Indescribable Pain – Loss of a child

indescribable pain - loss of a child

Suffering loss of any kind is one of the most painful and deepest emotions in life. Loss of property or possession can be very upsetting. It can take an individual’s mood from a high level to zero, Even friends and family could be affected as everyone tries to help out or do anything to lift the person’s spirit.

If you’ve ever paid attention to animals you’ll know how agitated they get when they lose something. They pace around the spot it was left and even the timidest or docile animal is ready to attack anyone who comes near them at that point. When they lose their offspring, some animals (especially social animals) grief examples are elephants, crows, Chimpanzees, giraffes and there was the story of a mother orca carrying her dead infant through the icy waters of the Salish Sea keeping the infant afloat as best she could, the orca, persisted for 17 days, before finally dropping the dead calf.

If loss of possession can be so painful for humans, how much more loss of a loved one which is an irreplaceable loss. Loss of a loved one causes severe grief because of the simple fact that the person is gone forever. Larry King was once asked about the most difficult interview he’s ever done. We all know Larry King throughout his career conducted lots of interviews (over 30,000) his response was ‘interviewing a bereaved parent’. You can almost touch the pain of a grieving parent, its severe and raw.

This heartbreaking story on LinkedIn caught a lot of people’s attention last month. I read both husband and wife’s post and I grieved with them as I read it. The couple had lost their 8yearold twin son. In the father’s words “When I got the call I was sitting in a conference room with 12 people at our Portland office talking about PTO policies. Minutes earlier, I had admitted to the group that in the last 8 years I’d not taken more than a contiguous week off”.  

And then he died in his bed overnight. The evening before was normal. Wiley was healthy and engaged. We had friends with kids over for dinner. We all jumped on the giant trampoline that had been the first purchase for the house we had bought just a few weeks ago.
 

J.R. Storment

The couple had an agreement to always answer the phone when they called each other. He picked the phone that day to be told any parent’s worst nightmare “J.R., Wiley is dead.” 

“What?” I responded incredulously.

“Wiley has died.” she reiterated.

“What?! No.” I yelled out, “No!”

“I’m so sorry, I have to call 911.”

That was the entire conversation. The wife said she couldn’t sugarcoat it and didn’t have time to explain as she needed him to come home. She still had to explain to her other son that his best friend had died and 15 people were about to swarm their home. She asked him to pick a location where he would feel safe. Then, sirens. 

The Police arrived as any unexpected death of a minor is a potential criminal event. Their son’s room was barricaded and property guarded until their investigation was complete. Her husband arrived and bursted through the front door heading for their children’s room, but was stopped by police and he abruptly turned his attention to his scared, lonely son outside. The process took 2.5 hours. which passed incredibly slowly while they begged to see their son. They were finally given some time to see him, “It was not the way a parent should have to see their child”, she wrote, but it was all we had. They held his hand and fixed his hair and kissed his head until their time ran out. “What happened, buddy? What happened?” his dad repeated quietly as he stroked his hair.

He walked their son out of the house with the Medical Examiner and then one by one, the cars all drove away just as quickly as they had arrived leaving the remaining 3 of the once family of 4 standing in the driveway trying to figure out how their world had changed so much in one night. 

Many have asked what they can do to help. Hug your kids. Don’t work too late. A lot of the things you are likely spending your time on you’ll regret once you no longer have the time. I’m guessing you have 1:1 meetings on the books with a lot of people you work with. Do you have them regularly scheduled with your kids? If there’s any lesson to take away from this, it’s to remind others (and myself) not to miss out on the things that matter. 

J.R Storment

Their son is believed to have died of SUDEP (Sudden Unexplained Death of Epilepsy), cause of death will take approximately 4 months to officially declare. He had previously been diagnosed with Rolandic Epilepsy. He’s was a childhood and benign form of nocturnal epilepsy. 2 neurologists in the US and in the UK had told them he’d suffer no cognitive deficits, that he would outgrow his condition and that his prognosis was incredibly good. The family took every precaution they should have taken, and informed everyone involved with him of his condition, but that fateful night, he died peacefully in his bed next to his twin brother and best friend ( his mother takes solace in this).

