Break the Cycle! NOW IS EVERYTHING author Amy Giles gets real about child abuse for all the Hadleys of the world and their stories that need to be told.
This blog post is part of our on-going Real Talk blog series where we ask authors to get real about some of the most controversial and important topics of today.
“Hadley’s father sounds so much like my father.”
“That’s something my mother would’ve said to me.”
“This is practically my story.”
When advance copies of NOW IS EVERYTHING went out into the world, emails and messages started pouring in, from adult readers who grew up with a violent parent. Their circumstances were different than Hadley’s, but they all agreed: “Where was this book when I was a teen?”
NOW IS EVERYTHING isn’t an easy read. It might make you uncomfortable, sad, or even angry. Good. You should experience strong feelings when it comes to child abuse. It is the ultimate abuse of power. If you or someone you know is being abused, I want you to know it’s not okay. And there’s help available.
Child abuse is a widespread epidemic that does not discriminate by race, gender, religion, or socio-economic status. Every ten seconds, a new child abuse incident is reported in the U.S.1 But what about the abuse that goes unreported? Families of domestic violence are really good at hiding the truth, sometimes even isolating themselves so no one ever finds out what happens behind their closed doors. Victims are often reluctant to share their stories out of shame or fear…fear for their safety, for the other parent who is also being abused, for their sibling(s), even a pet. And sometimes it’s even more complicated. Some victims will lie to protect their abusive parents because they love them.
Abuse in a child’s home is a betrayal of a child’s dependence on a parent. That imaginary monster in the closet is nothing compared to the real, living, breathing monster a child needs and relies on to survive. What kind of fiend (like Hadley’s father) would take his frustrations out on his own child? Statistically, one third of victims who were abused as children grow up to be abusers, a vicious cycle that is perpetuated over generations.
So how do you break the cycle? By talking about it, by getting counseling, for the victim, and even for the abuser. The sooner, the better. Psychological wounds inflicted from domestic abuse are harder to heal than bodily injuries.
Tell a teacher, a friend, a doctor, another adult. Because you can’t deal with something if you’re trying to hide it or pretend it doesn’t exist. Reporting abuse makes it possible for a family to receive the counseling they need. And it can also save a life. Almost five children die every day from child abuse.2
Suspicion of abuse is all that’s needed to report.
If you are being abused or know someone who is, call 911 or the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline 24/7: 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453).