Harry was placed in a loveless family situation so he would become emotionally dependent on the first mother/father figure he met that appeared to care about him. Do you really think Molly wandering around the train station shouting were was platform 9 3/4 after sending 5 children to school already?
Tactics used by abusers
Abusers use a variety of tactics to manipulate you and exert their power:
Dominance – Abusive individuals need to feel in charge of the relationship. They will make decisions for you and the family, tell you what to do, and expect you to obey without question. Your abuser may treat you like a servant, child, or even as his or her possession.
Humiliation – An abuser will do everything he or she can to make you feel bad about yourself or defective in some way. After all, if you believe you're worthless and that no one else will want you, you're less likely to leave. Insults, name-calling, shaming, and public put-downs are all weapons of abuse designed to erode your self-esteem and make you feel powerless.
Isolation – In order to increase your dependence on him or her, an abusive partner will cut you off from the outside world. He or she may keep you from seeing family or friends, or even prevent you from going to work or school. You may have to ask permission to do anything, go anywhere, or see anyone.
Threats – Abusers commonly use threats to keep their partners from leaving or to scare them into dropping charges. Your abuser may threaten to hurt or kill you, your children, other family members, or even pets. He or she may also threaten to commit suicide, file false charges against you, or report you to child services.
Intimidation – Your abuser may use a variety of intimidation tactics designed to scare you into submission. Such tactics include making threatening looks or gestures, smashing things in front of you, destroying property, hurting your pets, or putting weapons on display. The clear message is that if you don't obey, there will be violent consequences.
Denial and blame – Abusers are very good at making excuses for the inexcusable. They will blame their abusive and violent behavior on a bad childhood, a bad day, and even on the victims of their abuse. Your abusive partner may minimize the abuse or deny that it occurred. He or she will commonly shift the responsibility on to you: Somehow, his or her violent and abusive behavior is your fault. Violence can be criminal and includes physical assault (hitting, pushing, shoving, etc.), sexual abuse (unwanted or forced sexual activity), and stalking. Although emotional, psychological and financial abuse are not criminal behaviors, they are forms of abuse and can lead to criminal violence.
Abuse in Sorcerer's Stone
Ten years ago, there had been lots of pictures of what looked like a large pink beach ball wearing different-colored bonnets -- but Dudley Dursley was no longer a baby, and now the photographs showed a large blond boy riding his first bicycle, on a carousel at the fair, playing a computer game with his father, being hugged and kissed by his mother. The room held no sign at all that another boy lived in the house, too."
Now this is clearly favoritism. However, we can't just say this is favoritism veering into abusive territory. This is only the beginning of the book and we do not have conclusive proof.
Harry was used to spiders, because the cupboard under the stairs was full of them, and that was where he slept."
This is neglect, especially if you can easily fit Harry in another room. But we still do not have enough proof. This is only the first chapter and for all we know, the Dursleys could have lost money. I seriously doubt this.
Perhaps it had something to do with living in a dark cupboard, but Harry had always been small and skinny for his age. He looked even smaller and skinnier than he really was because all he had to wear were old clothes of Dudley's, and Dudley was about four times bigger than he was. Harry had a thin face, knobbly knees, black hair, and bright green eyes. He wore round glasses held together with a lot of Scotch tape because of all the times Dudley had punched him on the nose. "
Neglect and malnourishment can affect a boy's growth. It's possibly some of this could have affected Harry. One of the signs of neglect is wearing ill-fitting clothes and old clothes of Dudley's would definitely be ill-fitting. The next problem you can consider is the fact Harry is wearing old glasses that are broken but the Dursleys have never bothered to replace them. Actually, are the Dursleys aware of the fact Dudley beats Harry up this much?
"Well, get a move on, I want you to look after the bacon. And don't you dare let it burn, I want everything perfect on Duddy's birthday."... Harry was frying eggs by the time Dudley arrived in the kitchen with his mother. "
Harry is ten and expected to cook breakfast for the family. Not even Dudley is made to cook for them all. Really this is rather suspicious. Now I can't figure a part of abuse this could be but it just feels off.
Bad news, Vernon," she said. "Mrs. Figg's broken her leg. She can't take him." She jerked her head in Harry's direction.
Dudley's mouth fell open in horror, but Harry's heart gave a leap. Every year on Dudley's birthday, his parents took him and a friend out for the day, to adventure parks, hamburger restaurants, or the movies. Every year, Harry was left behind with Mrs. Figg, a mad old lady who lived two streets away … "Now what?" said Aunt Petunia, looking furiously at Harry as though he'd planned this…"We could phone Marge," Uncle Vernon suggested.
"Don't be silly, Vernon, she hates the boy."
The Dursleys often spoke about Harry like this, as though he wasn't there -- or rather, as though he was something very nasty that couldn't understand them, like a slug…"I suppose we could take him to the zoo," said Aunt Petunia slowly, "... and leave him in the car..."
The first paragraph is clear-cut favoritism once again. However for all we know, the Dursleys could do the same for Harry. It's not likely from what we've seen but it's possible. We don't have a iron-clad case quite yet. Just things that feel off to you.
Really, the part where Petunia looks furiously at Harry, that could be emotional abuse. Everything is Harry's fault after all, all their troubles and problems can all be pinned on Harry. Mrs. Figg breaks her leg? It's Harry's fault.
