Why Marriage Matters 10

Why Marriage Matters 10

(Taken from “Twenty One Reasons why Marriage Matters,” by the National Marriage Coalition, found at www.marriage.org.au)

20. Married women appear to have a lower risk of experiencing domestic violence than do cohabiting or dating women.

Domestic violence remains a serious problem both inside and outside of marriage. While young women must recognize that marriage is not a good strategy for reforming violent men, a large body of research shows that being unmarried, and especially living with a man outside of marriage, is associated with an in­creased risk of domestic abuse.

One analysis of the US National Survey of Families and Households found that cohabitors were over three times more likely than spouses to say that arguments became physical over the last year (13 percent of cohabitors versus 4 percent of spouses). Even after controlling for race, age, and education, people who live together are still more likely than married people to report violent arguments.Overall, as one scholar sums up the relevant research, “Regardless of methodol­ogy, the studies yielded similar results: Cohabitors engage in more violence than do spouses.”

Selection effects play a powerful role. Women are less likely to marry, and more likely to divorce, violent men.However, scholars suggest that the greater integration of married men into the community, and the greater invest­ment of spouses in each other, also play a role.Married men, for example, are more responsive to policies such as mandatory arrest policies, designed to signal strong disap­proval of domestic violence.

21. A child who is not living with his or her two married parents is at greater risk of child abuse.

Children living with single mothers, stepfathers, or mother’s boyfriends are more likely to become victims of child abuse. Children living in single-mother homes have increased rates of death from intentional injuries.As Martin Daly and Margo Wilson report, “Living with a step parent has turned out to be the most powerful pre­dictor of severe child abuse yet.”

One study found that a preschooler living with a stepfather was 40 times more likely to be sexually abused than one living with both of his or her biological parents. Another study found that, although boyfriends contribute less than 2 percent of non parental childcare, they commit half of all reported child abuse by non parents. The researcher concludes that “a young child left alone with a mother’s boy-friend experi­ences elevated risk of physical abuse.”

In Australia, former Human Rights Commissioner Brian Burdekin stated that there was an alarming 500 to 600 per cent increase in sexual abuse of girls in families where the adult male was not the natural father.

A 1994-95 study by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found that more cases of child abuse involved children from single parent families (39%) than families with two natural parents (30%) or other two-parent families (such as families with a step-parent) (21%). Of neglect cases, 47% involved children from female single parent families compared with 26% from families with two natural parents.More recent Australian research has found that the typical child murderer is a young man in a de facto relationship with the victim’s mother.

A recent study of 1998-1999 Victorian child abuse victims found that 45 per cent lived with single parents. The report, by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, found that children who lived in natural two-parent families had a relatively low risk of abuse.And a more recent report from the same Institute entitled Child Protection Australia 1999-2000 reveals that children are most likely to be neglected or abused in single-parent families.

 It found that the ACT has the highest rate of maltreatment of children from female one-parent families (47 per cent), compared with 29 per cent in two-parent natural families and 18 per cent in step families or blended families.

And a newer report from the same body found that “a rel­atively with two natural parents (30%) or other two-parent families (such as families with a step-par­ent) (21%). Of neglect cases, 47% involved children from female single parent families compared with 26% from families with two natural parents.More recent Australian research has found that the typical child murderer is a young man in a de facto relationship with the victim’s mother.

A recent study of 1998-1999 Victorian child abuse victims found that 45 per cent lived with single parents. The report, by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, found that children who lived in natural two-parent families had a relatively low risk of abuse.And a more recent report from the same Institute entitled Child Protection Australia 1999-2000 reveals that children are most likely to be neglected or abused in single-parent families. It found that the ACT has the highest rate of maltreatment of children from female one-parent families (47 per cent), compared with 29 per cent in two-par­ent natural families and 18 per cent in step families or blended families.

And a newer report from the same body found that “a relatively high proportion of substantiations [of child abuse] involved children living in female-headed one-parent families and in two-parent step or blended families.”

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