I’d like to tell you another story. Years ago I responded to a report of a stabbing at an apartment complex. I arrived at the address and observed a man laying on the ground bleeding profusely from a knife wound to the chest. A woman was standing over him crying hysterically and begging the man to please get up. I immediately attempted to provide treatment to stop the bleeding. Paramedics arrived and took over treatment. Other officers arrived and I began my investigation by attempting to interview the hysterical woman who I learned was the victim’s wife. She was emotional and unable to answer questions. I then followed the trail of blood from where the man lay on the ground to the door of an apartment. I stepped into the apartment and was surprised to see three small children, all under the age of six, sitting on the sofa calmly watching a cartoon on television. I needed to interview the children, but first had to gain their trust. I watched television with them for a few minutes, and then asked if there had been some trouble. The oldest of the three replied, “Yeah, daddy was hitting mommy and she stabbed him.” There was no alarm in the child’s voice, and I was surprised that none of the children acted frightened in any way. It was apparent during the course of my investigation that violence in this home was normal. The man was transported to the hospital but did not survive his injuries. The woman was charged with manslaughter, but was not convicted due to the circumstances of ongoing assaults against her by her husband. I have dozens of similar stories.
But what of the children? How do you think they were affected in the long term? The theme of this textbook relates to the effects of family violence during the life-course. The question for discussion is this…What can be the effects on small children who are consistently exposed to episodes of domestic violence? Your answers may lay outside the material in this textbook. Students in previous semesters have been open about some of their own life experiences. I’d like your thoughts on this very emotional and controversial issue.