If we’ve learned anything at all, it’s that life is fragile and time really can be so cruelly short. We wish a lot of things were different, but mostly we wish we’d had more time. If you are a parent and have any capacity to spend more time with your kids, do. When it ends, there’s just photos and left over things and time is no longer available to you. It is priceless and should not be squandered. Take your vacation days and sabbaticals and go be with them. You will not regret the emails you forgot to send. From now on, if you email or text me and my reply takes longer than expected, know that I am with the people I love sharing my time, creating my new identity and I encourage you to do the same.

Dr Jessica Brandes

Their posts was a kind of tribute to their son as well as advice to parents to spend more time with their children. The father’s post was titled “It’s later than you think” as the lyrics of a song with that title keeps coming to his mind since they suffered the loss.

“You work and work for years and years, you’re always on the go you never take a minute off, too busy makin’ doughSomeday, you say, you’ll have your fun, when you’re a millionaire Imagine all the fun you’ll have in your old rockin’ chair Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think Enjoy yourself, while you’re still in the pinkThe years go by, as quickly as a wink Enjoy yourself, enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think”

Guy Lombardo

Deep words!

As I end my post today, I leave you with the lyrics. No one knows tomorrow and I pray no one else suffers the loss of a Child, that said, in our daily hustle and search for a better life, may we not forget to live. Make time for your children, be silly with them, explore, do the unexpected remember we’ll all be gone one day (Old and grey 👨🏽‍🦳👩🏽‍🦳 hopefully) but what will be left is the memories we leave. Make good memories with your loved ones, be good, be kind, be happy, we’ll only be remembered by what we have done.

Aunty Lulu.


Read JR Storment’s post here and Dr Jessica Brand’s (mum) post here

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Colourism – how it could affect our children

Colourism - how it could affect our children

A friend of mine recently sent me a link to a show on Oprah Winfrey’s TV network about colourism. Colourism is prejudice or discrimination against individuals with a dark skin tone, typically among people of the same ethnic or racial group.

We live in a world where discrimination and preferential treatment exists. Even though it is frowned upon, the truth is that it is very much a part of our society. This preference comes in different forms. It could be based on class, race, gender, tribe and even colour which is where colourism comes in.

Colourism has been rife in our society but only just started getting more attention. The talks on colourism were further ignited recently by “Mathew Knowles“. He said that light-skinned girls receive more commercial success than dark-skinned girls. Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna his daughters Beyonce and Solange were used as examples.

He also mentioned that as a Young man(dark-skinned), he only dated light-skinned girls’ and he was attracted to his ex-wife -Tina Knowles because he thought she was white. “I had been conditioned from childhood,” he said, with his own mother telling him ” Don’t ever bring no nappy-head Black girl to my house” when growing up. This resulted in years of dating “white women or very high-complexion black women that looked white”.

Is Colourism a feminist issue?

Can Colourism be said to be more of a feminist issue? Mathew Knowles is not the only man to admit dating only light-skinned girls, a number of guys also do. Most music videos feature only light-skinned girls and whenever a dark-skinned girl is used it’s mostly for something negative. “You’re pretty for a dark-skinned girl” a lot of dark-skinned girls have been told this before. Beauty is being attributed to skin colour and light-skinned girls get most of the attention and success. I don’t think it’s a feminist issue it’s just more common with women.

Why Colourism matters

Colourism affects Africans, East and South-east Asians, Latin Americans, the Caribean and African Americans. The danger of colourism is that it causes low self esteem. This is why some dark-skinned people bleach their skin.

Skin bleaching refers to the practice of using chemical substances in an attempt to lighten the skin or provide an even skin colour by reducing melanin concentration in the skin. Skin bleaching/whitening can be dangerous as some of the products used to achieve this contain toxic products that are harmful to the skin. In the UK, a Nigerian couple were recently sentenced for selling toxic whitening products.

Beauty is self-love and self-appreciation and it starts early, It is important to let our children know this from an early age. A light-skinned friend of mine shared with me how her darker daughter had told her a few times that she wished she was the same colour as her mum. She said her daughter would always want her hair done in a way that would cover her face. This broke her heart and she constantly told her how beautiful she was. She was worried about it affecting her confidence.

