Hey guys sorry there will be no fab Friday this week. Child Abuse month is on my heart so much at the moment that I just decided to blow it off. Instead we have an interview with the lovely Jennifer Banash.
Child Abuse effects a child in so many ways. What would you tell an adult who is still feeling traumatized?
I would tell them to find a good therapist and try to work through their issues of fear and anger surrounding the abuse. The most important thing is to break the cycle of physical violence and not engage in abusive behavior yourself.
Should penalties be higher for abusers?
I'm not sure how I feel about that question. I think that abuse is largely a cycle--abusers have generally been abused--whether that abuse be physical or emotional. What they need is help and treatment--not necessarily longer periods of incarceration. I believe in rehabilitation-not vindictive forms of punishment. But that's just my own personal opinion.
Should help be easier for the abused?
In an ideal world, yes. There is so much fear and shame surrounding an abused child, that often they are too scared and ashamed to tell anyone. This makes it all the more important to reach out if you suspect a problem.
Why do you think so many people keep quiet?
Fear of the situation worsening. Shame. Many children believe they are being abused because they've done something wrong, which is never the case. A child is never responsible for their own abuse.
Any personal stuff you have to tell us?
I grew up in a physically and emotionally abusive household until social services removed me from my home when I was 16. I ran away at 15 and lived on the streets for almost a year just to escape. My mother was a rageaholic, and took out her frustrations on the family, hitting myself, my little brother, and sometimes my stepfather. It was an unbearable way to live, and it really ruined my ability to trust other people--although I'm working on it. Healing is a process--it doesn't happen overnight.
I think this is one of the worst crimes possible. Do you agree?
Yes, because it actively affects and can derail a child's emotional development. Scars can heal, but the damage is irreversible.
Where would you tell teens to look for help?
If someone is abusing you at home, tell a teacher--that's what saved me. I went went to school with a black eye on day, and a teacher got involved.
Any extra advice on getting out?
There are organizations such as www.childhelp.com where you can report abuse and get help. Just Google "child abuse help" and a ton of info and websites will pop up. The most important thing to remember is that being hit is not NORMAL--it's not happening to everyone else--which is what I thought as a kid. You deserve to live without fear.
Any last thoughts?
Although I do come from an abusive background, I do not let that stigma define who I am. I think that kind of attitude can be dangerous. I don't use my abuse to make excuses for myself, and I don't feel sorry for myself either. It wasn't a blessing by any means, but it did make me the person I am today, and I really like that person! I don't think I will ever be able to forgive my parents, but I can't forget either. I look at my recovery from the abuse as a work in progress--there will always be healing to do--there are no quick fixes.
Along with an interview Jennifer is giving away two books. The Elite and In Too Deep. This contest is not a random contest. To win this contest you have two requirements.
1. You must write a paragraph about what the abuser is thinking, feeling and saying well they are hurting the people they should love.
2. You must follow/ subscribe to Jennifer's blog: http://jenniferbanash.wordpress.com/ or my blog. You dont have to do both.
Two winners will be picked, one for each book. Lets get this out there guys. I cant bare to hear of another child being beaten for the most minuscule thing.