Child abuse is an issue that we all shudder and don’t like to think about. But it’s also an issue we cannot, as a society, ignore.
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and the latest numbers are staggering.
According to the organization, Child Help, a report of child abuse is made every 10 seconds in the U.S. The nation loses on average between four and seven children every day to child abuse and neglect.
In its most recent report, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported an estimated 600,000 children were determined to be victims of maltreatment in 2021. An estimated 1,820 children died as a result of abuse in 2021.
It’s also believed these numbers are skewed due to the pandemic and the possibility of underreporting.
Regardless, powerful as they are, these are just numbers.
Sometimes it takes a jolt to realize that these are real children living among us.
I personally felt what those tragic numbers mean when people close to me were faced with the unthinkable act of child abuse. In 2014, the three-year-old nephew of a close family friend was rushed to Mobile, Ala., hospital with what were believed to be life-threatening injuries. The boy had spent the weekend with his father who claimed the child fell down a flight of stairs. The father was later convicted of felony child abuse.
For a couple of days, the progress was slow as doctors repaired a collapsed lung and damaged spleen. For four days, it was touch and go until he finally turned a corner toward recovery. His progress from being on a ventilator to riding a tricycle down the hospital hallways was nothing short of miraculous.
After a week in the hospital, the young boy finally returned to his Gulfport home, and I’m happy to say he is healthy and strong today. The physical scars have healed, but I’m not sure the mental anguish will ever go away.
Unfortunately, his story of full recovery is not always the case.
Take for instance the recent case of Gulfport five-year-old Edward King Lamptey, Jr. The young boy suffered internal bleeding, a fractured rib, and lacerations to his liver, right adrenal gland, and left kidney before succumbing to his injuries earlier this month.
Denzel Jamal Blakely and Lachelle Renae Washington, the child’s mother, were arrested. Blakely is being held on a capital murder charge and Washington faces a charge of child depravation of necessaries with substantial harm. In other words, she did nothing.
I can’t imagine the pain and suffering this child endured as he died.
I find it incomprehensible and unforgivable for an adult to do this to a child. To me, it’s the most atrocious crime that can be committed. Nothing angers me more than for someone to harm the harmless. But it happens and it is time we as human beings no longer hide it in the shadows of society and make a commitment that our children are the most valuable possession we have.
If you know of any child abuse of suspected child abuse, do something about it. Notify law enforcement or call the National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD.
We should no longer ignore another tragic loss such as Edward King Lamptey, Jr.
The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the views of SuperTalk Mississippi Media.
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