UNICEF Report: 300 Million Cases Of Violence Against Children Ages 2 to 4

Hanna Barczyk for NPR

Hanna Barczyk for NPR

A new report from UNICEF says that violence against children knows no boundaries.

Among the statistics that back up that statement:

Approximately 300 million children around the world between the ages two and four are subject to physical punishment or verbal abuse from their parents or caregivers.

Every seven minutes, an adolescent is murdered.

By the time they reach age 19, fifteen million girls have already experienced forced sexual acts, including rape — inflicted, for the most part, by people they know.

We spoke to Claudia Cappa, the report author and UNICEF senior data specialist, about the just released report, A Familiar Face: Violence in the Lives of Children and Adolescents. The interview has been condensed and edited for space and clarity.

Why is the title of the report “A Familiar Face”?

We say violence has a familiar face because it can affect children and adolescents in familiar places, such as at home, in school, their surroundings and from people they know.

In most countries there is absolutely no difference in the exposure to violence, regardless of socioeconomic factors, whether they are rich or poor.

Why is violence against children so prevalent?

One reason is that in many cultures [corporal punishment at school and at home] is perceived as the way to address and implement discipline. It is accepted and almost dismissed as not being an issue.

How did you collect your data?

Our data comes from different sources from countries around the world, including household surveys, national statistical surveys, and police and hospital records. Because much of the available data is self-reported, all the statistics in every category should be considered an underestimation for all these categories. One reason is that it can take a lot of courage for a victim, especially a young victim, to disclose [an incident] even in an anonymous survey, due to fears about stigma, retaliation and a sense of shame and guilt. At the same time, since data about slapping young children comes from reports by the parents themselves, and we already have these very high levels reported by them, we are probably talking about the tip of the iceberg.

So the actual number of cases could be higher?

Although the last ten years have seen an increase in the collection of data about violence and children, [data collection] is still not considered a priority in many countries.

Not having the data also keeps the violence hidden. For instance, sexual violence against boys is a taboo topic all over the world and there has been less investment in collecting information about it.

What are some of the most disturbing aspects of the report?

The report found that non-Hispanic black males age 10 to 19 years old in the United States are almost 19 times more likely to be murdered than non-Hispanic white boys of the same age [calculated at 30 per 100,000 compared to 1.6 per 100,000 from data from the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control]. These statistics put these [non-Hispanic black] adolescents at similar risk to [adolescent boys] in conflict zones such as South Sudan.

We further discovered that two out of three violent acts against children and adolescents worldwide are due to interpersonal violence [defined as “homicides or injuries inflicted by another person with intent to injure or kill by any means”] as opposed to conflict or civil unrest. That means when we think about very dangerous places for adolescents to live, we need to broaden our view and look beyond conflict zones or areas of civil unrest.

The violence against children as young as 12 months old was also particularly shocking, with data from 30 countries showing that nearly half of the children between 12 and 23 months old were subjected to corporal punishment or verbal abuse.

In terms of sexual violence, the most upsetting finding is that most of the sexual violence against girls is perpetrated by people they know. Data from 28 countries indicate that 9 in 10 girls who have experienced forced sex report that they have been victimized by someone they knew or was close to them. This further relates to why violence against children and adolescents remains hidden: because they are often victimized by people who are familiar to them.

How can we stop the violence?

It takes a concerted effort to end violence. One way to begin is through legislation, with laws being adopted and then implemented. Only 60 out of 193 countries belonging to the United Nations have fully prohibited corporal punishment at home. In schools, the level of prohibition is higher, with about 130 countries making it fully or partially illegal.

Another aspect is changing social norms and ideas about these issues, and developing strong child protection systems. This would include providing support to parents, working with teachers and school administration and with children.

What kind of efforts are underway to decrease violence?

In a 2013 survey from Cambodia, more than half the respondents reported at least one experience of physical violence before age 18, teachers being among the most frequent perpetrators outside the home. The government has partnered with UNICEF to support school-based programs to train teachers in positive discipline [the emphasis is “that teaching children better behavior is more effective than punishing them”].

