Re: Women and men and violence and crime

From: J. R. Molloy (
Date: Sat Oct 14 2000 - 07:20:31 MDT

"Ifrit" <> wrote,

> > > That might be interesting. Even more interesting (to me) is the fact
> that while
> > > women commit most of the child abuse in the US, almost all of those
> in prison
> > > for this crime are men.

> Kinda depends on how you define abuse.

No, it doesn't. Look the word up in the dictionary. (Read it twice.) That's what
the word means, and that's what the statistics are based on.

> Someone in the list posted
> something about a tribe that has homosexual rituals at their coming of
> age. In most societies, forcing a boy to have sex with another man would
> be a horrible act of sexual child abuse and not an approach to manhood.

In the case of the "tribe" it wouldn't be abuse. In the case of the ancient
Romans, it wouldn't be abuse, or the ancient (and maybe not so ancient) Greeks.
So, it's culture-content sensitive, just like all mores and traditions. Nothing
new there, no surprises.

> Especially if there's a vast age difference. Yet I doubt they see it that
> least not most of them.

There's no reason for them to see it that way.

> So what is the extropic definition of abuse?

I don't think there is such a thing as the extropic definition of abuse, first
of all because abuse is not extropic, and secondly because extropy uses
definitions which work -- which means that diluting the meaning of words with
new and esoteric definitions creates lexigraphic entropy. If anything, extropic
definitions would tend to be more distinct, clear, and discrete. IOW, the most
extropic definition of a word is the one found in the most widely distributed
dictionary of the language. As a result, I've referred you to the dictionary
definition (preferably Webster's).

> Quite a lot of bad
> things can be done to a child, and until society tells them it's wrong,
> they don't tend to recognize it as such. Or a child can live our paradigm
> of a perfect life and still be miserable.

Whether a particular act constitutes abuse has nothing to do with a child's
recognition of it. It matters not at all whether the child recognizes it as
abuse for it to be abuse. If a rose doesn't recognize that someone has
cultivated it, that does not lessen the cultivation. To say that a child can be
miserable when living a perfect life makes no sense whatever, unless you somehow
twist the definition of a perfect life to include being miserable. If you want
to twist words that much, go right ahead, but you haven't fooled anyone with
this trick.

> Those who were beaten/sexually touched, when and if they escape,
> tend to have a new love for least so far as I've seen.

So, we should beat children so that they'll develop a new love for life when
they escape.
How many children have you beaten in order to test this theory? Just kidding.
But seriously, I think I know what you're getting at here. When a painful
experience ends, then the ensuing relief seems lovely by comparison. By this
logic, a loving parent might beat an ugly child so that later in life, when the
child learns that its ugliness makes it impossible to socialize with the
beautiful people, it won't mind being alone. Hopefully not many on this list
would buy that as an excuse for beating a child.

> Yet
> those who were gaurded from all these things and led a sheltered life are
> the ones who I've seen to be fairly neurotic.

"Sheltering" a child, as you describe it, would therefore constitute a form of

> Those who were free to make
> their own choices tend to be extremely hedonistic (yes, I'm aware these
> are generalized stereotypes based only on my experiences).

A nurturing, caring parent usually tries to guide a child to make intelligent
and practical choices, rather than to succumb to hedonism.

> Is abuse defined as the level of unhappiness a child suffered from
> experiences?

No, not at all, unless the painful experiences and unhappiness resulted from
negligence or mistreatment on the parent's part.

> Is it correlated to the end result of how a child turns out?

Because a child receives input and experience from siblings, peers, teachers,
and society at large as well as from parents, one could say that the nature of a
child's total environment correlates to how a child turns out, yes. An abusive
environment will have a negative subjective effect. If a child overcomes that
effect, transcends it, or accepts it as a challenge to achievement and
accomplishment, then that is to the child's credit. This could lead one to think
that there is something to evolutionary psychology, genetic make-up, or
congenital capabilities. But it definitely doesn't absolve the abuse of
children, not even if the child in question is Charles Dickens, and he grows up
to entertain millions with brilliant novels.

> i.e. if they live a peaceful yet unhappy childhood, then go on to hurt
> others is it abuse, when by maybe dominating them a bit, they'd be more
> submissive and less likely to hurt those around them?

I really don't think that abused kids are as likely as well-loved kids to grow
up to be productive and happy people. To keep children from hurting those around
them, it's probably better not to hurt them. IOW:
"What's done to children, they will do to society"
--Karl Menninger

> Can we tell what's
> abuse before the result?

If we are intelligent, mature, knowledgeable people, I think we can extrapolate
if a particular action is abusive, and what the result might be in terms of how
it could affect a child's development (within reasonable parameters). For
example, shooting up a two-year-old with heroin to keep it quiet would, in most
people's estimation, constitute abuse, don't you think? And, if a mother shoots
up heroin (or cocaine) while pregnant, some courts have ruled that amounts to
child abuse, since it results in a brain-damaged baby.

> Is there a way to avoid it if so?

Is there a way to avoid abusing a child? Well, if a parent, guardian, or
childcare worker can't avoid abusing children, then it becomes the
responsibility of the community to remove children from the offending abuser, as
is usually done.

> I think it's safe to assume that burning someone with a hot iron
> or anything of that sort is pretty terrible, but a lot less horrible
> unprovoked abuse is out there than hollywood tries to tell us (I could try
> to prove this with statistics, but those would still just be numbers, and
> it's not really that important to the argument/question).

The statistics are important (if they are accurate) because they can tell us how
big the problem is. Burning someone (we're talking about children and/or infants
here) with a hot iron would generally be thought of as abuse -- unless the
infant in question is a male baby, and the hot iron is used to cauterize the
wound made by mutilating his sex organ in the operation euphemistically referred
to as circumcision.
(BTW, if someone were to strap a puppy to a board, and without anaesthics, cut
off the end of its penis, that someone would be liable to some serious prison
time. Doing the same to baby boys carries no penalty whatsoever.)

