By now, most people have heard of the Wisconsin GOP’s efforts to label single parenthood as a form of child abuse. There’s no basis in the claim, of course, and is simply another way to shame women (who comprise the majority of single parents) for not existing within a narrow and rigid social structure. A new wrinkle has surfaced as the bills’ co-sponsor, Representative Don Pridemore (R-Heartless Scumbag) has gone on the record as opposing divorce even in the event of a abusive spouse.
So if you are a woman regularly being beaten by your husband, you are a bad mother if you seek a divorce.
“If they can refind those reasons and get back to why they got married in the first place it might help,” said Representative Don Pridemore.
This attitude represents a profound misunderstanding of the realities of spousal abuse. Once the real abuse begins it doesn’t just go away. Power taken is not easily relinquished and that’s what abuse is about: power. Such a dynamic is extremely unhealthy for a child. A boy watching abuse can grow up to be an abuser, his view of women distorted. A girl can grow to be a victim, her sense of self worth destroyed. That’s abuse, not the fantasy of single parenthood being damaging to a child.
And health experts agree. TodaysTMJ4.com reports:
Dr. Geoffrey Swain of the Milwaukee Health Department is also a professor at the UW-Madison. He says surrounding a child with an unhealthy marriage can lead to not only abuse, but depression and anxiety.
“To the contrary one of the risk factors for child abuse and neglect is poor quality of marriage,” said Dr. Geoffrey Swain. “Marriage actually has nothing to do with it, it’s the quality of the relationship that matters in terms of the child’s health.”
Here’s the video:
Rep. Pridemore’s thinking is decades behind the real world. In Pridemore’s Pleasantville -style world, the fathers are stern authority figures and wives are submissive to their manliness. Children need a strict hand and sometimes, so do the women. In the non-1950’s world of today, however, women are hardly shrinking violets when it comes to the children and it is never OK to slap your wife around.
Perhaps Pridemore should recognize that we are in a different century. It might help clear up his confusion over the damage actual abuse can do to a child.
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