Domestic Violence: More than 70 women and children killed‏ each year

In the news today it’s claimed that ” More than 70 women are killed by their husbands or partners each year, their deaths making up the majority of murders committed in this country.

It’s hard to believe that this distinct pattern of horrific abuse and violence is only just coming public attention.  Another tragic example of government inaction? I think so.

Criminal lawyer, Gerry Spence once wrote:“We have traveled to the moon and back, but when we launch ourselves into outer space, we send forth a severely retarded species. In essence we remain the brute, for when confronted the brute attacks, and when faced with need or desire it takes from the weaker members of the hierarchy. It is an anomaly that we can split the atom, but we are nearly powerless to persuade each other to embrace justice. We can recombine genes, but we cannot in simple ways, ask each other for love and respect. The ultimate danger, of course, is placing the power of technology in the hands of the savage whose ability to argue has advanced a little over the grunt of his ancestors. In short, we have learned how to dominate people as things, but when relating to people as people we tread wearily in the Dark Ages.”

57 Responses

  1. G’day JMc

    I’m afraid I disagree with you for a change, old mate!

    This is not a government problem it is a family problem!

    My old man didn’t quit till I was 21, held him up against a wall with my arm across his throat and told him if he ever touched my mother again I’d kill him – violence against violence, sure – but he left her alone after that…

    …my sister, seven years my junior, still denies he ever hit my mother…and my mother still misses him deeply – he died four years ago…

    …families hiding the problem is the problem…

    …I have apologised to both my children for smacking them as children …our g/children have never been hit…I can’t help hoping I helped to stop the rot!

  2. This is something I tried to raise in the blogs on the NTER in the Aboriginal demonisation of domestic violence and child abuse whilst just as widespread domestic violence and abuse in the general community was mostly being shoved under the carpet.

    Howard, when he was pushing his NTER agenda and Mal Brough was exaggerating the extent of Aboriginal child abuse for political gain, was asked what he was going to do about the abuse rife throughout the general community, to which Howard in his usual way brushed aside as something inconsequential and not worthy of his attention, only Aboriginals were the problem (because as Downer later stated that is where they thought the votes lay) not domestic violence throughout the country.

    Just as with Aboriginals alcohol is by far the main problem, but I bet we never see a government bring in the same policies they have with Aboriginals to curve access to and drinking of alcohol.

    This comes on top of recent efforts by alcohol producers to get around the government’s tax laws and again market sugar laced alcoholic beverages directly to young people. Who does the opposition blame for this? The alcohol producers who put profit ahead of social cohesion. No the government for bringing in alcopop tax legislation in an attempt to curb direct alcohol marketing to young people.

  3. TB

    I respectfully disagree. I’ll take a roundabout way to explain why.

    Take any human conflict and I think you could apply, for example, clinical psychologist, Keryl Egan’s simple model in profiling the type of offender (bullies and other abusers) you’re up against:

    Egan’s three types are – ‘accidental’ bullies who bully when they’re under stress, ‘destructive’ bullies who lash out when challenged, and ‘psychotic bullies’, who bully “because they can”.

    The difficulty lies in understanding their view of the world and why threats, intimidation and/or violence are seen as acceptable actions in achieving an end. We know, for example, that many Muslim men view rape within marriage as acceptable etc, so we know that culture upbringing and religious belief can play a part. In short, have some of us learned how to dominate people as things instead relating to people as people with their own individual rights.

    Don’t individuals within a family unit have rights and protections against abuse especially those that are deemed as unacceptable within our society.

  4. Adrian

    “This is something I tried to raise in the blogs on the NTER in the Aboriginal demonisation of domestic violence and child abuse whilst just as widespread domestic violence and abuse in the general community was mostly being shoved under the carpet.”

    Yes, I recall you raising the comparison on Blogocracy.

  5. TB refer Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)


    “In the United States – every 12 to 15 seconds a woman is beaten! This is according to studies by the F.B.I. whose statistics show an average of FOUR (4) women are beaten every minute of each day!

    The Department of Justice has concluded that a woman is five times more likely to be attacked by her own partner than by a stranger.

