Childhood should be about having fun, not about being abused.
It was Monday morning after a long nice holiday weekend and I was driving to work reflecting on the last few days. We had an amazing time as a family where we were able to unwind, laugh, and relax with one another. Weekends like this are so good for the soul and help us reconnect with one another. We teach our children to be resilient, practice gratitude, and to be nice to others.
All of those feelings I felt on the drive did a 360 when I arrived back to work. I work with children whom have been abused. When I arrived to work this morning and read my emails, I discovered that two more children had died from abuse over the weekend. This is now in addition to the two that died right before I left for the holiday. A rush of emotions came over me: sadness, frustration, and anger to name a few. All I wanted to do was run around screaming. How is it possible that we just came back from a beautiful weekend where our children had an amazing experience and these children were suffering? Shouldn’t all children be given the same opportunity for a beautiful childhood? Accidental trauma happens in life, but non-accidental trauma is unacceptable.
In an average year, I see approximately 4 child deaths in my line of work, but most current data shows the U.S. average in 2016 was 1,750 child deaths which were the highest ever to date and there are 683,000 cases of child abuse per year. Already this year, the number I have seen has more than doubled and we are only halfway into the year. These cases are horrific and I have a hard time imagining what these kids were going through prior to dying. I often think about it being my children and the thought is unimaginable. This needs to STOP. Prevention is top priority and currently in the U.S. there are no federal dollars being spent on the prevention of child sexual abuse. How is this even possible? Something needs to be done about this.
I developed Charlie & Alivia to create clothing that girls can feel comfortable and confident in, while also giving back to help end violence in our lifetime. If not now, when? We give back money to help agencies dedicated to this work. These agencies provide forensic exams, trauma counseling for survivors, education on abuse, 24 hour hotlines for individuals in crisis, prevention, and much more. Click here to read more about these agencies.
Childhood is the time when children should be having fun, building beautiful memories with their family and friends, increasing knowledge in their developing brains, and being excited about an upcoming trip, not about being abused. I haven’t posted much on child abuse or the work we are doing because it is hard to talk about and people don’t want to hear about it. However, I have realized that by doing that, we are going against what we truly believe in. Childhood abuse needs to be brought out of the darkness and talked about everywhere. If we could eliminate childhood trauma, we could eliminate a lot of violence in the world!