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Research evidence is demonstrating that current treatment programs cannot stem the ever burgeoning tide of child abuse, which will continue indefinitely unless the focus is changed to primary prevention. It is true that the causes of child abuse are complex, multiple, and interrelated, but there is little doubt about the major contributors to the problem. These include poverty, the oppression of children or reverse ageism, manifested in socially sanctioned corporal punishment, and irresponsible sexuality, manifested in inadequate provision for and utilization of contraception, abortion, and sex education, and in sexism and pronatalism. This article focuses on three kinds of irresponsible sexuality that are related to child abuse: unwanted pregnancy, irrationally wanted pregnancy, and father daughter incest in childhood.
The paucity of attention paid to contraceptive and abortion services, and sex education and counseling in the prevention of child abuse is especially remarkable because the circumstances of the conception and the attitudes toward pregnancy have been linked to child abuse in numerous investigations. Steele and Pollack (1968) state that "an infant born as the result of a premaritally conceived pregnancy or who comes as an accident too soon after the birth of a previous child, may be quite unwelcome to the parents and start life under a cloud of being unwanted and unsatisfying to the parents. Such infants may be perceived as public reminders of sexual transgression or as extra, unwanted burdens rather than need satisfying objects". Wasserman (1967) notes that a child conceived out of wedlock often becomes a "hostility sponge" for an unwanted marriage, reminds the mother of the man who deserted her during pregnancy, or is beaten by the mother and step father who perceive the unwanted child as a public reminder of sexual transgression.
Numerous investigators report significant relationships between child abuse and unwanted pregnancy, pregnancy occurring shortly after the birth of a previous child, and/or being a member of a large family with four or more children. Oates, Davis, Ryan, and Stewart (1979) in England. and West and West (1979) in Australia, found a significantly higher frequency of unplanned, unwanted, and illegitimate pregnancies among abusive parents compared to control samples. Ferguson, Flen1ing, and O'Neil (1972) report higher rates of child abuse and neglect among illegitimate children and in larger families in New Zealand.
Adolescent childbearing, two thirds of which is unplanned, is associated with a multitude of variables related to child abuse. These variables include a high risk of complications during the adolescent's pregnancy, labor, and delivery, and of prematurity, low birth weight, mental retardation, cerebral palsy, and epilepsy among infants of adolescent mothers.
Resnick (1970) reviewed the world literature since 1751 on the murder of the newborn and found that the vast majority of parents attributed the murder simply to not wanting the infant. Passivity was a prominent characteristic of these young women who planned neither the pregnancy nor the murder. However, "When reality is thrust upon them by the infant's first cry, they respond by permanently silencing the intruder".
Resnick contrasts the passivity of neonaticidal women with those who seek abortions; the latter recognize the reality of the unwanted pregnancy early and cope actively with the problem. So if abortion is murder, when shall the murder take place? In utero or at birth?
In these times of right wing fanaticism, a statement made in 1969 by Dr. Lester Breslow, then the president of the American Public Health Association, is especially relevant: Can anyone estimate how much physical harm is a byproduct of rigid abortion laws? The unwanted child, resulting from contraceptive failure or failure to abort, may be born only to be victimized by hostile parents. Not only are battered children sometimes killed and often disabled but they are usually psychologically distorted. An enlightened policy on abortion would prevent much of this waste and callous infliction of pain.
About The Author
David Crawford is the CEO and owner of a Natural Penis Enlargement Techniques company known as Penis Enlargement Group which is dedicated to researching and comparing penis enlargement products in order to determine which penis enlargement product is safer and more effective than other products on the market. Copyright 2011 David Crawford of Before And After Penis Enlargement Results This article may be freely distributed if this resource box stays attached.
- Unwanted Pregnancy and Child Abuse
- Irrationally Wanted Pregnancy and Child Abuse
- The Relationship Between Child Abuse and Wanting a Child
- Irresponsible Sexuality and Child Abuse
- Sexual Health Care Process: Assessment