of Other Populations
|Child Sexual Abuse
~ Other Child Abuse
~ Spousal/Partner Abuse
~ Elder/Dependent Adult Abuse
Although abuse occurs in every country, information on this page pertains
to the United States, except as otherwise indicated.
against other populations ~ in other words, violence against people,
property and organizations because of their perceived membership in
or affiliation with a certain group ~ are known today more generally
as "hate crimes".
is abuse against people because of their racial heritage or ethnic
is abuse against people because of their gender.
and other sexual discrimination are abuses against people because
of their sexual orientation, gender identity, and other sexual beliefs
prejudice is that which targets people because of their religious
beliefs and practices.
Discrimination, against people with physical and mental disabilities,
has been only recently considered and begun to be addressed.
rights abuse is any violation of a person's various freedoms [of
expression, of assembly, etc.] directed against any of the above as
well as particular immigrants, refugees, voters, economic or social
classes, and other subsections of the planet's various populations.
hate crimes are carried out by otherwise law-abiding young people who
see little wrong with their actions. Alcohol and drugs sometimes help
fuel these crimes, but the main determinant appears to be personal
prejudice, a situation that colors people's judgment, blinding the
aggressors to the immorality of what they are doing. Such prejudice
is most likely rooted in an environment that disdains someone who is
"different" or sees that difference as threatening. One expression of
this prejudice is the perception that society sanctions attacks on
certain groups. For example, Dr. Karen Franklin, a forensic psychology
fellow at the Washington Institute for Mental Illness Research and Training,
has found that, in some settings, offenders perceive that they have
societal permission to engage in violence against homosexuals.(1)
to sporadic and often perfunctory compliance with the Hate Crime
Statistics Act of 1990, official data on hate crime currently tell us
little about the prevalence of hate crime nationally. Reasons for this
include lack of police department infrastructure to support accurate
reporting, lack of training, officer disincentives to accurately report,
and, perhaps most importantly, hesitation on the part of victims
to involve law enforcement in these matters.(2)
"guesstimates" of the prevalence of hate crimes are difficult because
of state-by-state differences in the way such crimes are defined
and reported. Federal law enforcement officials have only been compiling
nationwide hate crime statistics since 1991, the year after the Hate
Crimes Statistics Act was enacted. Before passage of the act, hate crimes
were lumped together with such offenses as homicide, assault, rape,
robbery, and arson.(1)
1996, law enforcement agencies in 49 states and the District of Columbia
reported 8,759 bias-motivated criminal offenses to the Federal Bureau
of Investigation, the federal government agency mandated by Congress
to gather the statistics. However, points out the FBI, these data
must be approached with caution. Typically, data on hate crimes
collected by social scientists and such groups as the Anti-Defamation
League, the National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium, and the
National Gay and Lesbian Task force show a higher prevalence of hate
crime than do federal statistics.(1)
the broad definitions presented above, these reports are likely to be
only a subset of the actual abuse committed against other populations.
approximately half of all assaultive hate crimes, a weapon is involved.
There were 1,745 hate crime incidents with 2,626 victims in California
the latest two year span for which comparative statistics were available
(1994-1995) the Federal Bureau of Investigation reported a 36% increase
in hate-related crimes.(4)
& Effects of Racism and other Abuse
signs of an abuser
of other populations exhibit different behavior and attitudes than
those committing child, spouse, or elder abuse; in many cases, their
crimes have been socially sanctioned and promoted as proper (to wit,
slavery). Although the following list(5) originally
described signs of racism, we have edited it to apply more generally
towards all abusers of other populations, as we see qualities such as
these in perpetrators of various hate crimes.
people of other groups to stereotypes. This can often be done
in very subtle ways. For example, a belief that certain groups are
more adept in particular jobs or functions, a belief in differences
in intelligence between groups, etc.
of segregation. This advocation represents a belief that different
groups should live apart, be educated separately or not intermarry.
