This tumblr post got me riled up today. I couldn't agree with it more.
Open up a child's craft book. They list "an adult to help you" under materials, along with scissors and glue. Commercials for toy websites say to "ask a parent's permission before going online". The teenagers in my church congregation are going on a pioneer trek reenactment this week. Church leaders will take pictures and videos of us for a blog they set up. But only because our parents signed a disclosure saying it's okay to use our "voice, image, and likeliness." Never mind the crap we spew forth on social media every day.
Young children are constantly told they need an adult's help and permission to do anything at all. But when we draw attention to our problems, we're accused of whining.
At thirteen, I had a migraine at least six out of seven days a week. I hate weaklings who whine about their pain instead of swallowing a pill. So I took my Tylenol and shut up about it. But after a few months my mom dragged me to a doctor.
"I can tell you really have migraines," he said.
"What else would it be?" I asked, expecting him to name some weird disease with migraine-like symptoms.
"You're not just faking it for attention."
The key to stopping child abuse (and a whole host of other problems) isn't disclosures and disclaimers. Too often, the trusted adult is the one who signs the form. It's listening to kids when they speak up. It's believing a child's words have merit when those words aren't "Mommy, can you help me with these scissors?"
Screw politeness. Don't sit there like a Victorian china doll and wait to speak until you're spoken to. If you have an issue, speak up, because no one's going to notice otherwise. No one cares about your problems. So you'd better care.