I recently wrote a blog post about how our precious little children carry way too much emotional baggage into their every day lives – I am talking about exposure to violence and the effect it has on them. Most people have no idea that we have a national crisis that affects approximately two out of every three of our children.
There are 76 million children living in the US. Approximately 15 million children witness, and over 46 million endure some form of abuse of and psychological trauma. Over 35 years ago, the U.S. Surgeon General, Julius B. Richmond declared violence a public health crisis of the highest priority. Yet today in 2016 this crisis still remains.
When I speak at events, I am often bringing awareness of the difficulties children endure through such traumatic experiences. Violence has the potential to profoundly derail their safety, security, health, happiness and the ability to just be children. The ability to be able to just be kids and jump, play, learn, and grow in a safe environment.
Exposure to violence in any form harms children. Different forms of violence have different negative impacts. Our children our suffering with posttraumatic stress disorder [PTSD] , eating and sleeping issues, depression, anxiety, hyperactivity, and increased aggression to name a few. Many internalize incredible fear, decreased responsiveness to adults, developmental delays, some may have short and long term physical, and emotional problems. And the list continues.
Our children are being neglected, robbed of their innocence, robbed of their childhoods and their birth rights. They struggle with powerlessness and abandonment issues. They become experts at not seeing, not feeling. They become numb. It is hard for them to trust, burdened with shame and guilt. They often lose their voice, shrink from success. Day by day the peace, love and joy are squeezed out of their little bodies and these issues continue well into their adult lives.
The doubts and insecurities are different in the minds and bodies where abuse has lived. So just for today lets remember it is easier to build up a child than it is to repair an adult.