Not too long ago, abuse was never spoken of — it was considered off limits or taboo. Children were basically considered property of their parents; and husbands owned their wives. And sadly just a short while ago, only about 150 years, people could in fact be considered property. Property such as this could be abused on a whim without punishment or retribution. During this time, abuse was prevalent and it was not discussed.
Luckily, this notion that ownership of humans, and the idea that certain people are better than others because of situations of birth have gone to the wayside…at least publicly. The 1860s say the end of slavery; women got the vote in 1919 and child labor was outlawed in the 1930s. These changes were the springboard to make society aware of abuse as society’s problem.
Even though these changes occurred, it was until very, very recently that abuse was still viewed as a personal matter. Outsiders should not get involved in such situations as parental discipline. Fortunately this secret veil is going away and people are willing to share stories of abuse. And people are much more willing to step in to protect abuse victims, especially when they are children.
Laws are now in place that can guide law enforcement professionals in deciding what is appropriate and when to intervene in domestic disputes. Other professionals such as doctors, psychologists and others may be required to notify the proper authorities when abuse is suspected. Children can now be removed from potential dangerous situations. This also happens when the victims are elderly.
In addition to protecting the public from abuse on a personal level, there has been an increase toward preventing hate crimes and other forms of institutional abuse.
By bringing abuse into the light, while abuse may not completely end, the occurrences and effects can be lessened.