Child Abuse, Suicide and the Need for Hope

February 8, 2017 | Michael Heykoop

Suicide is a growing problem in Canada and around the Globe. As recently as 2009, an astonishing 3,890 Canadians took their own lives, making it the ninth leading cause of death in Canada. These deaths rarely find the headlines, unless someone famous is involved. Yet, within days of each other, the National Post featured two different stories on the suicides of two individuals whose names you likely have never heard before. These suicides, from two different provinces, are linked in highlighting several grave concerns about modern society.

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The first news story, out of London, Ontario, detailed the events surrounding the suicide of a woman described as "vivacious, happy, sociable and a terrific mom. A woman who could light up a room" (The National Post, "Juror Suicide Brings Call for More Caution in Trials With Graphic Evidence," December 16, 2016). What could cause someone who seemingly had everything going for her to suddenly take her life? She had recently been selected to serve as a jury member for a high profile case. The trial centered on the death of a toddler whose parents stood accused of criminal neglect causing death.

The evidence shown throughout the trial was horrifying. Photos of the toddler's burns, the results of being scalded with boiling coffee, and a detailed account of his three day struggle before succumbing to his injuries left the juror visibly shaken-and understandably so. While no direct proof has been shown that this event was the cause of her suicide, it has generated a public conversation about the mental health effects of serving on a jury.

Two days later, a story surfaced from Montreal telling of the suicide of a well-known pediatrician, Dr. Alain Sirard. Dr. Sirard often served as an expert witness for cases involving child abuse. The stories he could tell are heartbreaking. More than a decade of treating children, seeing the results of mankind at its worst, would no doubt leave a mark. Recently, Sirard has come under fire after the clinic where he worked was featured on television as part of an hour-long investigation. The investigation indicated that the clinic had been too presumptuous in referring suspected child abuse cases. The story weighed heavily on Sirard, and he was attacked while out walking, suffering stab wounds by an unidentified assailant.

While each story has more details than we are likely to ever know, they highlight many disturbing realities of today's society. Let's examine two. First, an increasing lack of even the most basic morality. While this type of child abuse is not the norm, it is indicative of a society that is losing its way. Suicide, child abuse, divorce, and fraud are all too common, with effective solutions few and far between.

Secondly, an increasing lack of hope. Under the harshest of circumstances, people often find solace in the hope of a brighter future. For many, this hope is for something beyond this life. As secularism gains popularity, many are finding it difficult to maintain hope, with an afterlife deemed false and modern society giving few reasons for hope in such dire circumstances. Even those who believe in an afterlife may be surprised to find that the future described in the Bible does not match what is commonly taught. So often misunderstood, the Bible details a future far greater than most imagine-a true cause for long-lasting hope.

If you would like to learn more about God's plan of salvation (the ultimate source of hope), read The Holy Days: God's Master Plan. You may be surprised to learn that this plan even benefits those who have never heard of God or Jesus Christ-explained, as well, in our free resource Is This the Only Day of Salvation?


Statistics Canada | Ten Leading Causes of Death Canada All Ages

The National Post | Juror Suicide Brings Call for More Caution in Trials With Graphic Evidence

The National Post | "The Children are in Mourning": Montreal Pediatrician's Zeal to Protect the Abused Ends in Suicide

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