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Inspiration: My Name Is Luka…

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“From small acorns, mighty oak trees grow…”   Geoffrey Chaucer’sTroilus and Criseyde

Inspiration: My Name Is Luka...

Suzanne VegaLuka

My name is Luka – Lyrics via
I live on the second floor
I live upstairs from you
Yes I think you’ve seen me before

If you hear something late at night
Some kind of trouble. some kind of fight
Just don’t ask me what it was
Just don’t ask me what it was
Just don’t ask me what it was… Contd below

25 years ago today, Suzanne Vega wrote and performed a song, My Name Is Luka, about child abuse that became a huge hit. When it came out in 1987, I listened to it incessantly. It struck a nerve with many people; child abuse survivors and advocates alike. The song was somewhat couched in careful words; just like a scared kid would do when the abuser has cautioned him/her to not say anything. When Suzanne performed the song today on Soundcheck/WNYC, it brought a flood of tears and memories of that period; a reminder that whether we are a mandated reporter, a victim of domestic violence, a product of  a dysfunctional family and more, we can all make a difference in the life of a child. We must speak up.

“Children are living beings – more living than grown-up people who have built shells of habit around themselves. Therefore it is absolutely necessary for their mental health and development that they should not have mere schools for their lessons, but a world whose guiding spirit is personal love.” Rabindranath Tagore

Inspiration: My Name Is Luka... Suzanne Vega

Intro to CDF – Children’s Defense Fund via Marian Wright Edelman

I think it’s because I’m clumsy
I try not to talk too loud
Maybe it’s because I’m crazy
I try not to act too proud

They only hit until you cry
After that you don’t ask why
You just don’t argue anymore
You just don’t argue anymore
You just don’t argue anymore… Contd below

According to the Child Welfare.Gov site, April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Since that first proclamation  in 1983, we have come to see April as “a time to recognize that we can each play a part in promoting the social and emotional well-being of children and families in communities.”  Even though the first Federal child protection legislation, the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), was passed in 1974, we remain a nation with growing concerns for the welfare and safety of all our children.

Every day, an innocent child dies from neglect or abuse; often at the hand of a family member. Every month, we gather to commiserate over another news media report on the subject. Every year,  the numbers of children who died from neglect and/or abuse increases. As shown below, while the numbers of fatality figures from 2009 might seem small, there is still reason to be concerned. We can act and there are tons of organizations that would appreciate our support. I’ve added several in the last paragraph of this post below…

The National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) reported an estimated 1,770 child fatalities in 2009. This translates to a rate of 2.34 children per 100,000 children in the general population. NCANDS defines “child fatality” as the death of a child caused by an injury resulting from abuse or neglect, or where abuse or neglect was a contributing factor. The number and rate of fatalities have been increasing during the past few years… (Update 2010 figures) A nationally estimated  1,560 children (compared with 1,750 children for FFY 2009) died from abuse and neglect. The national fatality rate per 100,000 children in the population was 2.07 for FFY 2010 compared with a national fatality rate of 2.32 for FFY 2009.During FFY 2010, an estimated 695,000 children in the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico were maltreated…

“It is good to realize that if love and peace can prevail on earth, and if we can teach our children to honor nature’s gifts, the joys and beauties of the outdoors will be here forever.”  Jimmy Carter

Inspiration: My Name Is Luka...

Children’s Rights: Silent Voices

Yes I think I’m okay
I walked into the door again
Well, if you ask that’s what I’ll say
And it’s not your business anyway
I guess I’d like to be alone
With nothing broken, nothing thrown
Just don’t ask me how I am [X3]
My name is Luka
I live on the second floor
I live upstairs from you
Yes I think you’ve seen me before… Contd below

Even with community effort, education, and the support of organizations that advocate for children, it is important to find additional resources to create preventive programs to help families at risk. has initiated plans for Preventing Child Abuse & Neglect. They include suggestions on; Strengthening families, building public awareness & creating supportive communities, establishing standards for Prevention programs, developing & sustaining prevention programs, maintaining an Evidence-based practice  and evaluating the overall effectiveness of prevention programs. Additionally, is an advocate of what it calls the 6 Protective Factors: Nurturing and Attachment, Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development, Parental Resilience, Social Connections, Concrete Supports for Parents, Social and Emotional Competence of Children. For more details on the above factors/headings, visit the Child site and section on prevention tools. Every child deserves a chance at life and some of this information might hit home if you or someone you know is a survivor of child abuse.  The Luka song is powerful and painful but can be cathartic if we act to help bring change.  More on organizations that help advocate for children’s rights below. More Below!

