Behind Closed Doors: Violence in the American Family

By Murray A. Straus; Richard J. Gelles et al. | Go to book overview
punishing sibling violence. This is one of the most outrageous and damaging examples of the cycle of violence in the family.In short, it is possible to eliminate the sequence of early experiences which teach millions of American children to use violence on those they love.
SUMMING UP
The steps we have proposed to reduce family violence involve extremely long-term changes in the fabric of a society which now tends to tolerate, accept, and even encourage the use of violence in families.Many of the proposals would appear to confront and challenge some of our basic notions about the privacy of the family and the belief that a man's home is his castle. Some proposals appear to be out of the question—can we ever achieve full employment? Can poverty be eliminated? Can we guarantee health care to all Americans? Clearly, some of the steps we propose are costly and some will seem completely unworkable.However, the alternative to taking steps such as those outlined is a continuation and extension, and perhaps even an escalation, of the deadly tradition of domestic violence which:
1. Creates a cycle of violence.
2. Is one of the causes of all types of assault and homicide outside of the home, including political assassination.
3. Makes the family a source of untold misery for millions of Americans who know only violence and danger from those who should most provide love and security.

No meaningful change will take place without some drastic social and familial changes and this means a change in the fundamental way we organize our lives, our families, and our society.

-244-

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