How many times have you heard that when a boy teases you, it is merely because he likes you? When has the teasing and taunting gone too far for it to only condone abuse in the modern world of relationships? Earlier this October, Merritt Smith, a concerned mother from Columbus Ohio, had taken her four-year old daughter to the emergency room. However, it was not of her own actions that caused her injuries, but those of a male classmate, who hit her in the face with a toy, requiring her to get stitches. The hospital employee that the mother had spoken to at the registration desk responded with a short, “I bet he likes you.”
The comment, despite being an attempt to lighten the situation, is one that teaches kids, especially at such an impressionable young age, that hurting someone is how you show them affection. In the words of Smith, repeated throughout her Facebook post of the situation, “That’s not how we show that we like someone. That is not a good choice.” Whether it be four-year old boys hitting little girls with toys or men hitting their wives with their fists, abuse is abuse and it is not something to be tolerated or condoned. According to SafeHorizon.org, “Women ages 18 to 34 are at greatest risk of becoming victims of domestic violence. More than 4 million women experience physical assault and rape by their partners. In 2 out of 3 female homicide cases, females are killed by a family member or intimate partner.” The numbers are rising and that is not an issue to be ignored. More and more women are being taught that when men cause them harm that it is out of love and care. Little girls, similar to Merritt Smith’s daughter, are being taught that pain comes with love. Smith’s daughter had to receive stitches, a terrifying procedure to young children, with the mindset that it was because a boy likes her. All the while, this little girl’s mother had received a pamphlet and questionnaire on assistance for victims of domestic violence.
The Nationwide Children’s Hospital is under no fire from this mother for the message that this employee brought to this four-year old’s ears, but it did bring attention to the public that something has to be done about the messages that children are receiving and how they are taught to interact with one another.