By: KATE SAARI
During quarantine, plenty of kids have enjoyed working from home for school. Showing your face usually isn’t mandatory, longer in between class breaks, being able to work on your own time, and so much more. Being home can take off of the stress of students and teachers and make you feel more comfortable learning in your own personal workspace. However, there are kids where being home isn’t as convenient and safe. Some students are lucky enough to be surrounded by happy, healthy, and stable family relationships while being home permanently for school, whereas there are some children that have unfortunate living conditions and have awful guardians treating them unacceptably. Although doing schoolwork from home may seem easier and beneficial for others, this is other students’ living nightmare, being forced to stay home in a toxic environment.
Undoubtedly, being stuck at home being quarantined with family isn’t an ideal situation. Bothersome siblings and parents, not being able to see friends, and only being able to leave the house if it’s essential. We don’t realize how good we have it. For example, 9 year old Sophie Long from Frisco, Texas went viral on social media for having a powerful yet painful discussion with her abusers, also known as her mother and her mother’s fiance. The video documents her refusing to leave the car for a custody exchange on September 1st, 2020 . The video from The U.S Sun shows her mother asking her to get out of the car multiple times and come with her. Sophie screams “No! I am not coming with you! I am smart, don’t think I don’t know what you are doing!” with tears pouring down her red face. The grandma tries to reason with her, asking her why she won’t leave with her mom. “He touches me” Sophie says, “My Vivi (vagina), and mom watches.” This poor traumatized girl is being forced to stay in a dangerous environment, because her mom has full custody and she can’t go to school, so the amount of time spent with her abusers has multiplied. The fact she wasn’t allowed to escape from her abusive parent and her fiance, and at least use school as her safe outlet is devastating. Luckily, Sophie’s dad was able to win full custody, but it wasn’t easy. Sophie was finally heard, but sadly not every child has the opportunity to use their voice to depart from their critical home life.
Children of all ages can experience some type of abuse, whether it is from a family member or a complete stranger. The National Children Alliance reported “Nearly 700,000 children are abused in the U.S each year…the actual number of children abused is likely underreported.” As the NCA claims, that is just reported cases of harassment, think of all the other minors who haven’t been able to reach out and expose their abuser. According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network), there has been an increase in the number of minors calling to the National Sexual Assult Hotline. The organization claims “By the end of March, with much of the country under lockdown, there was a 22% increase in monthly calls from people younger than 18, and half of all incoming contacts were from minors.” With school being shut down and becoming online only, students have become more vulnerable than ever to adult predators. Despite the fact children are prevented from physical bullying by their own peers, a new category of harm has become more prevalent during quarantine.
As we know, there are so many people under the age of 18 who have been mistreated and have not been able to go to school to pause their pain for at least 6 hours. We take for granted having the ability to go to school and coming home to a secure loving environment. As irritated as you get with your loved ones at home during this pandemic, just think about the kids of your age where an apology can’t be used to make things permanently right. Thankfully, there is a hotline for the public to reach if there is a situation specific to Child Abuse, in which they contact the authorities for you and settle things without the offender knowing. If you were to ever need help, whether it was you or someone you know, the number is 800-656-HOPE (4673). Still, not everyone has a phone or even the courage to reveal the agonizing truth. School isn’t easy, and not just talking about the physical assignments, but for some students, school allows them to go to a place to not think about the difficult challenges they’ll have to face when that last school bell rings.