Abuse: To Laugh Or To Cry?

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I have found it quite amazing the way things change in society. I myself have a 15 month old daughter who is in the stages of exploration. She seems to find every new and old way to hurt herself. Not on propose, she doesn’t understand that word. But just by falling down, running into walls, hitting her head from crawling under the table, or shaking her rattle too hard it hits her face, she has experienced her share of pain. If she is anything like me, she will be an accident waiting to happen.

However, now day’s people make jokes that I don’t know whether to laugh or cringe at.

When I found out I was pregnant, I was in my second full year at Broome Community College in Binghamton, New York. After she was born, I decided to take a year off from school until I went back to graduate, so that I could spend time with my new bundle of joy.

When the year quickly came and passed, I made my decision fast. There was no way she was going to go to any daycare, and there was no way someone I didn’t know and trust was going to be watching my daughter. I had watched the news, looked at CNN and read the newspaper. Many kids were dying at the hand of their guardians, parents or daycare providers. Some kids weren’t even dying, they were just being abused. Diapers shoved in mouths, being held to the floor using corporal punishment, and shaken until they were a statistic of Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS).  I do have to say that not every place for kids is bad, but how do you choose the good apples from the bad ones without tasting one first?

I was not going to let anything happen to my daughter of any sort. (Even if that meant not going back to school, but doing it online or through the mail.) Luckily though, my boyfriend’s mother took charge and retired to watch her granddaughter. I knew she was in good hands and I could rest easy.

However, no mother can rest easy when every new step of their child ends up in a screaming cry because they bumped their head on the table or bruised their butt on the hard-tiled kitchen floor.  And like every other child on earth, my daughter still is gaining her marks of growing. Every day she has some new scratch or bruise.

When my daughter came home from her grandmother’s the first day with I bump on her forehead from hitting it on the side table, my boyfriend made the crack to his mom, “What did my daughter do for you to beat her?” Now I know he was kidding, and so did she, but when did society decide that was something funny we could say?  I have to admit, I have said something like that too, and when I say it, I feel like my mind steps back from my physical self and says, “THIS HAS TO BE WRONG!” There used to be a line that we shouldn’t cross, but where is it now? I was stunned. I was confused too. I didn’t know whether to laugh because she wouldn’t do that, or cry because that happens all around the world to kids.

I do know there is one line that never can be crossed that there is no way to joke about abuse, and that is in a sexual manner.  But what is the difference between sexual abuse and physical abuse to not only kids but adults as well that makes it okay to joke about? Is society not on the same wave length? If we joke about abuse are we the ones that can abuse? If we laugh, should we be convicted or shunned?  

There is no sand, but I think we ought to redraw the line that used to be in it. There should be no joking when someone’s well-being is at stake.


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