April casts spotlight on abused children

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Imagine a child abused, locked in the dark, neglected by their parents and unable to speak out about the punishment endured at the hands of people who are suppose to love and care for them. A little boy or girl whose constant companion is fear; fear of mother and father, fear of the outside world, fear of pain and suffering.

Then imagine it was your child.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, designed to spotlight one of the cruelest acts of inhumanity - that of an adult causing hurt to a child. While many children grow up in happy, warm, loving homes, others spend their waking hours cowering beneath the threat of a parent's fist or abusive words.

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Children are miracles; gifts given freely that represent a bright future. They are our legacy. It is a stain upon the heart of America that any child should go to bed frightened, hungering for love and starving for affection.

But a lighthouse signals the way to a better future for abused children. Safe Harbor, the Children's Advocacy Center serving Butler, Crenshaw and Lowndes Counties, continues to offer a shelter for those children who are victims of abuse.

Their motto, simply stated, is: &#8220A lamp in the darkness, to light the pathway towards recovery.” Child abuse, says Safe Harbor, does not just hurt the child. It can destroy a life, a family, a community.

It is all too simple these days to look the other way. But it is high time we, as a community, hold accountable those who would bring up our children in an environment of hate, desperation and despair.

To report suspected child abuse or neglect in Butler County, please call the Department of Human Resources at 382-4400. If you are interested in learning more about Safe Harbor, please visit the center at 107 Caldwell St., Greenville.