Behind Closed Doors: Violence in the American Family

By Murray A. Straus; Richard J. Gelles et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 5
The Social Heredity of Family Violence

He began hitting her even before they were married. The first time was on a warm evening after they had returned from a walk.

Craig doesn't remember now why he did it. He only knows he hit Patsy with the cane, the cane he had just bought. . . . He stood over her in a bedroom of her mother's house in the Bronx, raised the cane over his head and let it come down on her arms and hands. She suffered contusions on both hands; be turned and ran out of the house.

"I can remember hitting her on the hand with it. I cannot remember what motivated me, what the actual reason was. We had an argument about something. I remember leaving the house and sitting by myself at the bus stop. I can remember being upset after I had done it. It's really hard to remember. I'm sure I don't want to."

The next time was three months after they married. Craig was stationed out west and Patsy came to live with him in a trailer camp near the Army base. "We were fighting about the music. I felt like I wasn't being allowed to listen to the music,

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