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Re: The girl & the beast

Posted by CB on August 29, 2006 at 15:30:46

In Reply to: The girl & the beast posted by Farmer on August 29, 2006 at 03:48:23:

I don't know of any studies that specifically address the question you raised. That doesn't mean they haven't been done.

However, I am very cognizant of what the pre-eminant scholar Alice Miller has to say on this. Miller is a German social psychologist who has done extremely important and influential writing on child maltreatment. She states,

"The possibility of change depends on whether there is a sufficient number of enlightened witnesses to create a safety net for the growing consciousness of those who have been mistreated as children, so that they do not fall into the darkness of forgetfulness, from which they will later emerge as criminals or the mentally ill. Cradled in the "net" provided by such enlightened witnesses, these children can grow to be conscious adults, adults who live with and not against their past and who will therefore be able to do everything they can to create a more humane future for us all."

Just knowing that others have suffered the same sort of victimization is not enough. Miller implies the role of a witness who validates the victim's awareness of the abuse is an integral part of coming to terms with the experience. The meaning we give to an experience of childhood abuse is determined in large measure by those who interact with us about it. Children are not born with the ability to understand the meaning of their experiences. Even as adults, we are often at a loss to understand something that happened to us as children. Miller says it takes the support of "enlightened witnesses" to help us come to terms with an awareness of childhood abuse.

I like the following website because you can read it in your native language. Check out the article, "Child Abuse--The Essential Reason for Murder," by Barbara Rogers.