The ABC’S of Health
By Dr. Jo Gjelsten
TRUTH AND CONSEQUESNCES
We begin a new year, with new resolutions, vowing to make it a good one, righting wrongs, like having gained too much weight. As I look back on this year, it strikes me that so much that affects the health of all of us as individuals and as a nation has been literally ignored, swept under the rug; wrongs done with no consequences. So here we are, facing another year. I want to begin this year by addressing our moral house, so to speak, so I’m going to talk about the consequences of no consequences. In the news, over and over we’ve seen case upon case of abuse. Abuse hurts. It hurts the victims, and ultimately us as a society because who ultimately pays for it? We do. How many times are we going to find out after the fact that someone knew something, or heard something, and didn’t say something? What are the consequences? What do we teach our children, society’s children, about consequences, when there are none? What do we further teach them, when those who come forward with the truth, are threatened? This whole subject must have a strong light shone on it if we are to fix it. And we must fix it. It’s gone on too long. We, as a civilized society, are only civilized because of laws. Laws should protect us; more importantly they need to protect the innocent, vulnerable, and powerless. But there are still those who abuse children, and get away with it. What price do we pay for this? A recent study shows that women who suffered sexual abuse as children have higher rates of heart disease as adults. Another study (Nov. 2000) of health data of 1300 elderly people by the University of California shows that women who were abused as kids had a higher risk for arthritis and breast cancer, and the risk became 2 to 3 fold with multiple abuse episodes. Men abused as boys the study showed, were at higher risk for thyroid disease. Boys abused also showed higher suicide rates, learning difficulties, and more aggressive behavior in other studies, with females showing more use of alcohol. Who pays for that? They do. We do. And why should we? Why not have criminals convicted of abuse pay for therapy for the victims. Why must the victims, be further victimized by having to fork over hard earned cash to get past the abuse someone else is responsible for? Another study in the Jan. 2011 Journal of Advanced Nursing shows us that victims of child abuse who go on to have wanted pregnancies suffer higher levels of depression and symptoms of post trauma during pregnancy than women who were not abused. So here we are again, paying for someone else’s crime, having to provide counseling for these unfortunate women, which they need and deserve. Some 80,000 cases of child sex abuse are reported annually, but many go unreported, or ignored. An Oregon study showed that men who hadn’t been abused didn’t believe that there even was abuse, or that it if there had been, it wasn’t harmful to the victims. These were men with “high sexism beliefs.” Imagine, 20 percent of women and 10 percent of men that we know about, but “86,000 cases are never reported to authorities each year.” That needs to change. We can no longer say that abusers were abused themselves so they couldn’t help it. There are plenty of victims out there that never became child abusers, so let’s not give a pass to this. Our new year’s resolution should be, in my opinion, to get legislation passed to do the right thing, and make sexually abusing children hurt the pocketbook of the abuser, for as long as is necessary, no limit to reparations. Then the burden would fall on the right person, the consequences would fit the crime. And while we’re talking about morality, when did it become alright for politicians to take words out of context and make someone, who is quoting the ideas of another, look as those they are his words? When did that become OK? One candidate took a speech where a quote was given by his rival, out of context and used it to make it look like that person actually said it. This is so morally wrong, that I wouldn’t vote for this guy if he were my own brother. To do something by accident is one thing, but this is heinous in my opinion and if you don’t know who I’m talking about, read about it on my website. (This was a reference to Mitt Romney quoting President O'bama who was in fact quoting John McCain, but Romney made it look like O'bama was saying something he didn't actually say about the economy). This happens time after time in politics, on both sides of the fence. We must condemn these lies, talk about and embarrass the liars, and show our children that we don’t tolerate it. “What you will accept, you teach”, someone, not me but I wish I’d thought of it, once said, and I’ve been quoting those wise words for years. Another thing we can’t tolerate, before I start sounding like the late Andy Rooney, is disrespect. It happens all the time, on TV, in video games, in politics, and in our families. When it happens, when someone says words that disrespect others without consequences, we teach that it’s ok to do that. Words hurt. Lies hurt. Covering up the truth hurts. It hurts us all, in ways we have yet to know, in ways we now know, and it’s expensive to society. So I’m starting my New Year, resolving to say something when I see something, and when I hear something that is wrong. I hope you do too. Happy New Year! www.GoDrJo.com © Nov.28, 2011.
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