What do people need to understand about the impact of childhood violence?

Violence has consequences that go well between the physical pain it inflicts. Research tells us that it affects children’s self-esteem, their ability to learn and their ability to succeed as adults. Victims of childhood abuse are less likely to provide attentive care and more likely to be neglectful of their own children. Witnessing violence and being exposed to toxic stress at home also has an impact on developing brains. The report combines this sad evidence with examples of case studies that can be used to help. It is everyone’s responsibility to take action.

Diane Cole writes for many publications, including The Wall Street Journal and The Jewish Week, and is book columnist for The Psychotherapy Networker. She is the author of the memoir After Great Pain: A New Life Emerges. Her website is dianejcole.com.

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It's Winner-Take-All In Game 7 of The World Series

Players warm up before Game 7 of the World Series between the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

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Jae C. Hong/AP

Game 7 of the World Series Wednesday night in Los Angeles will answer the original questions posed by this contest between the champions of baseball’s American and National leagues: Will the Los Angeles Dodgers win their first title since 1988? Or will the Astros bring the game’s most coveted crown to hurricane-ravaged Houston for the very first time?

The starting pitchers are the Dodgers’ Yu Darvish, who lasted only 1 2/3 innings in a poorly pitched Game 3, against the Astros’ Lance McCullers, the winning pitcher as Houston won that contest 5-3.

Who knows whether either pitcher will still be in the game when the results are tallied? History suggests not, especially given the tendency of Dodgers manager Dave Roberts to go to his bullpen at the first sign of trouble. Tuesday night he used four pitchers to great effect, holding the Astros’ potent offense to one run. And hey, it’s Game 7! Any manager would throw in the kitchen sink to win. So don’t be surprised if you see the Dodgers’ ace, Clayton Kershaw, pitching at some point with only one day’s rest. He pitched brilliantly in Game 1, but then allowed six runs in 4 2/3 innings in Game 5.

As for the Astros, another big question is whether their sluggers will show up. They left eight runners on base in Game 6. And as ESPN reports, much depends on the Astros’ duo at second base and shortstop.

“Since the start of the American League Championship Series, Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa have hit .435 in Houston victories and .070 in Astros losses. They went a combined 0-for-8 against Rich Hill and the Dodgers’ bullpen in Game 6, and Altuve failed to hit the ball out of the infield in his four plate appearances,” writes ESPN‘s Jerry Crasnick.

Anyone expecting that to happen again probably didn’t watch Houston win Game 2 or Game 5.

Finally, will this well-matched series live up to its billing as possibly the greatest World Series ever? Only Game 7 will tell.

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Episode 803: Nudge, Nudge, Nobel

NPR's Weekend in Washington session at the Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 31, 2015.

Allison Shelley/for NPR

Economists used to assume that people were, overall, rational. They may make mistakes now and then, but, if reasonably informed, they do the right thing. Then came Richard Thaler, who, in October, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics.

While Thaler was teaching at the University of Rochester, he had a side gig. Not a lot of people knew about it or took it seriously. He would catalog ways people behaved irrationally. And Thaler though, there must be a way to make sense of this behavior, to understand it and to predict it. This list lead him to psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky.

Inspired by Kahneman and Tversky, Richard Thaler started running experiments on his classrooms. Once, he gave half of his class coffee mugs, and allowed those with mugs to sell to those without. People with mugs (mugs they got for free, that had no sentimental value) would value them at twice the rate of those without mugs. Thaler found a name for this phenomenon: the endowment effect. This trio, Kahneman, Tversky and Thaler, did more and more of these studies. Thaler’s field of study finally gets a name: behavioral economics.

Today on the show, how Thaler’s work went from a side hustle to winning a Nobel Prize.

Music: “Roof Top Pre-Game,” “Flinging About” and “After Surf Chill.” Find us: Twitter/ Facebook.