    Am I to believe then that I am not much safer in my own home with my doors locked than out on the streets? Sadly, in the case of my former marriage, the answer was yes. As stated here for most women, the abusers who victimized me in my life were, for the most part, people I knew or knew of… moreover … my own husband and my own mother were my abusers.”

  6. By the way TB, these are no my comments, it’s part of the article.

    “Am I to believe then that I am not much safer in my own home with my doors locked than out on the streets? Sadly, in the case of my former marriage, the answer was yes. As stated here for most women, the abusers who victimized me in my life were, for the most part, people I knew or knew of… moreover … my own husband and my own mother were my abusers.”

  7. “…our g/children have never been hit…”TB

    This is a contentious issue for many people.
    Personally, my brother & I never had a hand laid upon us when we were youngsters; I believe the proof of the success of this is in that we are both balanced adults who don’t resor tot, or abide, violence.
    We have never hit my daughter, & never will; it is not a necessary tool of control, there are much better, coercive methods than lashing out. More often than not I see “hitting” by parents as a loss of self control & a reflexive outburst at the end of tolerance rather than “punishment”. Does not hitting teach that it is a justifiable response to frustration? ie. a child that is hit often, but not always, is learning to hit in turn.
    I realise that kids can easily drive a person to the brink of anger but we are supposed to be adults, a measured, considered response is a much better lesson than inflicting pain or fear.

    Many will, & have, strongly disagreed with me on this & there is always a school of thought that says “well I got hit as a child & it never did me any harm. Kids today are treated too softly etc.” but I don’t buy it.
    Ultimately how a parent disciplines their own child is a very personal prerogative which noone likes to have dictated to them & obviously some children are much harder to control than others. Violence does tend to beget violence though.

    Adrian, good point, alcohol is a much larger determinant for domestic violence than race.

  8. “there is always a school of thought that says “well I got hit as a child & it never did me any harm. Kids today are treated too softly etc.” but I don’t buy it.”

    Well said Toiletboss. I got beaten when I was a kid – kicked down a flight of stairs on one occasion, and it has left a devastating effect on me. So much so that I used to run away from home regularly from the age of 5 – 9.

    The only thing that hitting kids does is teach them that violence is acceptable behaviour and an acceptable way to resolve a conflict.

  9. Toiletboss you are spot on. I was hit as a child and quite often severely and also threatened with the leather strap. My husband suffered at the hands of Catholic nuns. There is no way that I would ever ever want a child to suffer the degradation and the feelings of humiliation and of being powerless that I felt.

    I stood up to my mother age 13 following a belting and said, Don’t ever do that again. And she never did. I can still to this day see the look of shock on her face. I am hearing impaired as a result of the many ‘clips around the ear’.

  10. Toiletboss

    I’ve been similarly blessed with being brought up in a non-violent household – although we used to have some real barneys growing up (heated debates that saw a few dummy spits), but yes, so much violent reactions are taught.

    I find the best punishments for my children comes from knowing them well enough to deprive them from time to time from doing and having things they enjoy if they cross certain behavioural boundaries – it’s hard work and takes time and patience but it’s a hell of a lot more effective than smacking and abusing in the long run.

    I actively teach my kids how to negotiate fairly to get what they want and to realise that it’s not always possible or appropriate to have their way simply because they think so.

  11. Reb

    We’ve had the discussion in past blogs about your painful circumstances and you, more than most, can see the destructiveness of abuse and violence.

    My father grew up in an orphanage in Ireland and swore he would never allow any of his kids to be deprived of love and protection – he loves his heated debates but never have I seen him resort to abuse or violence although I’ve got to admit, my mother was one of the most accurate shoe throwers I’ve ever come across – I swear you’d have to be at least 50 metres out of her range before you felt safe LOL. She was a good woman and mother though.

