There is no escape for children caught in a world where silence often seems the only way to survive. And there is no escape from confronting the issues for those who work with children. Teachers who educate themselves about abuse will find many opportunities to support children who have neither the experience nor the maturity to unravel the turmoil they face.
Occasionally a child will spontaneously disclose an episode of abuse. Although a teacher may doubt the story, it is vitally important to believe the child. The child is taking a significant step in trusting the teacher enough to tell what is happening. To betray that trust would repeat the betrayal experienced when an adult abused the child and failed to serve as a protector.
Having said all that, my appreciation goes to a close teacher friend of mine for sending this story of her student, Zainab (not her real name). I’m glad that your natural concern and care for your students have helped promote the process of healing for Zainab.
Teachers have the opportunity to give an abused child the hope of a childhood, the joy of play, and the sense of being cared for by others. Those are gifts that cannot be measured in any monetary or quantitative way.
Probably no adult is more trusted by children who have been abused than a beloved and caring teacher. Teachers have an opportunity afforded few adults to identify abused children and to start a process that will restore safety in the child’s world.
My father used to touch me in a horrible way when mum was at work at night. I was 10 years old when it started. I felt so sick when I knew it was a night that mum had to work, worrying about what would happen. I was tense and stressing out all the time.
I was scared to tell anyone – I thought it was my fault too because I didn’t stop it. He used to say I shouldn’t tell anyone and that mum would kick me out if she found out. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want anyone at school finding out, because I felt like they’d all look down on me.
This has been going on for the last 4 years. This year we had a health class, and someone came to our school to talk about abuse. I knew that what they were talking about was what was happening to me. At the end of that class I just sat there when the bell rang, I felt like my head was about to explode. The teacher asked me if I was ok. I kind of avoided the question for a while, but how it must have shown on my face. Then everything came out.
The school rang mum. She had to come in and meet with the student welfare co-ordinator. They told her what I had said. Then they called me in. I was terrified that she would blame me or not believe me. She looked totally shocked, asked me if it was true and I said it was.
It’s hard to remember what happened next. Me and my brother had to go and stay at my auntie’s place, and now mum has come to stay there too. I’ve also had to speak to a counsellor about it. I haven’t spoken to dad for a couple of months. I don’t know if I want to or not, and mum says I don’t have to. It’s confusing, I feel like I should love him because he’s still my dad, but I just feel like I hate him. Even though mum has looked really stressed out, she told me I did the right thing. I’m so glad that he can’t get at me any more. None of the other kids at school know about all this, and I’m not sure if I’ll tell any of my friends or not. I’ll see how it goes.
Posted on September 19, 2015, in Scars for Stars (Beauty for Ashes) and tagged Child abuse, Child Protection, teacher. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.
Thank you, Ezar. I am a school counsellor and like you i believe teachers can make a huge difference. We can provide an effective counterbalance to the effects of an abusive home. It does not require special heroism. My challenge is to help teachers persevere, to keep their hope alive, by focusing on children’s capacity for resilience and how we can promote it.
I like your comment before the main story. It should challenge us, as parents and teachers. Through our normal daily contact with students we have an opportunity to make a significant contribution to the adjustment of students who are victims of child abuse and neglect. Kudos, Ezar
Child abuse is more than bruises and broken bones. While physical abuse might be the most visible, other types of abuse, such as emotional abuse and neglect, also leave deep, lasting scars. The earlier abused children get help, the greater chance they have to heal and break the cycle—rather than perpetuate it. By learning about common signs of abuse and what you can do to intervene, you can make a huge difference in a child’s life.
While news stories of sexual predators that i have been reading here are are scary, what is even more frightening is that sexual abuse usually occurs at the hands of someIone the child knows and should be able to trust—most often close relatives. And contrary to what many believe, it’s not just girls who are at risk. Boys and girls both suffer from sexual abuse. In fact, sexual abuse of boys may be underreported due to shame and stigma.
Thank you for sharing, Ezar. Zainab is doing well now. A common reaction to news as unpleasant and shocking as child abuse is denial. However, if you display denial to a child, or show shock or disgust at what they are saying, the child may be afraid to continue and will shut down. As hard as it may be, remain as calm and reassuring as you can.
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As teachers we have a lot to play in the life of the children we teach. Let’s create an atmosphere of ease and trust. God bless you Ezar
Na wa ooooo
What sort of rubbish, nonsense and ingredients is this?????