This is why these conversations need to be had, the narrative needs to change! Mainstream media, entertainment and social media etc need to give more dark-skinned coloured women opportunity and exposure. Whilst there are a handful of dark-skinned leading ladies, the same cannot be said of men.

Colourism and racism

Colourism came out of racism, it has its roots in slavery where light-skinned slaves were treated better than dark-skinned ones by their slave masters. This was because they were usually their family, while they didn’t officially acknowledge their offsprings from the African women, they were given preferential treatment.

In the case, of Europe, Colourism was more of a class thing. The ruling classes were perceived to have fairer skin than peasants. This was actually because they spent more time indoors while the peasants were tanned from labouring outdoors. This resulted in light skin being associated with the upper class and the elite while dark skin was associated with the lower class.

Unfortunately, Colourism didn’t disappear with slavery. Light skinned African Americans received employment opportunity offers that were not given darker ones which is why most upper-class African Americans are light-skinned. The brown paper bag test also applies here where African Americans were refused admission into different societies and clubs if they were darker than a brown paper bag.

An American Senate majority leader once suggested that Barack Obama had a political edge over other African American candidates because he was light-skinned and had no “Negro Dialect. According to Stanford psychologist Jennifer Eberhardt, African-American defendants are more than twice as likely to receive the death penalty as lighter-skinned African-American defendants for crimes of equivalent seriousness involving white victims. Also, Lighter-skinned Latinos in the United States make $5,000 more on average than darker-skinned Latinos.

Conclusion

Colourism did not start today and it will not end if we don’t start discussing it openly. It’s unfortunate that children also see it and it affects their confidence. We need to let our children know they are beautiful no matter their skin colour, hair or appearance. It is important that they believe in themselves from an early age. Buying them toys of dark-skinned dolls as well as literature with dark-skinned heroes and heroines also helps. Luckily, there are so many books now with dark-skinned families and children and a lot of them teach body positivity.

I leave you with the beautiful song by Beyonce “Dark Skin Girl” it’s a positive message, one that we should all be telling our daughters.

Aunty Lulu

Also look at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdP5nGfWiy8

Recommend books for children:

  1. Who do I see in the mirror.
  2. Emi’s Curly, Coily Candy hair
  3. The colour of us
  4. Riley can be anything.
  5. My brown skin.

Credits :

https://www.ebony.com/entertainment/books/exclusive-mathew-knowles/https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-colorism-2834952 https://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/19/opinion/19vedantam.html

Related topics: https://www.myauntylulu.com/friendship-and-loyalty-the-story-of-nike-and-tiger-woods/. https://www.myauntylulu.com/lets-talk-bullying-the-ugly-monster/

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Health Talk With Adeola – OCD.

health talk with Adeola

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

The reports of suicide in the news in recent months has brought my attention back to mental health problems and I picked OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) as one of the common but less well-publicised mental health problems which is associated with an increased risk of suicide.

The worldwide prevalence of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is approximately 2% of the general population. It is thought that 1-3 in 100 people have some form of OCD behaviours or traits.

What is OCD?

A disorder is defined as an illness that disrupts normal physical or mental functions. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a common mental health problem. Symptoms typically include recurring thoughts and repetitive actions in response to the recurring thoughts.

Health talk with Adeola - OCD

What are Obsessions?

Obsessions are unpleasant thoughts, images or urges that keep coming into your mind. Common obsessions include:

  • Fears about contamination with dirt, germs, viruses (for example, HIV), etc
  • Worries about doors being unlocked, fires left on, causing harm to someone, etc
  • Intrusive thoughts or images of swearing, blasphemy, sex, someone harmed, etc.
  • Fear of making a mistake or behaving badly.
  • A need for exactness in how you order or arrange things.

Obsessions can be about all sorts of things. Obsessive thoughts can make you feel disgusted, anxious or depressed. You normally try to ignore or suppress obsessive thoughts.

Health talk with Adeola - OCD

What are Compulsions?

