Michael D. Below, 30 years-old, of West Bend, WI faces charges of homicide for allegedly inflicting severe brain trauma on his two month-old daughter. He is currently in the Washington County Jail. His infant daughter was a victim of child abuse on August 10, 2008. She sustained severe brain injuries with swelling, retinal hemorrhage, and a skull fracture. She was taken off of life support and passed away from her injuries on Saturday, August 23, 2008.
News stories report that Mr. Below admits to holding his infant daughter by her feet and banging her head on a wooden changing table.
Researchers have identified abusive parents or caregivers as having risk factors such as substance abuse, low self-esteem, mental or physical disability, depression, history of abuse as a child, poor coping skills, poor impulse control, history of violent behavior or history of being raised in a group setting with no positive parental role. Well adjusted parenting styles are learned behaviors. Good parenting is not instinctual. Abusive adults are generally grown abused children with poor coping skills. That is not to say that all abusers were abused and all abused children will be abusers. Some people that were abused as children do not abuse their own children. And some children that were not abused as children grow up to be abusive parents. However, the likelihood of being an abuser increases significantly if an individual was abused as a child. While women are more frequently the abusers, men abuse in a more severe manner. Parents with unrealistic expectations and poor coping skills are most at risk for engaging in abusive behavior. Physical abuse is the most overt form of abuse. Physical abuse can result in brain injury, fractured bones, soft tissue injuries, bruises, cuts and burns.