Monday, December 6, 2010

Happy Monday!

Mother Nature is focused…on the cold I see. Flurries in the NYC in early December, gotta love it. Well...not really :-)

Today is December 6th, when everyone is supposed to take down their cartoon profile pics after a week or so of changing them to bring awareness to child abuse. The Facebook campaign went viral and is reported to have been “successful.” While it was fun to see Betty Boop, Bugs Bunny, Woody Woodpecker, The Flintstones, Garfield, Fat Albert and countless other cartoon characters from my childhood, I wondered just how “successful” this campaign was. Was it successful because people participated? Because people were lifting their voices up against child abuse? What did changing a profile pic really do except take us on a trip down memory lane?

Before anyone comes at me with the “well it was a good cause” response, trust me when I tell you I had nothing against this Facebook campaign. If anything, I think remembering what it was like to be a child is the first step in raising awareness of child abuse. But changing a profile photo isn’t enough.

Child abuse is real. It happens every day around the world. The best way to stop child abuse is to prevent it from happening in the first place. If you are a parent, think before you belittle or hit your child. Most times, the abuse comes at the hands of a parent or a caregiver, so be the best, loving parent you can be. I’m not saying don’t discipline your child, but words have power, and no child should associate your touch with pain.

It’s the responsibility of all adults to protect our children – and not just the children in your family. If you suspect or notice signs of child abuse in ANY child, it’s your moral responsibility to speak up and try to stop it. It’s not just up to child protective services to intervene. Usually by the time they step in, the damage is already done. Permanent damage - to the child’s heart, mind, body…and spirit. The best way to stop child abuse is to be aware of what is going on around you with the children in your life. Friends, family, teachers, neighbors, coaches or anyone else who has children in their lives who recognizes child abuse should step up and play a role in stopping the abuse.

How do you recognize child abuse?

Usually it’s as easy as simply paying attention to them. Listen to what they say. Watch for signs…the most common of which is emotional abuse. If you see a parent emotionally abusing their child, say something! I hate seeing a parent cursing at their child on the train, or calling them disparaging names in the store. If they do this to them in public, imagine what they say to them behind closed doors. I’ve gotten the death stare from parents when I tell them that they shouldn’t curse at or belittle their child, but they usually stop…even if it’s just until the child gets home. But they need to be called on it. And children need to know that THAT isn't love.

Emotional abuse may be harder to detect, and since children love their parent or caregiver (most times), they may be afraid to speak out against them or talk about the problem. That’s when you have to look past what the child is saying to see the real problem.

Signs of physical abuse may include unexplained bruises or cuts, repeated “accidents” such as falling down the stairs that leave marks, and frequent absences from school for no apparent reason. If you suspect or see any of this, call someone and get help for the family immediately. Children shouldn’t have to stay in an abusive situation. The best way to help is to get involved.

Children who are abused are afraid. They’re afraid of their abuser, and afraid to tell on them because of retaliation, thinking it’ll only get worse if they tell. So they may not ask for help. They may not trust anyone. They may have tried to ask for help from another trusted family member or friend and no one did anything. But this shouldn’t stop any of us from trying to help. Even if they reject your help, do something anyway.

Abused children come in all shapes and sizes, from all races, and all economic backgrounds. It doesn’t just affect children from low-income families, or minority children, boys or girls. Sometimes abuse is masked well, because to the outside world, everything looks fine, the children come from families with money, or a from a good “Christian” family - especially in cases of sexual abuse. Don’t assume anything. Everything is NOT always fine simply because the family looks like they have it together on the outside. Pay attention to our kids. All kids. Sure, Bugs Bunny is cute and all, but do more than change your Facebook profile photo. Help change a child’s life. Be one of the adults who takes a stand and becomes part of the village we need to help raise our children to be happy and safe.



Anthony Otero said...

first bitches

Georgia Peach said...

Just wanted to post a link to an organization that you could donate to or volunteer for to help in the efforts to fight/prevent child abuse.

Annamaria said...

TASING ANT!!!!!!!!!!!! lol

Anywho...One thing that should also be noted is that abuse doesn't necessarily have to come at the hands of a parent. Anyone in contact with a child has the opportunity to abuse the kid... Although we hope that the parents would be careful & aware let's be honest a lot of people are oblivious...

A 4 month old died at the hands of his aunt this weekend... She didn't beat him or anything like that. She did what most of us know not to do & gave him ROBUTUSSIN???
WTF to most of us this seems like the ultimate act of stupidity but she seemed to think it was acceptable.. Parents should take childcare very seriously & put careful thought into who they let around their kids

Anthony Otero said...

I was having this discussion with some people today about this. There were some that feel that having to put the picture up was dumb because it does not prevent child abuse. The point being that there are actually places you can donate money.

Of course neither prevents it anyway, but my defense was that people need to be aware that it does happen.

I am a firm believer in hitting kids as a suitable punishment...but it has to be a last resort. Of course, I have no kids so people will think that I am not qualified...

