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Monsters Are Not Always Under The Bed

Updated on March 1, 2017

Stop The Abuse...

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Monsters in Disguise


©LaDena Campbell 2012 aka justateacher

Children often fear monsters. They fear the monsters under the bed and in the closets. They fear the boogeyman. They soon learn that these monsters are all in their head and a hug and reassurance from mom and dad chase those monsters away.

Sometimes, though, the monsters are all too real. And the people they go to for comfort are the biggest monsters of all. Too many times, I get to see this first hand. It is a part of life that I wish did not exist. Unfortunately it affects people of every race, color, creed, religion and socioeconomic status. It knows no boundaries.


The Monster - Child Abuse

What I am talking about is child abuse. I am a special education teacher and almost every year there is at least one case of child abuse that I have to report. Today, I reported my fourth case this year. I want to do something ­to stop this from happening, but there is not much I can do. I report every case that I see, but I can’t see it all…I spread the word against child abuse, but still, it is not enough. It still happens.

Children Look Up to Their Parents

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Imagine

Imagine A Child...

Imagine being a small child – maybe five or six years old. Your dad, your uncle, your mother’s boyfriend – or maybe even your mother – takes a “special” interest in you. At first, you do feel special. This person that you trust is buying you special gifts. Maybe he or she is taking you special places, taking pictures of you while you have fun. At first, it’s all fun. But then, things begin to change. This person begins asking you to do things – things you are not completely comfortable with. Maybe he or she begins to touch you in ways that are not comfortable – pats on the bottom, rubbing your back under your shirt, touching your upper thigh while sitting and watching television together. Maybe this person begins asking you to pose in ways that make you feel uncomfortable while taking pictures. Poses that you have seen grown women do in those fashion magazines…that’s what they tell you, anyway. Then the touches – and the poses become more uncomfortable. The touches are on your chest, or under your pants. Places that are covered by your swimsuit…place you have been told are your “private” places. Pictures are taken with your shirt off, then your pants off. You are really not comfortable, but you trust this person. This person wouldn’t hurt you, would they? And then things get worse from there…the touches and the poses become more invasive…and when you complain…you are told that you are a bad person….that this person that you trust is just being nice to you…other kids do this…and they don’t tell…and when kids tell, bad things happen. Bad things like parents, friends, siblings and pets get hurt. Bad things like people won’t believe you…you are just a little kid. People believe adults – not kids. So things keep happening…and get worse by the day. If you are lucky, someone finds out – or you tell and someone does believe you. If you are not lucky, this abuse continues for years…maybe even decades…maybe forever…


The Children

This year I have a little boy who was abused before he was born by an alcoholic, drug abusing mom. When he was taken from her and placed in the foster care system, he was abused by several sets of foster parents. This little boy has had enough bad things happen to last him a lifetime.

Another little boy comes to school and talks about being locked in a cage and tied up to his parent’s bed. He and his sister regularly come to school with bruises on various parts of their little bodies. The little boy fights getting on the bus nearly every day.

A little girl was reported because she comes to school in the same clothes for days and days at a time. Her hair is a mess and she is always hungry. She cries and says there is no food where she lives.

Today, I made my fourth report. A little boy opened up and told me that he is scared of his father. He said that he didn’t want to go home because he was scared. When I asked him why, he said he didn’t like the way his dad touched him. And he really didn’t like it when his dad hit him. He said his dad touched him and hit him in his private spot.

Important Phone Numbers

  • If you see a child being abused, call 911 or other emergency number immediately
  • Safehorizon 1-800-621-HOPE (1-800-621-4673)
  • ChildHelp 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453)
  • ChildFund 1-800-776-6767


Reporting

Today, I made my fourth report. A little boy opened up and told me that he is scared of his father. He said that he didn’t want to go home because he was scared. When I asked him why, he said he didn’t like the way his dad touched him. And he really didn’t like it when his dad hit him. He said his dad touched him and hit him in his private spot.

As a teacher, I am legally bound to report any suspected abuse to a child. We get trained on how to make a report and how to follow the steps to make sure the report is followed up on. We spend at least a day every year going over and over everything about how to report. But we are never told how it feels to know that the children that are in our care for seven hours a day have to go home to the monsters that are real. They don’t prepare us for seeing a little boy being taken away from school in a police car because it is not safe for him to go home. We don’t learn how to deal with children who have no home to go “home” to.

Monsters Make Us Cry

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Statistics

  • About 700,000 children are abused in the United States annually
  • About 3.4 Million child abuse cases are investigated annually
  • About 75% of children suffered neglect
  • About 17% suffered physical abuse
  • About 8% suffered sexual abuse
  • About 4 out of 5 abusers are parents

Monsters

We teach our children not to fear the monster under the bed and in the closet. We teach them that there is no boogey man. We teach them to tell their parents if anyone tries to harm them.

We sometimes forget that the parents are the monsters…

How To Report

Child abuse is any physical injury, physical neglect, emotional injury, or sexual act inflicted upon a child.

There are people who are mandatory reporters - they are mandated by law to report child abuse or neglect. These people include teacher and school staff, psychologists and therapists, first responders and others.

So what should you do if you or someone you love is being abused? What should you do if your child, grandchild, niece or nephew – or a student of yours, is being abused – or you even suspect they are being abused? Well – you make a report as soon as you suspect it.

