learn about Abused Youth, RUNAWAY ALTERNATIVE CHOICES. Did you know? Today 5 children will die from abuse or neglect. 85% of 1.2 million runaways are fleeing abuse at home. A runaways alternatives include; Americorps, Job Corps, the military, and other programs.

Did you know?

  • Today up to 5 children will die from abuse or neglect.
  • In 13 seconds, another child will be abused in the U.S.
  • Over 2.9 million child abuse reports were made in 1992.
  • Just 28% of the children identified as harmed by abuse & neglect in 1993 were investigated.
  • Among substantiated victims of child maltreatment,
    approximately 44% suffered neglect, 24% physical abuse, 15%
    sexual abuse, 6% emotional maltreatment, 2% medical neglect
    and the remaining 9% other or unknown forms of maltreatment.
  • 85% of the 1.2 - 1.5 million runaways are fleeing abuse at home.
  • Today 6 children will commit suicide.
  • Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death (ages 15-24)
    ...and the 6th leading cause of death (ages 5-14).
  • Untreated child abuse increases the likelihood of arrest for a violent crime by 38 percent.
  • Today 3,086 public school students will be corporally punished & 3,356 high-school students will drop out.
  • 60 million survivors are former victims of childhood sexual abuse in America today.
  • 38% of all women & 20% of all men have been sexually abused by the end of adolescence.
  • It is estimated that 3% to 6% of the clergy population has abused a child in their congregation.
  • The typical child sex offender molests an average of 117 children, most of whom do not report the offence.
  • Imagine the outcry if these statistics represented a disease, which was wiping out 5 children per day, victimizing millions, and who's by-products where disabilities & expanding violence.

    Youth rights are really about human rights, and simple empathy is a giant first step to the benefits of increased awareness.
    The highly recommended jumps below show the importance of youth rights by showing cases of frightening lack...

    Go ahead, time to get angry about abuse...

    See the face behind this story of abuse which Arthur himself writes about, and continues to face.


    ...and you will see the double standard when you read,

    "Are Children Property?".


    And, find out how you can help prevent...

    What every third baby dies from each year in the U.S.




    The Youth Rights Page

    Contents
  • About this page (references for statistics).

  • Thoughts & Observations (ethics of equality and youth issues).

  • What constitutes abuse legally, and possible actions to take.

  • Empower Youth A minor's rights guide, including youth independence programs.

  • Links to excellent youth sites.

  • My List of interesting links

    This page is best viewed with Netscape.

  • The "Thoughts & Observations" link is displayed for you to read below.


    Thoughts & Observations

    An analogy...

    An Elderly man says:

    Thank you for mending my broken leg, Doctor. But I need pain killer!

    Doctor says:

    No. You can suffer.

    Elderly man:

    Why... I'm penniless, but I need help!

    Doctor:

    It's suppose to be that way.

    Elderly man:

    But Why?

    Doctor:

    The pain killer costs me the money, so it is not your decision.
    It does not matter, since you are old.

    Should the elderly should be regarded with less value and dignity as they become more depended on the government, or another person for support?

    "Of course not!",

    all will say, "I may be that person someday". We cannot approve of that discrimination, as we could not honestly disapprove when it is visited on us. But, will we all agree that age discrimination is immoral no matter if it's upon people who are...

    young, or old?

    Is it not true that basing rights on age is the advocation of age discrimination?
    Too often we forget the "second class" status of youth, once we hit the magic number 18. Advocates of age restrictions believe it's OK, but only as long as it does not apply to them, as long as they do not have to worry about it.
    In reality, age discrimination is an ancient double standard truly reminiscent of the Class Society. Aristotle once wrote,

    "The justice of a master or father is different from that of a citizen, for a son or a slave is property and there can be no injustice to one's property."

    Today, we can see that ethically all things are to be considered based on the autonomy of the individual. So, does the fact that a child is a forming individual mean that he/she is in any way less valuable, less deserving of individual, human treatment?
    I choose to say NO.

    What do you choose?

    This National Child Rights Alliance article is an excellent overview of the forms of youth oppression, including a similar account (to the analogy at top) of a child who's broken leg was treated without pain killer at his parents request.

    "Are Children Property?"

    A Superb article about the double standard which supports youth oppression, and on what we should do.

    Compelling look at the disadvantages child sexual abuse victims face in court, due to their lack of Civil Rights.

    You will be moved when you...

    ... see the face behind the story of abuse which Arthur himself writes about, and continues to face.

    You can help prevent the death of every third baby...

    When a baby will die every 20 seconds by abortion, then the Pro-life cause should qualify as an important youth rights issue. That's one third of all infant deaths, and over 1 and 1/2 million babies vanquished each year...

    Table of Contents, or scroll down to continue.


