The Worst Fourth Pirate in History


This is an author’s note regarding facts and figures.

As you know, Aaron Hotchner is a fictional character. Child abuse and its effects, however, are very real and often deadly. In the U.S. alone, of the 6 million children who are abused or neglected, an estimated 1,640 children die every year (4 to 5 children per day). Just over 75% of these children are only three years old or younger. Also, three-quarters of child abuse deaths happen at the hands of parents. Worldwide, abuse affects about 40 million children.

The four types of child abuse are physical, emotional, sexual, and neglect. All are incredibly harmful and may have lasting effects on the child. Many children who have been abused repeat the cycle by abusing others, but this is never the only option. Many abused children have become successful adults, loving parents, and stable citizens. Individual choices truly are crucial, and I have seen the results of many different choices.

It is important to consider the distinction between abuse and discipline. I do support the latter within reason. However, the line between the two is often hard to define. In most U.S. state jurisdictions, the law distinguishes abuse as “any act (or failure to act) that:

Results in imminent risk or serious harm to a child’s health and welfare due to physical, emotional, or sexual abuse;

affects the child (typically under the age of 18);

by a parent or caregiver who is responsible for the child’s welfare.”

In most states, people have a legal and moral obligation to report to the authorities if they suspect child abuse or neglect. This can be done anonymously by calling a statewide, toll-free hotline (see list at the end). Unfortunately, I can only speak for U.S. law and customs. I am sure that similar support systems and hotlines have been set up in many other nations as well, which you can probably find out with a little research.

For more details about spotting the signs of abuse and knowing what to do, you can visit the official website of the FBI and enter the search words “child abuse.” One of the first few search results is “When You Suspect Child Abuse or Neglect.” This link will take you to a brochure that outlines nearly everything you need to know. Another helpful search result is “The Child Victims Brochure.” This link gives a lot of helpful information about reporting abuse and talking to the child in question.

If you have been or are being abused, know that there is hope. You can get help by calling your state’s abuse hotline or talking to a school counselor, police officer, pastor, or trusted adult. And no matter what, know that Jesus loves you so much He was willing to die in your place so that you can have eternal life with Him, even if your physical body perishes. His love is greater than anything. You can learn more by reading the Bible, especially starting with the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The entire Bible is available online at sites like Bible Gateway.

State Specific Child Abuse Hotlines

ALABAMA: (334) 242-9500

ALASKA: (800) 478-4444

ARIZONA: (888) SOS-CHILD, or (888-767-2445)

ARKANSAS: (800) 482-5964

CALIFORNIA: (800) 422-4453

COLORADO: (303) 866-5932

CONNECTICUT: TDD: (800) 624-5518, Toll-Free: (800) 842-2288

DELAWARE: (800) 292-9582

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: (202) 671-SAFE, or (202-671-7233)

FLORIDA: (800) 96-ABUSE, or (800-962-2873)

GEORGIA: (800) 422-4453

HAWAII: (808) 832-5300

IDAHO: (800) 926-2588

ILLINOIS: Toll-free: (800) 252-2873, Local: (217) 524-2606

INDIANA: (800) 800-5556

IOWA: (800) 362-2178

KANSAS: (800) 922-5330

KENTUCKY: (800) 752-6200

LOUISIANA: (800) 422-4453

MAINE: TTY: (800) 963-9490, Toll-Free: (800) 452-1999

MARYLAND: (800) 422-4453

MASSACHUSETTS: (800) 792-5200

MICHIGAN: (800) 422-4453

MINNESOTA: (800) 422-4453

MISSISSIPPI: Toll-free: (800) 222-8000, Local: (601) 359-4991

MISSOURI: Toll-free: (800) 392-3738, Local: (573) 751-3448

MONTANA: (866) 820-5437

NEBRASKA: (800) 652-1999

NEVADA: Toll-free: (800) 992-5757, Local: (775) 684-4400

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Toll-free: (800) 894-5533, Local: (603) 271-6556

NEW JERSEY: TDD: (800) 835-5510, TTY: (800) 835-5510, Toll-free: (877) 652-2873

NEW MEXICO: Toll-free: (800) 797-3260, Local: (505) 841-6100

NEW YORK: TDD: (800) 369-2437, Toll-free: (800) 342-3720, Local: (518) 474-8740

NORTH CAROLINA: (800) 422-4453

NORTH DAKOTA: (800) 422-4453

OHIO: (800) 422-4453

OKLAHOMA: (800) 522-3511

OREGON: (800) 422-4453

PENNSYLVANIA: (800) 932-0313

PUERTO RICO: Toll-free: (800) 981-8333, Local: (787) 749-1333

RHODE ISLAND: (800) RI-CHILD, or (800) 742-4453

SOUTH CAROLINA: (803) 898-7318

SOUTH DAKOTA: (605) 773-3227

TENNESSEE: (877) 237-0004

TEXAS: Toll-free: (800) 252-5400, Local: (512) 834-3784

UTAH: (800) 678-9399

VERMONT: (800) 649-5285

VIRGINIA: Toll-free: (800) 552-7096, Local: (804) 786-8536

WASHINGTON: TTY: (800) 624-6186, Toll-free: (866) END-HARM, or (866-363-4276), After Hours: (800) 562-5624

WEST VIRGINIA: (800) 352-6513

WISCONSIN: (800) 422-4453

WYOMING: (800) 422-4453

Here are a few more quick, relevant facts to help you stay informed —

Does abortion decrease the number of child abuse cases? In 1973, the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalized abortion in the United States, which has been argued as a preventative solution to many child abuse situations. That year, there were about 167,000 child abuse cases. Just ten years later, the number of annual child abuse cases increased by 500% to 929,000 cases.

The number has rapidly grown and is currently estimated at about SIX MILLION abused children annually (about 3 million cases, many involving more than one child, generally estimated at about 6 million individuals). This marks a 3492% (three thousand four hundred ninety-two percent) increase since 1973. Also worth noting, there have been approximately 56 million abortions since Roe v. Wade. Don’t take it from me; you can look up these figures. Do these facts point to a widespread disregard for the value of children’s lives? What do you think?

Thank you all for reading, and God bless.

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