Compulsions are thoughts or actions that you feel you must do or repeat. Usually, the compulsive act is in response to an obsession. A compulsion is a way of trying to deal with the distress or anxiety caused by an obsession.

For example, you may wash your hands every few minutes in response to an obsessional fear about germs. Another example is you may keep on checking that doors are locked, in response to the obsession about doors being unlocked. Other compulsions include repeated cleaning, counting, touching, saying words silently, arranging and organising – but there are others.

The Impact of OCD

In popular culture and frequently within the media OCD is mistakenly portrayed as a positive trait and personality quirk, but in reality – for those that suffer from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), it has a devastating impact on their life. The obsessions that you have with OCD can make you feel really anxious and distressed.

The severity of OCD can range from some life disruption to causing severe distress. You know that the obsessions and compulsions are excessive or unreasonable. However, you find it difficult or impossible to resist them.

OCD affects people in different ways. For example, some people spend hours carrying out compulsions and, as a consequence, cannot get on with normal activities.

health talk with adeola

Some people do their compulsions over and over again in secret (like rituals). Other people may seem to cope with normal activities but are distressed by their recurring obsessive thoughts. OCD can affect your work (or schoolwork in children), relationships, social life and quality of life.

OCD can be so severe that it can seriously impact on some or all areas of a person’s life, sometimes disrupting or completely ruining: Education, Employment, Career development, Relationships with partners, parents, siblings and friends, Starting a family.

Also, some of the behaviours that people do to cope with OCD (including compulsions) can also have devastating effects, for example, Substance abuse (self-medicating with alcohol or other substances or harmful drugs)

Who gets OCD and why?

The cause of OCD is not clear.  Anyone at any age can develop OCD but it usually first develops between the ages of 18 and 30. Up to 2 in 100 children are also thought to have OCD. If you are concerned that you may have OCD, you should see your doctor and explain your concerns. Is there any thought that keeps bothering you that you would like to get rid of but cannot? Do these thoughts interfere to the extent that you respond to them with some compulsory actions so much so that it interferes with your daily activities by taking a long time to finish them or not even being able to perform your daily activities or function?

A detailed assessment is needed for OCD to be diagnosed. This may either be carried out by your doctor or by a specialist mental health team. The assessment will look at any obsessional thoughts and compulsions that you have and how they affect you and your daily life. Children with OCD may be referred to a specialist mental health team which is experienced in assessing and treating children with OCD.

What is the treatment for OCD?

The usual treatment for OCD is:

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT); or
  • Medication, usually with a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant medicine; or
  • A combination of CBT plus an SSRI antidepressant medicine.
health talk with adeola

Cognitive behavioural therapy is a type of therapy that deals with your current thought processes and/or behaviours and aims to change them by creating strategies to overcome negative patterns, which may help you to manage OCD more effectively.

Recent studies suggest that people with OCD are 10 times more likely to die by suicide than the general population. Actively thinking about suicide (sometimes called suicidal ideation) also appears to be relatively common among people affected by OCD.  This risk can be further heightened when an OCD sufferer develops depression because he or she is unable to relieve themselves of the disabling symptoms of OCD.

The take-home message is to seek help early when suffering from symptoms of OCD or indeed any mental health problems. We all have a role to play in reducing the suicide rates in our community. Being aware and supportive of people with mental health difficulties goes a long way to relieve their distress and prevent the rising rates of suicide.

Acknowledgements:

OCD UK, WHO, VeryWell mind, Time to change.org.uk, NHS Self Help therapies. NHS Cognitive behavioural therapies.

Suicide Risk in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Exploration of Risk Factors: A Systematic Review. (PMID:29929465)

See also:

https://www.myauntylulu.com/obsessive-compulsive-disorder/

https://www.myauntylulu.com/health-talk-with-adeola/

https://www.myauntylulu.com/health-talk-with-adeola-2/

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How we met – A decade and to forever…

On this edition of ‘how we met’, I have the privilege of sharing Shweta and Amar’s love story. They are parents from my little ones (who’s not so little anymore) school. Shweta and I bonded over our love for writing. She’s a working mum and a blogger by the side and her sense of humour is out of this world.

