Child Abuse: Personal Response

Essay by zoogirlHigh School, 11th gradeA+, January 2003

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Abuse has been in the daily lives of many people in many different cultures since the dawn of time. Whether it is verbal, mental or physical abuse, it's around all of us, but it is up to us as individuals to recognize it.

An incident in which I encountered abuse was a case in the state of Arkansas in 1991. There was a young girl, Holly Richards, who was an isolate. She was tied to a chair in the basement, which had a built in toilet. Her parents neglected her and beat her regularly, for no apparent reason. She wasn't fed properly and was mentally underdeveloped due to this abuse. Once the authorities got her in their custody, they gave her extensive tests to observe the damage that was inflicted upon her. She refused to speak, but would understand what was said. Psychologists believed that the left side of her brain that caters to language was immature, even though she was 13 years old.

This young girl was in this state for most of her life, and I feel that a parent with this kind of power over a child should be taken away. I felt very sorry for this young girl because her parents took advantage of their role as caregivers and as disciplinarians. They took their chastising actions to the extent of putting their child in danger. This not only decreases her chances of living the "normal" life, but also makes her more prone to mental disorders, like schizophrenia and depression. These parents are appalling because they let their own daughter suffer like that while they forgot about her in the basement. I think that this is quite disgusting because who in their right minds would let their child endure such pain? This child was defenseless...