Saving our children On average at least five children die everyday as a result of child abuse and neglect. Approximately 80% of children that die from abuse are under the age of four. A report of child abuse is made every ten seconds. The children of America are suffering from a hidden epidemic of child abuse and neglect. What is child abuse? Federal legislation states that child abuse is the physical, sexual or emotional mistreatment of children. Neglect, or not providing for a child’s needs, is also a form of abuse.
The different types of child abuse are neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological maltreatment, and medical neglect. The story of Bethany Loerke is one haunted by memories of her early abuse as a child. Bethany was 2 when Child Protective Services removed her and her infant sister from a trailer of deplorable conditions. She was partially blinded because of pink eye and shingles, which were not improving because of neglect and a home full of filth.
Loerke had two older brothers who had been previously removed and returned three times. Police once found them during a mistaken drug bust, unsupervised and living with dogs, no electricity and no running water. The parents eventually lost their parental rights. The girls however were kept together through most of Loerke’s 10 foster placements in the following year. When Bethany was 5 she was adopted by James and Beth Loerke and life seemed better, at least on the surface. Bethany began getting molested by James Loerke almost immediately.
However she stayed silent believing in the threats that no one would believe her and she would be cast out a home again. Eventually on her 11th birthday Bethany came forward and told her mother of the abuse. James Loerke has been in jail or prison since September 2002. More than 90% of sexual abuse victims know their perpetrator is some way. That is just one case of abuse where justice was served most cases aren’t so lucky. Child abuse occurs at every socioeconomic level, across ethnic and cultural lines, within all religions and at all levels of education.