  12. “I find the best punishments for my children comes from knowing them well enough to deprive them from time to time from doing and having things they enjoy if they cross certain behavioural boundaries – it’s hard work and takes time and patience but it’s a hell of a lot more effective than smacking and abusing in the long run.”JMcP

    This is exactly the way that we approach the issue with my daughter, so far it’s worked a treat & she is a settled, happy & well behaved person. No doubt she can be a handful at times but things never descend to complete loss of rationality. Quite a contrast to some of her peers who I know are hit & yelled at at home.

    I am heartened by the responses to my comment above, I really did think I’d meet some resistance…perhaps it’s still on its way? Many parents freely endorse hitting as a means to an end.

  13. I grew up in a household where my Mother was the strong one, but you knew that Dad could also be tough.

    I only really remember one time my parents having a big fight, and there was never the treat of violence.

    And as a child, the threat of a smack was alwys there, but it never eventuated, and I think that I have turned out OK (as have my siblings).

    At Amnesty a few weeks ago, we had a course on applying for grants for our local groups, and the were some people from the Violence Against Women group, and we were using that as an example of the type of activities that we could have for the promotion of that campaign. It was interesting to see what ideas came out of it. There were two main threads:

    1. tell women that it is not OK to accept violence in a relationship, as well as there are places and people you can go to for support

    2. tell men that it is not OK to be violent in a relationship, where the group decided that it was best to inform men at places like sporting clubs and the like. To tell them that it does not make them a man.

    And one interesting thing came out of the discussion was that violence is also perpertrated against men as well.

    The whole topic is something (like depression) where we need to get the discussion out in the open and so that society does not accept the current situation.

  14. 3. John McPhilbin | November 24, 2008 at 9:53 am

    Though this probably falls under one of your three types don’t forget most who perpetrate domestic violence and/or child abuse were the victims of domestic violence when younger. Most bullies are bullied at home or their parents are bullies to others.

    Underlying most of this is alcohol.

    (I’m not a teetotaller btw, really like my scotch and beer, but I’ve seen this so often)

    Small sidetrack on topic in the way of a anecdote.

    A woman I once lived with came from a violent home. One day we went round to visit her mother who was now living with another violent alcoholic and walked into a full blown row that could be heard well down the street. We walked in on them (they didn’t hear the doorbell) in the kitchen where they were squared off across the room yelling at each other like the world was ending. Anyway he made a threatening move toward my girlfriend’s mother so I stepped inbetween them, not making any violent gesture towards him whatsoever, just blocking him with my presence.

    Man was that a mistake, my girlfriend’s mother came at me with this huge carving knife she grabbed from the kitchen bench, yelling all sorts of abuse at me about not touching her boyfriend and she’ll kill me etc.

    I got out of there back peddling all the way.

    How do you reconcile an abuse victim who to protect her abuser will kill someone willing to help. I found out from my girlfriend a short time later that the police had been put in the same situation several times when they responded to neighbours complaints about the pair. And this was a woman who had been beaten so bad as to have been hospitalised several times.

  15. Re point 1 joni. A lady I knew was repeatedly told by her husband that he could hit her (no bruises, but flicks around the back of the head) if he felt like it as they were married and she just had to put up with it. At a party her 13 year old daughter was threatened with rape by a couple of the husband’s truckie friends who thought that this was a hoot. Mother and daughter locked themselves in the toilet. Luckily there was space available in a women’s refuge..there aren’t always places for women to go.

  16. Min. I agree that there are often no places to go to, but that is something as a society we need to correct. And I think that through education (that is, informing people) we can get the message out there.

  17. Adrian: This is one of the most difficult questions isn’t. Why does an abused person stick up for the abuser?

    One of the things about Battered Person Syndrome is that the perpetrator convinces the victim that it is all his or her own fault. Such as..I wouldn’t need to do this/I wouldn’t have to be like this..except for you.

    And for women and I should imagine gay partners too that when police are called that this previously could have been met with a good deal of eye rolling. Just kiss and make up sweeties…

  18. min

    So so so true re gay partners.

  19. Adrian point 14. It’s amazing really how pear shaped domestic violence can get. Quite often men and women in abusive relationships have both been brought up in dysfunctional households where abuse and violence are regular occurences and they’ve just come to accept it as normal.

