An the victims of domestic violence must

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An American football hero racing on the freeway in a white Ford Bronco, finally stopping in front of his luxurious home. Six years or more ago this scenario would have sounded like a clever advertisement campaign. Replay the same scenario from 1994 forward and almost all Americans will vividly recall the death of Nicole Simpson and her ex-husband (0.J. Simpson) fleeing the police with a gun to his head. This single event thrust the serious and deadly topic of domestic violence awareness into the spotlight of the world.

There are numerous dynamics that make up the deviant nature of domestic violence. I will summarize five articles that discuss some of the aspects of domestic violence and some of the ways society in the United States combats it.

Although domestic violence touches all walks of life, government and academic studies consistently demonstrate that the majority of victims in heterosexual relationships are female and that batterers in heterosexual relationships are overwhelmingly male. (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1997) Battering also occurs in lesbian and gay relationships, and the use of gender specific language should not be construed to mean that domestic violence exists only in heterosexual relationships.? Victims may be doctors, business professionals, scientists or judges, among others. Perpetrators may be police officers, sports heroes, CEOs or college professors. Unlike victims, perpetrators do have at least two common traits — the majority of perpetrators (1) witnessed domestic violence in their family and (2) are male. (Hotaling & Sugarman, 1986; Stratus, 1980)?
There are many other staggering statistics pertaining to domestic violence, too many to list them all. a woman is beaten every nine seconds in the United States. Domestic violence is the most under reported crime in the country, with the actual incidence 10 times higher than is reported. By the most conservative estimate, each year 1 million women suffer nonfatal violence by an intimate partner.?Nearly one in three adult women experiences at least one physical assault by a partner during adulthood.?Forty-seven percent of men who beat their wives do so at least three times per year. Domestic violence also has immediate and long-term detrimental effects on children. Each year, an estimated 3.3 million children are exposed to violence by family members against their mothers or female caretakers. In homes were partner abuse occurs, children are 1,500 times more likely to be abused. Forty to sixty percent of men who abuse women also abuse children. A study in 1997 showed 27 percent of domestic homicide victims were children and when children are killed during a domestic dispute, 90 percent are under age 10; 56 percent are under age 2.

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An article found on the American Bar Association Web page addresses the myths and facts about domestic violence. The first myth is that victims of domestic violence have psychological disorders. People who are not abused think the victims of domestic violence must be sick or they would not take the abuse. When, in reality, most victims are not mentally ill, although people with mental disabilities are not immune from being abused. Some victims of domestic violence suffer psychological effects, such as post-traumatic stress disorder or depression, as a result of being abused. (Dutton, The Dynamics of Domestic Violence, 1994) Another myth is batterers abuse their partners or spouses because of alcohol or drug abuse. Alcohol and drug abuse does not cause a perpetrator to abuse the victim although it is frequently used as an excuse. Substance abuse may increase frequency or severity of the abuse. (Jillson & Scott, 1996) another myth is that law enforcement and the court system, for instance arresting batterers or issuing civil protection orders, are useless. Conclusions drawn from research studies in this area have brought two conflicting results. (See Buzawa & Buzawa, 1996; Sherman & Berk, 1984; Zorza, 1994) Police officers must make arrests, prosecutors must prosecute domestic violence cases, and courts must enforce orders and handout stiff sentences for criminal convictions.

In the mid-1970s battered women’s shelters were just beginning and the main focus was developing services for the victims. Providing services and looking out of the needs of the perpetrator was not a priority. It was thought that focusing on the perpetrator was just another way men took priority over women in our society. In 1977 Dr. Daniel Jay Sonkin started calling the local battered women’s shelters. Six months later he finally got to a return call from a director of one of the shelters. After meeting with a director they realized there was a mutual need each could provide for the other. In order for Dr. Sonkin to get experience with counseling batterers the director allowed to him to attend hotline training. The shelter needed something to do with all the male perpetrators calling their hotline looking for their partners who may have been residents of the shelter. After attending hotline training the shelter would refer all phone calls from the men to him. The phone calls started flooding in to Dr. Sonkin. Most of the calls were crisis intervention counseling in nature. The phone counseling led to one-on-one counseling which, because of popularity led to group counseling and support groups. At the same time other similar groups performing across the country. One innovative therapist was developing a court mandated counseling program in Santa Barbara. Dr. Sonkin acknowledges during this period of time that he and other therapist were flying the seat of their pants. Most of their knowledge came from alcohol and drug treatment and they utilized whatever behavioral and cognitive interventions seemed to fit the situation. He went on to point out that there was an important social perspective to their work that was heavily imposed by the feminist movement. It was believed the violence was not just an individual or family problem, but a social problem rooted in the devaluation of women in general.

