Over twenty percent of all battered women kill their partners. Making the decision to leave any abusive relationship is a process where many factors have to be considered. Domestic abuse affects people of all cultures, religions, ages, sexual orientations, educational background, and income levels. Victims are frequently blamed for being victims. Domestic violence continues because of isolation, silence, and the failure to seek help. In a lot of situations, the victim feels like they are crazy or that they are the only one that this has happened to. Therefore, they except the abuse as a way of life.
Some people blame the victim because they don’t attempt to try to make changes like leaving or getting help. Seventy three percent of women who are injured by their partner, are injured after separation. CASA is an organization designed to work with all individuals in need of domestic violence services, regardless of reason. CASA has developed an Internet web page to help people understand more about domestic violence.
They have put together thirteen condensed signs of abuse. (1) You live in fear of making your partner mad and change your ways to avoid it. ) Your intimate partner seems like two different people. Children who grow up in abusive families learn that violence is a normal way of life. So, of course, the abuser thinks that what they are doing is not wrong. (3) Your intimate partner blames you for failures in the relationship. (4) You avoid your family and friends to prevent your partner’s anger and jealousy. (5) Your intimate partner controls where you go, what you do, and who you talk to. (6) Your intimate partner uses the hearing world to further isolate you from assistance or help.
The abuser strongly insists to be in charge in the relationship. Tradition and culture are used to justify this rigid gender role playing. (7) Your intimate partner forces you to have sex or perform sexual acts against your will, degrades or hurts you during sex. (8) Your intimate partner constantly puts you down, humiliates, belittles, or lies to you. (9) You are always afraid. Availability of weapons or the threat of their use increases the risk of homicide and sometimes suicide. (10) Your intimate partner destroys things or harms your pets.
Your intimate partner calls you names and makes fun of your body and appearance. (12) Your intimate partner is extremely jealous and constantly accuses you of having affairs. In the beginning of a relationship, jealousy feels like love and concern. But, as time passes, this trait becomes entitlement and possession. (13) Your intimate partner slaps, shoves, kicks, hits, burns you, or threatens you with weapons. Substance abuse plays a big role in violence. The abuser uses substance abuse to excuse offensive and harmful behavior. Abusers may have a history of using violence to solve their problems.
They may have a bad temper, overreact to little problems of every day life, throw things, punch walls, and have a criminal record for violence. When abusers hit or break objects or make threats, almost 100 percent resort to battering. One in three women in a battering relationship are raped. There are two kinds of rape in domestic violence: one, with weapons; and two, she submits out of fear that if she were to say “No” he would get angry and beat her. Domestic abuse is the use of power and control. It takes place in many forms and escalates in severity.
These forms display themselves as acts of domestic abuse and generally fall into one or more of the following categories: Psychological – abuse that may include emotional, verbal, and financial abuse and may be experienced as intimidation, terrorizing, name-calling, jealousy, destroying property, and eliminating access to finances. Sexual – abuse that may include denying privacy, forcing performances of sexual acts that are not comfortable, unwanted sexual touching, and partner rape. Physical – abuse that may include pushing, slapping, biting, kicking, hitting with objects, restraining, and use of weapons.
Verbal – abuse that may include name-calling, cut downs in front of family and friends, and making fun of the body and appearance. Emotional – abuse that may include making fun of appearance and scarring the victim’s self esteem for life. Financial – abuse that may include keeping money from the victim, restraining outside socializing from the world, and not allowing the victim to make decisions regarding their own well-being. Making the decision to leave any abusive relationship is a decision where many factors have to be considered.
The following are just a few of the factors that must be considered before leaving: (1) Fear- The victim feels that the abuser will become more violent and maybe even lethal if an attempt is made to leave. One of the most dangerous times for the victim is when the decision has been made to leave the abuser. The abuser perceives loss of the power and lethality increases. (2) Finances- Reduced financial circumstances and providing for children, credit responsibilities, housing, and transportation to places burden on victims.
