12.02.2011

Domestic Violence – The Hurting of our fellow citizens


Article By: Scott Hall
            Many citizens today live in an environment that is fast paced, always evolving and stress filled.  Sometimes a combination of events or stresses can make us lash out at what may seem the drop of a feather, depending on when “another bad event” occurs.  Often we dream of a world where there is no fighting, where there is no shouting and arguing.  Some of this arguing and debating is healthy; it helps us to solve problems or issues that occur in our lives.  When it escalates to include unnecessary violence to “drive home a point” or to establish some sort of dominance or even just to feel good inside, it is unacceptable.  Domestic violence does not just hurt the people involved in the shuffles; it also affects the entire family and friend network associated with both sides.  In this article, we will examine some of how abuse of the domestic kind hurts us all.


            Domestic violence, by definition (legal-dictionary.freedictionary.com) is: Any abusive, coercive, violent, forceful or threatening act or word inflicted by one member of a family or household on another.  If your spouse comes home from some activity and part of your evening life includes name calling and physicality or a malicious nature, regardless of gender being afflicted, the right thing to do is involve law enforcement, especially if the heinous acts are repetitive.  This example is classic in that we have used a married or cohabitating couple, but domestic violence can include acts against children and the elderly.  Some studies suggest that this type of violence happens in three general stages.  First, the primary abuser may use words that ridicule and intimidate their victim. Next, the abuser may have a point within an argument occur where their anger becomes explosive and out of control to where they will grab or assault the victim and inflict physical harm. Finally, after the abuser has performed the act of violence, they may withdraw and cool off, making them return to their victim with an apologetic tone, seeking forgiveness as they were weak in the moment or looking to “self justify” their actions.

            A repeat pattern of abuse such as this is marked by the victim having lowered self esteem, may be suddenly quiet when once before they were vibrant and talkative, they may seem timid in close quarters of companions, they might feel shame or guilt for “causing” the situation to occur.  In some cases, the victim may feel trapped and report their abuser, then once the person is released from jail bring the abuser back in the home for fear of further action or because the mental impact has made them feel worthless without their abuser around and in a few cases, the victim decides enough is enough and kills their attacker.  These feelings of worthlessness can carry over into outside family members, who want to help and preach to the victim about what needs to be done, which may cause the victim to lash out at those who are trying to intervene with statements like “you just don’t understand” or “that’s easy for you to say, you don’t live with them”.  In all of these examples, not only is the victim and abuser involved, but law enforcement, courts, family, friends, work and other areas are impacted, showing this type of abuse knows no singularity.

            Researchers have been studying domestic violence in an effort to gain understanding for decades and Murray A. Straus (Social Science Information, volume 12, no. 3 June 1973) came up with a general theory that states domestic violence is a system of influences rather than a mental disturbance.  According to an article online (ic.galegroup.com) it operates on an individual, familial and societal level.  Some of these causes may be learned from childhood where the child learns the abuse from their own parents, environmental influences growing up that can be coupled or associated with the violence as acceptable such as positive results occurring from the violence.  This means the abuser may achieve a positive result as a result of physical acts or intimidating circumstances that excites the children’s mind to believing this is the way life is supposed to be, when in fact it is not.

            Other researchers state that the more freedom in economic, domestic or social prowess, the less likely domestic violence will occur.  These researchers have concluded that based on poverty level, region, social acceptance and interaction, the less you have, the more likely the acts of violence as these factors contribute to a sense of being overwhelmed which can cause explosive reactions.  Drug abuse and alcoholism are remarkably the lowest common denominator of domestic violence.  Take a look at the following chart retrieved from the online article:



The amount of instances where the offender was under the influence was almost half of the percentage of persons who were not inebriated in the areas of violent crimes and part of assaults, so much for the drunken bar fight theory. 

            Pregnancy can even be affected by abusive situations.  According to research, intimate partner violence can result in poor maternal health while pregnant, low birth weights upon delivery and even infant death.  The violence committed against a human being that has not seen the light of day and cannot speak or cry out in anger or pain is particularly heinous and should never be tolerated on any level, in any courtroom or place of legal proceeding.  Research has shown that the more the child is exposed to violence, the more likely they will commit violent acts in their future.  Consider the following retrieved chart:


The prior victimization status and how it correlates to adult life experiences is surprisingly high in cases where some type of sexual abuse took precedent.  In another chart reflecting collegiate life shows:


The more predominant the abuse, the more likely it is to carry over into our collegiate years, again the initial exposure to this type of violence has carried over into other areas of life.  Think about the unsuspecting date that when they accepted the dinner invite, had no idea that they would be belittled or verbally abused or even “date raped” because they had no idea of a sordid, violent background of their interests. 

