Domestic Violence Education in Pop Culture: “SILENCE IS NOT GOLDEN”

“SILENCE IS NOT GOLDEN,” Full House, Season 6, Episode 17 (1993)

Full House wasn’t one of those shows that we think of when it came to serious topics, such as domestic violence, but in Episode 17 of Season 6, that’s exactly the topic they tackled. What made this particular episode of interest is that the program did not deal with adult spousal abuse, but childhood abuse, inflicted by a parent. Stephanie is paired up for a class writing project with Charles, the class “pain,” who was always making other students miserable. In preparation for the project, Stephanie learns Charles’s father severely abuses and beats him, to which Charles makes Stephanie swear she won’t tell anyone about what she’s learned. Things go from bad to worse when Charles is suddenly absent from school due to a mysterious “accident” in which his father told the school he fell down the stairs. Through a particularly intense outburst, Stephanie tells her Uncle Jesse what happened to Charles and he reports the abuse to authorities. We learn at the end of the show that Charles was removed from his father’s household and put in foster care. Stephanie also views her own father with new appreciation because he handles the girls with fairness and without violence. The end of this special episode featured information about reporting child abuse with the number of the Child Abuse Hotline.

Uncle Jesse: [after finding out Charles’ father is abusing him] I’m calling children’s services to handle this.
Stephanie: Why?
Uncle Jesse: Because if I don’t, I’m going over there to straighten him out myself.


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