Reader Mail

Support can reduce abuse in the home

The editorial “Help victims of spousal abuse” in the Sept. 22 edition led me to start thinking about this problem more deeply.

As society rapidly grows ever more fast-paced, an increasing number of people have to endure fierce competition, become stressed out and suffer emotional problems such as rage, hysteria and hatred. In families, children — innocent and powerless — can become targets for attack. The editorial pointed out the correlation between spousal violence and child abuse, raising an interesting point.

No woman is an island, to paraphrase what English writer and Anglican cleric John Donne said. Abused women shouldn’t have to make do without appropriate support or expert advice.

Organizations in areas around my home address this problem in various ways. In Kawasaki, a citizens’ group provided free telephone counseling from Oct. 1 to 7 to help victimized women. Callers could talk to women experts on an anonymous basis for about 30 minutes.

Kanagawa Prefecture regularly provides counseling. Female obstetricians and psychology counselors listen to women’s problems and give advice. All that’s needed is appointment to see them.

Such community activities can be effective in preventing abuse, and enacting more stringent laws against perpetrators could serve as a deterrent.

Some women, however, are not aware of such support. In the worst-case scenario, they just obey and help their violent spouses claim the lives of their children. Therefore, more public-relations campaigns are essential to save their priceless lives. Mass media, including online outlets, should play a more important role in spreading helpful information so that more netizens can get access to help more easily.

As the mother of a daughter, I would like to keep an eye on this issue. In particular, I would like to know about the backgrounds of the perpetrators of child abuse in detail to help understand what led them to abuse and then kill their own children, both indirectly or directly. More psychological analyses could pinpoint and solve these whys, which in turn would help make clear what we should do to reduce the number of such tragedies.

MIEKO OKABE
YOKOHAMA

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.