    The status of youth rights reminds me of the status of women's rights a few centuries ago. They were property and could not withhold consent to marriage as they had no rights. Similarly, today, youth are not entitled to cherished American rights (the freedom to assemble due to curfews, etc.) for the first one-fourth of life.

    Youth are truly second class citizens.

    Unfortunately, little do we relate, nor fully realize a form of discrimination until it is visited on us personally. For instance, many of us (who will want a car) will realize how high the price of auto insurance is, which is levied to all people under 25 (and unmarried) due to statistical data which reflects that younger people tend to be in more wrecks. However, many other advantages of being an adult are denied to minors which may, or may not be realized depending on how much young people want to exercise their rights. Of course, you could raise the question, "Why should minors have all their rights when they are not supporting themselves?", and in principle I think they should be treated as individuals with equal rights in the Mentor/student model ideally, and gradually become a very strong relationship, or, at least, similar to that of a relative who is somehow unable to support his/her self, and is staying for an extended time.

    In Europe the age of adulthood is 16

    Ideally adulthood would be based on the qualities and desires of the individual, but, if it must be based on age, 16-17 is more "in tune" with todays more "grown up" youth. Example: the European model in which the age is 16. Perhaps a system does need to have an automatic point for adult rights to begin based on something as impersonal as age (except in special cases), but a more perfect system might see all people bringing their case for emancipation before a court before obtaining their "adult" rights. Of course, the only thing that would make that happen would be if the young person paid the cost of his/her court determination, unless of course you are poor. And what about a criminal drug addict? How long would he be a dependent? In any case a system would have it's flaws, but anything as impersonal as our current system will allow for the angst of many individuals.

    Spanking as "training" or physical abuse?

    The world is making progress by becoming aware of spanking as a form of physical abuse. On May 19, 1996 Italy's Supreme Count ruled that corporal punishment is no longer an acceptable way to discipline children, and proceded to uphold the conviction of a man who spanked his 10-year-old daughter with a belt.
    The case began in 1990 when a girl in a small, northern town went to police and complained that her father hit her with his belt for doing poorly at school. The man was sentenced to 20 days in jail, though it was unclear if he would have to serve it as, in Italy, light sentences for first convictions are often suspended.

    "Punitive measures whether administered by police, teachers, spouses or parents have well-known standard effects:
    (1) escape -- education has its own name for that: truancy,
    (2) counterattack -- vandalism on schools and attacks on teachers,
    (3) apathy -- a sullen do-nothing withdrawal. The more violent the punishment, the more serious the by-products."

    B. F. Skinner, Ph.D., author, Professor of Psychology,
     Harvard

    Making a point by inflicting physical pain is undesirable, and poor message to send. An enlightening overview by "Parents and Teachers Against Violence in Education" (PTAVE) called Plain Talk about Spanking offers beneficial reading for people everywhere. And, Spanking - a shortcut to nowhere... is a psychologist's compelling look at why people spank, and the ill affects.
    I would, also, point out that in cases when a child is not getting enough love from their parents they may do things that will bring about a spank, just to get the attention they are not getting in a positive manner. Also, some parents would define a child as anyone who is under 18, and would, also, proceed to spank a teenager. In some cases the rational is do to extreme religious beliefs, though the believer in that same religion in Europe would only spank up to age 16 due to European definition of adulthood as age 16. In these cases it is clearly physical abuse, and should be dealt with as such by any person aware of it.

    Divorce

    Some people support the position that the divorce of parents, with children, should be hindered to prevent harmful trauma to the youth, and some think that divorce should be easy to avert the psychological stresses associated with an atmosphere of conflict. Ideally, it would seem that it needs to be a per family decision made by counselors, or by ethicists, lest we risk the blanket, "one right for all", approach which may either completely destroy families, or harm members of a family caught in the vice of being "forced" together, respectively.
    I would make note of the fact that children may be suffering from the stress of families forced together, and that the right-wing push for "family values", though a "nice" sounding attempt to keep healthy, respectful families, will in truth blindly continue to screw the lid down harder on the pressure cooker of unstable units which remain families. Pro-family advocates, and "experts" have rallied around the wrong flag in their cry for a "solution". This step backwards will, foreseeably, continue to preserve the time honored tradition of youth oppression.

    Table of Contents, or continue with the next section.


    What constitutes abuse legally, and possible actions to take


    Since minors have few legal rights, nor resources they are in a more disadvantaged state when abused, and may fear retaliation if they are trying to escape (something the abuser may be threatened by most). A minor might fear physical violence if he/she is seeking help for abuse in which there cannot be legal evidence (verbal abuse). Sadly, it seems like the only evidence a minor can show of abuse is the marks left on the minor (at least), and on the hand of the abuser. However, I think the tape recording of verbal abuse might be legally admissible, in court, to aid a case for emancipation. There is no legal restriction on the recording if one party is consenting. Indeed, that is why drug dealers can be prosecuted from an incriminating audio/video tape. However, I am not sure as I do not know if a minor can legally be that consenting party. However, if what happens behind closed doors could become open knowledge, then that might incur social pressure on the abuser to change. For example, tape recordings of verbal abuse could be sent to friends and family to shed light on the facts. Or, a person could be in possession of a tape recorder at all times to see if the problem goes away without actually playing that all important card.



