Letter: Don’t let Child Abuse go under the radar
Chicago – A few pages after yet another story about the latest in the Harvey Weinstein saga, I read a Tribune editorial entitled: “The toughest job in state government,” and came upon a paragraph that reduced me nearly to tears.
It read: “The mother of a 2-year-old toddler from Charleston allegedly left him alone for days in a playpen with two peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches and a bottle of vitamin water with a small hole pricked in the top. He was discovered days later, dead from dehydration and starvation or a combination, according to the medical examiner.”
While the Dec. 19 Tribune editorial focused on the problems within the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, child abuse problems in America are pandemic.
The latest 2015 Child Maltreatment Report from The Children’s Bureau was published in January 2017. The CB report “shows an increase in child abuse referrals from 3.6 million to 4 million. The number of children involved subsequently increased to 7.2 million from 6.6 million,” according to the American Society for the Positive Care of Children. “The report also indicates an increase in child deaths from abuse and neglect to 1,670 in 2015, up from 1,580 in 2014. Some reports estimate child abuse fatalities at 1,740 or even higher. The United States has one of the worst records among industrialized nations – losing on average almost five children every day to child abuse and neglect.”
It got me to thinking. Is child abuse getting its proper coverage in the media and attention from officials? Or is it being shoved aside because it doesn’t wear a celebrity face and status?
I cannot know the trauma caused by sexual harassment. But I do know it can be survived. A child’s maltreatment and death, however, cannot.
— Jim Dudas, Naperville