I find her writing style intriguing and I hope you do too, you can check out some of her blog posts here. You’ll definitely be hearing more from Shweta on the blog. In the meantime please enjoy her beautiful how we met story – a decade and forever.

Thank you, Shweta. 🙏🏽

A decade of Love(10 years).

Last year my husband and I celebrated 10 years of togetherness. That’s a decade with one person! And the first thought that comes to my mind is wtaf! Like where has the time gone?!

From university students to becoming parents, we’ve done everything together. We’ve grown up together from the fresh-faced kids we were at university. Gone are the days of staying in a cinema for the entire day because it was too hot outside and we had a day off! We have spent entire weekends at the cinema in 2009 because of a combination of an unbearable summer and not much else to do!

So what happens when I begin to reminisce about the last decade? For one, I begin to resent the busyness of life in the now. I wish for an hour when we both can be with each other without the kids needing us or us discussing regular routine life. To be able to see each other without the parent or teammate hat on..as just us. The foundation on which rests our life and legacy. I want us to clean our glasses and see each other as the people we fell in love with. The gangly boy and the bespectacled nerdy girl.

A decade and to forever Shweta and Amar
Shweta and Amar

I met Amar on 4th Oct 2008 and he was the 4th person I met in the UK since landing there that morning. I was flustered and jet-lagged, eager to drop my bags in university accommodation and call it a day. I walked into the university flat and saw the guy, big glasses and a red and black checked shirt eating cereal out of a football bowl. Turns out, we were the only two Indians in the flat. In 12 people, the two of us found someone we could talk to, relate our troubles to and cook Indian food together.

Food has been a massive part of our relationship. We were known as the cooker and dishwasher pair at university! I cooked and he chopped and cleaned! It was a good deal until he caught on and decided to learn to cook by himself! All the cooking experiments that we both subjected each other to, are hilarious- notably, in the early years of our relationship, I really wanted to cook Upma, a roasted semolina dish with spices, onions and chillies. This dish needs hot water added to it, in small bursts as it expands and absorbs water as you stir it. When I made it the very first time, I kept adding water and it kept getting bigger and bigger. With no one to guide me, I got super nervous and spend half the evening in the toilet as the stress triggered my IBS! 10 years later, when our son was born and my mother in law was here to take care of us, one of the first things Amar learned to cook was Upma, because I love it and had never had the courage to cook it since that dreadful first attempt!

So what are the things I’ve learned after loving and sometimes hating the man I’ve loved for nearly 11 years now:

Love is NOT all fun and roses: All couples learn this about 7-8 months into the relationship, it’s not all about kisses and passion. You’re actually with another human being who has opinions, ideas and habits that you will find infuriating. In fact, if you find yourself agreeing to everything your partner says and does, run for the hills. Your relationship has to be worked on, and like another work- it’s at times, very very hard to work at and you do it because you love them.

💞

No one will love you the way you want to be loved– Yep, I said it! As two very very different individuals, our love languages are miles apart. Amar is all about actions – he will cook for me, do the laundry, cuddle on the sofa, expect me to continuously stroke his arm as he drives or sits next to me and will cuddle me at night. But ask him to say it in words and I’ll get nothing- nada. After years and years of saying I love you on the phone and at the end of most nights and fights, he says it now. His love language is clearly all about actions and doing- whereas I’m a words and gestures person. I find a funny picture and I’ll send it to him. Go crazy on his birthday with food and gifts and he won’t bat an eyelid, because that’s not his thing. Coming to an understanding that all love is expressed and that you have to see it to know it, is a very very important lesson I learnt. He loves me immensely, just in his own way!

💝

Give each other space– As an only child, I’m used to being on my own and in fact, love my company. Being one of those couples who do everything together has never been us. Amar meditates, runs and cycles- all by himself. He ran the London marathon in 2017 and I cheered him like crazy. I paint, do life coaching, blogging and bake. And he supports me wholeheartedly. We each take time off to do these things and come back to life refreshed and recharged. Life tends to get too busy and taking a break to find your centre is key to a happy and thriving relationship.