“I will fight for my children on any level so they can reach their potential as human beings and in their public duties.” Princess Diana

Inspiration: My Name Is Luka...

CDF National Conference: Invitation from Marian Wright Edelman

If you hear something late at night
Some kind of trouble, some kind of fight
Just don’t ask me what it was
Just don’t ask me what it was
Just don’t ask me what it was

And they only hit until you cry
After that, you don’t ask why
You just don’t argue anymore
You just don’t argue anymore
You just don’t argue anymore…

If you are able to volunteer or support the efforts of the many organizations that work to protect and help children in dire situations, there are many across the nation that we can support. The following are organizations that  I’m familiar with and that have been around for quite some time.  If you have others that you’d like me to include, please add their name in the comments section and I will update my post. Thank you!  Here are a few:
The Child Abuse Prevention Association/CAPA
Children’s Defense FundChildren’s Defense Fund founded by Marian Wright Edelman.
Darkness to Light/D2L
One Stand Against Child Abuse
American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children – The American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children
International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect/ISPCAN
National CASA AssociationCourt Appointed Special Advocates for Children

Stay Inspired! What are your thoughts? Were you abused as a child? How did you cope and who/what has helped you? What do you suggest would help change the situation?  Do share! Thank you. 🙂

This post was inspired by a prompt from WP Daily Post: Blogging For A Cause... Combining issues that you care about with your blogging is a great way to find inspiration, new blogging buddies, and contribute to a good cause. What causes are you passionate about?

*Please bear with me as I continue to catch up on your blogs and commenting… Thank you all for your patience! :-)

Positive Motivation Tip: Every child deserves love and protection. Every little bit counts. Help out.

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All Photos, Suzanne Vega, Fractured Ribs, Abused Boy via Wikipedia. And/Or via Flickr

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet

70 Comments leave one →
  1. 10/04/2012 12:26 am

    God I remember that song. Its amazing to read the lyrics and see how close to my own life it was in many ways. Thanks for sharing my Escaping Child Abuse in Steps Link Sassy.

    • 11/04/2012 8:06 pm

      Thank you for stopping by Sassy and for courageously sharing your insights on your blog. We can all make a difference to help those who cannot speak for themselves… That song has always held a special place in my heart and never fails to bring on tears… Blessings!

  2. 10/04/2012 2:24 am

    The song brings shivers down my spine.. I cannot imagine why someone would hurt a child… It is beyond comprehension.

    • 11/04/2012 8:15 pm

      It is reprehensible and I can’t imagine it either… The song is a powerful interpretation of the helplessness many children in abusive households experience daily. TY for your comment.

  3. 10/04/2012 2:55 am

    I remember that song.

    Tragic to think that nothing has really changed in twenty-five years.

    • 11/04/2012 8:16 pm

      Yes Tilly, it is tragic and that is why any support we can give to the organizations below would be great. Children are our future and all deserve a chance at life. TY!

  4. 10/04/2012 3:49 am

    Jen used to work with delinquent teens- they’re the law-breakers. She says it was amazing how many of them also had a history with child protective services.

    In Tennessee, if your child comes into the custody of the state, any benefits the adult receives for that child also come to the state to cover the cost of care. You would be amazed the change of heart in parents once they learn this. Moms or dads that could care less suddenly needed their babies home- because they wanted that money back.

    Lots of kids took the rap for a crime committed by a parent or older sibling because juveniles do months to an adult’s years locked up.

    It is sad Tilly, but we don’t really want to deal with that problem either. It’s yet another one of those that we want to say happens to “other” people, throw money at it, and hope it’ll go away.

    • 11/04/2012 8:19 pm

      I hear you and I remain hopeful that if enough of us choose to not sweep the subject under the carpet then more will be accomplished. There is a tremendous amount of effort made on many levels but we need more to happen and that is where our human capital comes into play. TY!

  5. 10/04/2012 3:54 am

    I feel deeply when that song gets played. Thanks for posting!

    • 11/04/2012 8:19 pm

      TY and I’m glad you felt the power of that song… Glad to see you here again.

  6. 10/04/2012 3:56 am

    Such an important subject – thanks Elizabeth.

    • 11/04/2012 8:21 pm

      TY too for your feedback. It is National Child Abuse Prevention month and I believe we can all help in some way; blogging about it is a start.