            Domestic abuse and violence in all the aforementioned examples have affected not only the significant other, but has affected the court systems, friends, family, coworkers and potential love interests.  Feelings of guilt, shame, being trapped or stuck are very common to most all situations and indeed there are various avenues one can pursue in order to combat or prevent and protect oneself from further persecution or abuse.  First, the victim can take charge and make the necessary arrangements to move out of the abusive home and pending a safer shelter or accommodation is acquired, file and Emergency Protective Order against their abuser, which gives the victim a legal voice that says, “Stay away or go to jail.”  Next the victim can also seek shelter at a battered spouse center.  This may be more commonly known as Abused Spouse or Women’s Shelter, within these confines are professionals who truly care about the safety of the person and will work to help heal both physical and mental scars from the abuse.  Along with these options, should one encounter this violence, call 911 and have that person arrested or removed from your home.  The more combative steps the victim takes, the harder it will become for the abuser to do anything without serious consequence.  As a last desperate measure, the victim may consider killing their abuser and many who read this statement will say, “Yeah, self defense”.  That is an effective defense in cases such as these, provided one can prove there was no other way to overcome the circumstances, use of deadly force was appropriate for defending, whether or not an “equal force” was applied in deterring the attacker and whether or not there was an immediate vs. imminent danger.  Factors such as these are weighed very seriously in a court room and if the defense stance fails, may end up putting the victim in jail for committing a homicidal act.

            As we can see in this article, the sheer act of violence can have lasting ripple effects into all areas of life.  The victims may feel as though they should be silent or not “talk back” when in reality the opposite holds true, get talking!  This type of violence knows no limits, it knows no gender, no age, health status or social status and does not care how you feel, but rest assured the law, your family and professional programs have tools that can help stop the abuse.  Citizens please take note the next time you hear your neighbor suffering a violent act, all it takes is a phone call to change the course of an abuser’s path, from freedom to jail and beyond.  Stop the fighting and start the healing.
References and Related Links:
           
Any time you are faced with an Emergency Situation, call your local Police or Dial 911.





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4 comments:

  1. Lesson Learned Get Out While You Can
    I understand this statement very well get help!! I was a victim of violent before by my first husband. He would beat me everyday for nothing, I could not see my family, I couldn't talk on the phone. One day I went to work, my husband call the job ask to speak to me one on my co-worker said I wasn't there when I got home my husband jumped me gave me a black eye right,he cut about a three inch cut under my eye I knew I needed to go to the hospital to get stiches but I didn't because I was so scared of what was going to happen next, so the nurse that took the call nurse my eye for me and now today I wear a scar under my right eye. It did not in there he still was abusing me, so I grab my kid and try to leave my husband he found me and took me back home, none of my kids was his I don't know why I couldn't leave it was not love I think it was fear of being hurt or killed.

    So he get's me home started beating me with the baseball bat trying to make me say I was cheating with his brother, the brother that he move into our home. Thanks to the brother grabbing the bat back would had been broken.

    One day I was in the show whe I got out the show my husband had a shot gun pointed at my head a said B---ch what his name, I walk away and said shot if you must. I called brother he came a got the rifle and kick his a--.

    So everyday I would work over time just so I to from going home. I knew if I would go home he would either rape me or beat me one of the two.
    Beating kept going on my kids,kids, were beginning to sleep with baseball bat, knife, stick what ever they can and my sons kept getting in fight with my husband. I did not know where to go from here.
    I use to see my dad beat my mom and I thought this what happen when people get married, but I was wondering why my mother did not tell me this would happen. I would had sad only a fool would marry if this is what they call marriage. Absoulte no one should be touch


    I have battle wound to show, the sound of a baseball bat cracking over your back or a rife cock at your head violent is not a joke if someone abusing you get help. I was a strong women I got tried of my first husband putting his hand on me I fought back now he scared of me. I had planned to take my first husband life but God was on my side. I got him where it hurt the most right between those legs and it took five Cop to get me off of him and I was loving every bit of it.

    What I saying everyone is not this luck domestic violent is serious. You should never be scared of someone you love. DOMESTIC VIOLENT EFFECT EVERYONE IN THE FAMILY.

    Lesson Learn Mama Didn't Tell Me Now I'm Telling You. (Mama)

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is a great article Scott. I am doing an assignment right now on Domestic Violence for my Criminology Degree. I'd like to cite some of your points if that is okay with you. Please let me know if this is possible.

    ReplyDelete
  3. @ Ali Hirst
    Thank you for the kind note, you may certainly use the information contained in the article as a cite in your work. Glad to help.

    ReplyDelete

All comments and feedback appreciated!

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