Dear Dish-It Gives Advice on Abuse
April is the National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Every April, Child Abuse Prevention Month is an opportunity to learn about the signs of child abuse and how to prevent it. Communities around the nation come together to support families and children by reinforcing strategies that are working and by providing resources and activities to help end child abuse and neglect. In honor of this, this week’s “Talk about it Tuesday” is regarding abuse. May we help to build a community of hope for this very important, and life threatening cause. There is great power within communities, and they can help address the issue of abuse/neglect, acknowledging practices related to advocating for child and family well-beings, as well as keeping our children safe to guarantee that they grow up to fulfill their true potential and believe in their abilities free from abuse.
Let’s Take a Look at This Week’s Questions:
Question by ddq1
"I’m 15 years old and my dad hits me. I know he loves me, but I don’t know why he has to hit me though. This week my dad and I went to the high school to ask about my grades. I wasn’t trying, and I was slacking. He told me to follow him. He then pushed me and was yelling at me. Then he grabbed my shirt and put his face in mine and said I want to kill you right now. He let go and smacked me in the face. Then he calmed down and talked about why I’m failing. Later that day when he drove me home he said if I didn’t try in school he would send me back to my mom’s house and never talk to me again and write me out of his will. Now he’s perfectly fine. What should I do?"
It sounds like your dad has some issues that he needs to work out because this kind of behavior is not okay. Beating you, verbally abusing you, threatening you with death and other things. It all sounds very toxic. Though, your right, your dad does love you, but it appears as though he is showing his love, and expressing it in the wrong ways. This can’t be good for your self-esteem or mental health. I’m sure you feel very hurt by all of this, wondering why your dad has to react this way to you? Sometimes people transfer their own stress onto others, and it’s not healthy or an excuse, but from the sounds of it, your dad has a lot of anger issues that he needs to sort through. You shouldn’t have to be subjected to this kind of environment, because even if your dad doesn’t severely injure you physically, he is shredding apart your self-esteem. Also, it seems like you never know what he is going to do next and that is especially dangerous. He is making you very afraid of what could happen (making you live in fear), unhappy and unsafe in your own home. This isn’t right. Please read the “Afterthoughts” at the end of the article to learn how you can proceed about telling someone trusted, and getting the help that you need in the right way.
Question by justme
"I think my mom is abusive. the thing is it's only sometimes. usually, she only curses and makes threats. But once she pulled my hair and forcefully grabbed me. Now it's happening more often, like I hurt my toe and it really, really hurt to walk, so I was pushing for her to pick me up with the car, [because] we were at the movie theater and the car was far away, then she got really angry and dragged me outside for a mean lecture that included calling me a stupid child and threatening to leave me behind if I didn't hurry up. then she said she would slap the s**t out of me the next time this I did something like this and then she slammed my arm on the car forcefully. I had a huge bruise! what do I do? I’m scared!"
Verbal abuse is equally as toxic as physical abuse. Making curses and threats, pulling your hair, and forcefully grabbing you, are all signs of child abuse. As previously stated, sometimes people take their frustrations out on the people they can, and can take advantage of their love ones, or use them as punching bags, but it’s not right and they don’t know the damage they are causing. Not only are you scared, but I am sure your mom has made you feel bad about yourself. This kind of stuff has a huge impact on our self-confidence and well-being. It is never easy to get yelled at or experience negative moments with our parents when we just crave civil and loving interactions with them. Kids and teens need to be motivated by their parents and they need to feel loved. Have you ever tried talking to your mom and letting her know how you feel? In the state of fear or anxiety, I always recommend writing a letter, and in it, you can tell your mom all the reasons that you love her and that you really want to get along—be kind and warm, don’t be angry and defensive. Let your mom know about the home life you desire. If your mom is still not receptive towards you reaching out, I would read the “Afterthoughts” at the end of this article and see how valuable talking to someone can be. It sounds like it’s just you and your mom, but is there anyone else who can vouch for this behavior? Try to show your mom that’s she’s not aware of herself, and ask her if this is the parent she wants to be? If you’re too scared, get a trusted adult to help you with the situation and perhaps help guide the conversation. Think of who is in your corner and ask them for help, because this needs to change pronto and nothing of which you are experiencing is remotely okay.