  7. 10/04/2012 5:39 am

    I read A Child Called It by David Peltzer, and I will never foget the horror and recoil of my emotions as I learnt of the inhuman abuse meted out to David by his biological mother. Somewhow, I could never reconcile myself
    to the knowledge that she was emotionally and mentally unbalanced. Indeed, child abuse is horrendous; maybe our sympathies should also go out to the perpetrators, diffuicult as it may be, because every child deserves to be loved and cared for.

    • 11/04/2012 8:26 pm

      Yes, I remember how disturbing that book was and how much David is a testament to the resiliency of the human spirit… We can help make all abused kids voices heard by raising awareness on the subject. The abused need help and the perpetrators need to acknowledge what they have done and get help. TY!

  8. 10/04/2012 6:09 am

    Not sure how I missed that song!
    The news here isn’t better, unfortunately. We really must do more to protect our children. Thanks for this reminder, Elizabeth.

    • 11/04/2012 8:39 pm

      It was a huge hit in the late 1980s and it gave voice to the terrible tragedy that is child abuse… I’m glad you can listen to it now… Yes, more needs to be done.

  9. 10/04/2012 6:43 am

    Such an important reminder, Elizabeth. I volunteered for CASA for several years and was a Court Appointed Special Advocate, and although I haven’t been able to continue in that particular service, I will always find ways to be a child advocate. My best childhood friend was being abused–back in the day when there were no laws to protect children and I went to school and reported it…nothing changed for her. Although I wasn’t the one in physical harm, realizing helplessness on behalf of a friend changed me forever. Thanks, Elizabeth. Debra

    • 11/04/2012 8:44 pm

      TY for sharing your experience as an advocate and about your friend… Isn’t that awful that nothing was done? Nowadays, the schools must act or be held liable. Whatever became of your friend? Are you still in touch?

      • 11/04/2012 8:48 pm

        We are still very close friends, Elizabeth, and often recall the past with much sadness. Her life has not been easy…emotional scars just never heal. She has a strong personal faith!

      • 11/04/2012 9:11 pm

        I’m glad you’ve stayed connected. I’m also sorry to read that the sadness remains, yet I feel hopeful that her faith has helped her manage the scars and pain… which sadly never go away; at least not fully. Thanks again for your reply.

  10. 10/04/2012 6:57 am

    They had nothing for me when I was a kid. I finally ran away when I was 13 and never looked back. The one thing I taught my children… Remember to be kind everyday because everyone you will come in contact with today is fighting some kind of battle so don’t add to their load. I told them this advise will server them well. Today my two oldest tell me they never forgot that lesson. One works at st. Jude hospital the other with animals both are neutering loving parents. They broke the cycle. We needed this post. Thank you

    • 11/04/2012 8:46 pm

      Wow! I had no idea… and I apprecaite your sharing this part of your life. You broke the cycle and your story would offer a ray of hope to someone else; a child, a teen perhaps more. I hope you write on it on your blog soon. TY!

  11. 10/04/2012 7:30 am

    The protection of innocent children is the most important thing we can do. Thank you for a great post.

    • 11/04/2012 8:47 pm

      TY and I concur! It will take the effort of each community to serve as vigilant advocates too.

  12. Bree permalink
    10/04/2012 10:56 am

    Thank you for a timely post on a critical subject. Everytime I see a sad child next to an aggressive adult, I wonder what that child must go through. There are no laws that say we must become parents and so it maddens me when I read about parents abusing and murdering their children. This post and the song are haunting and on point. Thank you!

    • 11/04/2012 8:49 pm

      TY and yes, becoming a parent is neither mandated nor required and it is my prayer that those who do become parents take the role seriously and lovingly… Child can’t defend themselves from the wrath of an angry adult… they deserve better.

  13. 10/04/2012 1:02 pm

    Elizabeth I have counselled a few adult survivors of child abuse over the years and even one abuser. It’s the most rewarding work when you help someone begin to heal. Thanks for this post, I’ve never heard the Suzanne Vega song.

    • 11/04/2012 8:51 pm

      I can imagine the psychic healing that comes from oing such heartwrenching work. TY for sharing and I do hope you still work in the field… do you?

  14. 10/04/2012 1:19 pm

    Powerful commentary today.

    • 11/04/2012 8:55 pm

      TY Leanne! The topic needs lots of attention and support.

  15. 10/04/2012 3:42 pm

    This breaks my heart. It is hard to imagine but it happens and we should never ever turn away.

    • 11/04/2012 8:57 pm

      It breaks my heart too… we were all kids once and we can remember how painful it felt to be dismissed… abuse is another level of that dismissal.

  16. 10/04/2012 4:44 pm

    Stopping child abuse is a very important and worthy cause. Wonderful, yet poignant, post Elizabeth.

