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Domestic Violence, also known as battering, partner abuse, child abuse, and elderly abuse, is when one person uses force to inflict injury whether it be physical, emotional sexual or financial. It occurs between spouses and partners, parents and children, brothers and sisters, children and grandparents. Victims can be any race, gender, nationality, age or economic background. Domestic Violence is an escalating pattern of violence or intimidation, which is used to gain power or control. Terms to define these types of violence include:
* Domestic violence
* Family violence
* Elder abuse
* Intimate partner violence
* Marital rape
* Matricide (killing one's mother)
* Sexual abuse
* Sexual assault
* Spousal abuse
* Teen dating violence
Forms of Domestic Violence
Domestic Violence is no longer considered just a physical attack. It can be physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. Physical abuse is any use of size, strength or presence to hurt or control someone else. Some forms of physical abuse are: pushing, biting, grabbing, being spitting on, restraining, sitting on a partner, breaking objects, tearing or ripping clothes, unplugging phones, stalking, pulling the hair, pinching, pulling or dragging out of a vehicle, slapping, kicking, twisting the arm, stabbing, chasing, throwing objects, slamming doors, taking car keys, threatening with an object, sabotaging a vehicle.
Emotional abuse is any word(s), voice action or lack of action meant to control, hurt or demean another person. This type of abuse is usually harder to define than physical. It can be threatening to kill, leaving hostile messages, insulting family or friends, isolating partner, keeping partner from sleeping, criticizing, name calling, yelling, or making faces at partners.
Sexual Abuse is any sexual behavior meant to control, manipulate, humiliate, or demean another person. This type of abuse is unwanted touching, demeaning remarks, sexual name calling, rape with an object, forced sex with a partner and minimizing feelings.
Verbal abuse takes on many forms including name calling, insulting, degrading, nagging, belittling, racial slurs and foul language. Certain words can make or break an individual. Both men and women can be verbally abused. Verbal abuse can cause mental anguish. If you find yourself in a situation like this, act on it immediately.
In a recent article printed in a local news paper, a local anesthesiologist was stabbed in her home. The victim lives in one of the higher social economical neighborhood with her son. The victim and her husband divorced several years ago due to the disagreement of the diagnosis of their sons' mental disorders. The son was accused of the violent acts. The son was diagnosed with bipolar mood disorder with psychosis, generalized anxiety disorder and a parent-child relationship problem.
Many things can increase the chances of violence in a family. A family that has many risk factors has more of a chance of becoming violent than a family with one or two risk factors. Risk factors do not cause violence and there are no excuses for violence. Violence is a complex problem with many contributing factors and requires multiple interventions. Domestic violence:
is an individual, family, neighborhood, community, country, world, societal, cultural, and spiritual issue
is a learned behavior, it has rewards and consequences
is reinforced by many parts of society
can be passed on from generation to generation
is the harmful misuse of power
can be unlearned
cannot be justified on the basis of being provoked
is a choice for which the abuser must be accountable
Some families dynamics, associated with abuse:
are the parent feel they are to blame for an malformed child
is the child's expectation does not meet cultural expectations
is one parent feel unloved because of attention given the baby
is redirected anger toward child who cannot retaliate
Some risk factors include:
Mental or physical problems in the family
Poverty or problems with money
Stress outside the home (work, financial)
History of abusive relationships
Past victim or witness of family abuse
Isolation from others
The idea that all men have to act a certain way
Alcohol and drug abuse
Violence against a partner has two (2) main purposes:
1. Keeping or making use of power
2. Keeping or making use of control
There are causes for both violent and non-violent behavior. Causes for non-violent behavior can be reported as the following:
* mental self discipline
* ways of non-violence respected
* seek advice
Violence behavior also has a belief system which might include:
confusing anger with violence
The acquiring of knowledge about violent behavior can lead to non- violent behavior and less abuse.
There is no way to tell for sure if someone is experiencing domestic violence. Domestic Violence comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, economic classes, sexual orientation, personality types and genders. Some warning signs are:
Frequent bruises and injuries that are explained by being clumsy or some other story.
Absences from work or school due to bruises or injury
Low self-esteem, feeling that you cannot make it alone
Personality changes–an outgoing person becomes quiet and shy around their partner
Fear of conflict–as a result of being battered some victims may generalize the experience of powerlessness
Self-blame–Taking all the blame for things that go wrong
Stress related problems–poor sleep, non specific aches or pains, stomach problems, chronic headaches.
Characteristics of Abusers
A major characteristic of an abuser is their ability to deceive others. They appear to be devoted to their partner and they may also display:
charming abilities and nice to acquaintances and co-workers; masters at hiding their abusive side
unable to accept responsibility for their actions
subject to extreme unpredictable mood swings
intensely jealous and possessive
a victim of abuse themselves
a status symbol
destructive breaking and throwing things
emotionally abusive acts, name calling, criticizing, put downs
described as having a dual personality
Many men pretend that everything is okay at home, keeping the violence a secret. To these subjects it is embarrassing. Maybe only one or two friends, if any at all knows. Physical abuse isn't the only abuse men have in relationships; there are verbal assaults, screaming and outburst of anger which wears on the self-confidence of the man. Domestic abuse against men, occur daily. Very little is known about the actual number of men who are in a domestic violent relationship.
Why is there little knowledge about violence against men?
