"I got hit with a strap, bam, bam, bam... by my father... I would tell you that I deserved it... " --Sean Hannity from Hannity on Fox News.
I'm truly sorry for any fear and pain you may have experienced when you were a child when hit by your father with a strap. I can't begin to imagine what you went through as a child. What's extremely heartbreaking is that you said that you "deserved it." No child deserves to be hit or beaten, with or without a belt. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "Children are never to blame for the harm others do to them."
"Physical abuse is the use of intentional physical force, such as hitting, kicking, shaking, burning or other show of force against a child." [Source: CDC]
Talking about Adrian Peterson on your show, you said, "I think he [PETERSON] went too far, but I don't want to see this guy get a felony. I don't want to see this guy lose his job...he deserves parenting classes."
Let me be completely transparent. I'm not a psychiatrist and I was never beaten, but I am a mother, and a health care professional. I am a registered nurse, and as an administrative supervisor at a level II trauma center, I have experience covering the emergency department, pediatric units and pediatric intensive care unit, (just to name a few). It's shocking to witness the effects of a child being beaten. Mr. Hannity, if you see these children, and look into their eyes, perhaps your matter-of-fact opinion about your strap beatings would be different. No one deserves anyone's monstrous hands on him or her. No one.
What's even more disturbing to me, is that you have a microphone to the world and an enormous Twitter and Facebook following. Why didn't you provide valuable and helpful information to your audience? Why didn't you let your viewers know about the devastating statistics of child abuse, and offer a hot-line number? And, if parents are so stressed and they cannot control their anger, why didn't you provide helpful information for them? Instead, you took off your belt (for dramatic effect, yes?) and said to the world, it's okay to hit children, because look at me, I was hit and I'm okay.
Instead of yelling that it's okay to get hit with a belt because your living proof that you were beaten and you are now thriving, why not shout from your microphone that no child should be beaten and that any form of child abuse is unacceptable. What if you mentioned that perhaps we should all start showing kindness and empathy which can help with parenting.
So, here's what you could've done, Mr. Hannity. You could've offered a few highlights from below.
Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline
"The Hotline has received more than 2 million calls since it began in 1982. These calls come from children at risk for abuse, distressed parents seeking crisis intervention and concerned individuals who suspect that child abuse may be occurring."
FACTS About Child Maltreatment: [Source: CDC]
Child maltreatment includes all types of abuse and neglect of a child under the age of 18 by a parent, caregiver, or another person in a custodial role (e.g., clergy, coach, teacher). There are four common types of abuse.
• Physical abuse is the use of intentional physical force, such as hitting, kicking, shaking, burning or other show of force against a child.
• Sexual abuse involves engaging a child in sexual acts. It includes fondling, rape, and exposing a child to other sexual activities.
• Emotional abuse refers to behaviors that harm a child's self-worth or emotional well-being. Examples include name calling, shaming, rejection, withholding love, and threatening.
• Neglect is the failure to meet a child's basic needs. These needs include housing, food, clothing, education, and access to medical care.
The few cases of abuse or neglect we see in the news, according to the CDC, are only a small part of the problem. Many cases are not reported to police or social services. The CDC reports:
• 1,640 children died in the United States in 2012 from abuse and neglect. (1)
• 686,000 children were found to be victims of maltreatment by child protective services in 2012. (1)
"Every year more than 3 million reports of child abuse are made in the United States involving more than 6 million children (a report can include multiple children)." [Source: Childhelp.org]
Mr. Hannity, I'm so thrilled that you have become so successful and that you are thriving. Unfortunately, not all children who have been beaten have been that lucky. Some of them will never know what good they could've done in this amazing world of ours.
Mr. Hannity, I suspect some of your work has been instrumental in changing lives for the better. You have an audience of mass proportions, so when you're not talking about politics, perhaps it's time to turn your mic and host chair over to someone who truly can use their voice for the good.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Understanding Child Maltreatment
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,
Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children's Bureau. Child maltreatment 2012 [online]. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office; 2012. (1) Available here.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - Information for Parents
I'd love to hear from you. Did Sean Hannity go too far? Please share your comments. Thank you for your valuable time.
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