The advocacy can occur explicitly or implicitly.
pride in one's own country or race. Patriotism can be laudable
but when taken to extremes, this sentiment becomes the basis of all
It is common for [abusers] to associate with other [abusers]. While
not necessarily espousing [abusive] opinions themselves, it is common
for them to personally defend other [abusers] (without directly defending
of members of other groups. [Abuser] will constantly criticize
the opinions of other groups or even ridicule them. Often they will
do it without explicitly making mention of the group to which the
person or persons are perceived as belonging to.
hate. An exaggerated reaction to any misconduct from a person
of the other group, where the punishment is out of all proportion
to the original wrong (real or perceived) and completely ignores the
provocation which could have led to the original "wrong". Also, no
feeling of moral debt to a person of the other group for any favors
he or she may have done.
[Abuser] denies that the other person's or group's intelligence, cultural
level, social status or other merits consideration even in the face
of overwhelming evidence which proves these qualities. The [abuser]
will attempt to "objectively" show proof, usually in the form of insignificant
details to contradict the obvious.
references to [the group]. A mere mention of someone's [perceived
group] on a first encounter could be benign but when these references
continue after a long period of knowing that person, no matter how
innocent the references may appear, they establish an unmistakable
An indifference to the plight of members of society who are of other
groups when they suffer injustices. It is typical of the [abuser]
to claim that he is under no obligation to help or that the situation
in question is somehow an "inevitable" by-product of some greater
of [hate] in members of own [group]. [Abusers] typically expect
members of their own [group] to be similar. This often results in
expectations of preferential treatment and they expect, for example,
members of their [group] to see the humor in [hate-crime] jokes or
join with them in what but for the [group] of the victim would be
seen as morally reprehensible behavior.
attitude or behavior. [Abusers] show condescending attitudes towards
members of other [groups]. For this reason they often try to use even
members of the [group] which they despise to attack members of that
[same group] which cause them most offense. They believe that these
other members of the victimized [group] will collaborate because of
the magnanimity which the [abuser] is showing in momentarily treating
them as members of the "superior" [group].
reaction to members of other [group] who rebut [hate-crime] model.
The members of the other [group] which [an abuser] will typically
try most to denigrate are those which act as a rebuttal to his model
of what members of the other [group] should be. If this model is a
weak, timid and stupid person, he will see a strong, independent and
intelligent person of the "inferior" [group] as a threat to his model.
If they do not attack this person directly, [abusers] contend with
this by speaking of "exceptions" to their theory.
reaction to the word [racist, homophobic, etc.]. Normally the
worst insult which an [abuser] can receive is to be called a [racist,
homophobic, etc.] in public. For the [abuser] it is infuriating because
there is no adequate response. On the one hand he does not really
want to deny it but he knows that the implications of this word are
generally negative. It is not like being called stupid or ignorant,
because it is difficult for him to counterattack by simply reverting
the accusation. The idea that a member of the other [group] could
look down upon the [group] of the [abuser] normally challenges the
model that the [abuser] has about this other [group] (he typically
sees it as weak, timid and cowardly). If he attempts to ridicule the
other person he will publicly prove the original accusation correct.
insight into own prejudice. It is common for [abusers] to have
no insight into their own prejudice. This is because they believe
their prejudice to be based upon objective grounds.
to the opinions of members of the other [group]. It is typical
of [abusers] to make fun of members of the "inferior" [group] without
any consideration for what those members will then think of these
[abusers]. At best, [abusers] only care about what people of their
own [group] think of them.
of impartiality. This is extremely common and affects practically
all the [abuser's] opinions and decision-making. Its effects extend
beyond the obvious areas like jobs, education and housing. Veneration
of great historical figures, membership of clubs and societies etc.
of [abusive] behavior or conduct. To view "mildly" [hateful] acts
as either reasonable or, at least, not [abusive] and to feel that
more severely [hateful] acts are wrong but "understandable".
to recognize impact of [abuse] on the victim. To believe that
a victim of [a hate crime] can be unaltered by [the abuse]. For example,
when [abusers] examine apparent differences between members of different...groups
they completely ignore all differences in circumstances and history
which could have affected the "inferior" [group].
