental abuse could lead a child to feel so helpless and alone that they could take their own life.
The National Center for Biotechnology Information states, “Approximately 80 % of those who attempted suicide had a history of child abuse. Poor mental health, financial difficulties, poor coping skills, and reporting a suicide plan were also associated with an increased prevalence of attempting suicide; adjusted for these factors, child abuse was associated with a 1.77-fold increased prevalence (95 % CI 0.93, 3.36) of suicide attempts.” Eighty percent is a big amount, and to think that this percentage was just approximated, which means the number could even be higher with more research.
Mental abuse affects children with some of the same effects as physical abuse. They are both profoundly serious forms of child abuse, and they both need to be corrected so that children can grow up with hope and not have to fake a smile when they are asked if they are OK.
The children all over the world are our future leaders and inventors, and we need to protect them to protect our world. Children can be overly sensitive, especially in their developing ages, when life seems to keep going down the rockiest road. A child that suffers from any form of child abuse should be at the top priority list when dealing with children because none of us know what or how they are coping with the pain or if they can even cope with it.
Mental abuse is a real thing for many kids and adolescents all over the world, and we need to bring light to it so that we can correct it and keep children safe, both mentally and physically.
•The author, Kyla Paugh, is a student at Shelbyville Central High School. She is a student in Mr. Wilson’s English Honors 2.
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