Tausha Lanham felt the dreadful pain of hunger and what it was like to search for a mere crumb of nourishment, sometimes from a pet’s dish or from a trash can. She also knew what it was like to be locked in her room so that she could not find any morsels of food. She knew too, what it felt like to wither away day after day, into a mere skeleton covered with loose flesh until finally her tiny, starved body gave up existence with her last, desperate breath (Silver 8).
Her biological mother, Michelle Tharp, had found Tausha’s neglected, lifeless body. This repulsive woman and her boyfriend had wrapped the dead body into linens, packed her into garbage bags, put her in the trunk of their vehicle, and completed a bizarre sequence of lengthy errands before throwing her into a woodland area of West Virginia (Silver 8).
Weighing a mere two pounds, five ounces upon arrival into the world, Tausha’s weight was less than twelve pounds seven years later when she died in the frightful care of her own mother.When an autopsy was performed in Tausha, it was proven that she had not eaten for days. Her siblings were treated far better than she had been, not having their nourishment withheld as Tausha had (Silver 8).
Michele Tharp had stopped taking Tausha for her medical appointments in October of 1993. County Children & Youth Services began to investigate the missed meetings only to have Tausha’s mother refuse to open the door, hiding her daughter when they came to visit her home. After Tausha’s dead body had been discovered, her mother was tried and convicted of first-degree murder. At the trial, a snapshot was shown of the refrigerator in Tausha’s home that exclaimed “Home is where the heart is ” (qtd. in “mother”). Child neglect is one of the most grisly nightmares in the world today.
In fact, statistics document that neglect affects fifty-one percent of all children, fifty-two percent of which are physical and medical neglect. Moreover, sixty-seven percent of all youngsters are white and twenty-seven are African American. Another thirteen percent are Hispanic; two point five percent being Asian or Pacific Islanders. Child protection research reveals that children whose parents have income of fifteen- thousand per year or under, are more likely to harm or neglect their offspring than those parents who have income of thirty- thousand or more (National).
Likewise, the Child Protection Services Agency determined that over fifty percent of ignored children are seven years old or younger, and twenty-five percent are less than four years of age. Twenty- five percent are twelve to eighteen year old, and twenty-one percent are between the ages of eight and eleven. Usually general neglect and medical neglect are found in those kids who are younger than eight. In addition, Physical, sexual, and emotional abuse are discovered more so in those kids who are eight and older. Fifty- two percent are female and forty-seven percent are males, nevertheless, girls are sexually abused more often than males. In 1997, it was estimated that there were two million reports that involve the abuse of about three million kids. That is just known cases, so this revolting number could have been tremendously increased by now (National).
Unfortunately, the death toll from neglect and other crimes of disparagement reached a peak of one thousand, one hundred and ninety six in 1997. More than three- fourths of these innocent kids were age three or lower, and this number could have been higher because again, not all cases are reported.
What about the perpetrators of those nonsensical crimes? Seventy-five percent were the parents, ten percent are related to the child, two percent had care taking roles, and thirteen percent of there adults were classified as non caretakers or were unknown. Eighty percent were all under forty years of age and sixty- two percent were females, but the type of abuse differed with gender (National).
Who reported the superfluous crimes of child neglect? Eighteen percent were parents or other relatives, eight point five friends or neighbors, eighty-one percent from the detective work of professionals, eight percent from other sources, and twelve percent remained anonymous (National).
In particular, a 1999 study by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse suggest that fifty to eighty percent of the child neglect cases involved some substance abuse by the parents. These particular drug users were three times more likely to abuse their offspring and four more times more apt to neglect their children ( National). Youths who had handicaps were three point four times more likely to be dishonored by their peers (Knudson).
Specifically, there are more than five hundred and fifty million children exist in foster care today. This supervision costs more than seven billion dollars per year, which is thirteen thousand per child. Also, seven thousand and five hundred youngsters are tortured under what appears to be, technically, government security (Roche 75-76).
Child neglect has been defined as a “type of maltreatment that refers to failure to provide needed age-approved care” (qtd. in “Neglect”). This merciless abuse entails several types as well as degrees of neglect. Physical abuse can be viewed as withholding of or denying immediate need of attention to health, getting rid of a kid, not properly watching over his safety; moreover, ignoring his physical needs could result in stunted development. Educational abuse happens when a young student is permitted to skip school or is not entered into the educational system at all, or knowledge for learning deficiencies are withheld from him. These levels of abuse may encourage him to react negatively or give up school completely.
Next, emotional abuse includes the child being exposed to long-term parental chaos or trauma within a marital relationship, then his acting out aggressively. Giving kids substances to get intoxicated with, denial of the need for mental health care, making him feel inferior, and not initiating love, care, and concern. Another form of injury is medical neglect, which is simply not giving needed medical attention to a child, but having enough money and other resources in which he could be cared for properly (National).
Consequently, the effects of child neglect are shocking. Specialists studying this maltreatment have reported how trauma, especially extreme trauma, can alter the efficiency of the brain. Many times this difference causes a state of long term hyper vigilance. This type of turmoil has been succeeded by post traumatic stress, depression, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Likewise, a child’s sense of self can be extremely damaged because of of child neglect. The environment has been experienced as an unsafe place, and the youth cannot give solace to him if his development of trust in his surrounding has been thwarted due to negative interference. As the growth process continued, he may have had tremendous trouble in interacting with others, as well as self protection. In fact, a female perpetrated with abuse as a youngster is at greater risk for her offspring to become taken advantage of too. Older children may display the consequences of their trauma by abusing substances, promiscuous sexual behavior, problems in succeeding academically, running off, or serious threatening or suicidal behavior (Goldman).
Horrifying neglect has been seen in the foster care system too. Foster parents, as well as the organization itself have exploited kids. An example of foster care abuse is the case of Terrell Peterson. This six year old had been severely beaten, tortured, and tied to a banister with belts and pantyhose. His little, third degree burnt feet would never heal again because he had all ready perished from the nightmare he finally succumbed to. The state of Georgia had removed him from his mom’s care and handed him over to the power of a woman whose outright perversion ended his life (Roche74).
Finally, child neglect can produce negative con
sequences for a lifetime. The aftermath of this abuse can cause isolation and acting out of crime related activity. Depression, anxiety, compulsive behavior, repression of memory and feelings, physical pain, low self esteem and self worth, and inability to learn new material are just some of the long-term results of experiencing the disparagement of neglect.
In other words, child neglect can be summarized as one of the worst tragedies in society. Not only has it cost millions of dollars, but also this outrage has resulted in many children surrendering their very life to adults that should be nurturing and trustworthy. Justice must be found and awareness is needed, along with the nation taking responsibility for the still suffering, innocent children in the world.
What can we do as a society do to help protect all of the precious, innocent children? It is up to each and every one of us adults in the world. We have to be the voice for these kids because their cries cannot be heard when they are forced to stay quiet, hidden, or when they die from abuse.
Goldman, Larr S., et al. “Mental Health Effects of Family Violence.”
American Medical Association October 1995 26 October 2000
Kendall-Tackette, Kathleen A. “Physiological Correlates of Childhood Abuse:
Chronic Hyper arousal in PTSD, Depression, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.”
Child Abuse & Neglect Jun 2000. 27 November 2000
Knutson, John F., and Patricia M Sullican. “Maltreatment and Disabilities: A Population- based
Epidemiological Suddy.” Child Abuse & Neglect Oct 2000. 27 November 2000.
National Clearing House on Child Abuse and Neglect. Neglect 1998, 1999, 2000. 8 November
2000 [email protected]
“The Crisis of Foster Care.” Time 13 November 2000: 74-82.