Is it really just discipline?

Child abuse is a problem that cannot be ignored in our community


photo from Dallas Morning News

Lauren Kavanaugh as a baby.

In June of 2001, eight year old Lauren Kavanaugh was rescued from six years of torture and abuse that left not only her body ravaged, but her mind and future. She weighed 25 pounds when she was admitted to the Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, Texas.

Her belly was bloated; her arms as round as a quarter.

According to the Dallas Morning News,  Children and Youth Services “lost track of her,” though they had a connection with the mother through the welfare checks she received every month.

Do children have to be half dead or already passed before the state steps in to do something?

Too many headlines describe child abuse cases in which the victim doesn’t make it out alive.  Thousands of cases could have been stopped with enough effort and determination.

In the end, making laws against criminal acts don’t stop them from happening. Laws are simply not enough.

We have the “Federal Child Abuse and Prevention Act” but we cannot be ignorant to the fact that children are still abused everywhere.

Whether it is physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, people in today’s society need to understand that it isn’t “just discipline” or “just a punishment” anymore.

A single person is not to blame in these oppressive situations. Our community needs to step up.

It was okay to beat your kid up 40 years ago; that was normal. But people have begun to realize that there is a line between punishment and abusive irrationality.

It was okay to swear at your kid and tell them how stupid they are. It was okay to sexually harass women and girls – you just had to get over it.

But in today’s culture, it is not okay anymore. There are people who say they will help you. So the people that are supposed to be helping need to be more determined with their work.

According to the Child Help Foundation, four to seven children die everyday in the US due to child abuse.

How many of these children could have survived if people would take initiative to make a phone call to CYS? And if you do make the call, and nothing comes of it, keep calling. Eventually the abuse won’t be able to be covered up anymore.

A single person is not to blame in these oppressive situations. Our community needs to step up.

Child abuse should never get to the point that it did for eight year old Lauren Kavanaugh. Our community needs to be aware that abuse is not always easy to detect either, nor is it always easily visible. Parents and children know. You can sense when there is something wrong.

Awareness is key, and ignorance can lead to another headline detailing a story of abuse in your own neighborhood.