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To Help A Parent Is To Help A Child

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To help a parent is to help a child

You can turn your head and try to ignore it but the harsh reality of family violence will not go away until we examine ourselves as parents, friends, and family and take initiative. This is a serious and widespread social problem and it goes beyond statistics and stereotyping. Family violence not only impacts the lives of the perpetrator and the victim directly but the lives of the everyone indirectly. Just as it is the perpetrators job to take responsibility it is ours to treat each case individually. Break the mold and break the cycle.

Sadly, for a great number of people home is not the secure and loving environment it is meant to be. For those unfortunate enough to encounter or live from day to day with family violence, life behind closed doors can be scarier than the world outside. It is not devastating to think that the ones you know and love are capable of hurting you but it's true. In fact, you're less likely to be beaten or assaulted on the street than in your own home and you're less likely to be hurt by a stranger than a loved one. Why is it that we masquerade hatred as love? Or is it simply that we are too ill-equipped to deal with the stresses of everyday life and compromise our relationships by lashing out at the people who are the nearest and dearest to us? Is it convenience or possibly because they are the ones who we know will not leave our side? (Haley, page 1)

We, as parents, seem to have forgotten that our children are gifts from God to be treasured and men that women are not mere objects to possess and control. We have been hardwired over the generations with much poisoning from "civilization" to dominate the weak and the majority still tend to see women and children as such; which is our greatest downfall. Despite the many efforts of feminists and child advocates little has been done except to sugarcoat this bitter truth. "The history of subordination of women and children is closely connected to the history and causes of violence and abuse in the family." When we abuse our families are stripping our loved ones of their right to live, dehumanizing them, and essentially murdered their souls. (Henderson, page 3)

Abusers come from all walks of life. There is no specific "type" of person who abuses nor can a standard "one-model-fits-all" set of traits determine or who will become an abuser. However, there are distinguishable characteristics of abusers including a history of witnessing or experiencing abuse, living in poverty, lacking the education and skills needed to raise children, having poor impulse control, craving power, having unrealistic expectations, lacking maturity, suffering from mental or emotional impairments, having low self-esteem, abusing alcohol or other drugs, and most importantly inability to accept responsibility for his or her actions.

Whether or not an abused child will become an abusive spouse or parent is a case of nature versus nurture. "Violence is a learned behavior." Children who exposed to violence in the home will likely acquire this ineffective coping mechanism and the trait will carry on to their own children. A child who is abused will be six times more likely to follow this violent pattern of behavior. Records indicate that children from violent homes commit nearly twice as many violent crimes as non abused children do. (Havelin, page 15)

One of the most significant noted factors leading to abuse is poverty. Family violence is statistically prevalent in the families who are below poverty level. A study of families with incomes ranging from under fifteen-thousand to families over thirty-thousand per year was conducted by the federal government which found abuse to be 14 percent more likely to occur in poorer families than its financially stable counterpart. This does not mean to say that all people who are or become financially burdened will be plagued by abuse. It is purely common sense that money is a key ingredient cause of stress.

Stress without being handled correctly can escalate into anger and after building up eventually an outburst of violence.

Whether a child grows up in a dysfunctional home with parents who expose them to violence directly or indirectly, even intentionally or unintentionally they ultimately are the cause of suffering that lasts a lifetime and transcends generations to come. Somewhere between 3.3 and 10 million children will witness some form of violence in the home and 300 thousand are reported to be abused every year. The effects of family violence on a child who witnesses or experiences first hand range from post traumatic stress disorder, impaired emotional growth and cognitive development, lowered self-esteem, withdrawal, attention deficit disorder, depression, eating disorders, anxiety, decreased academic achievement, delinquency, hostility toward peers,



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