Wisconsin’s State Supreme Court is considering a unique case this week: Whether or not a mother’s verbal berating of her 14-year-old son qualifies as a crime. She went on the profane-laced tirade after the boy burned popcorn.
The mother, Ginger Breitzman, was charged with disorderly conduct after the incident. She alleges that because her language didn’t threaten violence, it therefore qualifies as protected speech and she shouldn’t have been charged.
Regardless of the outcome of this case, it highlights the enormous social bias that exist when it comes to regard child maltreatment. Most studies that have compared different types of abuse have found that verbal/emotional abuse is typically more harmful to kids than either physical or sexual abuse, yet the public all-together ignores this issue, while lambasting the other two. None of these problems are handled well through policing and justice interactions, but it would be nice to see the public taking emotional abuse a little more seriously.