Social Question

Supacase's avatar

At what point is contact considered abuse and when should police be called?

Asked by Supacase (14543points) November 20th, 2009

This has recently come up with some people who are very close to me and I am interested in opinions.

Is this a zero tolerance issue or is there certain level of escalation that warrants police intervention? Does there need to be danger or just physical contact? Is any angry physical contact considered abuse or is the word abuse reserved for more serious offenses?

A wife slaps a husband once? Husband slaps a wife? Teen slaps sibling? Parent to child, child to parent? What if it any of those situations were a punch? Or a push? How about repetitive beating? Throwing objects? Where is the line?

If the answer is zero tolerance, is one push or slap in an otherwise reasonably happy and nonviolent home worth the risk of well-adjusted and well-cared for children being placed with social services for the night? Which is worse? Do you (wo)man up and say, “so I got pushed – whatever” and chalk it up to one bad night out of many good ones or is zero tolerance zero tolerance and that’s that?

If you are one who still considers it zero tolerance, how do you feel about verbal or emotional abuse? Is one “Fuck you” verbal abuse? Is one “you’re a waste of air” mental abuse?

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16 Answers

Val123's avatar

Good question. Hard to answer! I think the biggest danger is teens running to the law with stories of “abuse,” not understanding what the consequences will be for them (removal from the home) They just want to punish their parents in some way, not realize they’re setting themselves up for a whippin’!

dpworkin's avatar

Things happen and people do things under pressure that they will ever afterward regret.

Abusers, on the other hand, have usually made themselves known before the first violent incident, and will always strike again.

Thus, to me anyway, logic dictates a two-strike (no pun) rule.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@pdworkin Would the severity of abuse play a factor in your determination. What if it was the first time but was horribly violent? Or perhaps it was the first time but directed at an infant? Just curious, I haven’t answered the OP because I don’t really have a formulated opinion yet.

@Val123 For some teens removal might be a better option.

dpworkin's avatar

The OP seemed to be asking about a slap, not a beating. A beating is ipso facto proof of abuse and requires the authorities.

RedPowerLady's avatar

Well they did say would your opinion change if it were not a slap but a push or a punch. But thanks for answering my question.

ubersiren's avatar

There’s definitely a line that must be crossed to be considered “abusive.” Anyone can lose themselves and smack a loved one in a moment of rage. But, I think if that person is using physical force for the purpose of A. displaying superiority B. being in control C. putting someone beneath them, or D. taking out their issues, then it’s abuse. Especially if it’s a repeat incident. I’m not sure it has so much to do with the severity of the incident, but more about intent and tendency to be repeated.

Val123's avatar

@ubersiren The thing is, if someone calls the police on even on incident, even if it’s the first time, and would probably be the last time, then it’s all in the police’s hands. The person who reported it can’t take it back. Even if a 3rd party called it in, it’s out of everyone’s hands but the law.

RedPowerLady's avatar

“Anyone can lose themselves and smack a loved one in a moment of rage.”

Not anyone in my life.

dpworkin's avatar

One of my four children has been spanked. It was my son Max, who is now 26. When he was three years old, he ran out into the road in front of our house, and his terrified mother swatted him on his butt before she realized that she didn’t believe in spanking, and stopped. It can happen.

filmfann's avatar

Harrah! Harrah! Everyone on your feet and tip a glass!
Here is to one of the best of the bunch!

I said bunch because I think a lot of people here are bananas

Congradulations Augustlan!

(stops, looks at question, and realizes he walked into the wrong room. Leaves drunkenly)

Val123's avatar

@filmfann I wanna banana!! Come back!!

augustlan's avatar

Against an adult: One push, one slap, I’d take the circumstances into consideration before making a determination. Multiple strikes on the same occasion? Abuse. Multiple occasions of one strike each? Abuse.

Against a child: A swat on the butt, a garden variety spanking: While not ideal, I wouldn’t consider it abuse. Anything beyond that: Abuse.

Verbal abuse is a little tougher, but overall I’d say if it’s regularly putting someone down it’s abuse.

gemiwing's avatar

Physical- you hit me once and that’s it, abuse has begun and it’s over. I will call the cops in two seconds. There is no excuse I would want to hear.

Sexual- One time and that’s it. Period.

Emotional- (verbal etc) You get two times. Once you had a bad day, two you’re looking for a punching bag.

As far as kids go- if there is a family member who can take them CPS prefers to place them there. It’s cheaper than finding them a bed at a children’s center (sounds cold but it is the government we’re talking about).

I can think of a few times growing up that I would have been happy as spit to be taken away. Just for a while so I could feel safe and not have that weight on me.

ubersiren's avatar

@RedPowerLady : Not anyone in my life.

I’m not sure how you can say this, you and your three lurve givers. You don’t get to choose everyone in your life, and sometimes the family members we are destined to be with, lose their shit. My dad lost his temper and slapped me on one occasion. I would never call him abusive. I wouldn’t shut him out of my life just for that one moment of weakness. He’s the best man on Earth, but that’s not to say he isn’t flawed; I just happened to be a mouthy teenager at the time. He apologized profusely after and never did it again. He was really hurt over what he had done. My dad is a true gentle giant by nature. Maybe I’m in the minority, but I’d rather have my dad in my life than not tolerate one smack in the mouth from when I was a snotty teen. That’s stupid, to me. But like I said, it seems I’m in the minority. Or maybe I’m just lucky to have great family?

Sure, if a man you’re dating hits you, you could certainly send him on his way, or call the cops if you feel it’s necessary. Boyfriends are a dime a dozen, but Daddy, Mommy, Aunt Sue, and Grandma are one of a kind. Compassion and forgiveness should go both ways.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@ubersiren Perhaps I wasn’t clear. All I mean to say is that I know people who I fail to believe have the possibility in them to “slip up”. I know for example my husband would never “slip up” and hit me. And I would never “slip up” and hit him.

I don’t mean that no one in my life is an abuser or has done committed violent acts (abuse or not depending on your definition). Sorry if I was unclear.

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