"My uncle and my dad would take turns hitting me with a shovel.”
“I screamed and screamed but no one came.”
“From the time I was just a little kid, my mother would tell me how worthless I was…."
- Approximately five children die from child abuse and neglect on a every day.
- 2.9 million cases of child abuse are reported every year.
- Children who are abused are 59% more likely to be arrested as a juvenile; 28% more likely to be arrested as an adult; and 30% more likely to commit violent crimes.
- More than 79% of 21-year-olds who were abused as children meet criteria for at least one psychological disorder.
Children who are victims of abuse often experience symptoms of stress in reaction to the abuse, in addition to symptoms that are specific to the kind of abuse they have suffered. As the principal target of Fred Phelps’ abusive rage for 18 years, Nate, Mark and Dortha endured extreme trauma at the hands of their father. From brutal beatings with a mattock handle to daily “weigh-ins” and forced diets, Fred used every means possible to torture his children into submission. This abuse was exacerbated by Fred’s constant recitation of Bible verses that he believed justified his extreme acts of violence coupled with persistent threats of being eternally damned to the fires of hell.