    Example, I intervened in a violent dispute between a father and son and was lucky enough to have the respect of both which ensured no punches were thrown in my direction. However, on other occasions neighbours have called the police and when they tried to intervene both started defended each other against the police.

    Sad fact is, the father stated to me on one occasion that his father beat him whilst growing up and never once did he strike his father. In fact, what outraged the father was the fact that his son actually started retaliating as he grew older, taller and stronger.

    So, how is his son going? Well, I’ve lost count of how many times he’s been arrested for assault against males and females, in fact, he’s described his violent outbursts as brain snaps and even has resorted to an excuse that he suffers from epileptic episodes which trigger his temper.

  20. Agreed joni. Step 1 is education re what is acceptable eg. the adverts re Does your b/f hit you?

    But minus support such as somewhere to go?

    Imagine having to leave your house or apartment and running into the street and then getting shoofted from one set of temporary accommodation to the next set of temporary emergency accommodation..with no security and no where to go.

  21. All these stories remind me that we really are a violent society. Closer to “Lord of the Flies” than we think.

    PS. initially wrote “Lord of the RIngs” – glad I corrected myself.

  22. JMc – the point I was (am) making is that most families, that violence occurs in, either – close ranks and ignore it or choose to simply deny it (another choice is “we can’t interfere, not our problem”)…

    …and of course “battered wife” syndrome really does exist…it The Minister and took I some time to get my mother to leave my father (in my early 30’s) but my sister simply white-anted all our efforts…and she returned after a few months…

    …bullying is usually learned behaviour – stop the behaviour WITHIN the family and I can assure you it does diminish!

    …authorities are powerless unless they are aware of the problem and there are witnesses willing to talk…

    …in my case I didn’t want my old man in jail either…

  23. Absolutely joni. Where does a person go when they are the victim of domestic violence and they are in a gay relationship. Who do you call for help.

  24. Joni, I would much rather Lord of the Rings than the Lord of the Flies, the latter I was forced to study for my matriculation (translation: Year 12 English Literature). Ickky book, ickky movie.

    joni: is that a comma after my name? LOL

  25. JMc – the point I was (am) making is that most families, that violence occurs in, either – close ranks and ignore it or choose to simply deny it (another choice is “we can’t interfere, not our problem”)…

    Point taken TB. We’re talking about people and where people are involved it’s always bound to be complex, difficult and frustrating.

    It’s so sad when a child/children ares at risk from both parents or supposed carers. Here’s a shocking example, and I’m sure you’d agree that there is alway a moral obligation to intervene where children are at risk.
    A three-year-old boy died after being violently sexually abused at the hands of two paedophiles despite seven warnings to NSW government authorities, a report has found.

    NSW Ombudsman Bruce Barbour today released the first Reviewable Deaths Annual Report, which looked at the deaths of 161 children and young people between December 2002 and December 2003.

    In one case, a child and his six-year-old sister were left living in a one-bedroom flat with known sex offenders.

    The Department of Community Services (DOCS) was repeatedly notified of concerns but in September 2003 the boy was found dead after a bout of vomiting.

    He had suffered anal and rectal injuries and one of his attackers had attempted to revive him using live electrical wires.

    Mr Barbour said the case raised significant concerns about the response by police and DOCS.

    “A young boy died in circumstances where there had been seven notifications to DOCS over three years,” he told reporters.

    “We perceived [there] to be inadequate attention by DOCS and also failures by police in respect to the investigation.”

    Based on shocking results, the report recommended DOCS change its procedures so that abuse cases could not be closed without action.

    The report reviewed 137 cases and found 61 per cent of deaths resulted from abuse or neglect.

    In 103 cases, the children’s risk of harm had been reported to DOCS in the three years before their deaths.

    Of those at-risk children, 53 later died of abuse, neglect or under other suspicious circumstances.

    Twenty-two per cent of the 137 cases involved Aboriginal children.

    Mr Barbour said although the primary responsibility for children lay with families, there had been failures by DOCS to deal with children who were at risk of harm.

