Imagine this if you would as a parent or as a child. Late in the evening you are
awakened by your mother returning home from the motel in which your father is staying
as a divorce grows near. You are young and do not know about what or why grown ups
do things. You haven't the slightest idea of what domestic violence is. Seeing your
mother crying you ask her, "What happened, why are you crying?." She pulls the sleeve
of her shirt down to reveal her shoulder and upon your eyes you see a black and blue
circle just a bit bigger then a grown mans fist. Now, what do you say to the child? How
does one go about saying what happened? Tell the truth. Explain to the child the reason
for it and that it is something never to be done by that child.
Domestic violence is a cycle in which the development of a child determines if
the cycle continues or not.
They are placed into the factors of which keep the cycle going
or ending not only by choice but by subconscious inputs from their surroundings. My
views of this may differ from others, but this is my knowledge and understanding from
first hand experience.
Growing up as a child, I experienced this first hand. It didn't have as dramatic an
effect as it may have on other children. There are three general ways in which a child
may be affected, but are a wide variety of situations. I can't predict the future so I cannot
tell which one I will fall into, but I am hoping it is the second way. Firstly, the child may
take on the psychological effect that it is OK to do since one has seen their mother or
father commit the acts. Children may do this cause they grow up as followers of grown
ups around them. Sort of like that monkey see monkey do concept. On the other hand
they could be doing this cause their parents told them not to. Secondly they may never
repeat this act seeing there is no good in it, which could depend on how the parent
discuses it with the child. Maybe not just how the parent discuses it but a child instinct
to be better then their parents may be a driving force. Finally, they may experience it
once as a victim or victimizer and forever feel the guilt and be scared inside of
themselves and if others can tell. Kind of like experimenting with a new vegetable but
Children growing up in a violent household will be forever emotionally scarred.
the violence does not stop with the last punch thrown between spouses, but instead
lingers in a deep emotion in the minds of the true victims, the children. They may be
fixated in the childhood stage where they viewed violence as an innocent bystander and
mentally, if you will, "took notes" on both the effects and how to commit violence
themselves. I am not saying that all kids in this situations will grow up and do this in
their households. But a majority of them will grow up with "lower morals," like low
goals, using their parents as role models and not wanting to be better then them, in the
sense of being a part of a "broken household." Throughout their lives during times of
trouble and times of failure they in turn associate this with the "broken household"
experience. A number of kids will in life turn to fit the typical stereotype of "bad kids."
The other side of the coin would be those kids who take this experience and make their
life better and exceed their parents. The effect of domestic violence is much deeper then
a physical one on the victim. An effect on me that I can see for myself is when I wrestle
around with my dad, I know his weak spot and it is the spot I go for just naturally and
ironically this spot is his shoulder. So as a child, psychologically I was fixated with this
area from viewing what I did.
Domestic violence if taught and handled correctly can be the learning stone to the
next level decreasing the number of incidents, and put a halt in the cycle. But if not
addressed it could be a breeding ground for future offenders, and the cycle will continue
on or start over depending on how you look at it as the beginning or the end. That is a
debatable statement, similar to which came first the chicken or the egg?
The missing piece of the cycle is how they in turn act as adults based on the
factors of income and education levels are put into by their morals and the choices &
subconscious inputs I mentioned earlier.
The income level in which a child receives is based on by a standoff between
which path they take, the low morals or their own choice path. The upper class income
level has the fewest of the three classes domestic violence situations. Why? Some would
say the nonstress comfort level is present due to having the good life, some would say
because they are afraid of losing wealth by divorce due to violence, but maybe inside the
parents have high morals, some higher then their parents and therefore don't want to
tamper their child's morals by exposing them to violence. The middle class is between
the upper and lower classes in domestic violence. This may be true for your, for lack of
better wording, typical reasons. Wanting better wealth, schooling for children costs or
bills for the parents conflicting with each other. Since middle class is the most numerous
class in America, some of these took the morals as their parents did when they were
children. Nice home, car, family typical American dream stuff. Or they had higher goals
and failed for their own reasons. This is the class I am from and the wanting of better
wealth was the case in my household. The struggle for income and the stress of having
little leads to the domestic violent attaches in the lower class bracket. The unhappiness
due to being unable to provide leads to stress which is more then often released through
violent acts. The "broken home-low morals" point I mentioned earlier may be a cause
for them being in the low income level. Some people will say it is because of their own
failure to make choices and laziness.
The education levels of abusive families are very similar to the income levels. In
which I mean they are more dependent on which path they take, more cases in lower
levels, and the more education you have generally the more money you make and vice
versa. Domestic violence is highest in households were a parent or both parents didn't
finish high school. Because typically they are making less money and are in lower
income levels. Or they could have missed some vital teaching depending on how far they
made it in school. Cases are smaller in homes where high school was finished but little
or no college was taken. College graduation individuals have the fewest acts of violence
in their homes. This is all based on morals set for them as children. How far in
education they will go, which in turn places them into income levels, which contributes
to domestic violence occurrences. All like a mini-cycle inside a big one. Maybe there
would have been a role model for them to follow in school which would guide them
away from violence.
When it comes to the race factor it has been proven that blacks are committing far
many more of these crimes then that of white people, while Hispanic Americans fall in
between. Why does a color of skin suggest if a household commits more or less domestic
violence? Maybe because when it comes to violent acts they are usually done upon a
weaker individual. Well in America white people are the more "powerful" race so blacks
have no other race weaker then them so the violence is carried on into their households.
As children maybe they viewed some violence in the house and followed the monkey see
monkey do approach.
The autobiography of Mary Rowlandson has an instance of domestic violence
from an Indian chief on his wife. In this society it was acceptable, but that person would
become some big guys girlfriend forever in prison if done today. The knocking of her on
her head just cause she wanted to leave ended with her death like does unfortunately to
others today. the children of these natives viewed this and it was accepted so when they
are adults and have their own families they too will do this. Noone was there to teach
Domestic violence will continue to exist in this world until the day comes when
each child will be taught enough to learn as grown ups not to follow their parents or
others footsteps in doing these crimes. If a child is not exposed to this as a child, maybe
it won't be revealed as an adult. This domestic violence cycle needs a kink in the chain
for it to stop. Whether it starts at the child's development or starts at the adult levels is
arguable. But domestic violence will most likely effect each person at some point in life.
it is up to us as American adults to prevent American children from following in our
wrong footsteps and shoot for right ones.