2002 suplement 2

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Volume 11, suplement 2

Original article

Cross-generational transmission of child abuse

JAN ŚLEDZIANOWSKI1
1. Akademii Świętokrzyskiej w Kielcach
Postępy Psychiatrii i Neurologii, 2002, 11, suplement 2 (15), 17-22
Keywords: family violence, cross-generational transmission

Abstract

In the submitted paper the investigations carried out at the end of 1998 and the beginning of 1999 among 46 women in shelter homes in Kraków and Wrocław will be presented. Alt these women left their places of residence and found themselves in the shelters as a result of violence of their husbands or partners. In this group of women only one was childless. The other 45 had from one to seven children. The examined mothers together were bringing up 115 children, including 54 girls and 61 boys. The main causes of their husbands' aggressive behaviour were alcoholism (87%) and mental disorders or diseases (13%). The victims suffered from various kinds of abuse: physical – hitting with objects, punching in the face, kicking, throttling, hair-pulling; verbal – humiliation, invectives, curses, quarrels and rows; emotional – threatening to kill the wife, children and oneself, isolating (locking in at home), abandonment, reducing sleep, sexual violence in the presence of children and other deeds. It is symptomatic of those men to have come from the families where alcoholism "was flourishing" (78%) and where parents used violence towards them (76%). A similar situation existed in the women's families of origin. Alcoholism of the women's parents was reported in 61% of the cases while violence was applied in as many as 85% of the cases. The women who experienced violence in their childhood often kept the aggressive behaviour of their husbands secret for too long because they thought that "it was just a part of life". The stereotype of aggressive behaviour was accepted to a high degree by the parties who then transmitted this model which had shaped them towards violence to the next generation.

Address for correspondence:
Ks. prof. Jan Śledzianowski, ul. Krakowska 11, 25-029 Kielce