    • 11/04/2012 8:58 pm

      It is imperative that we lend our strength to the cause. Thanks for your feedback!

  17. 10/04/2012 9:21 pm

    Thank you for that Elizabeth. Here in this land of plenty New Zealand we have a terrible record of child abuse. Each child deserves the same care and rotection that we give ours. I had never heard that song, but it brought shivers down my spine.

    • 11/04/2012 9:00 pm

      TY for sharing the conditions in NZ. All children deserve a chance at life globally and if more of us get involved and do our bit, it would help trememdously. I’m gald you have now connecetd with the song. It is beautiful and poignant.

  18. RainbowNerdette permalink
    11/04/2012 10:49 am

    I understood that song before I understood English…
    I learned English from the age of 10.

    Amazing song.

    I think everyone can make a difference for an abused child. Even if you can’t do anything about the abuse you can still empower the child and give it a sense of selfworth an the strength to live on.

    • 11/04/2012 9:03 pm

      I agree with you Rainbow and you are right that each of us can help empower a child, report abuse and give them hope. TY for stopping by and you made a good point there that the song transcends language too… The message is clear. Thanks again.

  19. 11/04/2012 8:06 pm

    I too loved that song when it first came out. I kept listening to the lyrics. I’ve seen enough abused children in my previous career. (see blog entry titled “So Broken”). Unfortunately, some of their faces and the stories behind them still continue to haunt me.

    • 11/04/2012 9:06 pm

      I still feel the powerful poignant emotions that the song evokes… even after all these years of listening to it. The faces, the stories, the despair make it ever so critical that we do more… TY for your feedback.

    • 11/04/2012 9:07 pm

      I’ll stop by to find that blog post or you can leave a link to it here and I’ll add it to my related articles list. TY!

      • 15/04/2012 2:39 pm

        Sorry for the delay. B Internet connection has been spotty where we are right now. The blog entry I was referring to is:

        Title is “So Broken.”. Still can’t forget that girl.

  20. 12/04/2012 6:43 am

    Yesterday a three month old infant succumbed to injuries inflicted on her by her father who did not want a girl child!!! She had been battered beyond belief. I am hoping his fate will be a million times worse than a few years in jail.

    • 14/04/2012 11:19 pm

      How horrific… and to imagine this was a three month old baby. What a demon! 🙁

  21. 12/04/2012 6:44 am

    I was so full of anger I forgot to thank you for your post 🙂

    • 14/04/2012 11:20 pm

      No worries… I am just as disturbed by it…

  22. 14/04/2012 7:05 am

    Were you abused as a child? – yes
    What has helped you? – at first teachers…
    In Germany corporal punishment was allowed till the seventies.
    I was born 1945…
    now more and more victims discuss
    the decades of corporal punishment publicly …
    especially those in orphanages organized by the church …

    • 14/04/2012 11:20 pm

      TY for sharing Frizztext and I’m sorry to read about what you went though… all childen deserve better. 🙁

  23. 14/04/2012 9:28 am

    Wonderfully powerful and inspiring post to remind us that April is National Child Abuse Awareness Month! Love the song about that little boy!

    • 14/04/2012 11:21 pm

      TY for your feedback. It is a great song and handles the subjcet with sensitivity.

  24. 15/04/2012 12:34 am

    Very touching article, Elizabeth. Thank you for supporting such a worthy cause.

    • 15/04/2012 2:48 am

      And TY for adding your voice to the conversation…

  25. 15/04/2012 2:31 am

    Reblogged this on willowdot21 and commented:
    This a daunting post but well worth reading and watching the videos therein.The statistics are American ( I am English ) but I feel they must comparable the world over. Sadly there are some countries were they are far worse. Please read and listen and learn!

  26. 15/04/2012 2:33 am

    Thank you for your kind words on my blog, I have reblogged this post because I believe the more people who see this the more chance we have of something being done. Thank you for careing. xxxxx

    • 15/04/2012 2:57 am

      Oh TY so much Willow! Your post and voice add greatly to the cause…
      I agree with you that with information out there, we stand a chance of more being done.
      Thanks again!

