Violence against women and children used to be an acceptable part of life. Actions like beating and hitting were allowed by laws that everyone followed to enforce discipline within their families.
ƒæ Stubborn children laws made it legal for the male head of the household to beat the child to death if he thought they were out of hand.
ƒæ A husband had freedom to pull his wife's hair, choke her, spit in her face, kick her, and he could also beat her with a stick as long as it was no thicker than his thumb.
Violence can be physical, psychological, or sexual.
Physical violence is any act by a person that causes pain or injury.
ƒæ Broken bones.
ƒæ Permanent brain damage.
Psychological violence is a condition that exists when one family member threatens to injure another or forces the other to perform degrading or humiliating acts.
ƒæ Sometimes the abuser isolates the victim from friends or family members who could help him or her.
Sexual violence includes rape or forced sex.
Statistics indicate the most frequent victims are children under age five and women involved in intimate relationships.
ƒæ About 1.5 million children, fifteen of every thousand, are seriously abused each year in the U.S. by a parent or guardian. In 1994 1,300 children died from child abuse.
The cycle of violence.
ƒæ A male child who witnesses spouse abuse by his father has a higher chance of growing up to be a wife abuser.
ƒæ Women who witnessed abuse during their childhood are also at greater risk of experiencing abuse as adults.
ƒæ Approximately 30 percent of abused children grow up to be abusive parents.
Efforts to end family violence have combined many ideas and approaches.
ƒæ When a spouse is battered, the criminal justice system moves in to try to protect her.
ƒæ When a child is abused, social workers attempt to stop further abuse.
ƒæ This protection isn't available until after a person has been hurt.