💕

Be strong for each other- Every human being struggles, even the most sorted person. After the birth of our kids, I had postnatal depression. Amar was there for me and helped me through it and got me the best possible care. Through all illnesses and family issues, we’ve stood by each other and kept the other person strong. We have a deal- one person breaks down and the other holds them up.

💖

Always know what’s at the core- We all have flaws and challenges and as a couple, it’s sometimes hard to keep your head on straight when you’re arguing. And boy have Amar and I had our share of arguments! Everything from stinky farts to accounting to how to arrange the dishwasher has been argued upon and we will continue to argue about everything under the sun. What we never forget and lose sight of is what is our core. At the core is a relationship that is forged on mutual trust, a love that has endured everything from unemployment to hospitalisations and a lot of change. We remain solid and will always weather the storm.

A decade and to forever Sheta and Amar
Shweta and her beautiful family

Since we got together in our early twenties, we’ve grown together, found each other and build a life and put down roots. Our journey through the first decade of adulthood has taught us so much and we only hope to endure in love and togetherness- ending up on a bench, in a park, all old and grey, arguing about the right way to feed ducks while the sunsets.

Shweta💖

Read other how we met stories here and here.

Read more from Shweta here.

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All About Abuse – types, signs and prevention…

All about Abuse

In light of recent events regarding sexual, domestic as well as child abuse, I thought it imperative to write about abuse.

It is important for everyone to understand what abuse is, types and how to detect it.

What is Abuse

Abuse according to Wikipedia is the improper usage or treatment of a thing, often to unfairly or improperly gain benefit. It also means the violent treatment of a person or animal. It is a violation of an individual’s human and civil rights and in the worst cases can result in death. There are different types of abuse, and abuse in whatever form often leads to devastating outcomes.

Abuse can happen to anybody – young, old, male, female, animals even objects can be abused. Abuse is always wrong and can be difficult to talk about. This can be because of fear of stigmatisation, shame, guilt and confusion.

all about abuse

Abuse is often about power and the person who abuses uses that power to get an individual to do things they don’t want to do. It is hurtful either mentally or physically.

Abuse isn’t always carried out by a stranger, it can be by a familiar person, which can make it hard to speak out. The danger is, family or others who don’t know about the abuse will think it is safe to leave the victim with this person. This is why it is important to be aware of any abuse as soon as possible

Abuse is always wrong and if you tell someone, they can help to make it stop.

There are many different types of abuse and they all result in behaviour towards a person that deliberately or intentionally cause harm.

  1. Physical Abuse: This is when someone hurts another on purpose. It is the most common type of abuse and certainly the easiest form of abuse to spot as it is non-accidental harm to the body. It can range from physical injuries such as hitting, pushing, wounding etc. to things such as misuse of medication, inappropriate use of restraint and dehydration/malnourishment.
  2. Sexual Abuse: This is when an individual is touched where they shouldn’t be or forced, tricked, or pressured to take part in a sexual activity. Sexual abuse includes being touched, kissed or forced to have sex without consent and often by an older person.
  3. Psychological Abuse: also known as Verbal or Emotional Abuse is when an individual’s self-esteem and emotional well being is being damaged. It is deliberately causing emotional and mental pain. Verbal abuse is when an individual is being constantly shouted at and told horrible and demeaning things. While emotional abuse involves deliberately trying to scare, humiliate, isolate or ignore an individual. Emotional abuse can be part of other abuse and it can also happen on its own.
  4. Neglect: This is when a person – usually an elderly, young or dependent person is not being looked after or kept healthy.
  5. Modern Slavery: Modern Slavery is an international crime. Slave Masters and Traffickers will deceive, coerce and force adults into a life of abuse, callous treatment and slavery. It includes human trafficking, forced labour, domestic servitude, sexual exploitation, such as escort work, prostitution and pornography. Debt bondage – being forced to work to pay off debts that realistically they never will be able to pay etc is another form of modern slavery.
  6. Domestic Abuse: this could be a kind of ‘physical, sexual, psychological or financial violence, it, however, takes place within an intimate or family-type relationship and forms a pattern of cohesive and controlling behaviour’. People should be aware that domestic violence is not always physical and also includes forced marriage and so-called ‘honour crimes’.
  7. Child Abuse: Child abuse is more common than we like to think and could happen to any child anywhere. Statistics show that every year thousands of children are abused physically by a parent or someone known. Child abuse is characterised by any actions of a carer that could potentially harm a child’s mental or physical health. Research shows that many aggressors were abused themselves as children. Child abuse, unfortunately, could take the form of any of the abuse types on this list including child labour and exploitation.
Abuse