> One example: My brother got in an argument with my mother where
> she smacked him. He pushed her, at which point she said he tried to kill
> her, and my Dad kicked the shit out of him. My brother does not see what
> my dad did as wrong...then again he didn't break any bones or anything, so
> it still doesn't cross that line.

Sounds OK to me. I mean, it sounds like your brother had it coming, except that
your mother probably should not have smacked him, but then I wasn't there, and I
don't know exactly what caused her to smack him, plus it depends on how old he
was at the time, and whether he did actually try to kill her, etc.

> What about all those who came out of loving/brainwashing
> religiously zealous families?

Don't get me started. I consider religious brainwashing one of the worst forms
of child abuse. But nobody's going to press charges against parents who send
their kids to parochial school or to Sunday school. So it's wasted effort to
rail against indoctrinating children with religiosity. On the other hand,
sending in flame-throwing tanks and helicopters with machine guns to rescue kids
from Branch Davidian David Koresh doesn't seem like the best solution either.
(Someone told me the only reason Janet Reno got away with that stunt was that
she's a woman. But I don't believe that.)

> They usually think they had a great family
> life, and try to pass the love on to everyone else.

Yes, it seems to be a disease that runs in families. Sort of like Republicanism.

> To the thinking
> world, they're pretty screwed up and sometimes dangerous. In the families
> where religion was hostilly forced down someone's throat, sometimes
> violently, most that I know tended to rebel and eventually learn to think
> for themselves...although they're often unhappier.

That's right, you can ask Extropy contributor Eliezer S. Yudkowsky about that,
except I don't think his parents ever did anything really hostile toward him.
Greg Burch once posted something about his parochial training, but he denied
that it came anywhere close to child abuse. In fact, as I recall, he wrote that
he has fond memories of his childhood experiences with religiosity. Spike has
posted that he's a recovered believer, and there are probably several others on
the list.

> Also, those who're weaker genetically, i.e. ugly, weak (in men),
> unitellectual, tend to have a fairly horrible time growing up as well. I
> would think that an attractive, smart child with a bad home life stands a
> better chance at being happy then one of God's unliked children.

I'll go along with that. Mother Nature can be an abusive bitch all right. (Let's
leave theism out of it, OK?) Then again, some very attractive young ladies have
become whores, junkies, criminals, and Democrats <phooey> as a consequence of
what they describe as horribly unhappy childhood circumstances.

> So then,
> should it be considered abuse if one has children, knowing their genetics
> are bad?

Damned straight it should, at least in my book. I'd get sterilized before I'd
bring a deformed or severely defective kid into the world. It wouldn't be fair
to the child, and it wouldn't be fair to the rest of the community that had to
put up with it.

> Especially the cases of parents with AIDS that have children...
> or what about those that know a child is going to be sickly while in the
> womb, and they still don't choose to have an abortion? That child doesn't
> stand a sporting chance.

Yup, I'd call those abusive parents, definitely.

> I hope someone reads this and has a good answer, but as for my
> input to the question:
> Every child is uniquely abused. From this they develop a unique
> psychological disorder called personality. Most don't recognise this
> disorder and develop concepts of right and wrong as a result. This is
> probably a good thing.

Well, I have to disagree with you, because I know that some humans do not
experience abuse as children. One shining example is the life of Siddhartha
Gautama. I don't think Moses was abused as a child (did he ever get
circumcised?). Was Gilgamesh abused as a child? Charles Lindbergh? Ronald
Reagan? If you consider being spoiled as a kind of abuse, then I guess Hillary
Clinton was as abused as her daughter Chelsea. I'll bet you could find a hundred
people in one afternoon in Central Park who'd swear they were never abused. If
they don't think they were abused, I don't think so either.

> As society changes, so should the definition of abuse. Once people can be
> held to higher standards due to technological, or sociological advances,
> they need a way to be encouraged to do so. How much the law should
> intervene, I don't know. However As it stands I would prefer the law
> cracking down on parents, if the child complains of abuse more often than
> not. Like any lawful intervention, some will get screwed, but if the
> child is one who would do that to their parents, it's fairly safe to
> assume that they didn't do a good job raising this child anyway.

We're in agreement now, except that I'd add sometimes so-called "child
protection agencies" are motivated by the wrong goals. They often seek to punish
the innocent in order to alleviate their own guilt or anger about their own
damaged psyches. But that's par for the law enforcement community I guess.

> As for sexual abuse, the reason it's sooo terrible to a child is the way
> society looks at it. Right now, pedophiles have a worse time in jail than
> murderers. And there's plenty of people I know who think we should
> execute rapists but not murderers. These things are never good things,
> but if society weren't so afraid to talk about it, maybe it would be
> easier to recognise these characters. They tend to do a lot worse things
> when they become that afraid of their safety. Personally it seems better
> to have a child maybe perform fellatio and yet know they won't get hurt,
> then maybe a few less having this happen and the others being beaten into
> silence. Can't say how to fix this though so hopefully someone has some
> good answers.

I just have the one question: How come almost all those in prison for child
abuse are men, despite the fact that women commit most of the child abuse? If
that doesn't show a huge bias against men and masculinity, then the general
public is as stupid as it is bigotted, and we should forget about trying to
advocate extropic memes, because humanity isn't worth the trouble.

> As for the original comment, women still tend to raise
> children more, so by default they probably abuse them more.

That's exactly right. The question is, since women do perpetrate most of the
child abuse, why are those in prison for this crime almost all men??

Stay hungry,

--J. R.
3M TA3

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