Abusive mothers are a very real problem and we have to start talking about it to be able to help
DID you know children are more likely to be harmed by their biological mother than father? Neither did I until very recently. But why am I surprised — and why will you be shocked? Because we don’t talk about it.
No one wants to talk about it. Society is totally in denial that women aren’t always victims.
We have all been conditioned to believe the majority of people who commit abuse are men — but it’s not true.
It’s so important that we all put aside our preconceptions and look at the facts, even though they’re uncomfortable.
Statistics show a different story from the one we are accustomed to
Data from Child Protective Services in the US, mirrors the pattern around the world. Of children who become victims of maltreatment, the huge majority of perpetrators of the crimes are the biological parents (not adopted or foster parents, as you might think).
The Child Family Community Australia reports, “A British retrospective prevalence study of 2669 young adults aged 18-24 (May-Chahal & Cawson, 2005) found that mothers were more likely than fathers to be responsible for physical abuse 49 per cent of incidents compared to 40 per cent).”
Other sites that are trying to raise awareness in this area will bombard you with statistics. Breaking the silence, for instance, says 71 per cent of children killed by one parent are killed by their mothers, 60 per cent of those victims are boys.
A report by Australian Institute of Family Studies released in October 2016 found, “boys were more likely to be the subjects of a substantiation of physical abuse, neglect or emotional abuse than girls.”
DHHS data in the UK shows that of children abused by one parent between 2001 and 2006, 70.6 per cent were abused by their mothers, 29.4 per cent were abused by their fathers.
You don’t have to drown in statistics to see reality. You only have to read news headlines that, sadly, are all around us.
The truth about violence is that it has more connection to morality than gender. And, not all women are natural caretakers.
Women who abuse children are criminals.
This is a million miles away from the Mrs Robinson stereotype. It is not more OK that female teachers have sex with their students than vice versa.
On Sunday, it was reported that an Australian mother pleaded guilty to 26 offences including sexually assaulting three of her own children. She’ll be in Newcastle District Court this week for sentencing.
Heartbreaking doesn’t even come close to the horrors these poor children have seen.
There are so many gruesome stories, why are we still in denial? Ultimately, it’s children who continue to suffer.
Why is society not being honest about abuse and violence?
Isn’t it all of our responsibility to help to protect children?
Doesn’t that start with acknowledging the truth?
Author and psychologist Meredith Fuller says, “There is a societal idea that it’s easy to have children, you should be able to cope and feel blessed. Abusive mothers are a very real problem and we have to start talking about it to be able to help. We have no language around it. We have made it completely impossible for a mother to say, ‘I feel violent. I want to harm my child. I’m overwhelmed and I don’t know what to do.’ Mothers lash out because they’re frustrated, angry and feel despair. They want the noise to stop, the pain to stop and they don’t know what to do. We are in denial and it’s harming children.
“We’ve created a culture where children can stand with their hands on their hips and say to their parent, ‘You’re not allowed to touch me. You can’t hit me.’ Parents feel powerless. They can’t cope and we see the result of that, but we’re not willing to talk about what we can do to help before it gets to breaking point.”
This article originally appeared on Kidspot and has been republished with permission.
* If this article has raised concerns or you need support, you can call Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800, Lifeline 131 114, 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732). All are 24/7 helplines.