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Chances of Abused Children Becoming Abusers


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Old 21st April 2007, 6:50 PM   #1
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Chances of Abused Children Becoming Abusers

Anyone know the chances of abused children becoming abusers or ending up w/ one?
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Old 21st April 2007, 8:24 PM   #2
 
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I've never seen statistics. But it's a commonly-held belief that abusees become abusers. It makes sense to me, because I think it's how they learn to relate to people and it leads to a lot of internalized pain and anger that has to come out. Usually it's those closest to you who get the benefit of seeing you at your worst.
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Old 21st April 2007, 8:27 PM   #3
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Everyone on this thread needs a hug.
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Old 22nd April 2007, 12:15 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by johan View Post
I've never seen statistics. But it's a commonly-held belief that abusees become abusers. It makes sense to me, because I think it's how they learn to relate to people and it leads to a lot of internalized pain and anger that has to come out. Usually it's those closest to you who get the benefit of seeing you at your worst.
Yes makes sense. Wonder if it makes a difference if they recongnize it.


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Old 22nd April 2007, 7:35 PM   #5
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All I can find so far...

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Children who are abused or neglected are more likely to become criminal offenders as adults. A National Institute of Justice study found "that childhood abuse increased the odds of future delinquency and adult criminality overall by 40 percent" (Widom, 1992). Child sexual abuse victims are also at risk of becoming ensnared in this cycle of violence. One expert estimates that forty percent of sexual abusers were sexually abused as children (Vanderbilt, 1992). In addition, victims of child sexual abuse are 27.7 times more likely to be arrested for prostitution as adults than non-victims. (Widom, 1995). Some victims become sexual abusers or prostitutes because they have a difficult time relating to others except on sexual terms.
http://www.ncvc.org/ncvc/main.aspx?d...cumentID=32315

I am guessing that it will be hard to find solid statistics because so many cases go unreported. I'm sure there are studies out there, I'm just not coming up with them at the moment.
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Old 23rd April 2007, 8:01 AM   #6
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If you are conscious of how you were abused as a kid, it doesn't mean you will become an abuser. I am a gentle person -- assertive -- but never mean and insensitive and manipulative. The only time I have been was after my most recent breakup -- when she dumped me and asked to be friends with benefits and when I learned her ex proposed to her two weeks before she dumped me -- I said mean things, and even in my situation, I think I crossed the line. I am conscious of this, however, and understand that the only time I'll act abusive is if someone who is supposed to love and care for me uses and abuses my love and affection; that brings back old wounds. Now that I have recognized it, I can learn from it and better this part of my life.
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Old 23rd April 2007, 8:39 AM   #7
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Now that I have recognized it, I can learn from it and better this part of my life.
I think this is an important point, because it points out that what any one individual "becomes" is specific to that person's life. In other words, if the statistics say that some percentage of the abused go on to become abusers, that doesn't mean that for one given individual, the dice will get rolled and the outcome of their life will be determined by random "chance." A recognition of your past and a determination to move beyond it and change your course is a powerful thing.

VI - are you asking because you are interested about a particular person, or are you looking for the statistics in general?

Also, not to diminish the importance of various forms of abuse, but take great care in reading those numbers quoted above. "...childhood abuse increased the odds of future delinquency and adult criminality overall by 40 percent" does NOT mean that 40 percent of abused children become delinquents or criminals. If we take the statement literally, it means that if, in the general population, 10 percent of the population normally becomes delinquent or criminal, then among the population of victims of abuse, 14 percent will eventually be delinquent or criminal.

The statement: "One expert estimates that forty percent of sexual abusers were sexually abused as children" does not equate to 40 percent of the sexually abused becoming abusers. The quoted statement, by itself, gives us no information about that. To understand this, consider an invented statistic that 40% of heroin users started out drinking alcohol. Totally believable, right? (Probably low, actually, but I'm sticking with the 40% theme here.) That doesn't mean that 40% of alcohol users will eventually turn into heroin users.

Again - I absolutely do not bring these up to minimize anything about the evil of any form of abuse, but to encourage a careful reading of statistics and how they are presented, if you intend to draw conclusions from them.

It's a noble endeavor to raise consciousness about the damage that abuse causes, and using statistics like "40%" definitely gets our attention. However, I wonder if that doesn't also squash our hope in the process.
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Old 23rd April 2007, 6:09 PM   #8
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VI - are you asking because you are interested about a particular person, or are you looking for the statistics in general?
Generally but sounds like it depends on the person & situation.
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Old 23rd April 2007, 11:17 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Trimmer View Post
I think this is an important point, because it points out that what any one individual "becomes" is specific to that person's life. In other words, if the statistics say that some percentage of the abused go on to become abusers, that doesn't mean that for one given individual, the dice will get rolled and the outcome of their life will be determined by random "chance." A recognition of your past and a determination to move beyond it and change your course is a powerful thing.

VI - are you asking because you are interested about a particular person, or are you looking for the statistics in general?

Also, not to diminish the importance of various forms of abuse, but take great care in reading those numbers quoted above. "...childhood abuse increased the odds of future delinquency and adult criminality overall by 40 percent" does NOT mean that 40 percent of abused children become delinquents or criminals. If we take the statement literally, it means that if, in the general population, 10 percent of the population normally becomes delinquent or criminal, then among the population of victims of abuse, 14 percent will eventually be delinquent or criminal.

The statement: "One expert estimates that forty percent of sexual abusers were sexually abused as children" does not equate to 40 percent of the sexually abused becoming abusers. The quoted statement, by itself, gives us no information about that. To understand this, consider an invented statistic that 40% of heroin users started out drinking alcohol. Totally believable, right? (Probably low, actually, but I'm sticking with the 40% theme here.) That doesn't mean that 40% of alcohol users will eventually turn into heroin users.

Again - I absolutely do not bring these up to minimize anything about the evil of any form of abuse, but to encourage a careful reading of statistics and how they are presented, if you intend to draw conclusions from them.

It's a noble endeavor to raise consciousness about the damage that abuse causes, and using statistics like "40%" definitely gets our attention. However, I wonder if that doesn't also squash our hope in the process.
I agree, even among statistics with solid numbers to back them up different people can present them in drastically different ways. I don't think there is an actual set of statistics as in this many people who were abused will grow up to continue that cycle.

There are too many factors that can affect the outcome. My Grandfather was an abusive alcoholic, they had four children together.

The oldest my mother grew up to be abusive, an alcoholic, and a drug addict, she also married men with the same problems. As she grew older she realized what was going on, and stopped the cycle.

The next was my aunt, no drugs, no alcohol, happy marriage.

Next is my Uncle, He is very aware of the potential for violence, and avoids confrontation.

Last is my youngest aunt, she doesn't drink, and she avoided relationships for the most part until she was 40. She is now happily married.

So in this case, 1 out of 4 ended up with problems, but even she was able to turn it around.

My husband also came from a similar family history, four kids as well. Three of them have struggled with drugs and alcohol, and all have struggled with marriages. Granted there were three girls and four boys, they ended up being 3 out of 4.

Maybe it's because males do not seek outside help for their problems as often as females. Maybe it's because females tend to internalize anger, while males tend to externalize it. Maybe there are factors behind it that no one has considered.

I believe the chances are much higher for a normal outcome if the problem is recognized and the person is determined to break that cycle.
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