Abuse is usually about power, it involves someone using their power to get another person to do what they do not want to do. Abusive behaviour can have a significant impact on our mental health and well-being – not only at the time of the abuse, but there can be lasting effects throughout a person’s life.

Abuse

Signs of Abuse

Child Abuse
  • unexplained changes in behaviour or personality
  • becoming withdrawn and isolated
  • seeming anxious
  • becoming uncharacteristically aggressive
  • lacks social skills and has few friends, if any
  • poor bond or relationship with a parent
  • knowledge of adult issues inappropriate for their age
  • running away or going missing
  • always choosing to wear clothes which cover their body.
  • Expressions of anger, frustration, fear or anxiety
  • An air of silence when a particular person is present
  • Insomnia
Abuse
Sexual Abuse
  • Low self-esteem
  • Uncooperative and aggressive behaviour
  • A change of appetite
  • weight loss/gain
  • Signs of distress: tearfulness, anger
  • Bruising, particularly to the thighs, buttocks and upper arms and marks on the neck
  • Torn, stained or bloody underclothing
  • Bleeding, pain or itching in the genital area
  • Unusual difficulty in walking or sitting
  • Foreign bodies in genital or rectal openings
  • Infections, unexplained genital discharge, or sexually transmitted diseases
  • Pregnancy in a woman who is unable to consent to sexual intercourse
  • The uncharacteristic use of explicit sexual language or significant changes in sexual behaviour or attitude
  • Incontinence not related to any medical diagnosis
  • Self-harming
  • Poor concentration, withdrawal, sleep disturbance
  • Excessive fear/apprehension of, or withdrawal from, relationships
  • Fear of receiving help with personal care
  • Reluctance to be alone with a particular person
Physical Abuse
  • Physical evidence of violence such as bruising, cuts, broken bones
  • Verbal abuse and humiliation in front of others
  • Fear of outside intervention
  • Damage to home or property
  • Isolation – not seeing friends and family
    Limited access to money
  • No explanation for injuries or inconsistency with the account of what happened
  • Injuries are inconsistent with the person’s lifestyle
  • Bruising, cuts, welts, burns and/or marks on the body or loss of hair in clumps
  • Frequent injuries
  • Unexplained falls
  • Subdued or changed behaviour in the presence of a particular person
  • Signs of malnutrition
  • Failure to seek medical help.
  • Low self-esteem
Abuse
Men and boys can also be victims of abuse
Signs of Psychological Abuse
  • Fear
  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Loss of sleep
  • Unexpected or unexplained change in behaviour
Signs of Neglect
  • Malnutrition
  • Untreated medical problems
  • Bed sores
  • Confusion
  • Over-sedation
  • Deprivation of meals may constitute “wilful neglect”

Conclusion

Abuse is never good and we all should do everything possible to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone around us. Let’s all be aware of the signs so that we can look out for it not just with our children, but with their friends, neighbours, employees, colleagues etc. You may help save a life by being observant.

During my research on abuse, I came upon a type of abuse which may not seem so common but is apparently very common now in our society.

Religious/Spiritual Abuse

“For from the least to the greatest of them,
everyone is greedy for unjust gain;
and from prophet to priest,everyone deals falsely.
They have healed the wound of my people lightly,saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.

Jeremiah 6:13-14

Spiritual abuse revolves around a person’s spirituality or religion. This type of abuse includes attacking another’s belief system, denying access to a house of worship or forced participation in a cult and exploitation

Spiritual abuse’ covers a wide variety of behaviours, but can be summarised as the use of spiritual authority or spiritual means in order to demean, manipulate, control or exploit someone. It involves Psychological manipulation and could be intentional or innocent. Sadly spiritual abuse could take the form of financial exploitation as well as sexual abuse and parents should be observant of their children and relationships with spiritual/religious leaders as well as religious brothers and sisters.

