Child Abuse

We live in a very violent society! In fact, violence

has become a way of life in America, according to R. J.

Gelles and M. A. Straus, authors of Physical Violence in

American Families. They believe the family is the most

violent institution other than the military in time of war!

That is appalling, as children are also practicing this

behavior. When children as young as three years of age are

shooting their brothers and sisters; we have problems! Are

they coming from the wombs angry? We must break the

cycles of abuse!

In order to save our children and future generations,

the violence must be stopped! To do this, we have to stop

violating them as well as to prevent them from seeing it.

According to Gelles and Straus (who will be referred to as

G&S) who interviewed over 6,000 American families, 50%

of the men reported they frequently assaulted their wives

and children. This is overwhelming because the word

“frequently” is used, and there are no statistics on those

who were physically violent on one occasion, and it does

not reveal the numbers who were emotionally or sexually

abusive, so the statistics are even greater!

My initial premise was to write a book on child

abuse because I am constantly reminded on a daily basis of

the abuses rendered to infants, children, and teens. More

importantly, I am sickened each time I hear the reports of

children being sexually abused. What kind of “animal”

would desire sex with an infant or child, and what type of

person would kill an innocent, helpless person? These

questions lead me to write this book.

When I began collecting information, I did not plan

to discuss my past experiences with emotional and physical

violence, however, as the project evolved, it was necessary

to include other types of abuse. Because I am a survivor of

domestic violence (I do not use the word “victim” because I

am healed) by two husbands, the book includes many of

my past experiences as well as those of my three sons. Although

I have overcome these atrocities, I must admit that

it still bothers me when I hear or see another individual

being victimized, especially helpless individuals, and

anyone who does not recognize that they are being violated.

Other than physical violence, sometimes the abuse is not

easy to delineate; in fact, it also took many years for me to

understand the various types because I did not grow up in a

violent household.

Who are the abusers? Most people believe males are

the perpetrators. Before we move on, we must first clarify

that they are not; females are also abusers! Some women

violate children and their partners just as men do. In fact,

“abuse by females is on the rise,” according to Mel Feit,

Founder and Executive Director of the National Center for

Men, Old Bethpage, N.Y., one of the first male

organizations to deal with violence. While doing the

research on child abuse, I overhead Feit on The Maury

Povich Show (January 22, 1997) discussing the issue of

male abuse. I was alarmed to hear him say that

female-to-male violence was about 50-50, and female

abusers (if reported) might even be higher! My first

reaction was to disagree; however, I believed that further

research was required in the area of male as victim in order

to understand the causes of child abuse.

I contacted Feit and was shocked to learn

some of the gory details, as well as to hear that many

people, even with his factual data, disagreed with him,

especially some of the feminist groups and the media. (See

section on Male Abuse in my book entitled, Recognizing

Abuse: Reclaiming Your Birthright.) Whether there is

consensus or not regarding Feit’s theory, we must admit

that America has serious problems, and whether it is male

or female as dominant abuser, the truth must be told, the

issues addressed, and preventative measures sought in order

to stop the atrocities. I agree with Geraldo (attorney,

reporter, and famous talk show host) when he says,

“Violence is violence; whether it is man, woman, or child;

we must alleviate it!”

There are many differences of opinion as to what is

considered abusive or violent, especially those working in

the area of child abuse. For example, many child

psychologists, social workers, and researchers have

differences of opinions as to the meaning of sexual abuse.

This is reiterated in the report “Child Abuse, Statistics,

Research, Resources,” by Jim Hooper, Ph.D. He believes

there will always be a disagreement because child abuse

and neglect are controversial. Some researchers and

therapist, according to Hooper, consider “flashing” or

exposing oneself to a child under age 16 as sexual abuse,

while others disagree. Some experts report touching or

coercion as a violation, while others use age and gender as

the determining factors. For example, if an older female has

sex with a boy 14 years of age and over, many do not

include this as sexual abusive, and some people will take

the age of the offender into consideration to determine

whether the act was abusive.

To determine the numbers of children being abused;

authors, experts, and therapists’ biases have to be

con-sidered. Hopper provides an honest assessment when

he says most experts who claim to be unbiased are fooling

themselves and admits his values, intellect, and experiences

as a therapist have influenced his findings. I abhor the

notion of anyone using their powers or force to take

advantage of another human being, especially children and

the elderly who are helpless, so my biases also have to be

taken into consideration!

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About the Author

Danny Ding