The right context

Ask yourself this: who commits more child abuse, men or women? If you’re like most folks, you’ll say women. Perhaps it’s been the media that has influenced this perception. Take notice the next time you read an article on child abuse and how each gender can be treated differently. Here’s an article that puts child abuse into context – something that is not often done.

Men are more commonly the perpetrators in abuse cases, while women lead in cases of neglect. Statistics show the most typical abuser profile is the boyfriend of a single mom, 18 to 30 years old and unemployed. If the mother is facing financial difficulties herself, she may have the boyfriend move in to share living expenses — or to have free child care while she works.

The fact that these men have no biological bond with the children, and often no prior parenting experience, makes them ill-prepared to deal with crying jags, potty-training accidents and the battle of wills that can come with feeding very young children.

“If you look at the age curve for victims of shaken-baby syndrome, it often correlates with the crying curve of babies — the amount of time each day that babies spend crying,” said Dr. Mark Kesler, medical director of the state’s child protection team for Orange and Osceola counties. “People don’t understand that babies can cry a certain number of hours each day, and that’s normal.”

It doesn’t take much, Kesler notes, to seriously injure an infant by shaking. The difference in size and strength between adult and child coupled with a baby’s weak neck muscles and disproportionately large head can quickly lead to permanent brain damage or death.
 

The article, Brutal Child Abuse on the Rise, states that child abuse may increase as the economy worsens. 

It also provides resources at the end.

It’s a difficult topic, but it’s written with facts and resources. Well done!

Notice how this article, Lynn Child Abuse Rates Outpacing Most of US, provides some context, but discussion of solutions focuses on who? Single moms, of course. Research does find that single parenthood contributes to a small degree of social problems. However, 25 million single parents in a nation of 300 million are not the cause of society’s social ills, including child abuse. Father absence is actually just a small factor. It makes more sense to look at factors like poverty, drug laws, gang prevention and so on than to focus on single mothers.

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