a superior position "by all means possible". A phrase often
remembered as a precept of the maintenance of slavery in the Southern
United States during the nineteenth century. [An abuser] will use
all means possible to preserve the inferior position of the victimized
[group]. Even a person with social motivations and who acts benevolently
toward members of his own [group] is capable of violence and other
forms of crime towards members of what he views as the "inferior"
[group]. He could easily support the use of force to maintain in their
present condition those disadvantaged by [hate crimes].
effects of hate crime(4)
research is scarce the studies that have been completed suggest that
hate crime victims respond initially in much the same way as do victims
of other types of violence, such as rape. Immediate (2-4 week) responses
of indifference toward the crime or, conversely, expressions of anger
and desires for revenge
feelings of vulnerability and related fear
and depression related to the incident
sleeping and related fatigue
signs of stress such as heart palpitations, headaches
irritability, and perhaps, rage Intensified startle responses Increased
suspicion of others
psychological effects have not been adequately researched. One study's
results (Barnes & Ephross, 1994) indicates that resolution may involve
the regaining of self-esteem by attributing responsibility for the crime
to the prejudice of the perpetrators. (This appears to be in contrast
to victims of other types of personal crime who may continue to blame
themselves for the crime's occurrence). Longer-term behavioral effects
of hate crime that have been identified to date include:
home security and taking other safety precautions for oneself and
Avoidance of community facilities that were previously a part of the
victim's life, such as church, clubs, or political organizations.
with weapons or purchase of a weapon (some with ideas of retaliation
rather than protection only).
"White Anglo-Saxon Protestants" have been considered the dominant
group in the United States and hence theoretically exempt from prejudice
and abuse. It may be, though, that almost all people, perceived at
one time or another as belonging to a hated or devalued group, have
been the victim of some kind of abuse as we're broadly defining it here.
of hate crime violence are more likely to sustain severe physical
and psychological injury than victims of other forms of violent
crime, according to the article. Guidelines for the treatment of hate
crime victims include educating all health care providers about the
levels and types of hate crimes in their communities, emphasizing
the physical and emotional safety of the victim once they have been
brought to an emergency department or health care facility. They also
call for health care providers to learn appropriate documentation techniques
if any provider suspects the patient is a victim of a hate crime.
for Hate-Crime Victims(4)
is possible that, unless the hate crime is of a highly violent nature,
outpatient providers may not see hate crime victims because many
of these people keep silent about their victimization. This can be because
they are unsure about whether their neighbors and fellow community members
will support them (versus the perpetrators) and will understand the
full impact the crime has had upon the victim.
may seek assistance or come to the attention of psychological care providers
and counselors under the following conditions:
crime comes to light during history-taking for treatment of other
ailments, such as depression. (It is important that providers incorporate
sensitive questioning about the possible experience of hate crimes
in standard history-taking protocols. It is unknown how many providers,
locally or nationwide, do so.)
referral following a more violent hate crime such as battery.
support and care may best be accomplished by referring the person
to an appropriate support organization such as B'nai, B'rith National
Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Asian
Society, the American Arab Anti-discrimination Committee, the Mexican-American
Legal Defense Fund, etc.
All of the above treatment suggestions are speculative. Research
is needed into what treatment protocols may in fact be most useful.
"Hate Crimes Today: An Age-Old Foe in Modern Dress". 1998. American
"Hate Crime Reporting: Understanding Police Officer Perceptions,
Departmental Protocol, and the Role of the Victim". 2001. Justice
Rsearch & Policy, Vol. 3, No. 1. http://www.jrsa.org/pubs/journal/past_issues/Spring2001/balboni_etal.html
"Hate Crimes pose special challenges for health care professionals".
1999. M. Guttman. University of Southern California. http://www.usc.edu/hsc/info/pr/1vol3/319/hate.html
"Hate Crimes: First Facts". 2002. The Antioch Group. http://www.antiochgroup.com/hatecrimes.htm
"Signs of Racism". 1999. University of Dayton Race, Racism &
the Law. http://academic.udayton.edu/race/01race/race02.htm