Let's Talk Tough: Abuse

Welcome to Let's Talk Tough, a week-long series here at The Book Bratz where we discuss some hard topics in YA literature. Today's topic is abuse - how they're written about, what's unrealistic about them, what is realistic, etc.
*This post contains spoilers of The Good Girls by Sara Shepard*  

What is abuse? treat (a person or an animal) with cruelty or violence, especially regularly or repeatedly. With that being said there are so many forms of abuse, that this post could easily turn into a novel about it. The main forms of abuse I've seen in YA is a physical and emotional abuses. Every year more than 3 million reports of child abuse are made in the United States. What is child abuse? Child abuse is when a parent or caregiver, whether through action or failing to act, causes injury, death, emotional harm or risk of serious harm to a child. There are many forms of child maltreatment, including neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, exploitation, and emotional abuse.

Recently, I read The Good Girls by Sara Shepard. The main character Parker, was abused by her father. At first it started as emotional abuse. He would say terrible things and then apologize. It was a viscous cycle. Eventually he started getting physical with her. One night she came home from a party high (Long story short: She was drugged) and her father beat her to death. I use the Good Girls as an example because it is the most recent I have read. But this is one example of many in YA. As I said in previous posts, not authors are right or wrong in what they write. It is how it is executed is how to reader reacts to it. 

Here are some statistics related to abuse:

  • 1 in 10 children suffer from child maltreatment. 1 in 16 children suffer from sexual abuse. Nearly 1 in 10 children are witnesses to family violence.
  • The youngest children are the most vulnerable to maltreatment. 
  • Over 25% of abused children are under the age of three while 
  • Over 45% of abused children are under the age of five. 
  • While boys and girls are equally as likely to be victims of abuse and neglect; the rate of child fatality is higher for boys. (In a 2012 report) 
  • Number of reports of child abuse every year in the United States: 2.9 million
  • Of the children who experienced maltreatment or abuse, nearly 80% suffered neglect; 18% suffered physical abuse; and 9% suffered sexual abuse.
  • About 30% of abused and neglected children will later abuse their own children, continuing the horrible cycle of abuse.
  • Children whose parents abuse alcohol and other drugs are three times more likely to be abused and more than four times more likely to be neglected than children from non-abusing families.
  • As many as two-thirds of the people in treatment for drug abuse reported being abused or neglected as children. 
I talk more of child abuse in the post because YA mainly deals with people under the age of 18 or 19. It is an occasion we read a YA book where the main character isn't abused but a parent, or an older friend. Abuse can affect anyone at any age. It isn't just towards children. I would loved to see more books that focus on abuse and the effects it has on people. It is something as a reader I don't see often. 

Here is a list of books that contain abuse as a subject or is talked about:


Here is what is up for the rest of the week!

6/26: Abuse 

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