These are the kinds of things I hear every single time I write about the effects of child abuse. There are people who have let me know that they don’t believe child abuse should affect a person’s mind or spirit, especially once the child reaches their teens or adulthood. It’s just no big deal , according to them, to be born to a violent or unloving parent, whether from mental illness, postpartum psychosis, or some other reason that a child has no control over. It’s really all about attitude or chosen perceptions.
I am so tired of all these people playing the victim. Whatever happened to accountability?
If it had been me, I’d have run, screamed, told someone. I don’t have any sympathy for those who don’t care enough to save themselves.
Adults who were abused kids just need to forgive and move on.
We all come to the same fork in the road eventually, no matter how we were raised.
Everybody has some dysfunction in their family. It’s not a big deal unless you want it to be.
We all have the same choices.
The past doesn’t matter.
It’s not what happens to you, it’s how you choose to feel about it.
God has a reason for everything.
There are no accidents.
I would like everyone who watches this video to ask themselves —
Do you think this child feels loved and secure?
Do you think she is full of fear, confusion?
Do you see how she still tries to reach for her mother?
Do you think she is hurt? Feeling the pain from those blows?
How long do you think the pain from just this one 4 minute beating will last?
Do you think that she’ll suffer any emotional consequences from that pain?
Do you think she will have trust issues as she grows up?
What do you imagine that she will feel about herself as she grows?
Do you think that one kind teacher or neighbor she meets along the way will undo the damage her mother caused?
Do you think that she will see the world as a place of welcome, of care, of abundant love, of opportunity?
Did you see/hear how many people watched her being beat and did nothing? What lesson do you think the child will learn from that?
What do you think this baby girl dreams about at night?
Can you imagine the hole in her heart where a mother’s love was supposed to be?
How do you think that empty space will be filled?
When she is school age and can’t concentrate in school, do you think people will tell her she’s stupid?
If she becomes lost, alone, and frightened as a teen, how many do you think will tell her that all she needs is a better attitude?
When she’s an adult, how many will tell her just to get over her pain, her sadness, her fears — her lifelong emotional and psychological makeup — because she just isn’t as easygoing or relaxed as other people?
Do you think positive thinking will cure her of everything?
Do you think therapy can undo her primal wounds, including ones she may not even remember?
When she falls in love, do you think she will feel worthy of having her love returned?
How hard do you think it will be for her to learn trust and to trust herself?
Do you still think that child abuse is really no big deal?
Do you know that both early childhood neglect and abuse can cause permanent damage to the brain, even if those damages aren’t apparent? That neural pathways are forever changed and cannot be recovered or fixed?
Do you know that there are more children who are not rescued from abuse than those who are?
Did you know that the majority of children never tell?
Do you know that the chances that a mother who abuses her infant like this is unlikely to stop on her own?
Do you know that in many abusive families, not all children are abused or abused equally?
Do you know what a “target child” is?
What if this was all you knew from birth through adolescence?
How do you think you might be different?
What if she was YOUR child?
Do not turn away from this. Thousands of children suffer this kind of abuse and worse every single day. If they can bear the pain and trauma, then you — and here I am speaking to the ones who are so quick to criticize survivors and write them off as perpetual victims, chronic whiners, or people who just need to “get over it” — should at least have the backbone to watch four minutes of what an abused child suffers for years.
NOTE: This child was eventually rescued. According to the Royal Malaysian Police FB page, the mother was arrested and sentenced to 18 months. The video was filmed by a friend of hers who had tried to intervene many times before unsuccessfully. She made the videotape in order to have proof. After the mother was arrested, the friend took care of the child for a month before the child was put up for adoption. The child in question is confirmed to be a girl. This story has a happier ending than most. It is actually very rare for an abused child to be rescued.
UPDATE: I have heard from many people that this post should have come with a warning. I did not include one because it’s an entitlement these children do not have. Most people will not watch this video for longer than a few seconds. They cannot handle the pain of watching even from a great distance. That is understandable. I hope, though, that even those few seconds will loosen the grip of the many fallacious but common cliches about child abuse and its survivors that infect our society. The fact is that child abuse does have longterm consequences and that a child raised without love will not be the same as one who was, not at 5 months old, 10 years-old, 16, 25 or even 40. It is not about “attitude” but about reality. It’s not about being a “perpetual victim”, but about recognizing that there are real consequences that age, attitude and intelligence may not mitigate. Child abuse changes the course and matter of a life — it damages spirit and mind, and in many cases even biology — and recovery is often a lifelong, step-by-step process.