Rebuttal- Dancers

Skepticism may occur when it’s stated that at home abuse can lead a child to become a bully later in life. Considering what constitutes a case to become child abuse, what exactly it means when a child becomes a victim of abuse is hard to pinpoint.

Child abuse is when a parent or caregiver, whether through action or failing to act, causes injury, death, emotional harm or risk of serious harm to a child. This abuse can come in many forms including neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, exploitation and emotional abuse. Physical abuse of a child is when a caregiver causes non-accidental physical injuries to a child. Signs of physical abuse in a child will behave differently they may show signs of aggression toward peers or pets. Cases of sexual abuse is when an adult uses a child for sexual purposes or involves a child in sexual acts. After a child is sexually abused their behavior can become withdrawn, depressed or anxious. They can also show signs of aggression, delinquency, and have poor peer relationships. Emotional abuse is when a parent or caregiver harms a child’s mental and social development or causes severe emotional harm. Behavioral signs for children who have been emotionally abused include destructive or anti-social behaviors, violence and cruelty.

Abuse at home does not include a child being reprimanded for the way they were acting by being spanked or yelled at. It means that the child is consistently being hurt at home in which they start to fear for their survival within the home. Abuse within a home can come in many different forms they may have loving parent but abusive siblings or one parent may be caring but the other may not be. It’s difficult to precisely determine what fully qualifies at home abuse.

Believing that all children exposed to abuse at home become bullies may be naive. Not every child will grow up to be a bully some of these children may escape their fate. Or it may be argued that some children who bully do not experience abuse at home at all.

According to a study by researchers from the University of Washington and Indiana University, children who are exposed to violence in the home engaged higher levels of physical bullying than children who were not witnesses to this behavior. This study was the first to examine the association between child exposure to intimate partner violence and the involvement in bullying.

In the study they found the thirty-four percent of children that were studied engaged in bullying and seventy-three percent reported being the victim of some form of bullying with in previous years. It also found that ninety-seven percent of the bullies said that they were also victims of bullying themselves.

Lead author of the study, former UW pediatrician and now an assistant professor of pediatrics at Indian and Riley Children’s Hospital Nerissa Bauer states “Parents are very powerful role models and children will mimic the behavior of parents, wanting to be like them. They may believe that violence is OK and they can use it with peers. After all, they may think, ‘If Daddy can do this, perhaps I can hit this kid to get my way.’ When parents engage in violence, children may assume violence is the right way to do thing.”

Data from the study was drawn from the ongoing Seattle Social Development Project and the Intergenerational Projects, tracing youth development and social/ antisocial behavior. “Participants in these long-term studies were recruited from Seattle elementary schools, and 808 students (generation 2), their parents (generation 1) and their children (generation 3) have been followed since 1985.” The study looked at the behavior of 112 children form the third generation between the ages of six and thirteen, ages who are not normally studied in bullying research.

The study particularly focused on partner violence which is a broader term for domestic violence, physical, emotional or sexual acts of violence including couples who aren’t married or living together.  In 2000 a federal study showed an estimate between 3.3 and 10 million children are exposed to intimate partner violence.

The study found that seeing domestic violence does not lead to children becoming bullies. “Physicians and teachers should be sensitive that when children display behavior issues that the possibility of domestic violence in the family exists. Not all children exposed to violence will respond in the same way, but there are many indirect effects and problems that you can see, such as engaging in bullying, not being able to make friends, not eating or those with extended school absences. But not all bullies come from violent families.”  Bauer stated.

This study shows that in some cases children who are exposed to domestic violence may become aggressive toward other children. It is hard to determine what constitutes at home abuse and effectively take statistics of the children who bully that were also victims of bullying at home. But it shows that children who are exposed to at home violence may be more likely to become aggressive towards others.


Schwarz, J. (2006, September 12). Violence in the home leads to higher rates of childhood bullying. Retrieved March 22, 2018, from

What is Child Abuse. Retrieved March 20, 2018, from


One thought on “Rebuttal- Dancers”

  1. Dancers, our earlier feedback session is obviously bearing results. You’ve taken to heart my observation that abuse is a very broad term, as is domestic violence, and that statistics are useless unless they precisely identify their terms.

    You’ve done a nice job of clarifying the terms to the best of your ability. But then, quite surprisingly, you haven’t made much use of the terms you went to such lengths to define.

    Careful readers like me will sense the complexity of your argument, recognize that you are being very responsible to draw only conclusions that are warranted, and feel comfortable that you’re accurately reporting what you’ve read.

    But we’re not sure what your argument is.

    The problem is common in a Rebuttal Argument because you present material for the purpose of refuting it, and the balance is difficult to strike. But not impossible. Allow me to demonstrate.

    You say:

    Skepticism may occur when it’s stated that at home abuse can lead a child to become a bully later in life. Considering what constitutes a case to become child abuse, what exactly it means when a child becomes a victim of abuse is hard to pinpoint.

    The possible interpretations of your claims:
    1. Dancers believes that at-home abuse leads children raised in that home to become bullies, but Dancer acknowledges that proof is difficult.
    2. Dancers is skeptical about the supposed connection between between at-home abuse and the bully children who are raised there. Dancers insists that abuse can’t be defined, so the Causal Chain cannot be proved.

    Do you see that your paragraph allows for both interpretations? When you don’t provide clear guidance, readers don’t know which path you’re leading them down. But if, like a good tour guide, you show them the mountain peak before the tour begins, they can keep the destination in sight.

    So, what signals can you send to your readers?
    1. The causal connection between children who observe violence at home and grow up to be bullies has been convincingly proved, but skeptics object that at-home abuse cannot be precisely quantified. Those skeptics deserve a hearing.
    2. Those who claim that children become bullies because they were raised in a home where violence is common have not made the case convincingly. They permit themselves to define violence any of several ways; they even consider emotional abuse to be a form of violence. With such broad definitions, no convincing conclusions can be drawn.

    You may wonder just how often to make such overly-clear claims. The answer is: constantly. Especially in arguments where you weigh alternatives and conflicting points of view, your readers need to follow that tour-guide umbrella through every turn in the path.

    See if you can work the same sort of revision on this paragraph from later in your essay:

    Believing that all children exposed to abuse at home become bullies may be naive. Not every child will grow up to be a bully some of these children may escape their fate. Or it may be argued that some children who bully do not experience abuse at home at all.

    The “may be naive” is a REALLY ambiguous claim. And the second and third sentences could be EITHER acknowledgments that causation is not automatic (but still legitimate), OR that causation is too vague to be proved (and therefore imaginary). Get it?

    Is this helpful, Dancers?
    You are clearly perceptive, and you know how to state your case in clear language, so I know you’ll understand what I’m suggesting to you here, now that I’ve called your attention to the issue.

    Respond, please. I enjoy the interaction.


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