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Monday, April 4, 2016

Child Abuse Is No Joke -- By Hannah Perry

I remember babysitting my elementary school neighbors back while I was in high school and serving them the leftover food their parents had designated for their dinner. The fifth grader wasn’t happy about this meal choice and grumbled something like, “This is child abuse.”

I was wondering how he even thought to string together a sentence like this, but then I sat down to watch TV with him that night. The shows were laced with jokes including children making fun of parents and parents making fun of children. There was sarcasm and humor about mental health, abuse, and diseases. Our culture so often covers real issues, real hurts and real pains with humor. I think we can all agree that real child abuse is not funny and it’s about time we stop joking and face reality.

In 1974 the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act was signed in as the first Federal child protection legislation and provided the states with assistance to promote programs to prevent, identify, and treat child abuse and neglect. A lot has happened since 1974, including the proclamation of April as the official Child Abuse and Prevention Month.

Clearly, child abuse is an issue that is still a problem today, and every day. What is most unique about this issue is that it can affect every single one of us as members of our community. One of the best things we can do as individuals is to speak up and be an advocate for the victims.

It is essential that we understand what child abuse is and what it looks like and call it out appropriately. Check out the local websites below for more information. Familiarize yourself with your state and federal laws and be willing to look beyond any humor or guise to see reality and act accordingly.

Allegheny County