Question by Scared
"Dear Dish-It, I have a lot that goes on at home and only my friends know about it. I want to tell somebody, but even when I do, nobody does anything about it. I wanna get out but can't. Running away won't help and I'm not legally old enough to decide where I want to be until at least next year. I just don't wanna go home because I hate it and it's scary there. What do I do?"
Sounds like it is even hard for you to talk about it now. I get that you don’t want to say why you have it bad at home, but I am going to assume it’s abuse. You are in an unsafe environment and you need to protect yourself. Please read the “Acknowledgments” at the end of the article for advice on how you can start talking to someone about your situation. It seems like you are going through a lot and could really benefit from some real support. Your right, running away won’t solve anything, your problems will always be waiting for you, so it is best to deal now and get the help that you need, even if it’s scary and even if you don’t want to leave your family. Sometimes you have to do things you don’t like in order for real change to prosper and good outcomes to occur. Your safety is the most important thing here. You don’t deserve to live your life in fear. You are young and should enjoy life. It’s time to do something about your situation before it gets any worse. Please reach out and get the help that you need.
Question by help909
"I'm just wondering. if your put in a room and whipped, is that abuse? just wondering, thanks!"
Yes, this is considered abuse. How often is it occurring? Do you find yourself living in fear? I think just the fact that you have to ask in the first place, show there is something to be concerned about, you’re concerned. You know this behavior isn’t normal or right. You need to talk to someone who can help you. Read the “Afterthoughts” at the bottom of this article and see how beneficial talking to someone can be. No matter what you do, no one should ever beat you. You don’t deserve it, even if “you were bad” or didn’t listen, there are no excuses for violence upon your children.
Question by Bigmoney
"Are me and my sister being abused? My dad sometimes (when my sister is in trouble) pinches and beats her with a belt calling her retarded and dumb. and once I dropped a plate and he called me a baby who needed a diaper and a sippy cup! Me and my sister are thinking of death, so are we being abused?"
You have to listen to how you are feeling. You say you and your sister are “thinking of death”, which leads me to believe that you are in a very dangerous and unsafe situation, which is making you both very unhappy. Abuse isn’t just physical, it is also verbal, or neglect and it seems like you are experiencing both verbal and physical. Regardless of how scared you are in this situation, you need to get out of that environment as soon as possible. We love our parents no matter what they do or what they say to us, and the last thing we want to do is get them into trouble. Turning on your family is probably one of the hardest things anyone would have to do, but you can’t look at it that way, you have to look at it as you keeping you and your sister safe. Keep in mind that what your dad is doing is wrong, and he may have issues of how own which he needs to work on before he can be the dad that you deserve. His actions have a severely negative impact on you, your well-being and your self-esteem. I highly recommend telling a trusted adult, or a counselor at school. You need to get the help you deserve now before this get out of control and you end up losing sight of yourself. Your life matter and you deserve to be happy and feel at ease. This is way too much trauma and stress for you to be dealing with at this age. As I said, it’s hard when it’s our own families, and never should it be this way. You are 100% being abused by people who are supposed to love and care for you and you need to get help. Check out the “Afterthoughts” at the end of the article for solutions on how to handle this very difficult problem.
Question by VERY CONFUSED AND HURT
"I have this friend, she's a year younger than me and she punches me and hurts my feelings and my body and then in a couple hours she says she was just annoying me. Should I tell the bus driver, principle, dump her, or remain quiet?"
