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What do Children Learn from Domestic Violence?

In addition to exhibiting some of the behaviors above, children who are exposed to domestic violence also learn messages that can lead to unhealthy relationships of their own. These include the following:

  • learning that the only way to get what you want is by using violence
  • learning that it’s okay to be violent or to be abused
  • believing that violence in families is normal

Furthermore, children also learn that loving or caring for someone involves hurting and abusing them whether they are the victim or the perpetrator. Domestic violence can also reinforce rigid gender roles where women are often viewed as powerless and men are in control. This can lead to the belief that relationships are based on inequality where one partner is supposed to be dominant to the other partner.


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