The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) preformed a comprehensive study to examine the relationship between childhood trauma and disease later in life. It is known as the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study. It is one of the largest studies to date which examined child abuse, neglect or maltreatment to assess and later in life health well-being. Well over 17,000 cases were examined.
The results were astounding.
From this information, the researchers determined an ACEs score for each patient by allotting one point for each type of reported experience. Then, the medical records of those subjects were examined and compared to their ACEs score.Almost two-thirds of the subjects reported at least one ACEs factor, while one in five had a score of three or more. Researchers determined that as the ACEs score increased, so did the risk of developing serious diseases such as heart and lung disease, liver disease, diabetes, sexually transmitted diseases, chronic depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and the list goes on. (See graph at end of this post.)These outcomes coincide with an increase in high risk behaviors such as smoking, alcohol or drug abuse, and promiscuity. Those with higher ACEs scores are at increased risk of obesity, adolescent pregnancy, suicide, fetal death, intimate partner violence and sexual assault. (See graph at end of this post.)In addition, scientists have also examined the effect of childhood stress and trauma on brain development with similarly remarkable results. (See graph at end of this post.)It is now widely accepted that recurring childhood trauma can significantly change brain chemistry and inhibit brain development thereby increasing the rate of a variety of mental illnesses and learning disabilities.
(See graph at end of this post.)
Unfortunately, Christians also abuse their own children and other people’s children. We here at Chucklestravels have heard some horrendous accounts from survivors. Lamentably, when Christians discover abuse, instead of holding the abusive individual accountable, Christians are usually the first to blame the victim. Most of the time, it doesn’t stop with victim blaming but then proceeds on to attempt to confuse, inveigle and obfuscate investigations of law enforcement and social service organizations.
As we see it here at Chucklestravels, it is well past time for Christians to put an end to making light of abuse. It’s time to protect the innocent. It’s well past time to stop the victim blaming. It shouldn’t matter who he or she is. Let’s begin holding abusers accountable whether he be your pastor, Christian College professor, pew warmer or the addict on the corner.
(By the way, lest you think that the ACE Study was yet another involving inner-city poor people of color, take note: The study’s participants were 17,000 mostly white, middle and upper-middle class college-educated San Diegans with good jobs and great health care – they all belonged to the Kaiser Permanente health maintenance organization.)