Domestic Violence Essay, Research Paper
Although domestic violence includes sibling abuse and elder abuse, and child abuse thefocus of my essay is on spouse abuse. Domestic violence has many names; family violence,battering, wife beating, and domestic abuse. All these terms refer to the same thing, abuse by amarital, common law, or a dating partner in an intimate relationship. Domestic violence is notlimited to physical beatings. It is any behaviour that is intended to subjugate and control anotherhuman being through the use of humiliation, fear, and physical or verbal assaults. Domesticviolence is very important issue in today’s society because it has such a profound negative affecton the abused, mentally and physically, and more needs to be done to help the abused andprevent it from happening further. Even though Domestic violence can be caused by either themale or the female it is usually caused by the male due to their controlling nature and physicaladvantage.History and CausesSince the dawn of time physical force has been used to keep subordinate groups in their place bydominant people in society. Men have always been physically larger than women and since most societies are male dominated, too no surprise the woman has almost always been the mostcommon victim. In Roman times, a man was allowed to divorce, chastise, or even kill his wifefor adultery, attending public games, or public drunkenness. All of which the husband wasallowed to freely partake in. During the middle ages it was mans right to beat his wife or kill herfor so much as giving her husband a dirty look. The first recorded advocates against domesticviolence were two author by names of Christian Pizan and Mary Wollstonecraft. Even thoughthe issue was being publicized, no action was ever taken until the 1840’s when the Americanwomen’s movement brought up the issue while fighting for the right to vote. No state in the U.Sactually passed a law making wife beating illegal until 1883. Although laws were passed tomake it illegal, none were strictly enforced. Even up until the 1970’s, wife beating was still fairlyacceptable. The police most often would attend calls of domestic violence but would leavethings to be resolved by the family. This ease and lack of enforcement allowed for thecontinuation of the abuse. The 70’s became a period of protest and change for the women’srights movement. By the 1980’s major changes started to take place. Police no longer ignoredcalls of domestic violence and more people were being convicted and punished for crimes ofdomestic violence. The acceptance of domestic violence is still seen today. It’s acceptance isreflected in popular culture through the expression “rule of thumb” which comes from and oldEnglish rule that a man could beat his wife with any reasonable instrument as long as it was nothicker that his thumb. Even in today’s society domestic violence is still very common and moreneeds to be done to stop it.Finding the reasons or causes of domestic violence is a very difficult. There is never one reasonfor domestic violence but it usually begins with a controlling nature and the need the need tocontrol one’s spouse. It begins with verbal insults and degradation then over time escalates intophysical violence. The abuser has usually been involved in domestic violence case’s before.More than likely during child hood. There is usually many different stressors and factors thatcause these inherent or learned abusers to begin the abuse; unemployment, drugs and alcohol,different religious back rounds, low income levels, and lower education levels and simplydifferent points of view.. None of these factors are not meant to be excuses, they are simplyfactors that come up in domestic violence cases time and time again.Types of Abuse/Psychology of domestic violenceWhen domestic violence occurs there is several different types of abuse that take place. The firstis physical violence. Physical violence includes slapping, kicking, burning, punching, choking,locking a person out of the home, restraining, and other acts designed to injure, endanger, orcause physical pain. The second type is emotional abuse which consists of consistently doing orsaying things to shame , insult, ridicule, embarrass, demean, belittle, or mentally hurt anotherperson. The third type is sexual abuse. Sexual abuse is when someone is forced to have sex whenhe/she does not want to. Forcing someone to engage in sexual acts that he/she does not like orfinds unpleasant, frightening, or violent. Because some one is married to or has been seeing theirpartner for a long time does not require that their must have sexual intercourse with them. Noone type of abuse is worse than another and they all have very emotionally damaging effectsWhen it comes to domestic violence the most perplexing question is why ? Most people intoday’s society agree that domestic violence is wrong and think that it should be stopped. Weknow that it is dangerous and emotionally destructive for children to grow up in a violent home.We know that it is very emotionally destructive to the abused. Most societies have condemned it,we praise the efforts to help the abused and stop the violence but we still wonder why it does notgo