    Clearly, an abuser can use fear to keep another person under control. You might see it in a case of a women being abused by a member of a gang, when she faithfully protects him with her silence for fear of retaliation. In some cases a person will cling to the abuser in the hope that maybe this time he/she will do something right and please the abuser. If only a program like the Witness Protection Program could exist for them.



    It is a role of the dice as to what state care for abused youth would be like. Foster homes have all kinds of kids coming through, and would probably come on with a set of hard line rules that must be followed to get along. Also, If you are not being sexually abused, then you might want to consider if you want to take the chance of Foster Care because a small percent will sexually abuse, especially the younger, and more helpless child. Also, a female is probably more at-risk. In fact, if you are not being sexually abused now, would you accept any chance of sexual abuse for what could be a questionable upgrade in your quality of life.
    An alternative home like Childhelp in California is a major step in breaking the chain of abuse, and another option for abused children might be to go to a safe shelter like Covenant House as the people running the shelter are nice religious people (non-sexually abusive). Although, they will (and legally must) identify a person, and notify the parents. If you cannot show evidence of abuse then you would no doubt be sent home, except maybe in the case of the parents rejecting the return. If you have been physically beaten by them, then you will be allowed to stay. However, if the abusive parents went to a counselor and become "changed", and convinced a counselor to help them, they might be able to return a minor. Even the good people at the shelter might want to assume the best, and want to have faith that the parents would provide a good home.

    Is there a way a minor can assume the rights of the majority?

    Only in special cases in which the court will emancipate a minor, but a minor must prove that he/she is able to assume the responsibilities of adulthood by having the opportunity, and desire to work for a living. Also, he/she would probably need the services of a lawyer, if one or both parents do not support the idea of emancipation. A lawyer would not be necessary if both parents are in agreement as is the case when young movie stars are emancipated so that they can work longer hours.

    As far as leaving without dual parental permission, look at it this way. If you are not being physically abused, now, would you accept that risk of physical violence by venturing out alone? Note, if you have been physically abused you can choose state care. There are emergency shelters that exist for youth in crisis.

    Note, the Job Corps, and the military are a few of the good structured programs available to youth age 16-24, but there may even be another opportunity for young people of all ages, who are willing to get a job to help support themselves, in an alternative home. See emergency shelters under Links. The military, however, offers a 16-17 year old a more truly successful opportunity. In the military a person can be a shining success in life, and lets face it you deserve that. It's best not to throw the baby out with the bath water by unwisely taking out alone. Otherwise, would you be throwing away life for someone who does not deserve to have that lasting control?

    Legally, it's interesting that a minor can legally be declared an adult if he/she can support him/her self for 6 months, and present a judge with that fact. Though, for that six months a person would not have sufficient legal rights, and would be hanging by a thread. Poverty, and the constant threat of crime would be their companions. Unless a minor actually had enough savings to last for six months in a nice hotel, and possibly had a reference who would vouch to the fact of six months residence (hardly likely). It is tough for anyone to go out on their own even when everything is going for them, so it would probably be even harder to leave home at an early age into a non-structured potentially hazardous world. And, a person should not think crime will not happen to them (if people know they are vulnerable, and they are in a low income area) as you can look no farther then human nature, in something as small as a sport, to see how people will cheat to take advantage of the other.

    The only hope of making it, in a non-structured system, with any safety, would be to get together with a group of young people, and rent a house, or have someone who has reached 18 rent the house, and pool your money to pay the bills (thousands do this nationwide). We often here of illegal immigrants taking jobs away from American workers, and these jobs (slave-like labor, poverty insuring, and crime threatening) are available to youth.

    You may want to subscribe to the youth rights mailing list if you are interested in similar topics as this is where people talk about youth related issues (including the above example). Read a news story about a slave labor farm in Michigan, where, sadly, kids are willing to work 62 hr./week picking fruit.

    For a nice bundle of information with pointers to resources in book form on the prevention of child abuse, ask for your free copy of "You Can Prevent Child Abuse".
    write to:
    National Committee for Prevention of Child Abuse
    332 S. Michigan Ave.
    Chicago, IL. 60604

    Click here for a list of youth Helpline numbers.

    Also, find out how you can help prevent the death of every third baby.

    Increase your awareness by seeing the face behind this story of abuse which Arthur himself writes about, and continues to face. And, see the double standard of youth oppression clearly by reading,
    "Are Children Property?".

    Table of Contents


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