    There had been poor decision-making, poor intervention and cases had been closed because the risk was determined as less urgent than other cases.

    “While we understand with limited resources comes the need to prioritise work we have recommended that DOCS should establish a threshold of risk above which reports about children cannot be closed without some form of protective intervention,” Mr Barbour said.”

  26. john mc @ 25.

    I weep.

  27. I agree completely eith all the views here that violence begets violence.

    My husband was routinely belted, and his dad was fairly free with the smacks when it came to his mum too. and for a long time (until he moved out of the house and “saw” the world so to speak) he believed violence was necessary to enforce discipline.

    It took me a long time to make him see how his treatment in childhood has skewed his views and today he agrees that his father was wrong. to the extent that he refrains from disciplining our daughter for fear the inner beast might rise involutanrily. if he can;t stand a tantrum i ave tod him to leave the room and let me deal with it.

    while i don;t endirse the “have long conversations to explain actions” theory, i do believe children can be shown that their actions can and do have negative consequences for them by means other than spanking.

  28. joni with a comma. Apologies, I was having a wretched time that week and was cranky.

  29. lehkni

    very sensible soluiton – to get him to leave the room.

  30. Min, fair enough. We all have dark days, min, and we understand. Now, min, we will feel free to use commas, min, whenever we like. (joni does a freedom dance at his desk).

  31. as an example, when my mother in law was here a few years ago, she and i had an argument about something, and she felt betrayed when hubby’s response was not what would have been her fate had she done something similar towards her m-in-law.

    she said as much to him “if i had spoken like this to your grandmother, your father would have broken every bone in my body” Hubby responded with “and would you have liked that? if not, how can you expect me to do the same?”

  32. Difficult isn’t it. How to turn things around in only one generation.

    As lekhni points out ..he believed violence was necessary to enforce discipline…

    Is it so few years ago, in fact only yesterday that a father whose son was ill-mannered or whose daughter ‘ran riot’ was considered less than a man because he didn’t enforce discipline in his own home.

    I seem to recall quite a number of pub jokes about slapping the old woman around the chops if she complained about coming home late from the pub. These jokes don’t seem very funny these days. Oh yes, and there’s this joke about the priest and the choir boy. Funny? Well not so much these days.

  33. joni..I wasn’t dark..I was just plain bloody cranky. So pleased that I have set you freeee, I’z freeee at last; you can now use a comma. Can I join you in the freedom dance? Just a quick waltz around the kitchen? Hugs and squishy ones.

  34. Joni@26 so do I.

  35. Adrian


    Give Aboriginal kids in foster care priority: Wood report,25197,24697160-601,00.html
    THE Wood report into child welfare has identified the huge number of Aboriginal children in foster care as one of the chief problems of the overloaded system.

    As foreshadowed by The Australian today, the report, officially released at 12:30, says there are thousands of Aboriginal children in care, having been removed for reasons of neglect.

    It says there is a lack of “culturally appropriate interventions for Aboriginal children” and there are too few programs to help children and young people at risk.

    It says that given large number of Aboriginal kids in care, “priority should be given to strengthening the capacity for Aboriginal families to undertake foster and kinship caring roles”.

    The report also says there are problems with the system of mandatory reporting. The hotline is completely overwhelmed, receiving 280,000 calls a year or one every two minutes.

    It recommends mandatory risk of harm reporting should be amended to “significant harm”.

  36. Hello John. The Aboriginal issue is a difficult one. And one has to ask several questions. Have these children been provided with adequate housing? Have these children been provided with adequate heath and dental care? Have these children been provided with adequate sanitation viz sewerage and even half way adequate garbage collection for their community? Have these children been provided with a regular education such as you would expect for your own child?

    And what % of the above issues are due to parents’ so called neglect?

  37. kids exposed to too much violence? apathy at its worst…,27574,24696641-421,00.html

    “They just stood there, and then they sat down and then someone dropped Maccas off to them,” he said.

    “What is it with young people where they can just turn off to human injury?” said Mr Atzori.