Subscribe to our show on Apple Podcasts, PocketCasts and NPR One.

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Muhal Richard Abrams, A Sweepingly Influential Jazz Artist, Has Died At Age 87

The late pianist and composer Muhal Richard Abrams, performing at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall in New York in 2004.

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Muhal Richard Abrams, a pianist and composer of staunch independence and sweeping influence, inseparable from his role as a founding father of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians [AACM], died on Sunday at his home in New York City. He was 87.

His daughter, Richarda Abrams, confirmed his death. No cause was given.

Abrams was a brilliant, mostly self-taught pianist who combined a strong foundation in the blues with keen attunement to the shadow art of vibration and overtone. While he came up in a hard-swinging jazz context, and created some of his early work in that style, he was serious about a non-idiomatic approach to improvisation. He is regarded as a paragon by some of the most acclaimed pianists now in circulation, including Jason Moran, Craig Taborn and Vijay Iyer.

Among the roughly two dozen albums that Abrams released over the last 50 years are several that feature him in a solo piano setting, illuminating both the percussive rumble of his touch and the oblique yet holistic logic of his improvisations. You can hear this signature as clearly on an early effort like Afrisong, released on the India Navigation label in 1975, as on a late work like Vision Toward Essence, recorded in 1998 and released on Pi Recordings in 2007.

Abrams’ piano can be heard on an array of albums by members of the AACM, including 1977’s Nonaah,by the saxophonist Roscoe Mitchell, and 3 Compositions Of New Jazz, the 1968 debut by saxophonist Anthony Braxton. To hear an excellent example of Abrams’ catalytic genius as a sideman, seek out a live Braxton album on the hatOLOGY label, Quintet (Basel) 1977.

As a composer, Abrams worked in a billowing sprawl of settings, from solo to quartet to big band and beyond. His large-canvas works have been performed by the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the American Composers Orchestra, among others. He also wrote chamber pieces for ensembles like The String Trio of New York, Bang on a Can and Kronos Quartet, which premiered his String Quartet No. 2 in 1985 at Carnegie Hall’s intimate space now known as Weill Recital Hall.

Some of the standout titles in the Abrams discography are large-ensemble works loosely in the jazz continuum, including two back-to-back releases, The Hearinga Suite (1989) and Blu Blu Blu (1991). “On the basis of these thoroughly engaging works alone,” writes the critic Gary Giddins in his book Visions Of Jazz, “he must be accounted a preeminent figure in the development of big band music in the period since the ’60s.”

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But Abrams will probably be best remembered for his co-founding and stewardship of the AACM, which has been a stalwart presence in the American avant-garde for more than 50 years. Established on the South Side of Chicago, it began in part as an extension of Abrams’ Experimental Band, which he first convened in the early 1960s.

“I needed a place to experiment with the things I wanted to do with music,” Abrams told me in 2008. “So I organized the Experimental Band, the forerunner of the AACM. And I fortunately attracted musicians who were interested in that. It included quite a few of the musicians that you know today that are very accomplished in what they do. The reason they could accomplish what they did is that they found a workshop where they could experiment and learn and test themselves as to what could be done with things they find out, in terms of research and study.”

In a recent conversation, Roscoe Mitchell recalled the Experimental Band as a workshop of sorts. “Because you were invited to write pieces for the big band,” he said. “Or bring your existing pieces in, have them played. And then if there was something you wanted to change about the piece, something you weren’t happy with, you could bring that back the next week, have it played, and so on and so forth.”

The AACM, which was formally established in 1965, mobilized around a handful of core principles, including an independence from the commercial apparatus of the music business and a stated commitment to original music. From early on, the organization flew a banner of Great Black Music, but under that banner, a diversity of voices and perspectives was welcomed, and even insisted upon.

“We believe that in general, in terms of humanity, we are first given individual rights to self-realize, which was part of our focus in terms of philosophy,” Abrams told me. “The AACM is basically a group of individuals who agree to agree, and sometimes not to agree. Our cohesiveness has been intact because we respect each other’s individualism.”

