It’s Okay for Liberals to Talk about Domestic Violence against Children and Teenagers

It’s Okay for Liberals to Talk about Domestic Violence against Children and Teenagers

During Barack Obama’s presidency, some 5,000 children and teenagers have been murdered, another 400,000 raped and sexually abused, more than half a million violently injured, and a quarter-million psychologically abused (bullied in the extreme) in domestic violence in their homes, overwhelmingly by parents and parents’ partners. These substantiated cases reported in the Administration on Children and Families’ Child Maltreatment represent only the iceberg tip.

The president, First Lady, and White House, who constantly rhapsodize their concern for children, have barely mentioned domestic violence victimizing hundreds of thousands or millions of children and teenagers. Just a boilerplate, completely unpublicized annual proclamation on National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and a campaign on “teenage dating violence” that blamed violence against the young solely on their peers.

Even amid official default, it’s okay for liberal/Left commentators like MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, Rachel Maddow, Alex Wagner, and The Cycle group to talk about domestic violence by adults victimizing children and youths. To go beyond the official line that rape is just something high school and college students do, that bullying of gay students is just by other youths, that kids are murdered only by other youths, that sexual abuse in families is important only when it can be pinned on evangelical teenagers, that domestic violence victimizes only grownup women and, more occasionally, men.

It’s 2015, not 1950. You can talk about child abuse as a civil rights issue. Liberals and the Left can emerge from their silence on domestic violence by parents and adults victimizing children and youths. Even (maybe especially) those who preface every remark on youths with, “As a parent…”

But the fact is, discussion of adult violence against children and teenagers in the home has returned to the same level of silence and denial that domestic violence against women occupied in 1955. After a brief period of attention to child abuse in the 1980s, major and alternative media and leaders have retreated into a rigid unwillingness to talk about uncomfortable realities. And that unwillingness isn’t just polite squeamishness. It bespeaks a larger reality that adult Americans – even progressives, who claim to champion outgroups – don’t care enough about young people to risk distress or unpopularity to confront the real abuses hundreds of thousands of young themselves face. (Mike Males}