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Published: Monday, 4/6/2009

'Yell & Tell' rally focuses on child-abuse prevention

BY LAREN WEBER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Susan Buchholz knows the impact of child abuse.

Her son, Nathaniel, who turned 5 yesterday, was shaken by his father when he was just 2 months old.

He arrived at the hospital with broken bones, retinal hemorrhaging, and bruising on his brain.

For Nathaniel, the effects will be everlasting.

"The adults don't realize that while they can walk away [unharmed], the children can't," Ms. Buchholz said yesterday.

Charlene Gilbert addresses the issue of child abuse and 
the need to raise awareness. Charlene Gilbert addresses the issue of child abuse and the need to raise awareness.
THE BLADE/AMY E. VOIGT Enlarge | Buy This Photo

Nathaniel takes three kinds of medication daily to help control his seizures - something he'll be forced to deal with for the rest of his life.

Ms. Buchholz and Nathaniel were among about 60 people who attended the sixth annual Yell & Tell: Stop Child Abuse Now rally yesterday at Wildwood Metroparks' Ward Pavilion.

The event was aimed at raising awareness of child abuse and providing people with the tools and resources to help prevent it.

Pamela Crabtree, a victim of abuse, founded the organization in 2003.

Ms. Crabtree said she was abused when she was 9 years old and didn't tell anyone about the incident until her mid-40s.

"I want to empower our children," she said.

"They need to have the power to tell mom and dad."

Dr. Alvin Jackson, director of the Ohio Department of Health, said child abuse in Ohio ranks 11th nationwide in the number of cases reported each year.

In 2007, there were 106,538 reported cases of abuse - a 14 percent increase from 2005, according to the Public Children Services Association of Ohio.

"Child abuse in Ohio is a serious problem," Dr. Jackson said.

State Sen. Teresa Fedor (D., Toledo), who serves on the Yell & Tell Board of Trustees, said a report of child abuse is made every 10 seconds.

However, abuse rates are believed to be three times greater than what is reported.

The senator said the way to stop the abuse is through good education and strong families.

"I know we can do this together," Senator Fedor said.

As the economy worsens and unemployment rates climb, some experts believe child abuse will increase.

"People are getting stressed," said Dean Sparks, executive director of Lucas County Children Services.

"When that happens, they sometimes act out violently against their family."

Mr. Sparks said abuse cases in the county dropped about 20 percent last year from 2007. But he expects numbers this year to increase.

Dr. Jackson stressed the importance of early prevention of abuse.

Studies have suggested one-third of the children who are abused will become abusers themselves.

"We have to stop the cycle and stop it now," he said.

Contact Laren Weber at:

lweber@theblade.com

or 419.724.6050.



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