Opinion: Protecting Our Youth From Violent Predators

Sad little boy sitting on the floor beside the window | Image by Africa Studio/Shutterstock

As youth, we should feel that we can conquer anything; we should think that the world is our oyster and that obtaining everything within our reach is yet before us.

As a youth, destiny with so many opportunities is behind the door to be successful. As a youth, we should not feel that our prospects cannot be our reality. Unfortunately, our children have dreams and aspirations constrained due to abuse.

Can you imagine how many children experience abuse?

Abuse among children is more prevalent today, and many need our help finding refuge. As a community, how do we preserve the innocence of our children? Children who are supposed to feel safe and protected by the ones they trust find themselves prey to exploitation and abuse. This violence is another silent cry that often is unnoticed or suppressed. Many abused children are told to “keep this secret” or “No one will believe you.”

Unfortunately, many who have found the courage to speak and expose predators are not believed and are told, “it is your fault.”

As a result, the child became ostracized by the person who was supposed to protect them. Many of our youth are left in broken homes and don’t have parents or guardians to provide for or defend them. Most often, our children are left trying to muddle through and battle with anger and displaced emotions, and as a result, their pain becomes detrimental. It is also documented that children display physical or emotional sickness as a cause of their abuse, and the manifestation is presented through illness as a coping defense.

We often hear that our children are our future, but what are we doing to help our future children? Children who grow up in households where they are victims of molestation or incest often think it is an ordinary way of living. They grow with a distorted view, believing that it is love and affection until they are exposed to a healthier lifestyle outside of their homes. Until they are introduced to what a healthy environment looks like and is supposed to be, they still are victims of their circumstances.

Many have interrelated stories; their pain intensity still haunts them and is a profoundly deep discomfort that will not subside. Many others in their adulthood live unable to complete tasks and fulfill life-long goals because of their childhood trauma. Mental health is when victims can’t cope with what has happened to them. Their only outlet or escape is illicit drug addiction or wayward experimental lifestyles, a cycle of abuse with others, depression, PTSD, anxiety, and many other mental health disorders.

If victims don’t find help, they can become addicted to an unhealthy lifestyle. It is vital to reach out to local authorities and seek professional help. The hidden secrets lie quiescent and concealed behind walls — generationally, children who have been abused often become adults in the same cycle of abuse. Once triggered, abuse is the unveiled pain, constantly running deep.

For help, don’t hesitate to contact National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1.800.799.SAFE (7233).

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