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Child abuse and domestic violence by role models

adrian peterson More than 3 million children are reported as abused each year. Due to the under-reporting of child abuse the actual number of reports are three times greater.

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.

Facts you should know about violence against children

Forms you should know about violence against children

What makes people harm and neglect children?

What you can do to help

Reporting child abuse

To learn more about child abuse visit www.loveourchildrenusa.org

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In Memory of Robin Williams

Robin_WilliamsOn Monday, August 11, 2014 the world lost a brilliant talented genius …Robin Williams.

A representative for Williams told Entertainment Weekly, “Robin Williams passed away this morning. He has been battling severe depression of late. This is a tragic and sudden loss. The family respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time.”

Shame on the Marin County Sherriff and Coroner’s office for talking about how Williams died and how he was found.

It is less important how Robin Williams died, and more important as to why he died.

Beloved actress Lauren Bacall passed away yesterday and it was not sensationalized how she died.

I love and respect the media and am friends with them, but the media and others have gone way too far on reporting the methods in how that people take their lives.

And we must not forget the children who suffer from depression, whether the cause is a result of bullying or a combination of depression by bullying and mental illness. Every time we lose a child to depression it is also reported how the child succumbed.

The reporting of how a celebrity, a person not in the spotlight or a child succumbs to depression and takes their life is not relevant. It hurts the families even more and gives ideas to others – especially children.

It is far more important to recognize why and to understand their illness.

Robin Williams was fighting severe depression. He is gone and the world is saddened and devastated by his loss.

No one – not even celebrities are immune from this silent illness and its effects.

Major depression is an illness and is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. In 2012, an estimated 16 million U.S. adults had at least one major depressive episode, or bout of depressive symptoms, in the past year.

Despite how common the illness is, many people do not understand exactly what it means to have depression and no one talks about it.

We must talk about it. There is no shame in being depressed. The more we talk about it, the more we can help others.

Signs and symptoms of depression include:

  • Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
  • Loss of interest in daily activities.
  • Appetite or weight changes
  • Sleep changes
  • Anger or irritability
  • Loss of energy
  • Self-loathing
  • Reckless behavior

Some facts about depression:

  • Although major depression can strike people of any age, the median age at onset is 32.5, according to Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
  • Depression is more common in women than in men, according to Washington University.
  • Men with depression are more likely than depressed women to abuse alcohol and other substances, according to Jill Goldstein, director of research at the Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
  • Men’s symptoms of depression may be harder for other people to recognize, and the illness is missed more frequently in men.
  • Men with depression are more likely than women with the condition to commit suicide.
  • Men with depression may go longer without being diagnosed or treated, and so men may develop a more devastating mental health problem.
  • Symptoms of depression extend far beyond feeling sad, and may include: loss of interest and pleasure in normal activities, irritability, agitation or restlessness, lower sex drive, decreased concentration, insomnia or excessive sleeping and chronic fatigue and lethargy, according to Mayo Clinic.

MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES

APA Practice Organization Psychologist Locator http://locator.apa.org/

The National Association of Free Clinics http://www.freeclinics.us/

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (202) 966-7300 www.aacap.org

National Institute of Mental Health 1-888-ANXIETY http://store.samhsa.gov/mhlocator

Mental Health America http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/farcry/go/searchMHA

American Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry http://myaccount.aacap.org/iweb/BuyersGuide/ProfessionalSearch.aspx

Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists http://www.aglp.org/images/Directories/AGLPReferralDirectory2010.pdf

Anxiety Disorders Association of America http://www.adaa.org/finding-help/getting-support

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) http://www.nami.org/ The nation’s largest grassroots organization for people with mental illness and their families. (866) 615-6464

When in crisis the number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255), call 911 or go to your nearest hospital emergency room.

Robin Williams was not only a talented, brilliant comedian and actor, he was one of the most caring people. His love for helping children is known to all. He was a true humanitarian.

Robin was a friend to Love Our Children USA and STOMP Out Bullying. We will always remember his generosity, commitment, genius and magic! The world stands together to say farewell to this talented and caring man who died from emotional pain. Our hearts and prayers go out to his family and friends. RIP Robin Williams.

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Child Abuse: Who will help our children?

ImageWith child abuse prevention month around the corner these stories serve as a wake-up call to raise awareness for child abuse prevention.

