"National Physician Resource Center for the Prevention of Family Violence and Victimization: Charge, Chicago, Illinois"
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Koop, C. Everett
Reproduced with permission of C. Everett Koop.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Reproduction and Family Health
National Physician Resource Center for the Prevention of Family Violence and Victimization: Charge, Chicago, Illinois (October
Box Number: 9
Folder Number: 1989 Oct 5
Lecture Vol. 1 Tab H - (Post. SG Yrs.) Cover
Presented under the Auspices of the American Medical Association on the Opening of the National Physician Resource Center
for the Prevention of Family Violence and Victimization
By C. Everett Koop, MD, ScD.
Surgeon General, U.S. Public Health Service
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
October 5, 1989
This address was essentially a charge to those responsible for the creation and the future development of the National Physician
Resource Center for the Prevention of Family Violence and Victimization.
Earlier on in this archive, there is ample evidence to show that this Surgeon General espoused the cause of fighting interpersonal
violence, whether it was directed to children, occurring between spouses, or directed to elderly folks in their declining
years. I tried to make the point over and over again that violence was an intergenerational phenomenon and it can best be
stopped by curtailing child abuse. I also held a precept that violence was not the exclusive bailiwick of the law and jurisprudence,
but that a good bit of family violence fell more properly - especially in its preventive phase - with health and those professionals
who provided it for the people.
The government's interest in violence before my day was largely concerned with the effect of television violence on violent
behavior in children. My effort, on several occasions, was to lift the argument above that level asking why we were attracted
to violence in the first place. Some users will remember that one of the outcomes of this effort was that the then three major
television networks put a representative of theirs in the Surgeon General's office for the next two years as we jointly
tried to find answers to this burgeoning problem.
This whole subject cannot be discussed without a little historical evidence about battered women, the levels of interpersonal
anxiety and hostility, as well as and other psychiatric symptoms among such victims and the relationship of spousal abuse
to child abuse. Each facet of the panoply of interpersonal violence has its own statistics, culture, prevention, and treatment;
such things as 150,000 rapes a year, 5 million cases of simple and aggravated assault, as well as relationship of general
efforts on health awareness to the problems of violence.
After reviewing my involvement with the history of violence, I pointed to the need for accumulation of more data, the cooperation
of law enforcement officials, social service agencies, and those engaged in public health, and finally, came to the American
Medical Association's establishment of the Resource Center we dedicated that day.
Part of future success lies in the recognition that our efforts must be continued in sustained rather than episodic fashion
and that physicians must play a central role in this national campaign against violence.
Looking at the situation from the vantage point of writing these words, 15 years after this lecture was given, I can see many
places where we have been successful, but we still have a long way to go.