Standing near the doors on a crowded 5 train I heard a mother ranting non-stop at her approx. 9 year old son in a language that might have been Mongolian. The boy made the occasional barely audible one or two syllable response. The ranting continued and reached a climax as Mom slapped the kid on the forehead, harder than I would hit a child. He didn't seem fazed -- must happen a lot.
A few minutes went by and as we were nearing a station the mom abruptly turned around and started walking into the middle of the subway car. She didn't tell the kid her intentions or even turn around to see if he was following her. She grabbed a pole for herself and left the kid swaying uncertainly in the middle of the car, surrounded by strangers. Another woman noticed the abandoned boy and with a look of concern, took his shoulder and guided him to a pole, pushing him past his own mother so he'd have something to hold on to.
Possibly this wasn't really the boy's mom and I was witnessing the treatment of a brainwashed kidnap victim. I was standing too far away to intervene, pinned next to the doors, so I settled for giving Mom a Seinfeldesque Hard Stare (as in "What was I supposed to do? I gave her the head shake! I gave her the Hard Stare!").
I was having Chuck Palahniuk thoughts about how yeah, men are swine, but we get it from somewhere.