To make a report, you can call a variety of people.You can call the Missing and Exploited Children’s unit on your local police force. You can call 911. You can call child protective services. Just make sure you call someone. Depending on the organization you choose to call, there may be different procedures to follow. There may also be different procedures depending on who the person is that you suspect of abuse…things may be different if it is a family member compared to a stranger

When you call, you will be asked several questions. You CAN remain anonymous if you wish to. I always tell my name, but that is my choice, because I want any follow up information they can legally provide me with. Usually, the only information they can share will be whether or not they will pursue a case. The first question is usually who the child is that is involved. Give the person on the phone as much information as you can possibly give – first and last name, address, phone number, social security number or student identification number and any other information you may have. Next, you will be asked to give any information you know or suspect about the abuse. Be as detailed as you can. Do you see bruises? Are they new or have they been there for awhile? Did the child give you information that led you to make the call – and if so, what was it? Again, be as detailed as you can. Next, you may be asked if you know any information about the suspected abuser. Do you have a name, address, phone number, and etcetera? The more information you can give the better report that can be made and the better chance the child will have.

Make sure you make the report as soon as you suspect it. Don’t wait and don’t investigate for yourself. This will only delay the child getting help. Also, don’t worry about making a mistake – if there was no abuse the authorities will find that out – but if there is abuse, a child will get the help they need. Don’t be embarrassed – a few minutes of uncomfortable questions can mean a lot to a victim. Every moment counts. Your call can mean the difference between life and death for a child.

Also remember that abuse can happen to anyone at any time. I am talking about small children in this article, but it can happen to older children and adults, as well. You can follow the same steps to report abuse for a person of any age. Just make that call…


In the United States, you can not be held liable for reporting, especially as a mandated reporter.


1 in 3 Children Are Abused

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    • molometer profile image

      molometer 5 years ago

      Interesting useful and awesome hub on a serious matter, we as educators deal with daily.

      It is incredible frustrating, when social services seem to take forever, to step in and help these kids.

      Well done for SHARING this information. I know many would rather not hear it. That is their issue!

    • justateacher profile image
      Author

      LaDena Campbell 5 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      Thank you molometer - I appreciate the share! Today I was lucky and social services removed the child from school immediately...usually don't get that result!

    • Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

      Pamela Kinnaird W 5 years ago from Maui and Arizona

      This is such a big issue and so sensitive. I admire you very much for doing the work you do, knowing you have to try to sleep at night with your heart so full of love and worry for these children. I have a quarter of a degree to finish in the direction of social work and I stall for fear I won't be able to handle it. It's so heartbreaking -- what these children go through. I see Molometer has shared this. I will come back another day and share it again. It's a message people have to be aware of. If they see something that looks like abuse, it has to be reported and investigated. The child is helpless.

    • justateacher profile image
      Author

      LaDena Campbell 5 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      Pamela -It is a message that people need to know about...for some reason it seems that especially this year this is happening way too much...it makes me sad...

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      My heart sank as I read your hub. Child abuse is so sickening and there seems to be more and more cases everyday. I had to report children to DSF before for abuse. You see them at school, care for them and love them as children. It hurts to see the pain they carry and you just want to make the bad monsters go away. You are such an awesome teacher and I pray that your love will help make a difference in the lives of these beautiful children. Voted up!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Disturbing....all too real....excellent job of presenting a difficult subject. Great job and bless you!

    • hush4444 profile image

      hush4444 5 years ago from Hawaii

      Today I spent the morning with a little guy who two weeks ago slept on the floor of our staff bathroom with his mom and brother. Someone had left the bathroom unlocked, and it was a haven for the mom, who is abused by her boyfriend, and her two kids who were trying to get out of the cold when they were kicked out of the house. Our student, who is just five, is the most delightful kid you've ever seen, and he's eager to learn his numbers - he's stuck on 12. I'd love to take him home and show him what it's like to be safe, but I can't. Thank you for this hub, for all the kids out there who don't know what it's like to feel safe and warm at night.

    • justateacher profile image
      Author

      LaDena Campbell 5 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      hush4444 - there are just way too many children out there just like that...

    • justateacher profile image
      Author

      LaDena Campbell 5 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      I have many students I want to just take home with me every day....

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 5 years ago from Shelton

      Justateacher this was a very well written article up and well...different.. I loved it

    • justateacher profile image
      Author

      LaDena Campbell 5 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      Thank you for stopping by Frank!

    • butterflystar profile image

      butterflystar 5 years ago from A Place of Success :)

      I wasn't expecting to read what I read in your article, but it is so so sad to hear it, and it is really sad that teachers have to hear this in school and work with children that are being abused. In today's society it is such a terrible thing, I wish schools would eduacate young students in Highschool on parenting as a standard before they go off and get married and raise children of their own. Most people have children at young ages and without a good Model in life they have nothing to go on when raising their own children hence cycles being repeated. I wish our government would definately incorporate family values and parenting as mandatory in school systems today. Thanks for sharing such a touchy subject.

    • justateacher profile image
      Author

      LaDena Campbell 5 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      butterflystar - it would be great if parenting classes were mandatory for high schoolers. While in high school I was "stuck" taking a parenting class when we moved to a new state in the middle of the year.I loved the class and ended taking more throughout high school. Those classes really helped me out when I became pregnant as a senior...

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

      Justin W Price 5 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      very sad, ladena... but thanks for doing what you can in the lives of our youth.. especially those who are special needs. i have a special needs nephew and it takes a certain personality to be able to deal with those kind of children. Thanks for doing your part to protect them and guide them!

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