Educational opportunities and employment skills may be affected by the abusive relationship. (3) Cultural / Social / Spiritual – Family cultural and religious values may have a strong influence over a victim. If divorce is shameful to the family, if the church does not support the victim’s safety plan, or if the victim’s cultural community is disapproving, the victim’s decision to leave will take great courage. (4) Love – There is a mix of good times, love, and hope, along with the manipulation, intimidation, and fear.
Abusive relationships are not abusive all of the time. There are fond memories, emotional ties, and commitments. The victim may not want the relationship to end, just the abuse. (5) Options – The victim may not be aware of help or other resources that are available. Many people that once the battered woman is separated from her abuser that she will be safe. They also believe that women are free to leave at any time.
Up to seventy five percent of domestic assaults reported to law enforcement agencies happened after separation of the couples. (U. S. Department of Justice, 1983) One study reveals that seventy three percent of battered women seeking emergency medical care sustained injuries after leaving the abuser. (Starks et al, 1981) twenty five percent of women killed by their partners are separated or divorced from the men who killed them. 28. 6 percent of them were attempting to end the relationship when they were killed. (Casanave and Zahn, 1986) In another study of spousal homicide, over half of the male defendants were separated from their victims. (Kurz and Coughey, 1989). Just because leaving is dangerous, does not mean the victim should stay.
Leaving requires planning and legal intervention to insure the safety of the victim and children. A few characteristics of battered women are: She may have low self esteem, accept responsibility for the batterer’s actions, use sex as a way to establish intimacy, and believe that no one will be able to help her. A few characteristics of the batterer are: He may have low self esteem, blames others for his actions, have two different personalities, frequently use sex as an act of aggression, and not believe his violent behavior should have any negative consequences.
Even after the victim leaves the batterer, their are still long term effects of abuse. Battered women suffer physical and mental problems as a result of domestic violence. Battery is the single major cause of injury to women, more significant that auto accidents, rapes, or muggings. (O’Reilly, 1983) The emotional and psychological abuse may be worse than the physical injury. (Straus, 1987) Physical injuries cause difficulties as women grow older. Arthritis, hypertension, and heart disease in battered women are caused by the abuse in their early adult lives.
Corrao, 1985) One-third of the children who witness the abuse of their mothers grow up with behavioral and/or emotional problems, including, psychosomatic disorders, stuttering, anxiety and fears, sleeping disorders, excessive crying, and school problems. One of the most common mistakes that battered women make is taking the abuser back leaving. This is called the “Sweet Baby Syndrome”. The first syndrome is the Honey Moon Syndrome which is also know as “Hearts and Flowers”. This is when the batterer bribes the victim to return to him. Next, is the Super Dad Syndrome, when he tells her that he will be a great father if she returns.
The Revival Syndrome is when he only went to church a few times, but he tells her that he has been going every Sunday since she left and he has excepted Christ into his life. The Sobriety Syndrome is when he says he has stopped drinking. “If he has stopped drinking, he will stop beating me. ” Drinking adds to the beating, but it does not cause the beating. The Counseling Syndrome is when he says he has been going to counseling and he won’t do it anymore. Long term counseling is needed and less that one percent voluntarily go into counseling. Children are the silent victims of domestic abuse.
Their voices may be heard, but their pain often goes unnoticed. Seeing the two most important people in their lives being hurt or hurting damages a child’s emotional being forever. The effect of domestic abuse on children has many consequences. – Increases in miscarriages, babies are born with health problems, sleep disturbances, problems with temper as they grow up, lack of confidence, headaches, immaturity, ulcers, severe acne, and joining in the beating of an adult victim – These are all consequences of domestic abuse. Domestic violence is always brutal and sometimes fatal.
There are several different signs of abuse. Physical abuse is a major contributor to domestic violence, but there are five other categories of this abuse. Women have to be courageous, yet fearful, when they decide to leave any abusive relationship. It is very dangerous to leave, but it is also dangerous to stay. Victims deal with many long term effects and consequences of the abuse. Domestic abuse can happen to anyone, anywhere, and at any time. Victims should not be blamed for being victims, because it takes more to leave the relationship that just making the decision.