Bringing Child Abuse to Light
Child abuse is often talked about but never seen being brought to light. Most recently a child endangerment case has been brought to the supreme court, which shocked many people. The case involved an 8-year-old boy who was tortured to death by his mother and her boyfriend. This case was the first to been brought to the supreme court from the LA county concerning child abuse. The case was taken to the ninth floor where many famous cases where placed as for example, the OJ Simpson case. The case of Gabriel Fernandez touched many people’s hearts and brought the subject of child abuse to the rise in 2013 when media broke. Teachers and workers noticed many signs of abuse but did not always know what to do with the information. It is time to see right from wrong and make a change. Perhaps if there was an initiation based on the signs, this life could have been saved. We need to teach our community to recognize these signs and help another child like Gabriel. These kids are our next generation and we should not let them fall because of our lack of knowledge and instead save them by helping them get the help and attention they need.
How to report signs of child abuse or physical abuse are never taught or shared between families or in school. A teen and sometimes even an adult is not advised on how to take measures when they see these different signs. Child and physical abuse is not something that can just be laid, rather it is something that needs attention. In the documentary of Gabriel Fernandez released on Netflix, Gabriel’s teacher shared in a testimony that she noticed he would walk into schools with black eyes, swollen lips, scabs and burn marks. She immediately called an authority however nothing was done to check in with Gabriel. After she called, Gabriel would still come in with marks, eventually, it increased and he stopped showing up to school. The teacher did, however, talk with Gabriel and he admitted he was being beaten at home by his mother. His teacher then called DCFS but nothing changed. We wonder how nothing was changed or done when this information was given. There needs to be more done than just waiting on someone else to take actions and soon finding out nothing was ever done. If they can’t save a life, we need to be advised and informed on how to help more instead of waiting for someone else to do the job. Many aren’t advised on what will happen if a report is made, and how it could help. The book Child abuse reporting and you states.. “Anyone who reports known or suspected child abuse is protected by the law from civil or criminal liability, unless it can be proven the report was false and the person who made the report knew it was false.” Many can worry about what would happen if they were to report such crimes however it is shown that nothing will happen to you and you are also able to remain anonymous if wanted.
Another way to be informed of signs of physical abuse is knowing the difference between being abused and being disciplined. To be disciplined is one thing however to be abused is another. When being “disciplined” a child should not have noticeable marks, bruises, or any apparent signs of injury aside from normal child play. An article shared by LA county shares “If the discipline is excessive or forceful enough to leave injuries, physical abuse has occurred.” In the Gabriel Fernandez case, when officers looked into Gabriel’s injuries, the mother Pearl Fernandez said the injuries were from falling off a bike or the kids at school. It is clear that head bruises or swollen eyes can not be from falling off a bicycle or even falling in the shower. It is the small things that need the most attention. If officers or adults would have responded to the sign of injuries he had, he could still have possibly been here today. There are many clear factors to allow for abuse to be seen through others. We need to step up and make a change, if you see something, say something. If we give those the attention they need, we can save our future generations and avoid losing another life.
In order to save a young life, we must be able to know how to take precautions and how to advise someone if signs of child abuse are shown. Teens, adults, and those in high power need to be more informed of the signs of physical abuse and how to take action to prevent further child endangerment.