...however, I have been a kid and I have been hit (several times). I would like to think I am capable of saying that I can remember getting hit by my mom more than her hugging me. I know that I was a bad kid, but it makes me wonder about my relationship with her.

(I should just write a blog about this)

Brooke said...

Thanks Glee!

Jay said...

Exceptional blog Brooke, yet again. I thought the Facebook campaign was a bit misguided, so I didn't participate. I think most times people simply follow the crowd, without really giving thought to what they're doing. Good cause? Yes, but what are you REALLY going to do about it?

I think this blog hit the nail on the head, and thank you Georgia Peach for the link.

Ms. Toni said...

EXCELLENT!!! Awareness is not enough. With awareness comes responsibility. I appreciate the manner in which you tackle this important issue concerning our most precious commodity, our children. In short, you challenge us to be actively aware.

I will definitely share this blog! As usual, you are on point! Fantastic!

Rameer The Circumstance said...

Great post, Brooke-Ra.

I think when things like this occur (the FB profile pic changes), the intention is to bring notoriety to the cause, and the realistic expectation is that in doing so a small percentage of the people will learn about and get active in the cause. So, for example - let's say 100 people who would've never done ANYTHING for child abuse changed their profile pic cuz it sounded like the right thing to do. If only 27 of those people decided to go further and get truly involved in the fight against child abuse, that's STILL 27 people who wouldn't have done it on their own without the campaign.

That's how it was explained to me by a leader of the Red Cross a while ago when they had a pizza party food drive. Anyone could stop into all of these locations and get free pizza, drinks, and food and enjoy a fun time, and if they chose to donate food to the needy, they could. Even better if they signed up to give blood. They didn't expect the majority to do it - but just getting some numbers more than what they already get was a huge success. I think she said food donations and new blood donors typically increased 45% during the annual event.

BTW - I only saw one person do my Brown Hornet pic! It was interesting for me to see who was original with their choices instead of doing what many others were doing. I saw a gazillion Smurfs, Snorks, Thundercats, Transformers, etc. - but loved seeing Luke Cage, Dragonball GT Goku, Gary Gnu, Chilly Willy and other pics that weren't used by the masses...

Anthony Otero said...

Rameer - your brown hornet pic was dope! I only saw 3 other people chose my cartoon (battle of the planets).

Rameer The Circumstance said...

You know what's funny, Ant? My baby sis actually looked over my soldier as I scrolling on Fb and saw your pic and said "Who is THAT??" I told her "That's OLD SCHOOL...most people won't even remember that joint who were around for it..."

I only saw one other person with a G-Force joint like you! Like I said - LOVE the originality!!!

Stef said...

I think it was cute, but I think most people did it to see which cartoon they could come up with that no one else did, they didn't even think about child abuse. I didn't participate either, but if it brought just a few people closer to thinking about child abuse, I guess it was a good idea. Most of my friends did it without even knowing what they were putting up cartoon pics for...they just saw other people doing it and did it. REAL DUMB! Like Jay said, most people are just followers who can't think for themselves.

Great post Brooke, at least you have some common sense! :)

Brooke said...

Thanks everyone. I just saw this and it really got to me for some reason - especially from the folks I knew who didn't know why they were changing their profile pics in the first place - even though you'd have to be living under a rock to not understand the point of the campaign. It was the same thing with the Breast Cancer Awareness FB campaign where women listed the color of their bra in their FB status. Most of them took it as an opportunity to make it something erotic...rather than to go get a breast exam, or discuess the importance of self breast exams, or participating in a marathon to raise moeny for breast cancer, or to donate to a cause. Awareness isn't enough, like Ms. Toni said. These FB campaigns should be a call to action, not just a fun game.

The Cable Guy said...

This is why I love me some Brooke Dean! B, you're brilliant, and your blog was on usual.

I didn't change my pic either, cuz yes, I thought it was stupid. But I see the point, and for those who took it seriously, kudos to you.

I have a friend who was abused as a child, and I told my parents and he came to live with us after CPS came to investigate the parents. My parents didn't even hesitate when it came to taking him in, they just wanted him safe. To this day, my boy thanks me for getting him out of that situation. His parents were physically abusive alcoholics who beat him daily, and he believes I saved his life. Today he is a successful father and husband who loves his children and is my hero and role model for the type of father I want to be.

I guess I just looked at the FB thing as people trying to be cute and not really DO anything since this is so close to me. I'm glad you wrote this blog Brooke. THIS is what people should be talking about, not no damn cartoon characters IMO. I will be sharing THIS on FB.

Jaz said...

Great blog Brooke!

Stef said...

@Cable Guy,

That is a great story. We need more stories of people surviving child abuse and flourishing, not more pics of Bam Bam and Pebbles!

I'll put my hate aside for you, just for today ;)

Annamaria said...

@Cable Guy...Wow..that was an awesome thing you did. And Brave..what you did could have gone wrong in soo many ways but you cared about your friend enough to try to help & it did. Kudos!!!!

Brooke it was a great blog...Hate when people do things cuz it's cute without understanding the significance

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