Our Readers' Opinions
June 14, 2011
Home economics solutions for sustaining family life: Pt.2


by: Dr. A. Cecil Cyrus


The prevalence and disruptive effects on family life of domestic violence are common knowledge. It is much commoner that is believed, and a large proportion of it is covered up and not reported, especially the various kinds of abuse of children.{{more}} When domestic violence does eventually come out in the open, it is usually not a single occurrence, but the evidence of an on-going, chronic situation. Once domestic violence starts, it continues with greater frequency and severity.

The three forms of domestic violence are the physical, the most obvious, sexual and rarely acknowledged or recognised, emotional abuse. Emotional abuse manifests as:

1. Threats

2. Destructive criticism

3. Pressure tactics

4. Disrespect and belittlement

5. Constant nagging and harassment

6. Isolation and totally ignoring

7. Punishment by ruthless, uncompromising, sexual starvation

8. Breaking of trust

9. Withholding monetary and other material support.

There are three main aspects in the management of domestic violence on adults, who are overwhelmingly women:

1. The victim must recognize that she is being abused

2. She must accept that the blame is not hers

3. If it does not stop after she has confronted the aggressor, then she should seek help by bringing it to the notice of the police.

Children, like adults, are the victims of physical beatings. But, of far greater frequency and significance, and much more traumatic, not only physically, but mentally, is sexual abuse. It is, therefore, the responsibility of the parent or guardian:

1. To establish beyond doubt, at the very earliest stage, that the child is being abused sexually, in any way, by an adult or older child.

2. To step in at the very first sign of such molestation and try to end it at once.

3. In the case of an adult perpetrator, if it does not stop at once, then bring it to the notice of the police.


One of the disturbing ills of the youth of today is the habitual use of dangerous drugs; most prominent of these is marijuana, alleged by some researchers as the most dangerous. Its serious physical damage to many systems of the body is well documented. But, most disturbing are its mental effects. It may lead to frank madness. In India, in the eighties, a series of 1248 cases of acute madness was reported. Several of the occupants of our mental health centre here are its victims; cocaine, alcohol and smoking also ravage the human body and mind.

The drug problem is not only a personal one, but that of the entire society. It is vital, therefore, that any attempt at coping with this problem must involve the whole society. Of course, prevention is the most effective approach, and this can be accomplished by the following measures:

1. Family and home talks, public lectures, school discussions and newspaper articles, all of which will bombard the consciousness of the young, and educate them about the serious effects of these drugs. The church should also have a powerful role to play.

2. The young must be protected from boredom, during school and especially just after leaving school. At school, they must be encouraged to participate in non-academic aspects of school life, like scouting, the cadet force and sport. It is my view that one of the most powerful means of preventing the use of these drugs is engagement in sport.

3. When they leave school, it is the duty of the business community and government to provide gainful employment for them.

At the onset of puberty the young, healthy body is suddenly subjected to the greatest of stimuli by the production of the respective sex hormone. In this respect, the human being is like the lower animals; the only difference is that he or she possesses a large forebrain and should be able to curb and control this compelling urge, easier said than done. And what aids are there to help him or her practise this control? Prominent among these are frank sex education and moral guidance in the home, school and church groups, and being kept busy in the healthy diversion of study, work or even sport and exercise regimes. A World Health Organization report emphasized that “Sex and AIDS education often encourages young people to delay sexual activity and to practise safer sex when they are sexually active.”