First of all, our friends don’t punch us nor do they physically hurt us. This is abuse. Your friend is putting you down and treating you like you are lesser than her—she is exerting power over you. Have you ever tried to tell her how you feel? Have you told her that if she keeps doing it you will be forced to tell someone because you really don’t like it? Try to communicate what kind of friend you would like and let her know that you are not okay with these behaviors. Just because she is annoyed, it does not give her the right to hurt you—stand up for yourself in an effective way. Try to talk it out oppose to just getting mad. It seems like she is taking her own personal frustrations out on you, and that she does not respect you like a friend should. If she can’t stop, she’s no friend of yours and you need to move on. Your friends need to uplift your spirits not bring them down. There is a chance your friend is unaware of how this is affecting you, she might not even be in control of her actions. She may need to work on some things, but if she is not receptive to enforce change you need to leave this friend alone. You teach people how to treat you, and you are teaching her that it is okay to abuse you when it’s not—the longer you tolerate it, the worse it is going to get. Move on from her if she can’t change, and make friends with people who make you feel loved.
If you or someone you know is suffering abuse from a family member, stranger or friend, it is essential to proceed in a way that is both appropriate and safe for everyone involved. Don’t make the mistake that abuse, verbal or physical is a private matter. The impacts of abuse are significant towards one health and can result in fatalities. When someone is at risk, we step in. Your involvement and how you choose to act can drastically improve the situation. Though, we acknowledge that nothing can take away from the abusive memories or the impact it has had on your self-esteem.
People may be worried about getting involved because they feel that abuse is a private matter, and doesn’t concern their business, but it is always your business when someone else is in danger. Remember, you can choose to be ignorant, but somebody’s life may depend on it. Here are some indicators to watch for, which might follow abuse:
- Someone seems sad, withdrawn, afraid or acts like they may be a victim of abuse.
- Is unreasonably angry or aggressive.
- is nervous when a particular family member/friend or person is around.
- makes excuses for a family member/friend or stranger’s behavior.
- is sick a lot and misses school a lot of work
- Is showing visible signs of abuse and is trying to hide them
- Changes in performance: weak concentration, common mistakes, acts of slowness, inconsistent and poor work quality.
- Starts to abuse drugs and alcohol
Abuse is never the victim’s fault. There is never an excuse to get physical. If you want to help, the most valuable thing you can do is provide non-judgmental support. Don’t put any blame on this person, remember that they are a victim and they need compassion and empathy. If they are telling you about their abusive situation, keep it mind that it really hard for them to talk about it, and whether or not it’s appropriate they are probably experiencing a high level of guilt and shame. Pick an opportunity where you can have a private conversation. Don’t send texts, emails or leave voicemails, which could lead to trouble. Don’t confront your abuser or act on anything that makes you feel unsafe. What matters here is your feelings and you need to get professional help for those or confide in someone you trust. If you are trying to support an abused loved one, really listen to what that person needs. Try not to take over or get into why you’re concerned, just try to listen and be supportive. If they say that they don’t feel like speaking about it right now, let them know you are available whenever needed. To prepare, before you approach your abused loved one, find services and resources in your area that might be useful when and if the person is ready to address the issue.
It can be very difficult getting your abused loved one to accept help, so aim to ask things directly like, “Would you like me to help you find someone to talk to?” or “Do you want to go somewhere safe?” Find out if they have somewhere that they trust that they can stay. This is a very sensitive issue, one that is very hard for kids and teens to talk about. If you are confronted by an abused loved one or a stranger, believe them. Use your ears to be there, don’t judge or interrupt the situation. Be calm and don’t probe for details, go off of what is being shared with you. Remind the person that this is in no way their fault and that they did the right thing in telling you. Keep a record of what the child or teen tells you. If you know for certain that a person is being sexually abused, call the police immediately. In the case of an emergency call 9-1-1. Every province and territory has a law that states if any person believed to being abused must be reported. No trouble will come from it, you are simply following the law and doing the right thing. If you suspect abuse or have notification of abuse, call your local child protection services. Use your resources wisely and get all the information necessary. Talk to a social worker, a nurse, a doctor or a teacher or call the police. You can also call the Kids’ Help Line: 1-800-387-KIDS (5437), or look up a hotline that works in your area. Most Help Lines follow the protocol of reporting any incidents of child abuse.
This stuff isn’t easy, and getting help might require you doing something you don’t want to do, but you need to follow through and get the help. You deserve to be at peace, safe, and happy. Don’t sacrifice your own safety and sanity for anyone who is wrongfully abusing you.
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