Also during the ’70s the battered women’s movement began to focus attention on the criminal justice system as being one solution to the problem. Until this time, mediation, counseling and non-criminalization was the typical way these cases were handled. Law enforcement viewed domestic violence as a family problem not a criminal problem. Advocates turned her attention to reforming the police and the courts. California as well as other states passed pretrial diversion laws to begin addressing domestic violence as a criminal problem. The courts mandated batterers into counseling or education programs and if they successfully completed the programs their record would be expunged. Dr. Sonkin felt diversion was good for its time, primarily because battered women had almost no protection from the criminal justice system prior to this. The diversion was good in that defendants were only offered it once every seven years and was only offered in misdemeanor cases. The downside to diversion was that it was only offered to misdemeanor defendants, and many felony charges were reduced to misdemeanors to give the batterer the option of diversion rather than jail.

In the 1980s more funding was becoming available for counseling programs aimed at the male batterers. The number of research studies focusing on the male batterer dramatically increased during this decade. During this highest point of popularity to date, providers started to fight amongst themselves on which was the “right” way to treat the male batterer. During the ’80s there was more pressure on the criminal justice system to punish the male batterer rather than offer diversion. With guilty verdicts hanging over the defendants head it was thought that they would take counseling more seriously. Towards the end of the 1980s the gap began to widen between the feminist groups and the mental health professionals and the feminists went to work at what was successful in the past — changing laws.

During the 1990s politics became more apparent than in the past. Victims rights groups put pressure on politicians to pass laws that counteracted the trend of defendants rights of the previous two decades. Many of these laws were reactionary to sensationalized crimes, which were highly publicized. The three strikes legislation in California was a good example of this. Dozens of laws were drafted as a result of the kidnapping and murder of a teenage girl and one was enacted. Domestic violence laws have also been reactionary in the past. Several years ago a law was passed saying that all mental health professionals must report a client who is being treated for domestic violence. The intention of this law was good however many women did not seek help of counselors for fear of their batterer being turned in. This law was amended within one year to only include positions treating physical injuries. Dr. Sonkin says he wouldn’t be surprised if a group of battered women advocates get a law passed to expand the special circumstances that qualify a defendant to be executed to include spousal murder. In 1995 the California Legislature passed Assembly Bill 168. This new law requires the defendant to plead guilty immediately so his conviction comes before participation a treatment program. This way if the defendant fails to complete the treatment program the judge enters a guilty verdict and the defendant is remanded to custody. If the treatment program is completed the guilty plea is not entered into the court record. In addition to this probation departments are also given the responsibility to certify local treatment providers for batterers. Dr. Sonkin does not like this aspect of the law because the wording of the law does not specifically define providers as licensed counselors or therapists. Although many of the providers are licensed mental health professionals, many other people such as former probation officers, retired police officers and others offer their version of the treatment program. He believes this opens the door for commercialization and believes people developing batterer intervention programs may be doing it for a lucrative venture rather than the goal of helping people. His opinion goes on to say that this law is based on the feminist analysis of the problem of domestic violence and, in particular, the Duluth Model of treating male batterers. This perspective sees the causes of domestic violence being social rather than psychological. His view is the Duluth Model is narrow minded and the person who drafted this law presumed that the model is the most effective method of treating male batterers even though there’s no empirical research to date that supports his viewpoint. He does not believe that this viewpoint will bring about a reduction in domestic violence.

