Archive for Thursday, May 5, 2011

Domestic violence has lasting impact

May 5, 2011


Part of my teaching load includes a graduate course on ethics. Each term, I ask students to write a paper on the people and events instrumental in the formation of their ethical values. You might be surprised how often I read episodes of domestic violence. I am.

For those inclined to raise a hand to their children or spouses, let me assure you that never once has a student drawn a positive conclusion from a violent outburst. Never once has a student said “my old man roughed me up, but it helped me grow strong.” Never once has a student said “my mother hit us all the time, and it made us realize the wisdom of her advice.” It just doesn’t happen that way.

What does seem to happen is resentment, cutting off communication, distrust, and struggles to forget … much less to forgive. It is, of course, possible and even common for these victims to move in a positive direction as an adverse reaction to ugly experiences. Students do swear to themselves that they would never treat their children or loved ones so cruelly. And since substance abuse frequently plays a triggering role in domestic violence, students often vow that they will never let alcohol or drugs be so harmful to their own families. To their own kids.

Imagine that. To impress your children in such a way that their most fervent hope, their most bitter commitment is to not be like you.

Because of the context — my graduate students are generally older and successful — I am inclined to take their adverse aspirations at face value. I believe they will do better. I believe they will break the cycle of domestic violence that often infects successive generations.

But I don't know. The pull of domestic violence is so terribly strong. It hangs on persistently across time and all social strata: income, geography, race and education. I hope and pray for them, but I cannot erase their memories, their models.

Imagine that. Your children trying fiercely to be different from you. But no matter how hard they try, they find one angry night that your blood still rises in their veins and the fury in your face is now in their mirror.

Somehow, somewhere, we’re all accountable for the lives we live. Imagine what your children or spouse would say if asked to assess your legacy. Then stop.

— Charles Jones, a former Douglas County commissioner, is director of the KU Public Management Center and a faculty member in the KU department of public administration.


Richard Heckler 6 years, 8 months ago

Women the republican party CANNOT be trusted with women's issues across the board.

Women,YOU are the largest voting block in America!

  1. "The GOP's stealth plan to redefine rape," Mother Jones, May 3, 2011.

Tue May. 3, 2011

They're doing it again: After jettisoning controversial legislative language narrowing the definition of rape for the purposes of abortion law, House Republicans are attempting a backdoor maneuver to ensure that solely victims of "forcible rape" are eligible for federal funding if they seek abortions.

In February, Republicans drew widespread condemnation for their "forcible rape" proposal, which legal experts said would have excluded statutory rape victims and others from obtaining abortions through Medicaid.

Amidst public outcry and a protest campaign by left-leaning groups, Republicans abandoned the language, which had been included in the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act," a bill the GOP leadership numbered H.R. 3 to signify its high priority to the party.

But while they've amended their legislation, which faces a floor vote in the House on Wednesday, Republicans haven't stopped trying to narrow the already small exception under which federal funding for abortions is permissible.

They've used a sly legislative maneuver to make sure that even though the language of the bill is different, the effect remains the same.

Women the republican party CANNOT be trusted with women's issues across the board.

Women,YOU are the largest voting block in America!

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