Richard Lewis Abrams was born in Chicago on Sept. 19, 1930, to Milton and Edna Abrams, the second of nine children. He attended DuSable High School, but was compelled early on by his own interests.

Columbia University professor George Lewis, in his 2008 book A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music (University of Chicago Press), notes that Abrams had an early mentor in the trumpeter Will Jackson, a Jimmie Lunceford band alumnus who lived down the street and taught Abrams some of the fundamentals of orchestration. Jackson also introduced Abrams to the pianist Walter “King” Fleming, who became an early influence, and incorporated some of the young musician’s arrangements in his band.

Abrams became a fixture in jam sessions at the Cotton Club, on the South Side. He made his first appearance on record in 1957 with the MJT+3, led by the drummer Walter Perkins. But he also became engrossed by the theories of Joseph Schillinger, whose mathematical and relational approach to music theory struck a deep chord. (Like many musicians in his orbit, Abrams was introduced to Schillinger’s theories by Charles Stepney, a house arranger and producer for Chess Records.)

As the Experimental Band branched into the early AACM, Abrams maintained his role as a center of gravity and a source of counsel. “Muhal was the inspiration,” the drummer Jack DeJohnette told me in 2015. “He helped us to be ourselves. He was curious about everything: numerology, orchestration. He taught himself everything, and listened to all kinds of music. All the pianists. He studied all of them. And he found something in there which gave him the freedom to explore the music and write and compose the music he’s been doing all these many years.”

Abrams moved to New York in 1976. That move, writes Gary Giddins, “hastened the internationalization of a music that had received little more than token support in the United States (outside of Chicago), despite having already scored high marks in Europe.” Abrams created a New York chapter of the AACM and served as its president.

In time, a cascade of accolades found its way to Abrams. In 1990, Copenhagen’s Danish Jazz Center created the JazzPar prize, a prestigious award, and selected Abrams as the first recipient. He was also a 2008 USA Prudential Fellow; a 2012 Living Legacy Awardee, bestowed by the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation; and the recipient of two awards from the Doris Duke Foundation.

In 2010, when Abrams was named an NEA Jazz Master, he performed a solo piano improvisation at the induction ceremony and then conducted a performance of “2000 Plus The Twelfth Step,” a piece originally commissioned and premiered by the Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra.

In addition to his daughter, Abrams is survived by his wife, Peggy Abrams; four brothers, Milton, Jr., John, Michael and Mott Christopher; two sisters, Dolorez Abrams and Alice Rollins. His son, Richard, Jr., is deceased, but left him three grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Abrams made his most recent notable appearance on record in the company of DeJohnette, Mitchell and the multi-reedist Henry Threadgill as well as the bassist Larry Gray. That album, Made in Chicago, was recorded at the 2013 Chicago Jazz Festival and released on ECM in 2015. Its release preceded another round of performances, including a momentous stand at the Newport Jazz Festival.

But the breadth of Abrams’ reach may best be characterized not by a discography, a list of awards or a tally of performances, but rather by the widespread adoption of an attitude. I recently considered this legacy while attending the 2017 Ojai Music Festival, which was programmed by Vijay Iyer. The intensity of creative exchange at that event, across the usual boundaries of “jazz” and “classical” and “new music,” stood as a testament to the durability of Abrams’ vision.

And as if that weren’t enough, Abrams performed on the festival as well, creating a mesmerizing hour-long improvisation with Mitchell and Lewis, as The Trio. It was my last hour in Abrams’ company, musically, and I’m grateful that it was documented.

Ojai Music FestivalYouTube

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The Thistle & Shamrock: Real Hallowe'en

This week’s show offers eerie songs and stories for the Halloween season.


