In a family where the father abuses and violates the mother, the children also suffer
200,000 children in Sweden live in families where violence occurs (according to BRIS)
All these children are emotionally abused since they are nearby and see and hear what happens when dad abuses mum.
Witnessing violence is a trauma in itself and the fact that it happens in the place which should be the child’s safest place, the home, and is practised by one of those whose role it is to protect the children, the father, means that the violence constitutes serious abuse even if it is not directly aimed at the children.
Often, children are also abused by the father.
Most children are aware of what is happening, even if the parents do not think that they notice anything. Children quickly notice when something is wrong in the family, but they do not show/express their feelings.
Many children feel guilty about the violence and think it is their fault that mummy is being abused. Young children in particular tend to think that everything that happens is due to them. Older children experience guilt for being unable to protect their mother and preventing their father from hitting her.
Consequences of violence to children:
- Problems at school, difficulty concentrating
- Low self-confidence and self-hatred
- Acting violently, getting into fights at school
- Start wetting the bed
- Lose their language, start speaking poorly
- Becoming nervous and stressed, scared, worried and sad
- Feeling confused
- Becoming isolated, having difficulties making friends
- May be misdiagnosed with ADHD, for example
- Even babies will be greatly affected by violence
- Symptoms may also arise retrospectively in adulthood
- If children are not given the opportunity to talk about their experiences, there is a risk that they will end up with misplaced values that will persist into adulthood
- Children are not doomed for life, most children who grow up in a violent home do not fight or abuse as adults. But combined with other factors there is an increased risk of them becoming violent as adults and not respecting other people’s boundaries