Title page for ETD etd-07122011-170712

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Mariri, Lepai Meshack Trevor
Email Tau-ya-Mariri@webmail.co.za
URN etd-07122011-170712
Document Title Traumatic experiences of domestic violence that affect children within the family - a challenge to pastoral care
Degree MA(Theol)
Department Practical Theology
Advisor Name Title
Prof M J Masango Supervisor
  • family
  • children
  • domestic violence
  • challenges
  • pastoral care
Date 2011-04-08
Availability unrestricted
Children witness violence in the home in a number of different ways. They may see or hear the abusive episode, will experience the aftermath, and sense the tension in the build-up to the abuse. Even when the parents believe the children were unaware of what was happening, the children can often give detailed accounts of the events. Quite apart from possible physical involvement or direct abuse, these emotionally damaging actions have a detrimental and often long-lasting effect on the children.

This research focuses on the problem field of Domestic violence as a devastating social problem that impacts every segment of the population. Primary system responses are principally targeted toward adult victims of this violence and abuse. However recent increased attention is now being focused on the children who witness domestic violence. Children are often the 'forgotten victims' of Domestic violence and abuse. They are affected not only by directly witnessing abuse. But also by living in an environment where one of their parent, who usually is the main caregiver, is being repeatedly victimised. Children in a home where one parent is being abused are also at a risk of being abused themselves.

Number of factors comes into play as far as the extent to which children exposed to domestic violence are affected. Age and gender, how much they witness and whether or not they are personally involved in the abuse, their personality, among others will play a role in this regard. Children who live with domestic violence are exposed to increased risks. Among others, the risk of exposure to traumatic events and the risk of losing one or both of their parents. These have the potential to lead to negative outcomes for children and affect their well-being, and stability. Children who have had exposure to domestic violence are likely to experience any or all of the following problems: emotional; behavioural; cognitive and attitudinal; physical; and long-term problems. Children's risk levels and reactions to domestic violence exist on a continuum where some children demonstrate enormous resiliency while others show signs of significant maladaptive adjustment. This has the ability and potential to lead to very serious psychological trauma with possible long-term effects, affecting not only the child's well-being during or shortly after the violence. But affecting the child's ability to build and maintain healthy relationships in his/her adult life.

There is no classic of conceptual understanding and treatment of traumatized and troubled children. There is no archetypal therapeutic practice for traumatised children buttressed by pastoral counselling, forming a framework of shared assumptions, practices, and interpretive ideas. One suspects that the many clergypersons who seek to work with and help such children are struggling to find their way, with little to guide them and certainly no comprehensive model with which to work.

This research does not seek to become a manual to aid clergy in helping traumatized children. But a navigation tool for the clergypersons who journeys with this young ones. The research will give attention to the issue of domestic violence, and provide a stark reminder that domestic violence breeds discomfort, disrupts normal life, especially in children. Furthermore the focus of this research is that domestic violence leaves a child traumatized. Thus the purpose here is inter alia, to reach out to such traumatized child as well as tapping into a child’s world; and to find healing for the traumatized child.

    A Childhood Lost

    I am the eldest one of three I have two brothers younger than me When we were growing up our lives were sad Living at home with our mum and dad

    We had no money and very little food He spent it on drink and came home in a mood The teachers at my school said how well I did They must have known the secrets I hid

    How may pairs of glasses can one woman break? The bruises, the marks, the lives at stake That's why we slept out on the streets at night For me it was safer, so we used to take flight

    Away from the man supposed to protect Out into the darkness, did anyone suspect? For if we stayed I knew what it would mean A beating for mum would be heard or seen

    I envied my friends, they had happy lives With dads who actually loved their wives I am now older with kids of my own My dad's 56 and now lives alone

    He lost his kids, his home and his wife He's dying of cancer, now he's losing his life

    He’s no longer scary, he's no longer bad He's a Grandad who's dying, but he's still my dad.

    ~ T.

© 2009, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Mariri, LMT 2009, Traumatic experiences of domestic violence that affect children within the family - a challenge to pastoral care, MA(Theol) dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-07122011-170712/ >


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