Child Abuse is Widespread
Child abuse is widespread and can occur in any cultural, ethnic, or income group. Child abuse can be physical, emotional, verbal, or sexual. While child abuse is often in the form of an action, there are also examples of inaction that cause harm, such as neglect. Outcomes of child abuse can result in both short and long-term injury, and even death. Child abuse can result from physical, emotional, or sexual harm. Physical abuse involves the intentional harming of a child by burning, beating, or breaking bones. Verbal abuse involves harming a child by belittling them or threatening physical or sexual acts. Emotional trauma is often an after effect of either one or both taking place. Households that suffer from alcoholism and/ or substance abuse and/ or anger issues have a higher chance of child abuse taking place as opposed to households without.
Though a household who does not show any form of alcoholism and/ or substance abuse and/ or anger issues does not mean child abuse is not taking place. There are some children who may be unaware that they are victims of child abuse. This something I became aware of as I would hear my mom tell me stories of children she had to remove from homes during her time as a social worker. These are also things that I have heard from friends that I know along with seeing some of these actions take place in my father house. When my father was not around and only my stepmother was around. I find that this topic is something that should be talked more and more information is present in everyday life. This group of people I feel is so wide and vast that many people I believe overlook them. They say that “Studies show that one in four girls and one in eight boys are sexually abused before the age of 18 and that approximately one in 20 children is physically abused each year”. (Child Abuse) There are just too many children having to suffer and not all of them want to go about the normal form of therapy of needing to talk about their experiences.
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Therefore dance therapy as defined by the American Dance Therapy Association (ADTA) is the psychotherapeutic use of movement to promote emotional, social, cognitive, and physical integration of the individual, for the purpose of improving health and well-being. This allows the body to connect to the mind and allow a person to have a more in-depth connection with their own body. Which is something a person or child will need after surviving abuse from anyone even more so if it is formed someone who they love and was in the position of protection but failed to do that?
In the United States, around 3 million reports of child abuse are made. When you take a moment and look at the number “28.3% of adults report being physically abused as a child. 20.7% of adults report being sexually abused as a child. 10.6% of adults report being emotionally abused as a child” you realize that child abuse isn’t really talked about until the person is in their adult years. (What Is Child Abuse) Through dance therapy, they have found the ability to communicate what happened to their body as well as gain the feeling of control over their own bodies once again.
In the study called “Her Body Speaks The Experience of Dance Therapy for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse by Letty J. Mills, and Judith C. Daniluk there are common themes that pair from adults who did dance therapy. Those themes where reconnection to their bodies, permission to play, sense of spontaneity, sense of struggle, sense of intimate connection, and sense of freedom. They each play a key role in their stage of healing.
The reconnection to their body was the process of the understanding and fully accepting their bodies. Permission to play allowed the dancers to gain the experienced is as a mean of recapturing a sense of carefree youth that had been lost to them over the years”. (Mills) This was really important to these dancers because their recollection of their children showed that play and fun were not present. The sense of spontaneity very similar to the struggle that my classmates have with just letting themselves to allow their body to take charge and do what feels right. Soon as the time when by their moves became more spontaneities.
The sense of struggle was due to dance therapy being something new to then and odd so they had to cope with this new. The sense of intimate connection the dancer feel a connection through movement rather than movement and they also developed a sense of freedom which they gained from being able to choose how they express themselves.
Many people are wondering why dance therapy well dance/movement therapy is clinically recognized as an effective treatment modality for sexual abuse survivors, although limited empirical research has been published. (Ho) Through many studies, they have found that dance therapy has allowed many victims to feel more empowered after the sessions. Dance therapy is very much used in a way that helps its dancer to heal from their pain and gain a sense of control that was taken from them.
Childhood sexual abuse survivors could develop a sense of security and an appropriate boundary with the concept of space and kinesphere. Space and place can be used as concepts related to boundary and freedom in dance/movement therapy, physically and psychologically. Through establishing a sense of anchor with the ground, participants were willing to explore the freedom that could be managed and controlled by them.
Dace therapy goal is to help people gain back a sense of ownership which has to happen in some of the studies that I have already mentioned. It has also allowed a therapist to take note of people who may have been abused and then report it to the authorities that need to be informed. Dance/movement therapy could help CSA survivors reduce distress and lessen psychological attachment. Dance therapy in many ways is a very powerful tool one can use if it is done correctly. It can allow people who missed out milestones in life to go back and experience it. Even if it was in the smallest form. It is also a slow way to heal from the pain that they may not realize they are holding onto. The body has a way of holding onto things that we may not realize we were. This form of therapy allows one to take time and to really dig deep down inside of themselves. Dance therapy is a healing art form that can save people even form themselves.