I recently saw the movie Precious which tells the story of an African American teen living in Harlem. Through the movie, she is pregnant with her second child from being raped multiple times by her father. Her mother is abusive both emotionally and physically and does not support her desire for an education. While Precious endures countless acts of physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect and domestic violence, she is resilient and goes to an alternative school to learn the basic skills of reading and writing.
As many as one in four girls and one in six boys may suffer from sexual abuse by the time they are 18.1 This movie really made me realize that while this is a fictional story, there are people like Precious living in every community. My jaw was literally dropped throughout the movie and I ...view middle of the document...
There were several improvements to the community’s efforts to deal with child abuse that I think girls like Precious could benefit from.
The biggest issue is the timing of decision making when it comes to placement of children who have experienced child abuse. It is important to get children who are abused into a permanent, safe home rather than go to several sights of foster care. Stability is important for all children, but even more important for those who are going through traumatic events. I think it is also important to make sure that the children’s wants and needs are being not just listened to but actually heard. Adults should be thoughtful and mindful of a child’s personality before placing them in a home. They should get to know the child and be skilled and knowledgeable about topics ranging from psychology to biology to sociology. Social workers should realize that when they make home visits what they see may not be the truth, especially if the child is sitting with a parent. They should be better trained to pick up on subliminal cues. Also, they should make time to talk with the child alone as well as spend time at the home. Staying for activities like dinner or daily chores would allow social workers to get a more accurate picture of the situation at home. There should be programs to make it easier for girls who are pregnant to go to school. Private tutors or small groups with other girls in the same situations would increase the likelihood of success. Also, assistance with child care is critical so the young girls can get a job and continue to go to work. While all of these ideas seem like a perfect world, I believe that if people see the movie Precious they would take more time to volunteer and create programs to help girls like Precious all over the world.
Posted by Amanda Mezei at 3:42 PM