Opinion: Help is on the way

Abuse is a pervasive problem in society—but allies can help victims survive their abuse


Kyla Henige

Victims and their allies need a safe space or outlet to take a stand together and speak up when something is wrong. When things are left unsaid, the abuser gains more power, and the abuse will not stop.

Kyla Henige, News Editor

High school is supposed to be some of the most fun, memorable years of somebody’s life. Memories are made with family and friends, of the good times they’ve had. But what happens when somebody’s memories are ones filled with terror and abuse? Memories filled with beatings, screaming, and feelings of hopelessness. And memories where they are nothing but somebody’s shaggy, worn down punching bag.

Victims and their allies need to take a stand together and speak up when something is wrong because if something isn’t said, the abuser gains more power — and the abuse won’t stop.

It is not uncommon to see somebody being abused, whether it’s physically, verbally, or mentally. Being too frightened to say something, whether it be over the fear they’ll be beaten down or being frowned upon, they say nothing. Not only this, but they’re afraid of the consequences that will occur to the person causing the problem, or to themselves.

When signs of abuse come up, loved one should contact the authorities immediately. Don’t hesitate and wait until things escalate, because it could lead to a worse scenario. Supporting victims of abuse is one of the best ways to help them through tough times. Some ways to support abuse victims are by doing simple things, such as lending an ear or taking action in the situation.

Lending an ear and listening to others about personal issues is one of the best ways for them to get the stress off their shoulders. When listening to a victim of abuse, be sure to hear them through and let them talk and be open. By understanding them, it’s easier to gather the information needed to help them cope or report the incident.

Taking action in the scenario of abuse by reporting it, and the goal of doing so is to make sure that the victim gets out of the environment they’re in right away. If nothing gets done, then keep asking and fighting for help for them until they are safe and away from the dangerous situation.

In today’s world, society doesn’t do enough to prevent abuse. Yes, there places to reach out to, such as the local police department, DCSF, and other organizations, but do they necessarily help? 

People tend to ignore or look past the signs of abuse because they don’t want to believe it’s happening. Just this past year, the community has seen tragic incidents of abuse, such as the Andrew Freund case. Freund was a 5-year-old boy who was beaten and abused until he was eventually killed by his parents in April of 2019. Social workers were constantly doing check-ups on him and his family, but his bruises and burns weren’t enough to save him. 

Much like Freund, there are many people out there who never got the chance to cry out for help. This is why it’s important to report something right away, so victims of abuse don’t wind up injured or potentially dead. Stand up for what’s right. Stand up against abuse. Your words could be the difference between life and death.

If you or someone you know is being abused, please reach out and call the 24-hour abuse hotline, by Child and Family protection of Illinois at: 1-(800) 252-2873 or reach out to your local police station by dialing 911.