Child abuse in America is an ongoing problem and something needs to be done. There are approximately one million children abused annually in the United States. (Table 339) Cases of child abuse and neglect are reported every ten seconds, and researchers believe that there’s three times that amount that goes unnoticed. (Child Abuse: Know the Signs and Stop the Violence Against Children.) Something needs to be done for these children who are too weak and too powerless to help themselves.
Children who have been abused are left with more than just physical scars. They have many psychological, emotional, and behavioral problems as well. Their social lives are affected dramatically, and they suffer lifelong effects. (Lambert) Children tend to be emotionally disturbed years after the abuse, many have IQ scores lower than average, and some have even been classified as mentally retarded. Children who have been abused also show signs of personality and neurological changes. (Oates 119) Sexual abuse has been linked to nightmares, bed wetting, sadness, clinging behavior, and anxiety. Children also showed more aggressive and anti-social behaviors. (Oates 127) Adults who were sexually abused are more prone to depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and drug or alcohol problems. (Oates 132-133) Studies show overwhelming evidence of the effects abuse can have on a child, and the way the effects continue into their adult lives. (Oates 135)
Speech is dramatically affected from abuse and neglect. Over one third of physically abused children have language delays. (Oates 119) All aspects of language are affected. Written and oral language is affected. The area that children tend to exhibit the most difficulties with is pragmatics. They tend to be less talkative, and they have fewer conversation skills. Their social skills are affected and they tend to have trouble making friends and carrying on conversations. This affects them all through their lives since so much in the world is centered around good communication. They usually talk in short quick sentences instead of long elaborate conversations. (Lambert) They may also suffer speaking problems from actual neurological problems. Brain damage directly affects the vocal chords and other muscles used in speaking. (Lambert) If their brains were affected in the abuse, the muscles used for speaking can be permanently damaged and even paralyzed. Clearly, abuse can have lifelong effects on the children.
Many children tend to act out how they are feeling instead of verbalizing it. They show aggressive and out of control behaviors towards their relationships. Boys tend to be more likely to exhibit these traits. Girls, however, are more likely to hold in anger, fear, and anxiety, leading to depression. Both of these problems can significantly affect how well a child learns. If a child’s education is affected, it could stay with them throughout their lives. (Santrock 201)
Physical abuse is “the mistreatment of a child...