Observations/Questions

There is no period in life that is free from the potential for abuse. The life-time risk of abuse is therefore much higher than the risk of experiencing any single kind of abuse during one season of life.

Questions

  • Does the fragmentation of abuse into so many categories contribute to the tendency to underestimate the extent of abuse in society? Is it easier to ignore 20 ‘small’ problems and too painful to see one ‘big’ one?
  • Are these different faces of the same problem? Or are they different problems?
  • Is there a central theme which can organize your experience of all these forms of abuse? (Power? Gender? Violence? Trauma?)
  • If you see a central organizing theme, what difference does it make for a) public policy b) prevention efforts and c) recovery?
  • Do your instincts about the characteristics of perpetrators change when you think about different kinds of abuse? Compare your assumptions about the typical abuser in cases of female genital mutilation, elder abuse, and domestic violence. What do they have in common? How are they different?
  • Do your instincts about the characteristics of abused persons change when you think about different kinds of abuse?

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