Romance Can Turn Brutal – Especially For The Children

If you’re the typical U.S. consumer you just shelled out money to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Collectively Americans spend multiple billions each year on candy, flowers, jewelry or some other gift to spark romance with a loved one.

Historians agree the celebration likely began in ancient Roman times with the mid-February fertility festival called Lupercalia.

The festival involved toga wearing men getting naked, sacrificing dogs and goats and then using strips from the hides to chase down and whip local females. The women voluntarily submitted, somehow believing the beating would improve their fertility. Two days of forced coupling followed.

Artist Andrea Camassei's "Lupercales"depicting the ancient mid-February Lupercalia Festival - wikimedia
Artist Andrea Camassei’s “Lupercales”depicting the ancient Lupercalia Festival – wikimedia

The holiday has a decidedly ugly origin. And despite today’s display of lacy heart covered greeting cards, flowers and candlelit dinners Valentine’s Day is still often punctuated with brutality.

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that in the United States, on average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner. That equates to more than 10 million women and men being victimized every year. Casualties are reported across the spectrum including within heterosexual, homosexual and transgender relationships. If there is a gun in the vicinity of the incident the likelihood of a homicide occurring increases by 500%. These numbers, as shocking as they seem, are likely underreported.

The Coalition Keeps Track of the Ever-Increasing Number of DV incidents in the U.S.

It is way too easy to try to diminish the domestic abuse problem by believing adults have free will to get themselves out of dangerous situations. The causes and continuation of domestic violence are massively more complicated than that. There may be cultural, mental health or serious financial reasons the victim stays. Sadly, there are often young children involved, eyewitnesses to the in-home brutality, who also become victims of emotional, physical and sexual abuse.

As the National Institutes of Health reports the long-term traumatic effects of domestic violence can be passed down through generations, “The “cycle of abuse” is often continued from exposed children into their adult relationships, and finally to the care of the elderly.”

Society should worry about curbing domestic violence, if for no other reason, the children born into it. Studies show these kids are forever harmed after watching dad terrorize or beat on mom (or vice versa) and their future problems become the community’s problems. These children often do poorly in school, get into trouble and pick physical fights. As teens they may have mental or health problems like acute depression or head and stomach aches. Risky behaviors such as unprotected sex and substance abuse are frequent. Anti-social behaviors impeding their education and job prospects may force them on to public assistance.

At last count more than 15 million American children live in homes where they have witnessed domestic violence. That’s a lot of future financial issues for all of us to deal with – from welfare and unemployment payments to probation and incarceration costs. The National Institutes of Health calculates the economic burden tied to this violent cycle to be over $12 billion dollars each year.

Dr. Leonard Shengold, a respected psychoanalyst who died last month at age 93, dedicated much of his life to studying the effects of long-term abuse and neglect of children. He concluded that adults who deprive their offspring of a loving home are guilty of “soul murder” and that was the title of one of Dr. Shengold’s most quoted books: “Soul Murder: The Effects of Childhood Abuse and Deprivation.” Through his 60 years of ministering to adult patients who had been variously victimized during childhood Shengold determined that, “The most destructive effect of child abuse is perhaps the need to hold on to the abusing parent” and to identify with the adult’s behaviors.

“This becomes part of a compulsion to repeat the experiences of abuse as tormentor,” he wrote. There is no legend of St. Valentine or obscure cupid that will suddenly make it all better.

Common sense tells us if we care about the future of our nation we must care about the future of today’s children and their children, the generations to come that will be called upon to lead the country in positive, responsible and meaningful directions. If those children are damaged early in life how can they cope? If society doesn’t help them through their trauma what’s the future look like?



  1. Diane Dimond on February 17, 2020 at 11:21 am

    Reader Nancy Spieker Robel writes:

    I agree, Diane! We are a nation going nowhere if we can’t protect and be good role models for our children.

  2. Diane Dimond on February 17, 2020 at 8:19 pm

    Reader David Wesley writes:

    Thank you for your excellent piece on domestic violence in the Epoch Times, “Romance can turn brutal…” The more attention paid to this subject, the better our world will be. I felt my deepest gratitude for your very brief qualifier “(or vice versa)” an ever-so-brief admission that women can be the violent ones.