Dr. Sonkin does not claim to have a solution to the problem of domestic violence. He does believe that passing legislation such as Assembly Bill 168 that inhibits people from developing new approaches is not the answer. He believes that flexibility needs to return so providers and criminal justice personnel can develop plans that make sense in each individual case. The criminal justice system seems to like the way that the law is functioning currently because things run smoother. Dr. Sonkin says that just because the system run smoother it does not address the complex issues of this social problem and both the criminal justice system and health providers will need to develop complex solutions.
An article in Time magazine credits the death of Nicole Simpson for exposing the brutality of domestic violence, a subject that was traditionally kept silent. As a result of the Simpson drama, Americans are confronting the violence that may occur when love goes bad. The week after the Nicole Simpson’s death, phone calls to domestic violence hotlines surged to record numbers. Women who did not have the strength to leave their batterers in the past, suddenly found the strength to leave their homes and seek safety in shelters. Debbie Tucker, chairman of the National Domestic Violence Coalition of Public Policy was surprised that everybody was so shocked with Nicole Simpson’s death. She said “this happens all the time.” In Los Angeles, where calls to abuse hotlines were up 80 percent after Nicole’s death, experts sense a sort of awakening as women relate personally to the tragedy.

Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala has warned domestic violence is an unacknowledged epidemic in our society. After the Simpson tragedy the New York State legislature unanimously passed a bill the mandates arrest for any person who commits a domestic assault. California Legislature now has a computerize registry of restraining orders and, confiscates guns from men arrested for domestic violence.

The article criticizes law enforcement for under enforcing domestic violence laws, though many states require arrest when a reported domestic dispute turns violent. The article says police often walk away if the victim refuses to press charges, convinced that such battles are more private and less serious.

Batterers commit violence to maintain power in relationships. Men who batter believe they have the right to do whatever it takes to regain control. When a woman finally decides to leave or have the male batterer leave, he sometimes panics about losing his woman and will do anything to prevent from happening. The man may even stalk the woman or harass her by telephone.

Women are most in danger when they attempt to end a relationship. The two most dangerous actions, which are likely to produce a deadly result, are when a woman moves out of her residence and when she starts to date another man. The article hints that restraining orders, divorce papers, etc. are often seen by the man as a licensed to kill. Dr. Park Dietz, a forensic psychiatrist and a leading expert on homicide says, “a restraining order is a way of getting killed faster. Someone who is truly dangerous will see this as an extreme denial of what he’s entitled to, his God given right.” He goes on to say that the paper is a threat to his own life and he may engage in behavior that destroys the source of the threat. Victims can include children, a woman’s lawyer, the judge that issues the restraining order, or the cop who comes between.

Abuse experts do not believe that a man’s obsession of love can drive beyond all control. Some researchers believe that there is a physiological factor in domestic abuse. One study conducted by the University of Massachusetts medical center’s domestic violence research and treatment center found that 61 percent of men involved in marital violence have signs of severe head trauma.

One of the most frequent questions asked when a woman’s killed by her partner is “why didn’t she leave?” This question reflects a societal assumption that women have the primary responsibility for stopping abuse in a relationship. It is common for women who have been abused to have self-esteem problems and feel they deserve to be battered. Such perceptions are slowly beginning to change, again as a result of Simpson’s slaying. Peggy Kerns, a Colorado State legislator said, Simpson has almost legitimized the concerns and fears around domestic violence.

There are many reasons why battered women remain with their partners. One woman, Pam Butler, wrote an article attempting to answer this question. The male batterer usually sweeps his woman off her feet while they’re dating, never showing the evil side of themselves. Women fall in love with these men not knowing who they really are. The violence usually begins after the two get married. The battered victim does not want to believe the person that she married is doing this to her. The batterer tells the woman he does not know what came over him and makes excuses for what he has done. The battered victim wants desperately to believe anything other than they meant to batter her. As long as a victim believes anything but the truth, they will stay.