Some of the reasons little known concerning men in abusive relationships are:
Reported violence against men is low
No encouragement for men to report abuse
Abuse against men is unthinkable
Little resources to address issues of violence against men
It is assumed a man with a black eye was fighting another man
Men are afraid to be the joke of the town
When men report abuse, people are astonished and men usually end up feeling like nobody believes them.
Abuse Quiz for Men
Instructions: Enter the number of points next to each question on the severity of each item: Never - 0 Rarely - 1 Sometimes - 2 Frequently - 3
____ ignore your feelings?
____ disrespect you?
____ ridicule your beliefs?
____ give you the silent treatment?
____ humiliate you in public?
____ walk away without answering?
____ roll her eyes when you talk?
____ twist your words?
____ try to control decisions?
____ present a wonderful face to the world?
____ threaten to throw you out?
____ act with immature and selfish attitudes?
____ harass you about imagined affairs?
____ give you a hard time for socializing with family and friends?
____ make promises never to do it again?
If your answers consist of 2's and 3's, I suggest you seek help.
Forms of Abuse for men
Abuse for men and women includes pushing, slapping, hitting, throwing objects, slamming doors, striking the other person with an object or using a weapon. Domestic abuse for men can be more mental and emotionally.
Forms of abuse can include:
- being called a coward
- demeaning masculinity
- humiliating in front of other men
- discounting your feelings
- withholding affections
- ridicule or make fun of
- changing the subject
- accusing and blaming
- forgetting promises
- abusive anger
- accusations of not taking care of the children
Why Men Stay in Abusive Relationships
Men stay in abusive relationship for various reasons:
1. Protection of their children–Abuse men are afraid to leave their children with an abusive woman. The man is afraid the woman will tell his children he is a bad person. The abused man does not want to let another man come in and try to raise his children.
2. Assuming Blame–Abused men feel responsible and have unrealistic belief that they can make things better.
3. Dependency–The abused man is mentally, emotionally or financially dependent on the abusive woman.
Help For Men in Abusive Relationships
Help for men in abusive relationships is not as prevalent as it is for women. There are virtually no shelters, programs or advocacy groups for men. Most abused men rely on private counseling services. Men can call the Domestic Abuse Hotline for Men. (1-877-643-1120).
Stopping the Abuse
never allow yourself to be provoked
work with an advocate from a domestic violence program
talk to family and friends
Lynn Speaks ~
No one ever told me about Domestic Violence. I was encouraged to find a young man that loved me, get married and have a family. No one explained what true love was. So, when I met this tall dark and handsome young man that was interested in spending time with me (a lot of time) I thought it was love. What I didn't know is that all the concern for me, where I was, who I was with and when I was going home was really control. Having someone spend time and pay attention to me really made me think "this is it", this is real love. When this special person wants you to spend all your time with him and no longer wants you with your family, this is isolation. No one ever told me this.
During the dating years, it was ok for him to go and be with his friends but it was not ok for me. When we went out on dates it was always with his friends. I was not allowed to interact with them. He thought I was flirting with them or they were flirting with me. The evening always ended with me crying, and him apologizing and me forgiving him. Somehow it was always my fault.
After two (2) years of dating we decided to get married so we could be together all the time. What a joke!! A week after the wedding he was going to work and coming home, getting dress and going out for the rest of the night with his friends. It was ok for him to go out but not for me. The arguments started and got worse.
Growing up I was taught to look my best at all times. This meant having the appropriate attire with matching ear rings, shoes, purses, lipstick and nail polish.
Although this was one of the things that attracted him to me, it was also one of the things that caused arguments. He would accuse me of dressing for someone else. I loved to wear dresses but he would often buy me pants so no one could see my legs. I was no longer in control of what I wore anymore. I could not wear my hair but one way. Once I got my hair cut and tinted, that was truly a war. I was every ugly name you could think of. As time went by, my self-esteem diminished. It got so I didn't believe in myself.
After a couple of years we wanted to start a family. It did not happen right away. I had to go to the doctor because something must have been wrong with me, according to him. I went to the doctor but he (my husband) didn't. I finally got pregnant and this was the happiest time during the marriage. I was treated like a queen. All hell broke loose after the baby was about six months old. All of a sudden he didn't believe the child was his child. At this time he began to drink heavy and the violence got worse. My concern at this time was to take care of my child. When things got really bad I would leave and go to my parents' home. I would stay for a week or so and I would go back when he promised not to do it again. It was truly what is known as the Domestic Violence Cycle. We would argue, fight, make up, and it would start all over again. The time between fighting and making up got shorter. There was more arguing and fighting and less making up. I spent most of my time crying and trying to hide the black eyes and bruises. I wore long sleeves all of the time along with heavy makeup.
As my child got older she lived in fear also. She would say "lets go to bed" when her dad would come home and let the trunk of the car up. She knew he would be drinking and next would be the fighting. The end came when he drew back to hit me and she tried to protect me. I knew that was the end and I made plans to get out of this situation. I started to save some money and look for somewhere to live. I found a house, paid the down payment and waited for the right time to move. I knew I could not tell him I was leaving because my life would really be in danger. I moved and I waited for the six months necessary to file for divorce. I finally got the divorce but it took me a while to rebuild my self-esteem and start to build a new life for me and my child.
Excerpted from DOMESTIC VIOLENCE by Lynetta Copyright © 2011 by Lynetta. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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