Here’s a statistic that will grab your attention: “1 in 4 girls are sexually assaulted before the age of 18. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 1999)”
That is a horrible thing to read and because sexual abuse is so prevalent, it is absolutely necessary to focus on it.
Here’s another one: “In a study of 1,000 women 15 years of age or older, 36% had experienced emotional abuse while growing up; 43% had experienced some form of abuse as children or adolescents; 39% reported experiencing emotional abuse in a relationship in the past five years (Women's College Hospital, 19958).”
Why start an article about forgiving with statistics on victims of sexual or emotional abuse? Forgive the perpetrator? How can one actually do that? And why bother? It doesn’t make practical sense. Or does it?
I’ll tell you why I think it makes sense and I speak from personal experience and have watched many people reach the same conclusions as I have. Nothing else...
In answer to the question, “What are the short term and long term effects of child abuse and what can the concerned do about it?” I have very much to say.
Let me tell you a short story of a little girl growing up being emotionally abused by her mother and sexually abused by her father. When she was 4 lots of things changed. Her father returned from 3 years in the Army. He left when she was 9 months old and returned when she was turning 4. He returned with a big stuffed panda and stuffed French poodle for her. Then he began to be inappropriate with her little self. And finally, around the very same time, her mother started screaming at her and calling her names and scaring the wits out of her on a frequent unpredictable basis.
How do I know about this little girl? I know because she was me. The short-term effects included becoming very docile and losing touch with my creative side. I did pretty well in school because I didn’t have my mother there and she...
I live in a courtyard where 8 or 10 other apartments face into by at least a window. We have lovely flowers because two of my neighbors love to garden. We even have tomatoes and other vegetables growing in season because one of the gardeners is also a natural foods consultant.
And, this is Santa Monica - 2 miles from the beach with pretty much perfect weather.
Most of the time our courtyard is quiet. There is the occasional party and we do have some really "crying kids neighbors" who also periodically fight - badly and meanly and even sometimes physically. Basically it's the world.
Awhile back my husband would occasionally say, "Did you hear that?" but I always missed what he was talking about making me question that maybe my hearing was going. Well, what he had been hearing occasionally, I started hearing ALL THE TIME. It was a poor woman who might be suffering from dementia. She continuously and loudly was cursing her husband and what he made her do and what he didn't do etc, etc,...
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