The batterer changes back and forth from the man they fell in love with to the man, who beats them, keeping the victim confused. When things are good the victims do not want to leave, and when they are being battered they are too weak to fight, and they give up. The batterer wears them down to the point that they only live to make him happy so they won’t be hurt.

Eventually the victim reaches a point where the fear of being injured or killed is too great, or they see their children being hurt, and they decide to leave. This is the time when something inside the victim changes. They are through being battered and decide to leave the situation. This could happen in seconds or could take years. This is time when most women are killed.

After leaving the batterer continues to harass and beg the victim to stay or come home. When the victim refuses the batterer often threatens to kill her, their children and her family. Miss Butler feels that America tolerates domestic violence and blames the victims for it. She feels the legal system is sometimes worse than the abuse she has suffered.

Why do most victims stay? Because if she leaves, the chances increase that the batterer may kill her. And if she wins in court, all she does is buy some time.
The statistics of domestic violence are shocking. Most Americans will be affected by domestic violence in their lifetime, either as a victim, a friend of a victim, the children of a victim and batterer or the batterer himself. All of the articles reviewed in this paper have some similarities. Nobody has a perfect method to stop domestic violence. Domestic violence has shifted from a civil family problem (1970s and prior) to a criminal problem. It seems that the mental health professionals are the ones who truly see the abused person as the victim of this deviant behavior. The court system has traditionally treated the abused person harshly, and has been lenient with the perpetrator. The murder of Nicole Brown Simpson, although tragic, shined the spotlight on the topic of domestic violence. Her murder also opened the eyes of many other victims and gave them the courage to leave their abusers.
Politicians and persons in elected positions have created many new programs and laws since Nicole Simpson’s death. In Los Angeles County the Victim Information & Notification Everyday (V.I.N.E.) program was developed to help the victims of domestic violence. When a suspect is arrested law enforcement officers are required to give the victim a pamphlet which provides information about the V.I.N.E. system as well as phone numbers for important programs and associations (shelters, counseling, etc.) V.I.N.E. is a free, anonymous, computer-based telephone program that provides victims of crime two important services: information and notification. Victims can call the than V.I.N.E. database and will quickly be told if the inmate is still in custody and provide custody location. The victim may register for an automated notification call when inmate is released or transferred.

The one thing that everybody agrees with concerning domestic violence, is all entities involved (mental health, law enforcement, court system, and probation) must work together to have a realistic goal of preventing this deviant behavior. Education programs similar to D.A.R.E. should be taught to school age children to stop patterns of abuse from being passed on from generation to generation.
Bibliography:
References
American Psychological Association, Violence and the Family: report of the American psychological association presidential task force on violence in the family (1996), p. 10.


Butler, Pam. Why Does She Stay, Yahoo. CompuServe 2000 9 Aug. 1999 .


Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report, Sex Differences in Violent Victimization, 1994 (NCJ-146508) September 1997, p.4.


Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report: Violence against Women: Estimates from the Redesigned Survey (NCJ-154348) August 1995,p.3.


Do Arrest and Restraining Orders Work? (Eve S. Buzawa & Carl G. Buzawa, eds., 1996); Lawrence W. Sherman & Richard A. Berk, The Minneapolis Domestic Violence Experiment, Police Foundation Reports 1 (Apr. 1984); Joan Zorza, Must We Stop Arresting Batterers? Analysis and Policy Implications of New Police Domestic Violence Studies, 28 New Eng. L. Rev. 929 (1994).


Florida Governors Task Force on Domestic and Sexual Violence, Florida Mortality Review Project, 1997,p. 51, table 28.


Gerald T. Hotaling & David B. Sugarman, An Analysis of Risk Markers in Husband to Wife Violence: The Current State of Knowledge, 1(2) Violence and Victims 101,106 (1986); Murray A. Straus, Behind Closed Doors: Violence in the American Family (1980).


Irene Anne Jillson & Bettina Scott, Violence, Women and Alcohol: Reducing the Risks, Redressing the Consequences, Dept of Health and Human Services, Draft Report, Jan. 1996.


Mary Ann Dutton, The Dynamics of Domestic Violence: Understanding the Response from Battered Women, 68 (9)Fla. Bar J. 24, 26 (1994).


