In my English 101 Composition class, students have to write an argument essay. The alternate assignment is to write a letter, arguing that a relative or friend should stop a self-destructive behavior. I created the alternate to demonstrate to students how the literary skill of argument has a practical application which can save someone’s life.
In this letter, JC, argues with a friend who is the victim of child abuse. The names have been abbreviated to protect their identities. JC agreed to share her letter in hopes that it would help a variety of abuse victims (from children to adults) and be a model for concerned loved ones who want to be supportive, yet firm in encouraging them to leave. –Professor Marcia McNair
I am reaching out to you because I understand you have been going through many issues with abuse in your life. I want you to know I’m here for you. I completely understand where you are coming from because I have been in your position. I just want you to understand that you deserve more and should not be going through this. This issue is life threatening and can be fixed. Do you know how many children die from child abuse? According to recent statistics, hundreds and thousands of kids die every year from child abuse. All of these children could have gotten help if they talked to anyone outside of their home and looked for help. Many children feel too scared to ask for help.
Children who are being abused sometime do not process how serious it is. They are too afraid to get help or tell another adult about their situation just like you. They believe that if they just don’t say anything about the situation and behave, the abuse will eventually stop. This is incorrect! Your abuse is an extremely serious matter and could be life threatening.
Under no circumstance do you deserve to be abused. You are young and deserve to have a great childhood without all of the abuse. An abused child can have various trust issues with adults in their lives once they have been abused. You need to understand that even if you feel that family members should not be trusted, there are people outside of the home who should be able to help you free yourself from the abusive situation as well.
Children who have been abused no longer trust people. They will not seek the help of family members in fear that they will not help them, because they are the ones who have let them be abused in the first place. One of those people who were scared to say anything was me. My father abused me as a child for many years, and I didn't do anything about it, but let it keep on going. It was so difficult for me. My family members knew about it and saw it happen, but didn't act on it. I didn't have anyone in my life besides myself. I felt alone and didn't trust anyone. I am a very closed person and independent. If I’m in need of help, I don’t ask anyone because when I really needed it, I didn't get it which made me think what would make them help me now?
I wish I had told someone about it so I could have gotten help. Maybe I wouldn’t be the way I am now. For that very reason I want to let you know you are not alone and I can find help for you. Children who have been abused need help from those outside of the home. In the past, many people do not do anything to help them because it is not their child. They are now learning to look at it as if it is their own child or themselves. Discipline is something small and light that should not cause any harm to you. It should not matter who the child is and who the parents are, any child who is in a life threatening or damaged situation should be helped.
In conclusion, there are people around to help you and no one should have to go through this alone. You can change your life like I did.