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Judith is a battered 12-year-old who blames herself rather than her mother for her mothers constant and increasing physical abuse Michael one of her classmates recently suffered from the emotional abuse of his severely critical father Judith misses school often and keeps to herself Oddly she wears a turtleneck even on warm days and frequently has an excuse for getting out of gym Yet the mysterious girl reminds schoolmate Michael of a friend who had helped him break out of his shell of loneliness and inadequacy As Michael befriends Judith and gradually chips away at her secrets he finds a girl emotionally and physically bruised and only when its almost too late does he realize that Judiths mother is to blame Set in Holland Bruises is a wrenching portrait of a family in crisis Although I was impatient for the adults in Judiths world to pick up on what is going on at home and act more decisively to help her their hesitation and dim realization of her suffering are perhaps what is most realistic of all Estimates of abuse range wildly depending on the source of ones information From one to two million children per year are victims of child abuse All sources agree on the simple truth that not nearly all cases of child abuse are reported or even estimated Many cases go unreported less than 50 by current estimates The amount of child abuse is staggering to think about let alone deal with By the age of eighteen one in three girls will have been sexually molested and one in six boys will have been molested in that same time frame Although throughout this paper we shall discuss not only the effects of sexual abuse but abuse in all its forms It is clear that families are undergoing a number of important structural changes families are smaller than in the past with
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