April Is National Child Abuse Prevention Month
"Childhood should be carefree, playing in the sun; not living a nightmare in the darkness of the soul." -Dave Pelzer, A Child Called "It"
How April Became Known As National Child Abuse Prevention Month
In 1983, the month of April was dedicated to bringing about awareness and prevention of child abuse. It was in that year that Congress declared that April be known as National Child Abuse Awareness Month. Since then many communities across the United States come together at this time to hold candlelight vigils and activities that promote child abuse and neglect prevention.
In 1984, the saying, "Kids-You can't beat 'em." could be seen displayed on posters, bumper stickers, and buttons.
In 1989, a grandmother by the name of Bonnie Finney decided to tie a blue ribbon to her van's antenna as a tribute to her grandson who died due to child abuse. She also wanted to make aware to her community the tragedy of this horrific crime. Her message was heard throughout the country! Many people wear blue ribbons or tie blue ribbons on their car's antenna the month of April in memory of those who have died as a result of child abuse.
In 2014 (and previous years), President Obama has made proclamations pertaining to National Child Abuse Month. He believes that the best defense against child abuse is a strong and well informed family unit. He also calls upon all Americans to recognize the month of April as National Child Abuse Month and participate in programs and activities that prevent child abuse and provide information.
The Symbol of Child Abuse - The Blue Ribbon
When Bonnie Finney found out that her grandson had been found dead in a swamp she knew she had to do something. Months before this horrific discovery her grandson had been in the hospital where a doctor did not believe he had fallen in the tub due to the water being slippery and called social services. He was sent to a foster home. Three weeks later he was allowed to go home although he wanted to stay with the foster mom. Bonnie Finney asked the court to not send him home, begging that her grandson stay in foster care. Her desperate pleas feel on deaf ears.
It was only after her sixteen month old granddaughter was hospitalized after being severely beaten (leg broken in four places, burns on her hands and wrist) that Bonnie Finney’s grandson was found to be missing. His body was later discovered wrapped in a sheet and stuffed into a toolbox. It was then dumped into the Dismal Swamp in VA.
As a plea to stop child abuse Bonnie Finney tied a blue ribbon on the antenna of her van. It didn’t take long for her actions to make child abuse awareness a national campaign. She chose the color blue because of the battered and bruised bodies of her grandchildren.
This is how the blue ribbon became the symbol for abused children. It started off as one small blue ribbon tied to one van antenna and grew to become a national symbol that can now be found almost everywhere!
Pinwheels For Prevention
While the blue ribbon is the symbol for children who have been harmed or killed by child abuse the pinwheel is the emblem for child abuse prevention. Pinwheels For Prevention is a national public awareness campaign in which pinwheels are the symbol in representing the efforts of people working together to prevent child abuse and neglect. Many communities plant pinwheel gardens in the month of April
Many states participate in activities for this most important event. Strategies and activities are encouraged in order to promote child abuse prevention. These events acknowledge the importance of families and communities working together in an effort to promote the social and emotional well-being of children and their families.
Some Statistics of Child Abuse
- Every ten seconds child abuse is reported
- Over half a million American children suffer neglect and abuse every year
- As a result of child abuse every day more than four children will die
- 70% of children who die from child abuse are under the age of four
- More child abuse statistics can be found in the following youtube video
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