Writing a Child Abuse Essay
If you were asked to prepare a child abuse essay, you need to explain what child abuse is, its forms, consequences, and the ways to prevent it. Child abuse is cruel treatment of children. It can be expressed in the form of physical, sexual, emotional violence, or lack of care. According to WHO, child abuse is a global problem with serious life-long consequences.
Types of Child Abuse
- Physical abuse. It is the deliberate infliction of beatings, injuries, and wounds by an adult to a child. Signs of physical violence are bruises, scratches, scars, burns, abrasions, wounds, fractures, and also rough handling, which can lead to injuries. Often, the line between corporal punishment and physical violence is blurred. The cultural norms that define physical violence vary greatly: neither experts not public there have a common opinion about what kind of actions are considered physical violence. Some experts believe that cultural norms that allow corporal punishment are one of the causes of violence against children, and organize campaigns to change these norms.
- Sexual abuse. It is violence of an adult or an older teenager over a child for the purpose of sexual stimulation. Sexual violence refers to the involvement of a child in sexual activities aimed at physically satisfying the person who is carrying out the violence, or to extract profit from it. The forms of sexual abuse include offering or coercion of the child to sexual activity (regardless of the result), demonstration of the genitals to the child, showing pornography to the child, sexual contact with the child, physical contact with the child’s genitals, and using the child for production of children pornography. The consequences of sexual abuse in childhood can be feelings of guilt, self-blame, flashbacks, nightmares, insomnia, fears associated with memories of violence (including fears of objects, smells, places, doctor visits, etc.), self-esteem problems, sexual disorders, chronic pain, chemical addiction, self-harm, suicidal thoughts, somatic disorders, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, other mental disorders (including borderline personality disorder and dissociative identity disorder, bulimia).
- Emotional violence is defined as a single or chronic impact on a child, a hostile or indifferent attitude toward the child, leading to a decrease in self-esteem, loss of faith, formation of pathological traits, which causes disruption of socialization. Emotional violence include, in particular, loud shouting at a child, rude and insulting treatment, inattention, harsh criticism, name-calling, ridicule, humiliation, threats, destruction of a child’s personal belongings, torture or killing a pet. The reaction of children to emotional violence can be expressed in distancing oneself from the person who is violent, internalizing offensive assessments, or resisting by insulting the person. Emotional violence can lead to the formation of painful attachment, propensity of victims to blame themselves for the violence committed against them, helplessness, and excessively passive behavior.
- Lack of care means neglecting the basic needs of the child (food, clothing, housing, medical care, or supervision) from the side of the parent or other person responsible for the child, as a result of which the health, safety, and well-being of the child are threatened. Observed signs of neglect include a child’s constant non-attendance at school, begging, child theft of money or food, dirty skin, and lack of clothing. Abandoned children may suffer from delays in physical and psychosocial development, which can cause psychopathology and impairment of neuropsychological functions, including executive functions, attention, speech, memory, and social skills. According to research, children who have gone through lack of care usually do not subsequently perceive adults as a source of safety and demonstrate increased aggressiveness and hyperactivity, which can prevent the formation of a healthy and strong attachment to foster parents. By adapting to a violent or fickle parent or guardian, these children become cautious and distrustful. Often, their insincerity and tendency to manipulate is noted. Victims of neglect may subsequently find it difficult to initiate and maintain friendly and romantic relationships as a result of a lack of attachment in childhood.
Consequences of Child Abuse
When writing a child abuse essay, you also need to mention what consequences child abuse has. There are immediate and remote consequences of abuse and neglect of children.
- The immediate consequences include:
- Physical injuries
- Loss of consciousness, characteristic of the concussion syndrome developing in young children
The immediate consequences also include acute mental disorders in response to any type of aggression, especially sexual violence. These reactions can be manifested in the form of excitement, desire to escape somewhere and hide, inhibition, and external indifference. However, in both cases the child is engulfed by the most acute experience of fear, anxiety, and anger. Older children might develop severe depression with a sense of personal inferiority.
The long-term consequences of cruel treatment of children include:
- Violations of the child’s physical and mental development
- Various illnesses
- Personal and emotional disorders
- Social consequences
Disorders of Physical and Mental Development
In families where there is severe physical punishment, abuse of the child is a method of education. In families where children are deprived of good feelings, attention, for example, in the families of alcoholic parents, there are signs of a delay in physical and mental development of children. Specialists called this state of children as an inability to flourish.
Children who have been subjected to ill-treatment often lag behind in growth, weight or both. They later begin to walk, talk, and laugh less often. They are much worse at school than their peers. Such children often have bad habits. Children who are neglected look different than children who live under normal conditions.
Mental Features of Children Affected by Violence
In a child abuse essay, you might also mention about the mental characteristics of children who were affected by child abuse.
Almost all children who suffered from cruel treatment and neglect have survived a mental trauma, as a result of which they develop further with certain personal, emotional, and behavioral characteristics that adversely affect their future life.
Children, subjected to various kinds of violence, experience the anger that is most often poured out on younger children and animals. Often their aggressiveness is manifested in the game and sometimes the outbursts of their anger have no apparent cause.
Some of them, on the contrary, are excessively passive and cannot defend themselves. In both cases contact and communication with peers is broken. In abandoned, emotionally deprived children, the desire to attract attention to themselves in some way is sometimes manifested in the form of defiant and eccentric behavior.
Children who have experienced sexual abuse acquire age-old knowledge of sexual relationships that are manifested in their behavior and games with other children or with toys. Even small children who have not reached the school age, victims of sexual violence, may later themselves become the initiators of lecherous acts and draw a large number of participants in them.
The most universal and severe reaction to any child abuse is low self-esteem, which contributes to the preservation and consolidation of psychological violations associated with violence. A person with low self-esteem experiences a feeling of guilt, shame, and is characterized by a constant belief in their inferiority. Because of this, it is difficult for a child to gain respect from others, success, and communication with peers is difficult.
Among these children, even when they are adults, there is a high incidence of depression. This is manifested in bouts of anxiety, unaccountable longing, a sense of loneliness, and sleep disturbances. At an older age, in adolescents, there may be attempts to commit suicide.
Feeling unhappy, destitute, adapting to abnormal conditions of existence, trying to find a way out of the situation, these children can become blackmailers. This, in particular, refers to sexual violence, when in exchange for a promise to keep a secret and not to break the usual family life children extort money from adults.
The statistics of abused children is also appropriate in a child abuse essay.
According to WHO, approximately 20% of women and 5–10% of men report about having been sexually abused in childhood. 25–50% of all children report having been physically abused.