Child abuse in America: slaughter of the innocents

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The extreme of child abuse is murder. In 1975 alone, 166 infants less than a year old were murdered, 327 children between the ages of one and four were murdered, 142 children between the ages of five and nine were murdered, and 205 children between the ages of ten and fourteen were murdered. These numbers, taken from the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports for that year, are at best an underestimate of the actual incidence of infant and child murder, since so many deaths reported as accidental may in fact result from intentional injury. [...]

Just how important is physical affection in the parent/child relationship and in the relationships between youths and adults? In my studies, I have found strong support linking physical violence in a person's adult life to lack of physical affection from his parents when he was a child. [...] I found that those cultures that gave a great deal of infant physical affection - that is, a lot of touching, holding and carrying - were rated very low in adult physical violence. Conversely, the cultures that were rated low on adult physical affection of children were rated very high on adult physical violence. Thirty-six out of the 49 cultures examined fit this pattern. With respect to the 13 cultures that did not fit into this pattern, I examined their sexual behaviors to see whether this could account for the discrepancy. Five of the six cultures that had high infant physical affection and high adult physical violence had repressive attitudes toward premarital sex. The interpretation is that the benefits of infant physical affection can be negated during life by lack of physical affection due to repression of premarital sex. When I examined the other seven cultures that had low infant physical affection and also low adult physical violence, I found that every one of these cultures had permissive attitudes toward premarital sex. The interpretation here is that deprivation of infant physical affection can be compensated for later in life through expressive sexuality. [...]

The pain and discomfort of bodily tension must be relieved. When the natural methods of Mother Nature (tactile pleasure) are denied, then substitutes must be found - alcohol, drugs and physical violence. [...] We are architects of violence against ourselves and our children, and we are the ones who must change the moral architecture of Western civilization.

source: Article 'Child abuse in America: slaughter of the innocents' by James W. Prescott, Ph.D.;; Published in Hustler; October 1977