THE BLOG

The Power of Care and Attachment in the Presence of Domestic Violence

05/05/2014 02:57 pm ET | Updated Jul 05, 2014

A report entitled Behind Closed Doors: The Impact of Domestic Violence on Children set out to examine some of the issues of domestic violence in the home and the impact of this violence on children. This report highlighted several key findings regarding the risks and challenges faced by these children, including the following:

· Statistic: As the child develops, there is a significant risk of greater harm to the child's emotional, physical and social development.

· Statistic: There is an increased risk of children actually becoming victims of physical or sexual abuse.

· Statistic:The pattern of abuse within the home has a strong likelihood that it will be perpetuated in the next generation.

In the Guide to Teaching about Women Abuse and its Effects on Children it is shown that children growing up in a violent environment are unlikely to formulate an understanding of healthy relationships; have a skewed perception of gender roles; and, often lack the means to relate to others without resorting to dysfunctional methods such as being physical, aggressive, or demeaning. As stated in the report, Little Eyes, Little Ears, the specific unhealthy lessons children may learn from violence against their mothers include:

· Violence and threats get you what you want

· A person has two choices - to be the aggressor or be the victim

· Victims are to blame for violence

· Women are weak, helpless, incompetent, stupid, or violent

· Anger causes violence or drinking causes violence

· People who love you can also hurt you

· Anger should be suppressed because it can get out of control

· Unhealthy, unequal relationships are normal or to be expected

· Men are in charge and get to control women's lives

· Women don't have the right to be treated with respect

It is generally understood that a child's strong relationship with and attachment to a caring adult, usually the mother, is a protective factor that can act to mitigate against the profound impact of living in a home fraught with domestic violence. In their paper, The Impact of exposure to domestic violence on children and young people: A review of the literature, Holt, Buckley and Whelan state that the strength of this bond can help to lessen the impact domestic violence has on the emotional and psychological well being of the children in this situation.

Keeping in mind the power of care and attachment between a mother and her child in the presence of domestic violence, the following is a note addressed to all men and women who grow up in this difficult environment.

Despite every insult you may have overheard...

Despite watching or hearing things thrown across a room or shattering against a wall...

Despite witnessing physical violence towards your mother...

Remember that...

When you came into the world, your mother held you first and took your hand in hers. Honor this bond. Do not continue the cycle of abuse. Do not become a victim of abuse.

When you cried and fussed, your mother held you first and took your hand in hers. Honor this bond. Do not continue the cycle of abuse. Do not become a victim of abuse.

When you were sick, your mother held you first and took your hand in hers. Honor this bond. Do not continue the cycle of abuse. Do not become a victim of abuse.

When monsters invaded your dreams, your mother held you first and took your hand in hers. Honor this bond. Do not continue the cycle of abuse. Do not become a victim of abuse.

When you came home from school crying, your mother held you first and took your hand in hers. Honor this bond. Do not continue the cycle of abuse. Do not become a victim of abuse.

When violence and abuse became part of your family life, your mother held you first and took your hand in hers. Honor this bond. Do not continue the cycle of abuse. Do not become a victim of abuse.

As you grow into a young man please remember the first and most important bond in your life and do not bring abuse into your adult relationships. Honor this bond.

As you grow into a young woman please remember the first and most important bond in your life and do not allow yourself to become a victim of abuse in your adult relationships. Honor this bond.

Stay Safe, Live Well,

Avital