National Child Abuse Prevention Month

Dear Priscilla Bennett Friends,

April brings spring flowers and is also National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Child abuse is under-reported and is a hidden epidemic. Over the past 10 years, more than 20,000 American children are believed to have been killed in their own homes by family members—almost five a day. Nearly four times the number of US soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. The child maltreatment death rate in the US is triple Canada’s and eleven times that of Italy. Millions of children are reported as abused and neglected every year. The United States has one of the worst records among industrialized nations. The highest rate of child abuse is in children under one year old—24.2% per 1,000. Child abuse crosses all socioeconomic and educational levels, religions, ethnic and cultural groups. According to Prevent Child Abuse America, domestic violence often occurs alongside child abuse and neglect. Domestic violence constitutes the single greatest precursor for child maltreatment fatalities. Collaboration between child abuse and domestic violence organizations and intervention programs is essential.

In my novel SOMETHING TO BE BRAVE FOR, Katie is beaten by her famous plastic surgeon husband in front of her three-year-old daughter, Rose. Rose is Katie’s only witness and screams at her father, “Don’t hurt my Mommy,” and tries to stop the battering. She is only able to comfort Katie after the fact as she lay on the floor. This life-threatening incident gives Katie the strength to organize a plan and eventually leave her abuser husband taking Rose with her. Rose refers to her father’s facial expression as a “monster face,” and Katie reassures Rose over and over that it wasn’t her fault and that now she’s safe. Katie is very supportive and gives lots of love and affection to Rose. She also finds professional help for both of them through her close friend Gillian.

Let’s speak out to help end this hidden epidemic of domestic violence and child abuse.

Take good care of yourselves,