Two women were arrested after police in Salinas, CA after police found three malnourished and abused children. According to authorities, one of the children was found chained to the floor. The children were so emaciated, one was compared to a person found in a concentration camp. The home was in great squalor as well …

A one year-old girl was found In apartment building lobby in Chicago’s Auburn Gresham neighborhood …

A Silver Spring, MD man has been accused of abusing his infant son so badly that the boy will have to be placed on a respirator the rest of his life …

A Chelsea, OK couple were arrested on allegations that they locked a 4-year-old boy in a dog cage for several hours a day and abused and neglected two other children …

A Grand Forks, N.D. woman faces 13 counts of child abuse or neglect is accused of taping a 4-year-old boy’s eyes shut to force him to sleep and taping them open during the day so he would stay awake. Court documents show that she forced children ages 4 -9 to eat spoonfuls of hot sauce. She’s also accused of stitching up a cut on a 5-year-old’s head …

A Los Angeles Police Department officer has been charged with child abuse for allegedly repeatedly striking a young teen male relative, leaving welts and bruises, for poor grades …

An 8 month-old baby girl in Salt Lake City, UT remains in critical condition with head and brain trauma and extensive bruising. The baby’s mother left the baby in the care of a male friend who admitted to having “spanked” the infant hard, throwing her onto a mattress and repeatedly banging her head against his shoulder over several days …

These few stories are enough to make anyone sick and angry. And they should be enough to make you want to get involved and raise awareness so that all children are safe.

A recent study shows that child abuse may dramatically infect the mental health of a child’s future. And besides emotional and behavioral issues, it can also increase the risk of diabetes, obesity and other metabolic disorders in adulthood.

The findings also suggest that stress experienced during childhood can lead to long-term hormone impairment.

Researchers recorded levels of the weight-regulating hormones leptin, irisin and adiponectin in the blood of adults who suffered physical, emotional or sexual abuse or neglect during childhood.

As leptin has been linked to body-mass index and fat mass that helps to regulate appetite, adiponection helps to lower bodily inflammation. On the other hand, irisin gives our metabolism more energy.

The latest findings revealed that adults who endured childhood abuse showed dysregulation of these hormones.

“This study helps illuminate why people who have dealt with childhood adversity face a higher risk of developing excess belly fat and related health conditions,” said researchers Christos S. Mantzoros, MD, DSc, PhD, of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the VA Boston Healthcare System, via a press release. “The data suggest that childhood adversity places stress on the endocrine system, leading to impairment of important hormones that can contribute to abdominal obesity well into adulthood.”

As National Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month begins on April 1st, think about America’s children and the impact that child abuse has on them mentally and physically.

ImageAs the “Blue Ribbon” is the symbol for child abuse prevention, Love Our Children USA urges every person across the country to GET BLUE. By wearing a Blue Ribbon pin or Love Our Children USA’s Break The Cycle Blue Silicone Bracelet during April and throughout the year, individuals can:

    • Help educate families, children, neighbors, organizations and communities on how to prevent child violence and neglect
    • Encourage community and individual involvement in recognizing and preventing child violence and neglect
    • Assist families in achieving healthy parenting practices through education and resources
    • Empower individuals to report child victimization and intervene in situations where violence and neglect harm children.

Please be sure to GO BLUE and raise awareness for child abuse prevention.

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The silence! The shame! NO MORE!!

Three dirty little words “child sexual abuse”.  They make everyone so uncomfortable. No one likes to talk about it.

But we must talk about. It wasn’t comfortable for any of children who have been sexually abused – so frankly I don’t care about anyone else’s discomfort!

The recently launched lawsuit of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) seeking to have all of the NCAA penalties against Penn State’s football program thrown out is beyond shameful and it’s a contradiction to his public statement this past summer where he stated: “We must repair the damage to this university. Part of that corrective process is to accept the serious penalties imposed by the NCAA on Penn State University and its football program.”

These sanctions brought about by the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse case include a $60 million fine which is to be used for funding child sexual abuse prevention and treatment programming.

Corbett’s about face should make everyone feel uncomfortable! Once again, it’s the silence and shame! It’s the putting the profits of college football ahead of children’s rights … rights to be safe and not violated.

Let’s all get uncomfortable with Governor Corbett’s lawsuit! Let us fight so that no child is ever violated – so that no child is ever uncomfortable – so that no child ever has to live with silence and shame ever again!!

It’s up to all of us to talk about it! It’s up to all of us to fight for our children

Together we can give children a world where they are safe, nurtured, and loved …a world where their voices are not small, ignored and unheard. And together
we can listen …as we raise the volume, so that everyone hears their message.

Help prevent violence and neglect against children today!

Ross Ellis
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Love Our Children USA

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Paterno and his powerful allies: Guilty of child sexual abuse

The release of the Freeh Report to Penn State University today documents years of secrecy and silence around child sexual abuse by Jerry Sandusky and a fundamental disregard for children’s safety and welfare by failing to report child abuse.

Their actions and inactions are egregious when we read the details of the report. It highlights leaders behave in ways that favor protecting themselves, their reputations and their institutions over protecting children.

By law anyone that works with children is a mandated reporter and must report the abuse to the authorities.

It is a message for every citizen in this country to not look the other like those who did at Penn State.

One of the many recommendations made to insure this does not happen again was increased training of staff on all levels about the responsibility that comes with being a mandated reporter. Stronger and more frequent background checks must also be mandatory.