  38. John McP I would just like to mention that it is not only some Muslims who thing rape is ok within marriage.

    In fact the Catholic church for years condones violence in marriage. My British mother-in-law often talks of how men would beat their wives on Saturday after a night at the pub, and the whole family would trot along to church for communion on Sunday.

    Many right wing Christians still believe that the female is secondary to the male in a marriage.

    I agree that we are a violent species by nature. One just has to look at what is going on in the world. From the lack of compassion within society for those worse off to the many wars going on at any given time.

    what is the point of teaching kids that violence is wrong, when they will have to take place in a society where violent, aggressive behaviour is lauded in many quarters? We applaud the bully.

    Don’t get me wrong I do not advocate violence against children, I just think our attitudes towards our local and international community need to change, otherwise we are ill preparing them for adulthood.

    What sort of role model was Howard for any Australian? People reflect the society they live in.

    To really solve the problem of Domestic Violence there does need to be more effort by the Govt in the area of mental health. There also need to be well funded and accessible refuges for those who need to escape DV, as well as programes to assist these women (many of whom may not currently be in the workforce) to build a new life.

    If this does not happen the person is more likely to drift back into a relationship with the abuser for security.

  39. lekhni,

    Every day there are more and more stories like that in the media.

    The other day, there was a piece about some 8 year old boy who murdered his father, then there’s this other story about a mother who video taped a 29 year old man having sex with her 13 year old daughter.

    What sort of people are these?

    I was once told that murder and suicide are so common in Australian society, that it doesn’t even get reported in the media unless the circumstances are unusual or “newsworthy”.

    It seems that people are increasingly becoming disenfranchised from “mainstream” society.

    I think in the context of the current economic downturn, more people are going to be pushed ‘over the edge’.

    Consider the impact of a poor education, background of welfare/poverty, domestic violence/abuse, and then ultimately crime, drugs and alcohol abuse.

    There are people in society today who are growing up in this perpetual cycle.

    Even in sleepy Hobart, I see teenagers of about 13 or 14 years of age smoking and drinking in public at lunchtime, slightly older ones with babies in prams, and then people who look about 50 (but are probably younger) covered in tattoos, drug affected and shouting at each other or at people going about their normal business.

    I am fearful of what will happen next year if the spectre of conisderable unemployment turns into reality.

    I think we will see more people resort to crime and drugs, more violence, more home invasions, and more people hit the wall financially (and pyschologically)..

  40. Re: violence in general

    Remember in Bowling for Colombine, where Moore asked how could it be that we blame the kids for violence when most of the local population is employed to build weapons for the military?

    Monkey see – Monkey do.

  41. reb

    It all stems down to one word GREED. That word is the root of all our problems. As soon as we became a greedy society thinking only of ourselves and that greed was good, we created the society we are developing into.

    Greedy Bosses, Greedy Unions, Greedy Employees, Greedy Politicians, Greedy Companies, Greedy Businesses.

    Equality was thrown out along with the social conscience and social aspect of our society.

    Our society is becoming more violent and immune to violence as the younger generations mature after not being held responsible for their actions.

  42. Our society is becoming more violent and immune to violence as the younger generations mature after not being held responsible for their actions.

    I disagree that the violence in society is all the fault of the younger generation Shane. Also the bit about greedy employees.

    While some may be greedy, some simply want to be able to afford a modest lifestyle. The imbalance in the IR relationship (exacerbated by Govts) in favour of the employer has meant many more workers are now working poor.

    Your comment reminds me of a comment Reb made asking ‘Why are we afraid of our children?’ I think our children should be afraid of us.

    How can children learn to be responsible for their actions when all around ‘leaders’, business and political, are not held responsible for theirs.

    The old Bob Dylan line is still true, “Steal a little and they’ll call you a thief, steal a lot and they’ll make you a king”.

    Of course it makes a big difference who is doing the ‘stealing’ as well.

  43. Tracie,

    I think maybe I should’ve rephrased that question to be “why are we so suspicious of teenagers?” which is probably closer to what I was trting to get at.

    From what I’ve seen, teenagers standing in a group together is sufficient reason for the police to stop and search them.