  27. 15/04/2012 2:59 am

    My pleasure! XX 😉

  28. 15/04/2012 10:42 pm

    I remember that song so well…
    I remember thinking how beautiful a soul
    she sang about a taboo subject and everyone listened
    at least for a moment….
    when I was young the establishment blamed the child..
    didn;t matter that we had no access to porno there was nothing like this on tv..I love Lucy was scandalous because they slept in the same room, even though they had separate beds…
    yes inadvertly the child was blamed… sad.the damage that was done because of that and so much more…
    yes I remember thinking she was an Angel…which she is ….
    Thank you for sharing this…
    I will too…
    Take Care…You Matter…

    • 15/04/2012 11:21 pm

      Yes and it just breaks my heart every time I hear it…. beautiful and poignant. TY for the reblog. Thank you and you matter too… I love that phrase

  29. 15/04/2012 10:43 pm

    Reblogged this on ladybluerose and commented:
    a blog that needs to be seen again and again until all voices are heard and not afraid to be heard..I remember “My Name is Luka” a powerful song then and now…

    • 20/04/2012 1:35 pm

      Thank you so much and I believe I thanked you on your blog too… Don’t know how missed this one. Blessings! 🙂

  30. 17/04/2012 12:13 pm

    I remember the song well… I LIVED IT! You asked… “What are your thoughts? Were you abused as a child? How did you cope and who/what has helped you? What do you suggest would help change the situation? Do share! Thank you.”
    I can tell you… ♪it’s all because of Jesus I’m alive!♪
    So I share with this… I do not have all the answers for every need but I have all thee answer one will ever need… Jesus. [This is the only thing that worked for me, and believe me when I say… I tried everything.]
    I know this may sound simple, I don’t mean to come across as taking this lightly. But… when I gave up my rights to Him, I found freedom, beauty from ashes, an oil of joy for mourning, and a garment of praise [& worship] over a spirit of heaviness [more at Isaiah 61].
    Child abuse has long lasting consequences. The loss of my childhood went onto and into my adulthood. I suffered from a food addiction for 15 years before I was freed. Child abuse is also more than a physical fatality. It rocks [& not in a good way] the foundational core of our being [family & relationship… connection, safety/security, value, acceptance, & love…].
    In all my years as a human services professional, student assistance counselor, guidance counselor, or even through college or graduate studies, I could find nothing & nobody but Jesus who could answer prayers, remove mountains of adversity, free the captives, perform miracles, and provide LIFE. Just sayin’
    [I do not want to portray or define myself in a Christianese light. I have a great distaste for “religion” [aka legalism], but what I am is knee-deep in a love affair with Christ!] After all, HE’s the reason I’m here. 🙂

    Thank you for letting me vent ;). This is a very important issue & I thank you for highlighting it! Oh… btw, as a child I dreamt of standing on a stage as my childhood prayers ‘played’ behind me, and I stood for children & against abuse. And with my out-loud voice… “We may not be able to change the circumstances of our lives, but we NEVER have to live them … alone!”

    • 17/04/2012 12:18 pm

      Thank you for sharing so honestly… I’m sorry you had such an experience; no child should have to endure such a betrayal of trust… I’m glad you found comfort in the Lord… Blessings! 🙂

  31. 20/04/2012 8:28 am

    I’m a little behind blogging, too, obviously. You obviously put a great amount of time and love into this post, so I’m glad I didn’t miss this. It is heartbreaking to think of how many children suffer in this world, while so many people that might be aware, don’t want to interfere. And even though, I am against ‘over’ Government regulation, I honestly believe that child abusers should be punished severly. Sadly though, it is sometimes difficult to tell a legitimate bruise (from an actual fall) from one caused by a beating. I think too, many children that are abused, grow up to become abusers because they carry an anger inside, the rest of us can’t understand. Very important subject and a wonderful share. Thanks for posting this.

    • 20/04/2012 1:34 pm

      You are welcome Orples and thank you for your feedback. It is tragic that we find the cycle repeating itself for a variety of reasons, including the ones you mention. This is a tough time economically for many and so those incidences are on the rise. Children can’t always stand up for themselves so every bit of help; govt and otherwise will make a difference. I’m right behind you on having to catch up on blogs… Will get there soon.
      \Blessings! 🙂

  32. 02/05/2012 9:52 am

    Absolutely brilliant post. I’m sure Suzanne Vega would be ecstatic that her powerful song is still inspiring thought and positive change for children and all of us. Well done!

    • 02/05/2012 10:14 am

      Ty and yes, I bet she is… I’m glad her song on a difficult subject still touches us years later. 🙂

  33. 04/05/2012 9:40 am

    This is heart-rending,so tragic, I could almost feel the pain! Next is my question, How can I be of help?

    • 04/05/2012 12:01 pm

      Hi Cynthia, Thanks for stopping by. I’ve listed several organizations that work on this matter on my post and they would appreciate your time and/or help. Click on any and the link will take you to their websites. Have a great weekend!


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