For a long time, my heart has hurt for black families that have had sons killed by police officers, children molested by the family friend that everyone loves and trusts, and refugees seeking asylum in the United States due to war and death in their home country.
I could never understand why it seems so many people do not care. Because my soul hurts. It yearns for peace and safety, as I care for humans so greatly. I realize this may be because I am naturally an empathetic individual, but it has not stopped me from becoming angry and frustrated when the entire world overlooks a social issue like child sexual abuse.
So why does this happen? Why does it seem like people care more about rescuing dogs than saving human lives – humans that were once babies, that have grown up just like anyone else. Humans, that for no man-known reason, could have been you or me.
I’ve been processing this for quite some time, and I’d like to share my thoughts with you on why this issue persists. Because if we cannot figure out why people do not care, or do not want to help, then raising awareness and preventing social issues is never going to occur.
This frustration started small. On my personal Facebook account, I quickly recognized that Facebook Friends instantly liked and commented on personal posts, or positive news. However, the moment I posted statistics on child abuse, the disproportionate number of black men in prisons, or the facts of people not taking advantage of government assistance, not one person liked, commented, or shared. This was interesting to me because I knew people saw my posts, I knew they read what I was sharing because they liked everything else that was not “sad.” So why did they skim over brutal truths and horrific realities? I think because it is too much. People can rescue fifteen dogs from a kill shelter, but they cannot foster one child. They cannot take a prevention training, or educate themselves on facts and research surrounding social issues or legislation. And I understand this, because saving dogs is easier to deal with emotionally than saving humans. You continue to feel like you’re making a difference, without having to face the deep horrors that fellow humans have experienced. We do just enough for self-satisfaction, because we cannot deal with what is truly out there. A starving cat is easier to save than a shaken baby. Humans, I believe, naturally have a stronger connection and attachment to other humans. Though we may love animals with everything we have, I don’t believe it could every satisfy the same way another person does.
This reality of negligence breaks my heart. People want to live in their naive bubbles, with their rescue pets and activism tweets, without ever having to face the evil realities that reside too often in this world. And I understand this, I really do. But this does not stop these people from then becoming a part of the problem. Such as with racism and race issues. White people, though they may say they are not racist, become part of the problem when they do not acknowledge their privilege or speak up when a problematic event occurs. People do not want to hear about child molestation because it upsets them. To be frank, this is incredibly selfish. We as a society should not assist in the deconstruction of issues and problems because it makes us feel good, but because it should be our obligation as people to serve others.
If you do not want to educate yourselves on the red flags of child sexual abuse, then you are putting your children, nieces, nephews, neighbors, and every other child at risk. You are neglecting the safety and well being of children because learning hard hitting facts makes you sad and uncomfortable. I am certain that learning signs of molestation is significantly easier to deal with than being told by the authorities that your child disclosed abuse or assault. Don’t you want to be the one they come to? Are parents and homes and communities not supposed to be safe places for flourishing individuals?
By neglecting these issues, we then neglect and push aside the population at risk. We are allowing rapists, murderers, pedophiles, and truly evil people and criminals to get away with heinous acts because we do not want to deal with it.
I hope that you hear my perspective and understand what I am trying to point out. Because I do empathize with the naive white families in their expensive cul-de-sacs, and why they do not want to acknowledge these horrors. But when it is your child being molested, your son dead from a racist police officer, your family killed by bombings in the Middle East, I would think you would have wanted to do anything to stop that from happening. You would have wanted people to stand up or speak out. It should not matter that it could be your child, or even you. The fact that a person is a PERSON should be more than enough. And I hope that you understand that.
Laura Swanson, BSW
DISCLAIMER: This post is an opinion, published on my site with the intent to create safe and understanding conversation amongst one another. I described and compared a love for saving and caring for animals to children. I do love animals, and hate that they are also abused and neglected creatures. Please understand that I have no hatred in my heart, but that I yearn for adults to want to save children just as much as pets. In my opinion, it seems that animals are often cared for more so than children. History supports this in that the first anti-cruelty laws in the United States were about animals, and laws about child welfare came AFTER.