My major concern is on child abuse. It’s hard to believe the stories coming out recently about sexual (child abuse) that has been going on over the years. It gladdens my heart that victims are now finding their voices and talking about their experience thereby finding healing as well as helping people know what to look out for.

Victim Blaming

If you’re one of the people who blame victims, please desist from this. You were not present and have no idea what victims have endured over the years. Some successfully block such encounters but not all can do this. Whilst I’m aware that some ladies lie about it, most of the cases are true and the victims should be supported not victimised.

Predators

Predators are people who ruthlessly exploit others. A common trend in sexual abuse stories is the predators are usually known to the victim. Predators are usually people children are familiar with and have access to the children. We’ve seen sad cases of fathers, uncles, cousins, brothers and sisters as well as domestic help molesting children. The best a parent can do for their child is to be present. If you can’t be present most of the time please be observant and ask questions. If you can, put CCTV around the house and any other security measure you can.

Please be aware that female employees also abuse, don’t let your guards down because you have a female maid, female maids have also been known to abuse both male and female children sexually, emotionally as well as physically.

Keypoints

  • Be accessible, let your child(ren) know they can tell you anything
  • Tell them about their body, let them know what part of the body is private and should never be touched by anyone.
  • Assure your children that there is nothing at all they do that can ever be too bad to tell you, let them know you’ll love them no matter what.
  • Teach your children to respect other peoples privacy and body.
  • Let your children know anyone who tells them to keep a secret should be reported.
  • Let them know they should scream if they find themselves in a situation they’re not comfortable with.
  • Do not leave your child(ren) alone with drivers, lesson teachers etc.

They’re so many things to look out for as we live in a wicked dark world, the best we can do is be vigilant. Ask questions, more questions and even more questions and don’t make any topic a taboo.
Please beware of grooming.

Grooming is when someone builds a relationship, trust and emotional connection with a child or young person so they can manipulate, exploit and abuse them. Children and young people can be groomed online, in person or both – by a stranger or someone they know. This could be a family member, a friend or someone who has targeted them – like a teacher, faith group leader or sports coach.

It can be difficult to tell if a child is being groomed – the signs aren’t always obvious and may be hidden. Older children might behave in a way that seems to be “normal” teenage behaviour, masking underlying problems.

Signs of grooming include:
  • being very secretive about how they’re spending their time, including when online
  • having an older boyfriend or girlfriend
  • having money or new things like clothes and mobile phones that they can’t or won’t explain
  • underage drinking or drug taking
  • spending more or less time online or on their devices
  • being upset, withdrawn or distressed
  • sexualised behaviour language or an understanding of sex that’s not appropriate for their age
  • spending more time away from home or going missing for periods of time.

A child is unlikely to know they’ve been groomed. They might be worried or confused and less likely to speak to an adult they trust. If a teacher is taking interest in your child and showing them favour be very careful and report to school authorities if it’s getting out of hand. Let your child know to inform you if any teacher is giving them preferential treatment.

The world is innately evil, abuse didn’t start today and unfortunately won’t end anytime soon. The best we can do is empower our children by giving them information so they know what to do if they find themselves in such situations. Please be a present parent and an ever-ready listening ear to your children, that’s the best service you can offer them.

Good luck to us all.

Recommended books for children

Aunty Lulu

Recommended reads on safety

https://www.myauntylulu.com/emergency-101-how-informed-should-children-be/

https://www.myauntylulu.com/drug-addiction/

CREDITS

https://www.tameside.gov.uk/AdultServices/Safeguarding-Adults-Signs-and-Symptoms-of-Abuse

https://www.nspcc.org.uk/

https://www.scie.org.uk/safeguarding/adults/introduction/types-and-indicators-of-abuse

https://www.personnelchecks.co.uk/info-centre/safeguarding-hub/types-of-abuse/

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