    In fact women ARE the violent ones in 70% of couples, where only one partner, not both, uses violence, according to a major CDC study that was suppressed by the Obama administration, but finally released after Trump took office. Canadian studies (which were also suppressed) support this figure, as well as F.B.I. Uniform Crime Report figures on homicide within marriage: in roughly 60% of cases, the woman kills her husband. And this ratio holds true all the way back to the 1930’s.

    My personal feelings on this issue are strong because I desperately struggled to advocate for MALE victims of domestic violence, back in the 1990’s. Thanks to mountains of feminist propaganda and men’s extreme sensitivity to shame, our entire culture was in total denial that violent women, or battered men, even existed. Never mind my dozens of bruised, bleeding, battered clients-whose wives & partners had not a scratch-I was never able to get help from any gov’t or social service agency in Colo. Back then, all law enforcement agencies responding to domestic violence calls ALWAYS took the MAN to jail, even if he was obviously injured and the woman untouched.

    I lost count of all the trips I made to emergency rooms, jails, courts & lawyers. Social service agencies were the worst. At best, I met blunt, cold rejection. Many times, I faced angry shouting feminists, who called me a liar and ordered me out of their offices. I could deal with that…hey, I was a war veteran.

    But what finally broke my heart were four funerals for clients. Two were suicides; two were murdered by their wives. One killer never went to jail (her father was a county commissioner.) The other killer shot her husband from ambush…and he was an F.B.I. agent…nobody can shoot a G-man and get away with it, not even a poor, innocent (cheating) wife, who cut & bruised herself, for tactical advantage.

    Anyway, thanks again for that 3-word parenthesis, which restores integrity to your long “set-up” that women are (almost) always innocent and men are (almost) always the violent ones.

    Nobody should consider themselves an authority on domestic violence until they watch recent videos (still on You Tube) of Erin Pizzey, who founded the FIRST domestic violence shelter in the world, near London, in the 1960’s. Pizzey took up that work because her own family was violent–her MOTHER was the violent one. She kept her first 100 case files as evidence, because she knew the feminists would deny it…in 59 of those 100 cases, it was the WOMEN who were violent.

    Erin Pizzey also gives a fascinating account of early feminism in the U.K. After social Marxist radicals took over the movement, they saw domestic violence as their best source of government funding. They took over Pizzey’s shelter and threw her out, then adopted their “doctrine” that women are always victims and men are always violent. Also they replaced the old Marxist ideas of “evil capitalist domination” and “class struggle,” with the evil patriarchy and gender struggle. Pizzey actually witnessed all this.

    Plain Communism failed to subvert western nations, but Social Marxist feminism has succeeded. Their main goals include breaking down the family by forcing men out of the home and providing women a welfare state to support them, instead of a husband. But a HUGE problem, with far more serious effects than domestic violence (as a mountain of research now proves) is children raised with no fathers.

    Maybe in another 50 years, we can begin to get feminists to acknowledge that. But I doubt it. Men are responsible for all the evil in the world, since time began…and now, two generations believe that.

    Best wishes for a peaceful future and a more loving world.
    David Wesley Chapman

    • Diane Dimond on February 17, 2020 at 8:23 pm

      DD replies:

      Mr. Chapman,

      Thanks for writing. What you say here is interesting food for thought. Can you please send me more information/links regarding what you wrote at the top of this message….to wit:

      >>>”….In fact women ARE the violent ones in 70% of couples, where only one partner, not both, uses violence, according to a major CDC study that was suppressed by the Obama administration, but finally released after Trump took office. Canadian studies (which were also suppressed) support this figure, as well as F.B.I. Uniform Crime Report figures on homicide within marriage: in roughly 60% of cases, the woman kills her husband. And this ratio holds true all the way back to the 1930’s….”

      I would very much like to read the report you say was suppressed by the Obama administration and released by the Trump administration. Likewise, I’d like to read the Canadian study and the FBI Uniform Crime Report you mentioned.

      Thanks! ~ DD

  3. Diane Dimond on February 17, 2020 at 8:36 pm

    Reader Kathy O’Donnell writes:

    The book “If I am Missing or Dead” really drives home the brutal reality of this horrific scourge. Janine Latus details her own abuse, as well as that of her murdered sister, Amy. It’s high time that men are exposed and held accountable for abusing women, and we as a society have to peel back the onion, insisting on that exposure.
    That you for your article.

    Kathy O’Donnell
    Child witness to domestic violence

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