Throughout history, abuse has known no
social bounds. Anyone has been potentially susceptible.
is far less child abuse today than was inflicted on children in the past.
occurrences of child abuse continue in epidemic proportions. Patriarchal societies
have historically perpetuated a power imbalance and have systemically supported
Perpetrators often look for positions and
situations of power. The very people who should be trusted have often been the
individuals who committed the abuses. Abusers have been parents, uncles, doctors,
teachers, coaches, ministers, etc.
The need to feel a sense
of belonging to family has perpetuated the silence and family secrets around child
abuse. Historically the rights of family privacy have superceded the rights of
the individual within the family.
There have been intergenerational
chains of abuse. Historically, children were taught to be seen and not heard which
perpetuated the pattern of abuse. This generation is breaking the chains of abuse
by challenging authority and encouraging children to establish healthy boundaries.
It is shocking to most individuals when incidences of abuse
"The further back in history one goes, the
lower the level of child care, and the more likely children are to be killed,
abandoned, beaten, terrorized, and sexually abused." Lloyd deMause
Well, I told ‘em!
Couldn’t help myself
It just spilled out of me.
Was after the church meetin’,
women you understand,
Good neighbours too, most of ‘em any way.
But they’re talkin’ about all the bad things happenin’
to young kids
And what’s wrong these days.
How it must be the TV
and all those wicked magazines,
And on and on
And I just couldn’t
keep my mouth shut
Not one more minute.
“Ya think this is somethin’new?”
“Well, it happened to me and long before there was any TV.
Maybe to some of you too
Or your sisters, maybe your mother
your brothers too, I suppose.
I wouldn’t know about that.
it happened after school when you had to stay late
Or in the church basement
Or behind the barn or maybe in that dark little room
at the end of the hall
The one with the lace curtains
And flowered wallpaper.
Don’t try to tell me
About this wicked modern world
history of silent threats exposes fear
fear from both the aggressor and the
Power is both healthy and unhealthy
Silent threats breed Contempt,
Blame, Hurt and more
The masses have historically had tunnel vision
the fear rule their inaction
The healthy side of power is based in
and Self Love
To gain healthy power their needs to be growth
with Self, Heart, Health,
Freedom and Safety
Growth means change
means Progressive Self-Discovery in
Living, Loving, Learning
into healthy, freeing independence
Freeing independence leads to community
Community includes possibilities for
Safety in numbers
Knowledge with Power over the fear of History.
by the grafted-on
evils of others
who in turn have been formed
by the grafted-on evils of
who in turn
Both my past
and my present
In some way even exist simultaneously.
I have often
thought of Cassandra
The Prophetess of Troy
Doomed never to be believed
I never understood my deep identification with her
now, Troy has been destroyed
And from this death, this ending
As with all deaths, all endings.
Comes birth, beginnings, hopes and rejuvenation.
fears and anxieties, it=s true
But the possibility of health, peace can be
An alternate Universe
Has been created
Where Cassandra will be
Discussion - History of Child Abuse
Child abuse is still an issue which is not to be talked about.
The public still has difficulty in accepting abuse today. It is shocking to most
individuals when abuse is revealed. They believe that people are supposed to be
good. Societal members do not feel safe. Abuse is rationalized, and believed to
be the fantasies of children.
Survivors of abuse bear scars.
They have lost the respect of individuals whom they are supposed to trust, such
as the police, judges and psychologists. The cycle continues because the system
does not, and is unable to deal with the issue. The justice system denies that
child abuse occurs. People in power continue to abuse that power.
Historically, our patriarchal society has perpetuated an imbalance
of power between the sexes. Children have been exploited and abuse has been condoned
and perpetuated throughout the centuries. There is a difference in the way we
have witnessed abuse throughout history.
that an average of 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 4 boys are sexually abused. Abuse does
not stop in childhood. For some the abuse continues into adolescence and beyond.
Doctors, neighbours, society knows. There is a denial by society that child abuse
occurs. It occurs in all societies. Why do we not confront the abuse? There are
difficulties in revealing the abuse.
Abuse does not just
happen. It can occur in all kinds of families, of all economic and cultural backgrounds.
Denial of abuse and secrets are common. The very people we think we can trust
are usually the individuals who commit the abuse, and that can be anyone: your
doctors, teachers, clergy, coaches, grandparents, uncles, aunts, mothers, fathers.
Perpetrators often look for positions and situations of power.
knows no social bounds.
The concept of family secrets:
It is easier to expose
the abuse today due to changes in the family structure. Families are not as insular
today. It is easier to pierce the veil of privacy.
importance of keeping the family together is considered by many victims of child
abuse, before reporting their abuse. This results in a refusal to admit secrets,
often because of threats that the information must not be disclosed.
ON HISTORY OF CHILD ABUSE AND CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE :
Lloyd. History of Child Assault. Empathetic Parenting, 1992, vol.
15, no. 1-2, p. 24-42.
Greven, Philip J. Spare the Child:
The Religious Roots of Punishment and the Psychological Impact of Physical Abuse.
New York: Knopf, 1991.
Kieran, Sheila. The Family Matters:
Two Centuries of Family Law and Life in Ontario. Toronto: Key Porter Books, 1986.
Krane, Julia and Linda Davies. Mother-blame in Child
Sexual Abuse: A Look At Dominant Culture, Writings, and Practices. Textual Studies
In Canada, 1995 vol. no. 7, p. 21-35.
Masson, J. Moussaieff.
A Dark Science: Women, Sexuality and Psychiatry in the 19th Century. New York:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1986.
Miller, Alice. For Your Own
Good - Hidden Cruelty in Child Rearing and the Roots of Violence. New York: Straus,
----------. Thou Shalt Not Be Aware: Societys
Betrayal of the Child. New York: Meridian, 1986.
Domestic Tyranny: The Making of Social Policy Against Family Violence From Colonial
Times to the Present. New York: Oxford University Press, 1987.
Florence. The Best Kept Secret. Blue Ridge Summit, PA: Tab Books 1992.
memory of Charles, Died 1912, age 4.
Disclosed at 16 and the
Mental Health System
until I was 35.
Child abuse causes
people to cut.
Hands are for helping
not for hurting.
you love them
by giving hugs not tugs!
You never hurt
the ones you
Together we are stronger
Bruce and Austin
The place inside me
shines and remains
I own my body and
it remains pure
as my spirit.
Darkness is what
Now it's my time to
Hands should bring
someone close to you
Hands are for holding,
not for hurting.
Friends last forever,
help those who have
Believe in yourself
and have everyting.
A little light
goes a long
for those who don’t feel
Family is everlasting
even if it’s not your
Everyone has someone
Help those who don’t
Together we can make
a difference and