The first rule they always give you when you announce you “want to be a writer”: write what you know. And that’s good advice, unless you need to address something like child abuse when you yourself had a thankfully wonderful childhood. Because quite honestly I have no comprehension of how anyone could hurt a child, since I was given every kindness and advantage as a kid. I’m extremely grateful for the way I grew up, but it means I cannot begin to imagine the pain that having a harsh upbringing carries with it. Thankfully, I can still support the push to end child abuse without having to know firsthand how much it hurts.
The first week in April kicks off Child Abuse Prevention Month, and is known as “blue ribbon week”. It means just what it sounds like: in this first week in April everyone is encouraged to wear blue awareness ribbons to bring attention to this horrible issue in our country. It is estimated that roughly 5.8 million children are abused every year, in a variety of ways, and that’s only reported cases, not the undoubtedly many cases that never get reported.
Obviously buying and wearing blue awareness ribbons is a great way to start a discussion about child abuse, but there’s so much out there to do in regards to this issue that it shouldn’t stop there. Volunteering at an after school program, donating to food banks, starting a fundraising event, and especially just keeping an eye out all can help bring these sad situations to light so that they can be resolved.
So while I cannot begin to imagine the way it must feel to have grown up afraid or hungry or simply ignored, I know how it feels to know that it’s happening all around me even though I can’t actually see it. I will be making as many people aware of blue ribbon week as I can, and wearing awareness ribbons as a means of starting the conversation for the entire month. And I’ll probably call my mom up just to thank her for not making me a statistic. Or for making me a positive statistic.