The horror of what I saw today may haunt me until the day that I die, and I don’t know if I will ever be able to forget it. Though, maybe I shouldn’t let it be forgotten.
What I saw was a pop-up image of an abused child on my phone from some random site. It was so horrid, so awful, so haunting, that I am still struggling to comprehend how a picture like that can exist and not be fake. Unfortunately, it was VERY real, and innocent children are abused like this daily.
I believe strongly in supporting my community, in helping people, in the greater good. However, if I were ever to run into the parents of an abused child (mental, emotional, physical), I don’t know what I would do.
I could probably search for and find the image that so disturbed me, but the thought of sorting through a Google search for images regarding “child abuse” makes my heart ache.
Instead, I’ll give you a picture:
Imagine a child of four years old: small, innocent, anxious to play with friends. Now, imagine if that child was covered in 3rd degree burns. If that child had bruises across their back, arms, and legs. If that child was bloody and beaten. Imagine the screams, the cries for help, the begging of an innocent voice asking “why?”
Abuse should never happen.
I don’t understand what drives parents to hurt the very thing that they should protect, and I don’t think I ever will. The excuses for this kind of behavior range from “the kid did it to himself” to “she had it coming.” Unacceptable. There are no excuses for neglectful parents. There are no excuses for hurting someone that cannot defend themselves.
The children who survive abuse are lucky, a lot do not. Based on the 2015 Child Maltreatment Report, there has been an increase in child deaths from abuse and neglect, and that doesn’t include the unreported cases. How many of those cases could have been stopped if people had chosen to report things that concerned them?
We need to report.
We need to.
For the kids.
Our community of Washoe County has come together to create the Child Advocacy Center (CAC) in order to help abused children to recover from traumatic experiences, and to offer a safe and friendly environment for them to heal. The fact that this facility exists proves that we are driven to protect the innocent, and help those whose parents didn’t protect them.
Not a lot of people in Reno are aware that we have a place that helps abused children, and I think it is because they are extremely new, and they also have not had much of an online presence. I hope that as more people become aware of the CAC, they will start to recognize how important it is to post CAC accomplishments online as Washoe County did when they announced the launch of the CAC website.
I wish we didn’t need something like the CAC, but I am thankful that it exists. I am thankful for those who survive, I am thankful for the parents who protect their children, but most of all, I am thankful to the people who choose to stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves.
Thank you for protecting our innocents.