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Stephen McLeod Blythe/Flickr

Host Fiona Ritchie takes you back to the mystical ancient times as she uncovers folklore, legends and eerie tales in ballads old and new. She features original music with her award-winning narration of Robert Burns’ “Tam o’ Shanter” and James Hogg’s “The Brownie of the Black Hags.”

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Navy Says Deadly Ship Collisions Were 'Avoidable,' Faults Lack Of Preparation

The USS John S. McCain (right) sails toward a naval base in Singapore in August, the massive dent in its side visible on the right side of the frame. The destroyer had collided with a tanker just hours before — the second such deadly collision involving a U.S. Navy warship in several months.

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The U.S. Navy has completed its investigations into the deadly collisions that damaged two of its warships just months apart this summer, describing just what went wrong in a report published Wednesday. The report is dozens of pages long, but if those errors could be described in a word, it would be “avoidable.”

“Both of these accidents were preventable and the respective investigations found multiple failures by watch standers that contributed to the incidents.” the Navy’s top officer, Adm. John Richardson, said in a statement.

In June, the USS Fitzgerald collided with a Philippine-flagged container ship off Japan, leaving seven sailors dead in their berthing compartments. Just over two months later — and just days after several of the Fitzgerald’s leaders were relieved of their duties — the USS John S. McCain crashed into a Liberian-flagged tanker at the eastern entrance to the Strait of Malacca near Singapore in a startlingly similar incident that left 10 sailors dead.

In both cases, the 300-crew destroyers collided with ships more than three times their size in gross tonnage.

Referencing the later incident, the Navy report concluded that the McCain crash resulted partly from a lack of knowledge among those sailors on watch — some of whom had recently been transferred from another ship that had “significant differences between the steering control systems.”

But they weren’t alone, the report notes:

“Multiple bridge watchstanders lacked a basic level of knowledge on the steering control system, in particular the transfer of steering and thrust control between stations. Contributing, personnel assigned to ensure these watchstanders were trained had an insufficient level of knowledge to effectively maintain appropriate rigor in the qualification program. The senior most officer responsible for these training standards lacked a general understanding of the procedure for transferring steering control between consoles.”

As with the Fitzgerald, the Navy relieved the McCain’s two top officers of their duties last month. And before that, Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, the three-star commander of the 7th Fleet, was also relieved of his duties in connection with the collisions.

Still, in assessing what happened with the Fitzgerald, the report did not reserve all of its blame for leadership, again faulting a lack of preparation.

“Many of the decisions made that led to this incident were the result of poor judgment and decision making of the Commanding Officer,” the report says. “That said, no single person bears full responsibility for this incident. The crew was unprepared for the situation in which they found themselves through a lack of preparation, ineffective command and control, and deficiencies in training and preparations for navigation.”

The report follows lawmakers’ closed-door meeting on the incidents Tuesday, after which the namesake of one of the destroyers lamented a Navy he believes to be stretched thin and underfunded.

“We’ve deprived them of the funds to do it,” Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said of naval operations in the Pacific, according to The New York Times. “We’re putting those men and women in harm’s way to be wounded or killed because we refuse to give them the sufficient training and equipment and readiness. It’s a failure of Congress. It’s on us.”

In his statement, Adm. Richardson nevertheless expressed optimism that these ships’ “avoidable” mistakes would indeed by avoided in the future.

“We are a Navy that learns from mistakes and the Navy is firmly committed to doing everything possible to prevent an accident like this from happening again. We must never allow an accident like this to take the lives of such magnificent young Sailors and inflict such painful grief on their families and the nation.”

He added: “We will spend every effort needed to correct these problems and be stronger than before.”

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Josh Ritter On World Cafe

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Watching my guest Josh Ritter stand on stage and perform, you would swear that his feet aren’t touching the ground. It looks like he’s been lifted straight up by the music he’s playing, somewhere between standing on his tip toes and actual levitation. His smile is huge. And you get this overwhelming sense of joy.