    Funnily enough, teenagers in Hobart are remarkably well-mannered, even though they may appear to be quite outrageous in what the wear etc..

  44. Tracie

    There are greedy employees. I was making the point that greed is becoming entrenched in all parts of our society. I did not say everyone is greedy. You seem to be taking my comments as though all are greedy and that is not what I said.

    Regarding our youth they certainly are becomming immune to violence, murder and horror due to movies and exposure on television. Otherwise how do you explain the young kids sitting down and eating Maccas while they watched the people they hit in their vehicle being rescued by neighbours.

    Once again it is not all youth.

  45. From what I’ve seen, teenagers standing in a group together is sufficient reason for the police to stop and search them.

    Well I guess police have thier ‘targets’ as well as anyone else. Teenagers may be considered easy targets, especially if they dress ‘strangely’.

    Has there ever been a generation when the older generation were not shocked by/suspicious of the next generation?

  46. Tracie 38. I completely agree.

  47. Shane I didn’t say there weren’t greedy employees, simply that some are actually living below the poverty line DESPITE working full time. Higher wages for these people is not greed, and I would go so far as to say, essential for healthier more coherent communites.

    Re: youth and violence: I would say that the violence portrayed in movies is not a phenomena experienced by the youth of today alone, we had violent movies too.

    IMO how we operate as a society, and the values we demonstrate in our everyday lives whether dealing with neighbours, workmates, fellow citizens, people from other cultures etc have more impact on our kids than TV or video games.

    Govts, Media, schools and communities are just as much a part of shaping a child as their parents are. Blaming parents and the kids is a cop out, they are only a part of the equation.

  48. I copped the biggest flogging of my life off my father when I was eleven and looking back on it I deserved it…but it did not stop me in getting into other trouble though.

    I’m not sure if anyone has touched on the the subject here of psychological abuse as it might not be physical as such but can have ongoing affects for the rest of a persons life.

    I am witnessing this from the fat bastard next door and he runs hot then cold which in itself leaves a child with no sense of security…not even in their mother as she is just as bad!

    Bruises are clear for all to see but this type of abuse is invisible and the deep wound does not heal as it is not treated.

  49. scaper@48

    You’re right of course, psychological abuse is no less abusive & the scars can be deeper & permanent.
    My partner suffered both kinds & it has had a lasting, sometimes it seems irreversible, legacy that plagues us.
    I’ve been very lucky in my own life & find it hard to imagine how terrible it must be to be torn down, particularly as a child, by those who should have your best interests at heart…not just when it suits.

    Kudos goes to her for breaking the cycle, something her siblings struggle with, as there is no abuse in our family.

  50. Tracie

    I fully acknowledge that some employees are living below the poverty line, I have been one of their staunchest supporters. Once again my point was there is greed everywhere in our society.

    I look back at the movies I thought were violent and scary in my youth and now compare them to what is being shown today. There is absolutely no comparison in the level of violence and gore and abuse.

    In addition what rated as R in the 70s now rates an M or MA allowing teenagers access to horrific scenes which were only available to those over 18 in my younger days. Hire out a 1960s or 1970s Dracula movie and then watch Saw and try and tell me this is not affecting our society and dulling down our teenagers sensitivities to violence and abuse.

  51. Shane I would acknowledge that movies etc play a minute part in shaping the teenagers today. I would also say that society generally has a deeper and more lasting influence.

    For example the movie ‘Cool Runnings’ carries the message that to compete in an Olympics is honour enough. Contrast that to countries such as Australia spending millions all in the name of winning Gold medals.

    Not good enough just to be there, heros are the ones who bring home the Gold medals.

    There are many movies of a similar theme ie. its not winning thats important but how you play the game. Society pushes the message that winners are exhalted and losers are … well losers. Which view do you think dominates Western societies generally?

    Scapegoating violence in movies etc is just a convenient way of ignoring the real cause IMO.

  52. BTW I take your point about greed, but then what is the capitalist mantra – Greed is Good!

    Oh and the other old favourite ‘the ends justify the means’.

    The only way this is going to change is by making ‘greed’ socially unacceptable, much in the same way smoking is.

