By HEATHER HESSELINK
Over the past few years, the community has experienced startling tales of child abuse — many in our own backyards. April is national child abuse prevention month and on April 22, all persons interested in putting an end to abuse will have a chance to be heard.
With the members of the Million March Against Child Abuse (MMACA) and Prevent Child Abuse America, walks will be held across the nation encouraging citizens to stand together and demand tougher laws for child abuse in all 50 states. In Michigan, marches are currently being planned in Ann Arbor, Bad Axe, Benton Harbor, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Lansing, Pontiac, Port Huron and Stevensville. A march will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Grand Rapids, starting at the 61st District court building at 180 Ottawa Ave. Northwest.
MMACA states that at a recent Washington Congressional hearing in June 2011, experts said they believe nearly 10 children die each day from abuse. “States are not mandated to report child fatalities as a result of CAN or any type of abuse whether fatal or not,” according to MMACA. “We are not seeking to create more bureaucracy, but rather, demanding our lawmakers begin to protect our children through stiffer sentencing for child abuse, including mandatory life without parole for violent crimes such as child rape and murder.”
If you’re interested in supporting the fight against child abuse, you can sign up to join the walk. There is no cost. For more information on how to register for a walk in one of the Michigan cities, go to http://www.facebook.com/MMACAmarches/info.