  • “Oh Lord (Part 3)”
  • “Dreams”
  • “Thunderbolt’s Goodnight”

But Ritter says the music on his new record, Gathering, reflects four different moods, all vying for attention: Uncertainty, Mania, Laughter and Sadness. He identified them in a piece he wrote for NPR before Gathering came out, and when I read Ritter’s piece, I was curious about where and how those ideas fit in. We found out in this session.

Ritter has been releasing records for almost 20 years now. His last visit to World Cafe took place in 2015 around the release of his record Sermon on the Rocks. The following year he co-wrote Blue Mountain, the solo album from Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead. This year, Ritter’s Gathering features a duet with Weir on a song called “When Will I Be Changed”; that’s one Ritter says falls into the “Sadness” category. And, oh boy, does it ever. Hear the complete session in the player above.

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Empathy And Detachment Mix In 'The King Is Always Above The People'

There are two kinds of short story collection. The first is the sampler, in which each story sounds and feels brand new, its voice distinct from the ones around it. The second is more unified. Not a linked collection as such, but a collection in which each story comes from the same world and speaks in the same tone. I love both; I want to read both. But if you’re in search of a unified scene, you can do no better than to read Daniel Alarcón’s new book.

The King Is Always Above the People is Alarcón’s second collection of short stories, which he’s published between two novels and countless episodes of Radio Ambulante, the longform podcast he co-founded to tell Latin American stories from around the world. His work is wide-ranging in topic and form, and yet it’s all clearly part of one project — Alarcón is an empathic observer of the isolated human, whether isolated by emigration or ambition, blindness or loneliness, poverty or war. His stories have a reporter’s mix of kindness and detachment, and perhaps as a result, his endings land like a punch in the gut.

Take “The Auroras,” the last and longest story inthis collection. It begins with a man who wanders away from his life, and ends with that man in a shed, imprisoned by something like his own choice. I put the book down with my mouth open and my eyes stinging. But the story has gentler pleasures, too. Alarcón is at his most evocative in “The Auroras,” his language perfectly stripped down. The story opens with the protagonist arriving in a new port; he’s walking toward the water when “a door opens. A woman steps from her brightly painted house, wearing a simple dress, so white it glows. Her black hair is pulled black tight. She has a lovely smile, a lovely figure, and stands against a wall as green as the sea.” That’s all, and yet I can see the scene perfectly.

This is not to say that Alarcón is averse to showing off. He’s a brilliant stylist, and there are plenty of moments in this collection where he’s happy to flex. My favorite is “The Provincials:”A young actor narrates a night drinking in his father’s rural hometown as a play, a surreal sort of farce in which the bar’s television constantly reflects the action — when a young waitress arrives at the table, the stage directions tell us, “She hovers over the table, leaning in so that Nelson can admire her. He does, without shame. Television: a wood-paneled motel room, a naked couple on the bed.” From another writer, this would be overt to the point of absurdity. From Alarcón, who is never truly overt, it’s an in-joke and a delight.

Or there’s “Abraham Lincoln Has Been Shot,” which I wish I could call the Obama story. It isn’t, not really. It’s a sketch of a postal worker who, about to break up with his boyfriend, starts to reminisce about the first love of his life, who he “met at a party in Chicago, long before he was president, at one of those Wicker Park affairs with fixed-gear bikes locked out front, four deep, to a stop sign.” Not Barack. Abraham. No explanation, no time-travel mechanics, just gay Lincoln on the Chicago city council, too broke for heat in the winter, in a gorgeous little tale of loss and a world we live near, if not in.

Alarcón is nearly always oblique in this way. Even the title story has no one political point. There’s a dead dictator, but the story isn’t about his death, or about the dictatorship. It’s about a man who wants, on a purely personal level, to be free. That’s what the whole collection is about: people who want to be free. Alarcón writes about them with a grayscale beauty that few writers can achieve, or try to.His purpose isn’t to approve or condemn, or to liberate. He’s writing to show us other people’s lives, and in every case, it’s a pleasure to be shown.

Lily Meyer works at Politics & Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C.

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