I was once listening to the Jim Bohannan Show on the radio as they talked about domestic violence on women. As Jim and his guest took calls from the listeners, there were quite a few men that brought up domestic violence on men. And one caller took it even further, and said, “How come we always talk about men abusing women, but we never talk about women abusing children.” He made a good point.
Well, I’ve already written a couple of articles about abused women (Women & Domestic Violence: Why women go back to their abusers) and about the men that do the abusing (Men, Domestic Violence, & Why They Do It), and I’m proud to say that people read those articles, and I can only hope they are helpful. But the issue of domestic violence is important to me because I have quite a few family members who have been abused-including my mom and sister.
Thanks to Associated Content writer Charlotte Kuchinsky, who actually gave me the final push to write about child abuse, after a short conversation we had online.
I think it’s safe to say that a lot of child abusers have been victims of some kind of abuse themselves. And it’s not always physical abuse. Sometimes the abuser has been emotionally abused by their parents or some other loved one, and it caused them to become emotionally and mentally unstable. After this, they become abusive to others, not because they are bad people, but because they don’t know how to control their reactions.
We underestimate the of the power brain. When people experience traumatizing events, they remember them, and it affects their outlook on life. Once they experience difficult issues, they handle it the way they remember to handle it-and that’s through lashing out, yelling and abusing.
It’s no coincidence that a lot of abusers tend to have drug and drinking problems. These are also results of emotional or mental instability. Sometimes being intoxicated gave them the nudge they needed to abuse others. Many victims of abuse will tell you that they were often abused when the abuser was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Now, I have no proof that mothers abuse children more than fathers, but from reports that I’ve seen and heard, that does seem to be the case. Also, single mothers seem to abuse more than married mothers. Maybe that is because single mothers may be under the stress of raising kids on their own. Not only that, but there is no other adult in the household to restrain or calm them down once they get angry. They are free to fly off the handle without being stopped.
It’s hard for me to wrap my brain around why a mother would abuse an innocent child, considering the fact that most mothers would never intentionally harm their kids. To a lot of mothers, their kids are their world. But mothers being cruel to their children do seem to be on the rise.
Do you remember when we went through this epidemic where mothers kept leaving their kids in a burning hot car? Although all of them said it was an accident, I found that hard to believe. It may be an accident for the first few, but what about the others? Why haven’t they learned from the other mothers’ mistakes? How come many people can repeat the same actions and all of them claim it was a mistake, despite the fact that they saw the consequences of leaving a child in a car on the news just like everyone else?
I’ve seen episodes of Oprah and Tyra where mothers expressed anger toward their kids for no apparent reason. Some of the women said that they felt like killing their babies. But these women had an excuse. People argue that they aren’t abusive– they have Postpartum Depression.
Really? And what do abusive fathers have? Is there a disease for them, too? What about men who abuse women? Do they have a disease? Can we go ahead and make up a disease for all abusive people? I’m not saying that these women don’t truly have a sickness, (because obviously they do) I’m just saying that these “diseases” are giving abusive women an excuse, therefore watering down the issue of child abuse. Let’s look abused children you can look in the eye and say, “Your mother abused you because she has Postpartum Depression”, and see if that abused child thinks that that is a good enough excuse.
It is a fact that domestic violence is higher in the black community than it is in the white community, which brings me to an interesting point about child abuse. “Abuse” has been classified as excessive or aggressive hitting & talking down to the person/child. These are the kind of things that happen in the black household all the time. When I was a kid, I got hit with switches, belts, shoes, extension cords– even a wooden bat! My mother (who hit me with these things) also got hit with those things when she was a child. Now, I never thought that I was abused simply because so many other black children had the same things done to them. We even used to talk about it at school and laugh and make jokes about it. Even now, I hear black people laughing and making jokes about the way they used to be beaten as a kid.
Because this happened so frequently in the black community, it blurs the lines between discipline and abuse. Ask other black people if they think their parents abused them, and I’m sure most of them would say, “Well, I got beatings, but I’m okay.” My mother never cursed at me or anything, but a lot of my black friends got cursed out all the time by their parents. Some will say that it’s just words, but that’s not true. When I was in school, kids cursed at teachers because they heard it so much in their home. I know that’s why they did it because they said so.
Cursing at a child is never completely thought of as abusive, but we all can agree that curse words are demeaning. They are usually used in the midst of anger. When we are angry, we sometimes intentionally hurt others feelings-even if they are a child.
Black parents don’t feel as if they are abusing their kids, and black children may not feel like they are being abused. Because of this, child abuse may never be properly addressed in the black community because we have traditional forms of discipline that very few people in the black community will ever classify as abusive-even if they truly are.
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