So, just a couple days ago at Texas Children’s Hospital, we began our activities for raising awareness for child abuse- aptly named Child Abuse Awareness Month. It is quite meaningful to think about. Consider a couple facts:
- Houston leads the nation in non-accidental traumas, many of which come under child abuse or violence towards children.
- Texas Children’s cared for over 1,200 children last year whose cases involved child abuse- at our hospital alone!
- 13 children died of child abuse at our hospital last year, and 8 have already died from similar abuse situations already this year.
These truly are sobering facts to me. One of the activities we did at TCH was that we tied a blue ribbon on our playground fence for each one of the 1,200, and a black ribbon for the children that died. Now, when one passes our playground, you cannot help but see the size and scope of the memorial. And of course, that includes heartbreak.
In most places(if not all) in the world, people have formed a worldview that children shouldn’t die. And in most places (if not all), there is a perception that children are cared for and that any abuse is inconceivable. But there are some people who consider it okay to sexually abuse a child to feed their own power, or beating a child because they have demon, or verbally demeaning their child because of looks or interests, simply find it okay to hurt children when they are out of control with anger and fear and passion. But it’s not. It is not okay, it isn’t just, it isn’t right, it has no integrity, it is selfish, and it is really evil.
The anger I see on nurses faces when tying a blue or black ribbon is tremendous, as is a staff’s indignancy towards parents who have absolutely torn apart their children’s lives to find fulfillment or find “right” punishment. Their is anger everywhere in the hospital and around the support systems for these kids, as there should be. But the rub is that there will never be a time without it. No matter what kind of education and training people may receive, or how much awareness is raised, there are those who commit child abuse and will still abide by the same excuses and who are still driven by the same emotions.
There may be few solutions, but there are memories and memorials, which are callings to remind that evil cannot overtake our lives, that darkness never reigns forever, and the God’s love and the love of humanity is more powerful than any violence can be. Justice will happen, even if all we can do is celebrate and mourn the lives with a blue and black ribbon. At least, we as Christians trust so.