To the editor:

April is Child Abuse Awareness month. According to, four children die every day due to child abuse and a new child abuse report is made every 10 seconds.

Child abuse has become a rising epidemic. 3 million reports of child abuse are made every year in the United States, but experts estimate the actual amount is three times greater than the number reported.

Child abuse skips no race and no religion. It doesn't matter if you are rich or poor, child abuse can still happen within your home, neighborhood, schools and even your church.

Physical child abuse is a deliberate act of violence that injures or even kills a child. Child sexual abuse is the act of using a child for sexual gratification or exposing the child to sexual activities. Another form of child abuse is emotional abuse, which is the act of destroying a child's self-esteem. It can include confinement and social isolation.

Children who are being physically abused often have unexplainable cuts, bruises or other injuries. Some behavioral signs of abuse include the child displaying a poor self-image or acting out sexually, and showing an inability to trust or love others.

Children who are sexually abused may also develop sleep problems or nightmares, depression and withdrawal and display seductiveness. Behavioral signs of emotional abuse include habit disorders like sucking, rocking and biting. Children may become antisocial and destructive, and they will have neurotic traits like sleep disorders.

The trauma of child abuse remains long after scars and bruises have healed and it can have dire consequences. Abuse victims usually develop low self-esteem, depression, and eating disorders. Cutting and suicide have become major ways that abused kids cope.

The statistics of children who are abused grow each year. At one time in Oregon alone there were about 7,069 children in the state's care due to abuse and neglect issues.

Children are the future of the world. Why not make the future a bright one by stopping the horrible cycle of child abuse?

Stacy Pratt

Baker High School junior