Child abuse has always existed, yet few want to talk about it because the thought of a child being hurt is unbearable. Yet when someone famous abuses a child, people are outraged.
On average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States — more than 12 million women and men over the course of a year. Adrian Peterson running back for the Minnesota Vikings was indicted by a grand jury on charges of reckless or negligent injury to a child on Friday.
He disciplined his 4 year-old son with a switch. In certain cultures, using a switch to discipline a child has been used. In this case using a switch caused severe bruises on the body of Peterson’s child.
Today another story broke that reveals another incident in which Adrian Peterson is accused of injuring another son while disciplining the boy. The boy had a head wound from Peterson’s discipline but no charges were filed.
Disciplining a child is not bad. It’s a necessity. It teaches kids how to behave, respect the rights of others and to follow rules. It’s even used to keep kids out of danger.
Although some parents believe in spanking their children, most feel guilty afterwards. Spanking is not the best form of discipline … no matter how out of control a child is. Studies show that children who are spanked will grow up to be aggressive. And the potential for the cycle of abuse to repeat itself is increased. Spanking can also backfire. Kids imitate adults and look to their parents as role models. By hitting and spanking to discipline, parents risk having their child model their behavior; they learn to hit, just like mom and dad. Spanking is violent behavior which kids will learn.
Some may not consider spanking to be child abuse, but when spanking leaves children with bruises, that is child abuse.
Most parents get away with spanking and disciplining their children in violent ways because it is rarely reported. But when someone in the public eye, an athlete who is looked up to as role models, who harms their child in a violent way, it’s reported in the media and goes viral.
The NFL must not and cannot condone this behavior or the recent behavior of Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens, who was caught on tape abusing his then fiancé and now wife. Abuse in any form is not something that should be condoned – especially from role models.
After watching the NFL’s issues with domestic violence spiral in the past week, Major League Baseball has scheduled a meeting with the players’ union to reach a policy regarding domestic abuse. The league determined it must establish a formal discipline for any future domestic abuse cases.
All sports leagues should have a domestic abuse policies in place. If they don’t enforce policies, then these role models are sending a message to abusers everywhere that it’s okay to abuse children and women.
Every one of us must say enough! We cannot tolerate the abuse of any child or any adult. If the NFL is smart, they will take this seriously and suspend their abusive members and ensure that they receive the appropriate anger management and other therapies to help them break the cycle of abuse.
To learn more about child abuse visit www.loveourchildrenusa.org