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Rise Up For Zion

June 21, 2012
Dean Wong and Stacey Moniz , The Maui Weekly

In a collaborative effort, Imua Family Services and Women Helping Women held a silent march and vigil on the afternoon of Friday, June 8, for Zion McKeown, a 4-year-old Wailuku boy who died in his own home after sustaining brutal wounds to his tiny body.

According to recent statistics, child abuse is reported every 10 seconds in the United States. In addition, up to six children die each day as a result of child abuse or neglect, and one in every four children in the nation (approximately 28 million) live in a household with an alcoholic adult.

How can we identify child abuse?

Article Photos

In a collaborative effort, Imua Family Services and Women Helping Women held a silent march and vigil on the afternoon of Friday, June 8, for Zion McKeown, a 4-year-old Wailuku boy who died in his own home after sustaining brutal wounds to his tiny body.

Child abuse can be defined as any kind of mistreatment or neglect of a child that results in non-accidental harm or injury, which cannot be "reasonably" explained. Child abuse includes physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and neglect.

It is impossible to imagine why any person, especially a parent, would intentionally harm a child. We have found that physical abuse is often a result of excessive discipline or physical punishment that is inappropriate for the child's age. The parent may simply be unaware of the magnitude of force with which he or she strikes a child.

Sometimes, parents need more help than they realize. But how do we create an accessible and safe way for parents to ask for the help they need?

These are the questions we ask ourselves in the aftermath of such a heartbreaking tragedy. Most of us want to be part of the solution. And you can be a part of the solution.

We can educate ourselves and our community about child abuse and other forms of family violence. We need to pay attention. We need to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. We need to get involved--as a community.

We can make sure that Zion did not die in vain. Instead, Zion's tragedy can unite us in an effort to create solutions, and remind us that our children need us.

Dean Wong is the executive director of Imua Family Services, a nonprofit organization that serves children with developmental delays, sometimes caused by trauma in the home. Stacey Moniz is the executive director of Women Helping Women, which is Maui's domestic violence emergency shelter and crisis agency. If you or a loved one needs help, call the 24-Hour Crisis Line at (808) 579-9581.

 
 
 

 

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