  53. I just got this in an email.

    The Handwriting On The Wall

    A weary mother returned from the store,
    Lugging groceries through the kitchen door.
    Awaiting her arrival was her 8 year old son,
    Anxious to relate what his younger brother had done.

    “While I was out playing and Dad was on a call,
    T. J. took his crayons and wrote on the wall!
    It’s on the new paper you just hung in the den.
    I told him you’d be mad at having to do it again.”

    She let out a moan and furrowed her brow,
    “Where is your little brother right now?”
    She emptied her arms and with a purposeful stride,
    She marched to his closet where he had gone to hide.

    She called his full name as she entered his room.
    He trembled with fear, he knew that meant doom!
    For the next ten minutes, she ranted and raved
    About the expensive wallpaper, and how she had saved.

    Lamenting all the work it would take to repair,
    She condemned his actions and total lack of care.
    The more she scolded, the madder she got,
    Then stomped from his room, totally distraught!

    She headed for the den to confirm her fears.
    When she saw the wall, her eyes flooded with tears.
    The message she read pierced her soul with a dart.
    It said, “I love Mommy,” surrounded by a heart.

    Well, the wallpaper remained, just as she found it,
    With an empty picture frame hung to surround it.
    A reminder to her, and indeed to all,
    Take time to read the handwriting on the wall.

  54. Good one TB.

  55. The number of 70 is in NSW only. The number of people killed, on average in Australia each year, in domestic homicides is 129, or thereabouts, taking into consideration differences in years etc. This one is from the Australian Institute of Criminology 2003 Family Homicide in Australia No 255 Report. But….and there is a big but in this. After studying this topic for almost 2 years now, I find out yesterday that it does NOT include family homicides where the perpetrator commits suicide. This is actually a really big issue, because according to the SMH source, 25% of familicides are where the perpetrator kills themselves. Ok, so that means, there’s immediately 33 people (men) per year left off that figure of 129. But you also need to add at least 33 more, mostly children, if the perpetrators of murder/suicide average taking the life of 1 extra person with them. But what if the average is 2 people taken when the perpetrator kills them and then himself? That means that we may be looking at an EXTRA 99 people, to add to that yearly figure of 129. So this means, that our authorities are trying to make decisions about cases of domestic homicides but are missing information from 75% of it’s victims. This is not a good dynamic, not at all. This is why we need a Domestic Homicide Review Team, such as there is in California and Ontario. The Canadian Coroners Office for the Province of Ontario has excellent reports that tell the story of domestic homicide directly from the statistics, until such time as we can emulate that, then we are trying to fix something we don’t about as much as we should.

    Oh, and good quote from Gerry Spence by the way. And I also agree with TB of Queensland about domestic violence being a family issue and that it is hidden, as many people minimise the abuse they received as children, tending to romanticise and fantasise that it was better than it actually was which is why cases of abuse sometimes don’t surface until the children are adults in their 40’s which is when they have to come to terms with the abuse perpetrated in their childhoods and how it has impacted them in adulthood, but I do disagree that families should be left to ‘sort themselves out.’ Although TB stood up to his tormentor and the outcome was good, the chances are that the outcome could have become murder just as easily.

  56. I notice this thread spoke a lot about abusive parents etc. My 2 cents worth is even if there wasn’t really bad violence, but some sporadic violence, it’s the life-skills that are lacking in that environment. I was brought up in an environment that I now recognise as emotional neglect. The art of negotiation, compromising, positive conflict resolution, understanding, acknowledgement and validation was hardly ever, if ever role modelled for me. As a mature aged Mum I’ve had to go and learn how to do reward systems for my kid, how to be assertive and positive and put boundaries in place is something that does not come naturally for me, I’ve had to read and learn and practice it. I have to work at it, every day. And every day I strive to reach for those things. And how hard is it to just lapse back into what was role modelled for you as a child? It’s very easy. Heartbreakingly easy.

  57. Shivers (55) frightening! (56) enlightening – all it takes is a little structure and a desire to follow a simple plan.

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