V. Children Face Worrisome Safety Problems
The high incidence of school shootings, widespread school violence and lack of effective government oversight of children abuse has posed a threat to American children both physically and mentally and their living environment is worrisome.
School shootings frequently occurred. According to a BBC report on December 12, 2018, the year of 2018 has had the highest number of incidents ever recorded, in figures going back to 1970, and has been the worst year for deaths and injuries. Data from the U.S. Center for Homeland Defense and Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency showed that there were 94 gun incidents in U.S. schools in 2018, with 163 casualties, compared with a previous high of 97 in 1986. On February 14, 2018, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, equipped with a gun and multiple magazines of ammunition, opened fire at a Florida high school, killing 17 people and injuring at least 14. Cruz had pulled the fire alarm and then started shooting with the semi-automatic weapon at students who came pouring out of the classrooms (www.usatoday.com, February 14, 2018). According to a report by Pew Research Center on April 18, 2018, 57 percent of teens surveyed said they were worried about the possibility of a shooting happening at their school, while 63 percent of parents of teenagers said they were at least somewhat worried about the possibility of a shooting happening at their child's school.
The problem of school violence is prominent. Violent incidents in U.S. schools increased 113 percent during the past 2017-2018 school year. According to a survey based on responses from more than 160,000 secondary students in 27 states, nearly 40 percent of middle-schoolers said they'd been bullied while 27 percent of high-schoolers said the same (www.usatoday.com, August 14 and September 24, 2018). American School & University reported on December 10, 2018 that more than 600 schools in Florida failed to report crimes that took place on campus to the state each year.
Children suffer from serious threats of abuse. According to statistics from U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 1 in 4 children in America experienced maltreatment at some point in their lives (www.usatoday.com, July 26, 2018). Texas Tribune reported on December 6, 2018, hundreds of children were abused and 88 died of abuse and neglect in Texas day care facilities in the last decade. According to a report by The Guardian on December 18, 2018, an education center in Canton, Massachusetts, routinely inflicted high-powered electric shocks as a form of punishment on students, with individuals being zapped with electric currents far more powerful than those discharged by stun guns. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights issued a rare formal notice known as "precautionary measures" that calls for immediate cessation of the electric shocks.
Children fall victims to priest sexual abuse. According to a CBS report on August 15, 2018, more than 300 Catholic priests in Pennsylvania committed sexual abuse against a large number of children over a period of decades, with more than 1,000 victims, while senior church officials took steps to cover it up. A report from Attorney General in Illinois showed that 690 Catholic priests were suspected of sexual abuse against children in the state (www.chicagotribune.com, December 19, 2018). According to a report by Star-Telegram on December 9, 2018, more than one hundred clergies from fundamental Baptist churches spanning 40 U.S. states were accused of committing sexual crimes against children.
The U.S. government neglected the protection of children's rights. According to a report by Chicago Tribune on July 13, 2018, in some states, the adoption system lacks transparency and issues such as the living conditions of adopted children and reports of child abuse have been ignored for years. The lack of effective oversight by the federal and state governments has led to frequent incidents of abuse or murder of adopted children. On November 28, 2018, the Miami Herald published a lengthy investigative report on multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein's underage girl sex trafficking based on a review of court filings. Between 2001 and 2005, Epstein allegedly abducted and trafficked underage girls from other countries and forced them to provide sexual services to his bigwig friends, with more than 80 victims. Federal prosecutors forged a plea deal with Epstein to sentence him to 13 months in prison on only one count and end investigation into potential co-conspirators in the case. The report said some senior government official had helped broker the deal for such light conviction.
Children are suffering from poverty. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, more than 13 million children – about one in six – in the United States live in families with inconsistent access to food. These children can experience hunger on a regular basis. According to figures released by U.S. Census Bureau, 20.2 percent of American children under 5-years-old live in poverty (www.usatoday.com, October 1 and October 10, 2018).
VI. Shocking Gender Discrimination
The U.S. women faced severe threat in terms of sexual harassment and sexual assault, with personal safety in lack of protection. They also face obvious discrimination of employment and in workplace.
High occurrence rate of sexual harassment and assault. As reported by National Public Radio on February 21, 2018, an online survey found that 81 percent of women had experienced some form of sexual harassment during their lifetime. It also found that 51 percent had been sexually touched without their permission, and 27 percent said they had survived sexual assault (www.npr.org, February 21, 2018). As reported by Des Moines Register on October 14, 2018, about two-dozen Iowa legislators and staff members were involved in the Anderson case of sexual harassment. Being afraid of losing job or retaliation, the victims had to remain silent for over 10 years.
The state government paid a settlement of 1.75 million U.S. dollars. As reported by USA Today on September 26, sexual harassment and assault have become a systemic issue in Hollywood. According to an industry-wide survey, 94 percent of the surveyed women would have experienced some form of harassment or abuse during their career. As reported by Gallup on November 12, a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report found that 18.3 percent of women were the victims of rape at some point in their lifetime. The report also found that the percentage of the U.S. women who say they worry about being a victim of sexual assault has edged up to 36 percent, the highest this figure has been since 2011 (news.gallup.com, November 12, 2018).
Women under violent offending. Research by the U.S. National Institute of Justice showed that over four in five American Indian and Alaska Native women have experienced violence in their lifetime, and more than half of them have experienced sexual violence. As reported by Huffington Post on November 14, 2018, 5,712 cases of missing Native women nationwide were reported to the U.S. National Crime Information Center in 2016 alone. As reported by Los Angeles Times on October 8, 2018, between 2006 and 2014, more than 5,000 women were shot and killed by a current or former intimate partner.
Significant wage gap between men and women. According to date from the U.S. Census Bureau, the average gender pay gap in the United States is around 19.5 percent, and a woman earns only 80.5 percent of the wage a man earns (www.businessinsider.com, August 27, 2018). The gender wage gap was even worse than the statistics. In the long term, women made slightly less than half of men's incoming. Among full-time, year-round workers, women with associate's degrees were paid less than men with just a high school diploma, and women with master's degrees were paid less than men with bachelor's degrees. A gender-based wage gap continues to harm women and their families (www.huffingtonpost.com, November 28, 2018; www.nationalpartnership.org, April and September, 2018).
Prevalent discrimination in workplace. According to a report by San Francisco Chronicle on December 21, 2018, discrimination against pregnant women and new mothers remains widespread in the U.S. workplace. Half of women working in science, technology, engineering or math jobs have experienced gender discrimination in the workplace. About 70 percent of women said that there were too few women in political and business leadership positions (www.pewsocialtrends.org, January 9 and September 20, 2018).
Upsurge of women's discontent sentiment about their social positions. The Gallup website reported on January 10, 2018, that 46 percent of women in the United States said they were very or somewhat dissatisfied with their position in society, up from 30 percent in 2008, when Gallup last asked the question. As reported by The New York Times on January 20, 2018, millions attended the Women's March 2018 to show intense protest against the government's policies.