Child abuse undoubtedly affects the children while it is happening. The toll it takes on these children can be seen physically and emotionally through scars, bruises, failing grades, and rebellious attitudes. In many cases these devastating effects do not disappear after the abuse stops or when the child becomes an adult. It follows them for the rest of their life and can lead to depression, suicidal thoughts, or suicide itself.
Researchers found that abuse and maltreatment during a person’s childhood can affect the way their brain functions. This could be the cause of anxiety and depression in child abuse victims. To test this theory, a few victims of child abuse underwent an MRI to observe the three parts of the brain that attribute to fear. The prefrontal cortex, which is in control of our actions, emotions, and thoughts, receives a lot of its emotions, including fear, through the amygdale. The hippocampus decides then if what we sense is truly something dangerous that we should legitimately fear. The data received back from the victim’s MRI showed a weak relationship with the prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus. This kind of a response in the brain is also found in people who are diagnosed with depression and anxiety. The MRI scans proved the researchers’
theory correct and proving child abuse does cause long lasting harm to a person.
In St. Louis County, a fifth grade girl, who was once the perfect student, began receiving failing grades, showing depression through body language, such as slumping
shoulders, and anxiety. It was noted that her parents were going through a divorce and teachers believed that the stress of the divorce was taking a toll on the child. In a counseling session with the school’s counselor for children dealing with divorce, the 11 year old confessed of her father molesting her when she was younger and he was attempting to gain custody from her. This girl did not show signs of PTSD until her father attempted to gain custody of her, alone. These signs of depression, anxiety, etc may not always affect the victims right away, or ever, but with the threat of reliving the traumatic events again, they can be provoked.
Other children do not have as much self control as the girl in St. Louis County. That kind of self control is rare. Most children going through maltreatment or abuse are constantly anxious, somber, and aggressive. They develop low self esteem early and have little control over their emotions and actions. Physical effects are obvious. Bruises, scars, cuts, burns, broken bones, constant headaches, and stomachaches all contribute to the physical harm and effects caused by the abuser. Failing grades are also another effect. The failing grades could be caused by the child being unable to focus because of anxiety or stress brought on by the abuse or they could be...