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A recent report published in Ottawa Citizen reminds me of the tragic and devastating consequences of child abuse.
The report said that, “Children who are physically abused tend to have higher rates of “functional somatic syndromes” such as chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and irritable bowel syndrome when they grow up, says a study published in the Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma.
By functional somatic syndromes, we mean conditions where there are physical symptoms but no findings on blood or imaging tests. Oftentimes, these are manifestations of trauma memories stored in various parts of the body.
“Chronic fatigue syndrome has symptoms of severe fatigue, memory and sleep problems, and pain in muscles and joints. Fibromyalgia is continual widespread pain throughout the body. Irritable bowel syndrome is abdominal pain with diarrhea or constipation.”
In Canada alone, childhood physical abuse was associated with higher rates of all four conditions when controlling for age and race. “Women who reported they had been physically abused as children had twice the odds of chronic fatigue syndrome and multiple chemical sensitivities, and 65 per cent higher odds of fibromyalgia,” says lead investigator Esme Fuller-Thomson who suggests that primary care physicians ask questions about childhood physical abuse and other adverse childhood experiences when assessing patients for these syndromes.
Health Canada, Child Maltreatment Section states “Child maltreatment can be categorized into several broad types including physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect/failure to provide, and emotional maltreatment.
“Physical abuse (child abuse) is the deliberate application of force to any part of a child’s body, which results or may result in a non-accidental injury. Physical abuse may include shaking, choking, biting, kicking, burning, poisoning, holding a child under water, or any other harmful or dangerous use of force or restraint. Most child physical abuse is associated with physical punishment or is confused with child discipline.
Sexual abuse (child abuse) occurs when an adult or youth uses a child for sexual purposes. Sexual abuse includes fondling, intercourse, incest, sodomy, exhibitionism, and commercial exploitation through prostitution or the production of pornographic materials.
Neglect/failure to provide (child abuse)occurs when a child’s parents or caregivers do not provide the requisite attention to the child’s emotional, psychological, or physical development.
Emotional maltreatment (child abuse) involves acts or omissions by parents or caregivers that cause or could cause serious behavioral, cognitive, emotional, or mental disorders. Emotional maltreatment can include verbal threats, socially isolating a child, intimidation, exploitation, terrorizing, or routinely making unreasonable demands on a child.”
In my work in Hypnotherapy and EFT, I found out that most of my clients who have chronic diseases and low self-esteem have had experiences of abuse when they were children.
All these are too painful for a child to bear and will damage his sense of self and his capacity to deal with the stresses of life. What I cannot understand is that despite the universal and national laws against it, the incidents still continue at this age. We must all act.