By Laci Sutton / Opinion Page Editor

**Before I get started, I want to provide a trigger warning for anyone reading this. There will be mentions of abuse and neglect. **

Nursing school requires us to discuss difficult topics so we are able to provide exceptional healthcare in a variety of different cases.
This week, one of our topics included the discussion of abuse and neglect. It was a heartbreaking discussion, but one concept bothered me in particular.

As healthcare providers, we are mandated reporters. If we suspect any sort of abuse, neglect, or maltreatment, we have a duty to report our findings to child protective services or adult protective services. 

The reports are made in hopes the situation will be investigated properly.

One of my classmates shared their experience with reporting and the investigation process.

In her experience, she was told that three separate reports from three different people must be made before any sort of investigation will occur.

That is incredibly unsettling to me. I’m not sure if this was just for her case, or if this is the county’s general guidelines in handling abuse reports, but either way, I feel this should be different. (I will be doing some research to see if that’s true.)

I’m concerned that it takes numerous reports before it’s investigated at all. After one ignored report it may be too late.

Abuse and neglect are not topics to be taken lightly.

I strongly believe the lack of action is a huge reason cases are not reported. Why should they speak up if they know nothing will happen?

And while we’re on this topic, can we stop teaching that males are the abusers and females are the victims?

I understand this is the more common scenario, but we need to understand that it can be anybody.

This stereotype is another contributing factor to the lack of reported cases. We are constantly drilling into males’ heads that they need to be tough and emotionless.

Imagine hearing that your entire life and then being a victim of abuse. I can only imagine the emotions following the trauma itself.

These stigmas must come to an end. An abuser is an abuser, and a victim is a victim. Gender should have nothing to do with it.

These conversations are incredibly uncomfortable, but they are ones that should be had more often. As a society, we need to do better.It is unacceptable and we need to start making some serious changes.

Laci Sutton is a Nickerson senior studying nursing. She is the Collegian’s Opinion Page Editor.

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