away. The first reason is the cycle of violence which can be very hard to break. First tensionbuilds due to stress. The abuser becomes critical, edgy and irritable. The abuser graduallybecomes more abusive and more severe incidents of abuse start to occur. Both parties can sensethe loss of control which only fuels the tension. With the second stage of the cycle comes theviolent outbursts with acute battering. The abuser will fly off into a rage for no apparent reasonand there is total loss of control. The third stage comes after the violence has stopped. Theabuser becomes remorseful and apologetic. They often beg for forgiveness and swear it willnever happen again. They go out of their way to be kind and loving and they swear that they willchange. This phase explains why the abused comes back and lets the abuse cycle begin again.The abused wants to believe the abuser and wants to try and make things work. They are oftenreluctant to leave the abusive relationship because of a feeling of dependancy. The secondreason why this problem does not go away is the abused person’s dependancy on their partnerand their “learned helplessness”. Learned helplessness is a psychological term first identified bypsychologist Martin Seligman. People who are abused tend to tend to think that there is no wayout because they are so dependant on their partner. They continue to put up with the abuse andlearn ways of dealing to cope with it. The third reason why this problem does not go away isbecause of the history of domestic violence. It has been acted out for thousands of years so thereis still that acceptance and view that it is not a major problem.So what makes an abuser ? Abusers usually share common traits, back round factors, andbehaviour patterns. It has been completely agreed upon that the goal of the abuser is power andcontrol over their partner. These same people usually depend on their partner for emotionalsupport since they are lacking in emotional skills. The abuser also tend to conform the stereotypical view of the man and the women. The man goes out and makes the money to support thefamily while women stays home to cook, clean, and look after the kids. These people often havetrouble accepting responsibility for their behaviour abusive and otherwise. They usually feelguilt or shame for their actions but they try to justify or deny their behaviour. It has been foundthat many abusers share the same personality disorders such as lack of empathy, depression,general hostility, and feeling of victimization. They tend to lack social skills and they envelopethemselves with their work and their family. They tend to interpret innocent situations thatarouse their jealousy as having been done with hostile intent. Those who abuse adult partnersoften grew up in homes marred by violence between adults, against children, or both. However,it is important to remember that growing up in a violent home does not guarantee that a personwill become abusive. I think that it is very important to understand and recognize people withabusive personalities so that they can be stopped and treated for what some would call a disease.PreventionMany psychologists believe that teaching our children that violence is inappropriate andteaching them better methods of problem solving, is the first step in ending domestic violence.One of the key components to making the teaching of our children work is leading by exampleby example and setting a positive example. Educating society as a whole also a very importantkey to ending domestic violence. Educating society as a whole is accomplished through changesin public policy and practices. Much tougher laws are needed since most abusers are given a slapon the wrist, it gives them and other people like them, the message that domestic violence is nota major crime and they can get away with it. When communities establish mandatory arrest andprosecution policies, a message is sent from the police and the courts that domestic violence is acrime that society will not tolerate. When they join with counseling programs for abusers, themessage will also be that those who want to change will be given a chance.It has been agreed upon by all those trying to end domestic violence that not only the individualabusers, but society itself needs help. Domestic violence is still subtly allowed, even encouragedsome say, by various groups. Our media and entertainment industry still glamorizes and tonesdown the seriousness of domestic violence. There are still police that ignore and trivializedomestic violence. And judges that give weak punishment or simply let the abusers off are allproblems that are plaguing our society and making it more difficult to end domestic violence. Ithink that we are on the right track to ending domestic violence but our effort is just not strongenough. Our message that domestic violence is a crime is not strong enough either. What arethese abusive people supposed to think when they are arrested, given a slap on the wrist, andthen released the next day. My research has opened my eyes and made me aware of what isgoing on and what needs to be done. In the future I will do what is in my power to help get themessage across and prevent it if possible.