Speaking about Harry like he was a huge burden on them or wasn't there is both emotional abuse and verbal abuse. Excluding Harry from making decisions, and just ignoring him -also known as emotional neglect-and this whole thing is just incredibly off. You just know it isn't a healthy family.
His aunt and uncle hadn't been able to think of anything else to do with him, but before they'd left, Uncle Vernon had taken Harry aside.
"I'm warning you," he had said, putting his large purple face right up close to Harry's, "I'm warning you now, boy -- any funny business, anything at all -- and you'll be in that cupboard from now until Christmas."
This is verbal abuse. Threatening anyone, not jokingly at all, is verbal abuse no matter what. Actually, if you make it sound like a joke but the other is still scared, it probably would count as verbal abuse.
Next morning, however, he had gotten up to find his hair exactly as it had been before Aunt Petunia had sheared it off. He had been given a week in his cupboard for this, even though he had tried to explain that he couldn't explain how it had grown back so quickly."
This is isolation which is rather bad and also could be ignoring/rejecting the child. This would count as neglect. Now it doesn't mention if Harry was still fed so we could assume he was.
Also punishing children for things they can't control is incredibly unfair. It might seem confusing to the child, especially if they don't know what sets the abuser off. This creates a climate of fear for the child.
The Dursleys had received a very angry letter from Harry's headmistress telling them Harry had been climbing school buildings. But all he'd tried to do (as he shouted at Uncle Vernon through the locked door of his cupboard) was jump behind the big trash cans outside the kitchen doors. "
Once again, this is neglect. Now locking children in confined spaces, or locking them in anything really, is incredibly unsafe. Harry is unable to get out in case of a fire. And imagine Harry needs to use the bathroom in the middle of the night! Harry probably wet the bed when he was younger.
Uncle Vernon nearly crashed into the car in front. He turned right around in his seat and yelled at Harry, his face like a gigantic beet with a mustache: "MOTORCYCLES DON'T FLY!"
Now yelling at anyone, especially children, is verbal abuse. It is also emotional abuse. As we have seen, Vernon is quick to anger. This does not bode well for Harry.
In 1971 a woman could not:
1. Get a Credit Card in her own name – it wasn’t until 1974 that a law forced credit card companies to issue cards to women without their husband’s signature.
2. Be guaranteed that they wouldn’t be unceremoniously fired for the offense of getting pregnant – that changed with the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of *1978*!
3. Serve on a jury – It varied by state (Utah deemed women fit for jury duty way back in 1879), but the main reason women were kept out of jury pools was that they were considered the center of the home, which was their primary responsibility as caregivers. They were also thought to be too fragile to hear the grisly details of crimes and too sympathetic by nature to be able to remain objective about those accused of offenses. In 1961, the Supreme Court unanimously upheld a Florida law that exempted women from serving on juries. It wasn’t until 1973 that women could serve on juries in all 50 states.
4. Fight on the front lines – admitted into military academies in 1976 it wasn’t until 2013 that the military ban on women in combat was lifted. Prior to 1973 women were only allowed in the military as nurses or support staff.
5. Get an Ivy League education – Yale and Princeton didn’t accept female students until 1969. Harvard didn’t admit women until 1977 (when it merged with the all-female Radcliffe College). Brown (which merged with women’s college Pembroke), Dartmouth and Columbia did not offer admission to women until 1971, 1972 and 1981, respectively. Other case-specific instances allowed some women to take certain classes at Ivy League institutions (such as Barnard women taking classes at Columbia), but, by and large, women in the ’60s who harbored Ivy League dreams had to put them on hold.
6. Take legal action against workplace sexual harassment. Indeed the first time a court recognized office sexual harassment as grounds for any legal action was in 1977!
7. Decide not to have sex if their husband wanted to – spousal rape wasn’t criminalized in all 50 states until 1993. Read that again … 1993.
8. Obtain health insurance at the same monetary rate as a man. Sex discrimination wasn’t outlawed in health insurance until 2010 and today many, including sitting elected officials at the Federal level, feel women don’t mind paying a little more. Again, that date was 2010.
9. The birth control pill: Issues like reproductive freedom and a woman’s right to decide when and whether to have children were only just beginning to be openly discussed in the 1960s. In 1957, the FDA approved of the birth control pill but only for “severe menstrual distress.” In 1960, the pill was approved for use as a contraceptive. Even so, the pill was illegal in some states and could be prescribed only to married women for purposes of family planning, and not all pharmacies stocked it. Some of those opposed said oral contraceptives were “immoral, promoted prostitution and were tantamount to abortion.” It wasn’t until several years later that birth control was approved for use by all women, regardless of marital status. In short, birth control meant a woman could complete her education, enter the work force and plan her own life.Oh, and one more thing, prior to 1880 which is just a few years before the photo of this very proud lady was taken, the age of consent for sex was set at 10 or 12 in more states, with the exception of our neighbor Delaware – where it was 7 YEARS OLD!
Do not go gentle into that good night Dylan Thomas 1914-1953
Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right, Because their words had forked no lightning they Do not go gentle into that good night.
Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight, And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way, Do not go gentle into that good night.
Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
And you, my father, there on the sad height, Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray. Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Merriest Wood (20)
Sapper One (4)
Silently Watches (19)
Thor's Shadow (3)