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Many people believe that if a child is too young to remember wrongs done to the child, that it doesn’t matter. A number of them harm innocent children and babies in misguided attempts to relieve their own pain.

However, many recent studies have led to significant new evidence showing that a child’s brain and body are damaged for life when that child is mistreated, even where the mistreatment happened when the child was too young to remember it.

Here is a brief article about a recent study showing that childhood abuse damages the DNA of the victim and leads to difficulties in stress regulation due to actual physiological damage in the body.

http://discovermagazine.com/2010/jan-feb/061

In this sad and horrible case, a 10 year-old girl, Charlenni Ferreira, was killed by her father and step-mother in Philadelphia after years of horrific abuse. Known injuries included gashes on her hands, a fractured shoulder blade, bone deformities on her arm from past trauma, bruising down her legs, scratches over her face, a fractured hip which kept her from walking properly, a split lip, a “cauliflower ear”, cigarette burns, evidence of long-term sexual abuse, and lacerations to her scalp.

Despite at least two reports from school nurses from 2006 until 2009, Philadelphia’s Department of Human Services left the girl in her father and step-mother’s care for years until she died from an infection caused by untreated broken ribs, which filled her lungs with fluid and collapsed them. When she died, she also had a seven-inch gash to her head that was stuffed with gauze and covered by a hair weave.

Apparently, the department left the child in the father and step-mother’s care because it did not have conclusive evidence of child abuse.

In the following article, a review panel consisting of Philadelphia’s medical examiner, a prosecutor, doctors, social workers, and DHS officials exonerated Philadelphia’s handling of the matter.

http://www.philly.com/inquirer/home_region/20100219_Panel_exonerates_DHS_in_child-abuse_death.html

I hate to keep bringing you horror stories of child abuse, but perhaps it’s needed. We need resources allocated where they belong. I’m willing to bet this man was severely abused as a child.

Here is the story:

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/2010/02/08/2010-02-08_us_soldier_joshua_taber_waterboarded_his_daughter_4_because_she_couldnt_recite_a.html

Official figures indicate that more than 200 “honor” killings take place each year in Turkey – almost half of all murders in Turkey.

In this story, a Turkish girl was buried alive by her family for taking to boys:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/02/05/turkish-girl-buried-alive_n_450019.html

Turkey

A 2-year-old boy was found with 50 needles inside his tiny body, apparently inserted with deliberate intention to cause pain, by the boy’s ex-step-father who reportedly confessed to inserting them one by one with the help of two women. I think of a tiny adorable 2-year-old and wonder how anyone could possibly want to hurt him, yet some people are drawn by their subconscious mind to impose on innocents the pain that their parents imposed on them. Illogical yet it has gone on throughout history – the senseless torture of innocents.

Brazil Toddler Stable After Needles Removed, San Francisco Chronicle, by Bradley Brooks, December 19, 2009.

Mother-Son Incest: Hidden in Shame and Rising, ABC News, Susan Donaldson James, Dec. 1, 2009.

This boy was sexually abused and beaten by his mother from the age of four.

Child pornography generally means that there is child rape and torture going on; and yet we are not allocating sufficient resources to sort through all the evidence and prosecute the abusers. Shame on us!  Child Pornography Fight Gets New Weapons, The Times-Picayune, by Robert Travis Scott, November 15, 2009.

A study was publically released today estimating the number of child deaths from abuse or neglect in the United States between 2001 and 2007 to be in the range of 10,000. 

On average, 5 children died from abuse or neglect per day in the United States during this time period, with the rate of deaths increasing 35%.

The real number was estimated to be 50% higher due to failure to report.

These are scary numbers. They were the subject of a detailed news article on ABCNews.com today. Five Children Die Each Day from Abuse or Neglect, ABC News, October 21, 2009, by Mary Bruce.

It is great that people are paying attention.

However, think about not only the numbers that are unreported, but the number of children that are abused each day who don’t die. If we could really see what goes on behind closed doors, the numbers we compile would be staggering.

Sadly, these things happen every day and have throughout human history: 

The Emma Case, More than 80 Bruises on Girl, Houston Chronicle, Aug. 11, 2009.

Protective Services. The Houston Chronicle, Aug. 15, 2009.

Emma

Out of Australia – last week, a mother strapped her 14 year old daughter to a lie detector test on a radio show to interrogate the girl about her disclosure of a rape that happened to her when she was 12, which the radio DJs and the mother apparently found entertaining. Not only did the mother accuse the girl of lying in her first disclosure to her that she was raped, but the girl was subsequently victimized on public radio.

Maybe one logical question is – why the pain and suffering of children a source of entertainment or pleasure for some? Another point this incident reveals is that child victims of abuse or mistreatment are frequently silenced and kept quiet under threat of further victimization. If children reveal what has happened to them, their revelations are denied, they are put down as liars, while their parents work at protecting their own image from potential accusations of wrongful behavior.

Consider this intelligent analysis of the situation by Professor S. Caroline Taylor, Foundation chair in social justice, Edith Cowan University, WA: Abuse of trust breeds culture of silence, theage.com.au, August 1, 2009.