Child Abuse and Violence Against FemalesDomestic violence in the United States has become a major problem that affects nearly 2/3’s of all people. It can affect wives, the elderly, and even men, but in this paper we will discuss the abuse that occurs to children and also violence toward women. It is widely assumed that most estimates of the incidence of domestic violence are underestimates. Even large population surveys cannot provide accurate estimates of the extent of domestic violence.
This is partly because many victims feel unable to speak out about domestic violence. The pressures of negative community attitudes toward victims, feelings of shame, and fear of retribution from the perpetrator contribute to low levels of disclosure of domestic violence. Also, because domestic violence often occurs in the privacy of the home, there are few outside witnesses. Surveys often require fluency in English, which means that the experience of people from non-English speaking background may not be adequately represented. Statistics from public agencies such as police, courts, counseling and accommodation services are another source of information.
However, these can only provide information about people who come to public attention, many victims never contact such agencies. Some agencies do not collect statistics on domestic violence, and those that do define and record domestic violence in different ways. The Women’s Safety Survey in 1996 surveyed approximately 6,300 women about their experience of actual or threatened physical and sexual violence.
Based on the survey results, they estimated that, in the 12 months prior to completing the survey:7.1 % of the adult female population experienced violence. 6.2% of women experienced violence perpetrated by a male, and 1.6% experienced violence perpetrated by a female. 2.6% of women who were married or in a defacto relationship had experienced violence perpetrated by their current partner.
4.8% of unmarried women had experienced violence by their previous partner in the last 12 months. Of women who had been physically assaulted in the 12-month period, 58% spoke to a friend or neighbor, 53% spoke to a family member, 12% spoke to a counselor, and 4.5% spoke to a crisis service organization. Only 19% reported the incident to police, and women who experienced violence by a current partner were least likely to have reported the assault, while women who were assaulted by a stranger were more likely to report to police. 18% had never told anyone about the incident.
Now we come to the question, why would a woman whose face is disfigured, whose bones are broken, whose pregnancy is lost, remain with a spouse who might beat her to death? For some, there is no exit. It is like the door is open but she cannot leave. She has no resources of her own, she needs to provide for her children, she is terrified of the police, and social workers are people who can declare you an unfit mother. The perpetrator has threatened to kill her if she leaves or if she tells and she knows no safe haven from him.
There is also no federal witness protection program for domestic assault victims. Some women hold onto hope for the chance of better times. The cycle of tension, abuse, relief; tension, abuse, relief has periods in which optimism is rewarded. Hope for the ending of battering is realized and the relief experienced in the periods of peace is strong.
We know there is nothing as powerful as relief from torture as a positive reward for desired behavior. For some battered women the thin thread of hope and the brief experience of relief reinforces her decision to stay.Child abuse can be physical — shaking, hitting, beating, burning, or biting a child; emotional — constantly blaming or putting down a child; excessive yelling, shaming; sexual incest, any forced sexual activity, exposure to sexual stimulation not appropriate for the child’s age; neglect– a pattern of failure to provide for the child’s physical needs, such as food, clothing, shelter, and medical care; a pattern of failure to provide for the child’s emotional needs, such as affection, attention, and supervision. In an abusive environment, children are often expected to behave as if they are much older than they are.Children are often “punished” for behavior they are too young to control.Abusive parents often do not know they have to teach the behavior they want the child to have. Sometimes punishing unwanted behavior is not enough, parents and caretakers often abuse children in response to their own anger and unhappiness and it may have no relationship to what the child is doing at the time.
Some common traits of abused children include: believing that they have no value, believing that they cannot affect the world around them with good behavior, and feelings angry and/or depression. In homes where violence occurs, children are at high risk of suffering psychological and emotional abuse, whether or not they are physically abused themselves. Recent evidence clearly shows that living in a family where a parent is being abused has a significant traumatic effect on children. Even when they do not observe the violence, children are usually aware that it is occurring. They are alert to the obvious tension, fear and distress in their parents.
Their home, instead of being a place of security, is characterized by cruelty and fear. The longer the situation goes on the harder it is to undo its damaging effects on children’s development. Witnessing family violence is much more than physically observing the violence. It may also include: hearing the violence sensing their mother’s fear using the child as a hostage or as a means of ensuring the mother’s return to the home forcing a child to watch, or participate in, assaults interrogating or involving the child in spying on her/his mother attempting to break down the mother-child bond by telling the child that her/his parents would be together, if not for the mother’s behavior.
undermining the mother by encouraging negative opinions of her ability, appearance and so on. having familiar belongings of pets destroyed.All of these behaviors can lead to developmental problems in children that can happen at any age. Violence soon becomes a learned behavior and can be reproduced in other aspects of their life, such as school, dating, and other interpersonal relationships. These changes can be life-long and affect many other people than just the abused person.
Both child abuse and violence against women are extremely detrimental to the institution of marriage and family. It can tear family apart, beyond any repair, and destroy the lives of all who are involved. Bibliography1. Violence and the Family, Report of the APA Presidential Task Force on Violence and the Family, 1996.
2. Dating Violence: Young Women in Danger. Barrie Levy. 1991. The Seal Press.3. Parental Kidnaping, Domestic Violence and Child Abuse: Changing Legal Responses to Related Violence.
American Prosecutors Research Institute’s National center for Prosecution of Child Abuse Parental Kidnaping Project, by Eva J. Klain, March 1995.4. National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, http://www.ncadv.org/ Words/ Pages : 1,192 / 24