Paterno was a mandated reporter and together with his powerful allies, committed a crime by covering up child sexual abuse.

When it comes to public reporting, whether you are a mandated reporter or not, we all have the responsibility and obligation to report all child abuse – even if it’s only suspected.

Louis Freeh, former federal judge and Director of the FBI oversaw the investigation and said: “Our most saddening and sobering finding is the total disregard for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims. The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky victimized.”

The investigation which ran the course of seven months, involved more than 400 interviews and the review of more than 3.5 million documents … accusing Paterno, the university’s former president and several others of deliberately hiding facts about Sandusky’s sexually predatory behavior over the years.

“The facts are the facts,” Freeh said of Paterno. “He was an integral part of the act to conceal.”

All of us who work in child abuse prevention agree with Freeh’s Report and recommendations on policies and practices. Yet Penn State and other institutions must take even more steps such as compliance with mandatory reporting statutes, whistleblower policies and background checks on an annual basis.

In order for children to be safe, we as a society must to do more to keep children safe.

Learn the signs of child sexual abuse  If you see something, say something!

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Jerry Sandusky found guilty of child sex abuse: faces up to 442 years in prison

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June 22, 2012: Tonight a jury found Jerry Sandusky guilty on 45 of 48 counts of child sexual molestation and faces up to 442 years in prison.

The jury deliberated for almost 20 hours after an eight day trial at the Center County Courthouse in Bellefonte, PA.

Sandusky was escorted out of the courthouse in handcuffs and will be sentenced at a later date by Judge John Cleland.

This child sexual molestation case shook the Penn State college town last November when Sandusky was indicted. The sex abuse scandal led to the firing of noted head football coach Joe Paterno and school president Graham Spanier. Also facing criminal chargers are athletic director Tim Curley and vice president Gary Schultz (both university officials) for failure to report a crime and perjury. Paterno died of lung cancer in January and had he been well, he should have been tried for failure to report a crime and perjury as well.

Eight victims testified in horrific detail how Sandusky molested them in Penn State locker rooms, Sandusky’s basement and hotel rooms.

The testimony from former Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary, who said he walked in on Sandusky and a boy in the locker room showers in 2001 was also used in court.

The jury did the right thing for these victims. Justice has been served!

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Demanding Extensive Background Checks on Teachers To Keep Children Safe At School

The rash of teachers and school employees across the country who have been arrested for the alleged sexual abuse of children is more than alarming.

For the fifth time this month, a New York City teacher has been charged with a sex crime against a student.

Brett Picou, 30, an art teacher at P.S. 52, is accused of fondling an 11-year-old girl, which took place at school.  News sources report that at least six other students all girls, may be victims. One child told the school principal a week ago, triggering the investigation.

The New York City Department of Education said Picou has been suspended without pay since the student made the accusation on February 15.

Picou joins Chukwuma Duru, Tyleek Brooks, Gregory Atkins and Wilbert Cortez. Duru is a substitute teacher. Brooks and Atkins worked as teacher’s aides. Cortez is a computer teacher.

And it’s not just in New York City. At the beginning of February, the Los Angeles Times reported that teacher Mark Berndt of the Miramonte Elementary School in Los Angeles was arrested for the most despicable acts against children. Berndt is deservedly looking at multiple potential life sentences.

In 1994, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office decided not to press charges against veteran Los Angeles teacher Mark Berndt for fondling a girl because prosecutors determined there was “insufficient evidence.”

Now 18 years later, Berndt the teacher everyone loved has finally been arrested after a one-year investigation for the photographing children in class while he sexually relieved himself under his desk, spoon-fed his own semen to blindfolded elementary school children and photographed them with a giant live cockroach on their faces.  Berndt’s 23 counts of lewd acts against children took place between 2005 and 2010. The victims were both girls and boys between the ages of 7 and 10.

And last April teacher Steven Noyes of the Village School in Naples, Fl., a private school affiliated with the North Naples United Methodist Church, was accused of sexual abuse against one of his 9 year old female students at the school. The police investigated the case, but when the teacher in question didn’t cooperate, they dropped the ball.  The teacher was not willing to talk to police or take a polygraph test, returned to school. The head of the school Ginger Sauter was heard saying “This is all my fault, I shouldn’t have let him hug the children” and now the little girl, the innocent victim has been expelled from school.

What are our schools missing when hiring teachers? How extensive are their background checks?

While we would never want our innocent teachers to suffer, we may have to! It’s time to demand that our schools have more extensive background checks and do these annually to check for any discrepancies, arrests, or any negative information.

Child molesters choose to work where they can be close to children. As a country, we must insist that our children are kept safe from these predators at school.

Please sign our PETITION and urge legislators to hold extensive background checks before hiring teachers and school administrators and to run extensive mandatory annual background checks on all teachers and school administrators.

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