Myths and Facts about Domestic Violence, The Commission on Domestic Violence. 1998, Yahoo. CompuServe 2000 8 August 1999. .
Smolowe, Jill. When Violence Hits Home. Time Magazine 4 July 1994. 8 Aug. 1999 .


Who Is Most Likely to Be Affected by Domestic Violence, The Commission on Domestic Violence. 1997, Yahoo. CompuServe 2000 8 August 1999. .

Categories: Family Members

DOmestic society beginning to realize that we’ve

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DOmestic Violence
Domestic violence isn’t what we thought we would be carrying as a societal problem into the new Millennium. In fact, its an ancient problem that mere mention of it today as an ongoing crisis should really make our society embarrassed and oppressive. Only with the past decade is our society beginning to realize that we’ve overlooked the stringency of domestic violence.
All along we’ve been viewing domestic violence as merely a moral and ethical dilemma, not an obligation. We’ve convinced ourselves that it was a private family matter” and not a criminal act. We have told ourselves that some women deserve it, or that they provoked it to happen. We excuse ourselves from the problem, into an uncomfortable but yet acceptable, part of our culture and convinced ourselves it was acceptable to look the other way.

So while we were looking the other way, here’s what has developed. “Battering is the single major cause of injury to women…more than injuries cause by muggings, rape, and car accidents combined. It is the second leading cause of death to women age twenty to forty-five” (“Some” 1). Strangers perpetrate Twenty percent of violent crimes. More than half are committed by the person’s partner (“Some” 1). Research has shown that 36 to 50 percent of American women will be abused in their lifetime. Women and girls sometimes abuse men and boys, but nine out of ten victims are girls or women (Shannon 1). Domestic violence is not only limited to women though, it has been leaking into high school and college relationships. “It is now estimated that at least one out of three high school and college-aged youth experience abuse at some points in their relationships. It can range from a single episode to chronic abuse” (“Some” 1). Even more teens will face verbal or emotional abuse during a relationship, and 10 to 25 percent of girls between the ages of 15 and 24 will be the victims of rape or attempted rape (“Teen” 1). According to a 1999 survey conducted by the Massachusetts Department of Education, 18 percent of females in grades 9 through 12 reported being hurt physically or sexually by a date (“Seeking” 2). We use to see this problem as only belonging to families on the lowest of the socioeconomic ladder. Domestic abuse occurs across all economic, religious, racial and ethnic backgrounds.
Women who are subjected to abuse need to understand that they are not the ones at fault. Guys who do this have serious issues. Things like this don’t just come along. They are either learned or brought on by their own insecurities.

When guys is using verbal put-downs, often the cause of it is due to insecurity brought on by things that have happened in their own lives. Women are often afraid to challenge them because they think it is normal and that it will eventually stop. “The highs are very, very high. Some victims are willing to staying the relationship to experience those emotional highs” (Roberts 2). Guys continue to use verbal put downs because there have been no consequence in the relationship because after a while women tend to think that it is normal and that it happens in every relationship at one point or another.

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One cause of domestic violence is social factor. Male dominance plays a major part in it. Also the fact that women are looked at with a negative attitude a lot of the time. Also it partially results in the fact that for a long time women were viewed as property of her husband. So he was able to do what ever he saw fit to do to keep his wife in line even if that meant beating her. Many people still view family violence as a private matter (“Causes” 1).

Family history is the single most common characteristic in domestic violence (“Causes” 3). “Family violence and health have always been a major health problem. Children that have been subjected to this as a child will more then likely be come an assaulter” (Causes” 3). Although these are associated with domestic violence, many abusers were not subjected to this who became abusers and many people who saw violence take place in their home and never became an abuser (“Causes” 5).
Another origin of abuse is personal control. Abuse and violence work to maintain power and control over others (“Causes” 2). Violence is a learned behavior that is often reinforced by beliefs and socialization. “The use of violence is reinforced every time it is used as an effective means of control” (“Causes” 2). People have said that the abuser’s goal is often to control and dominate the victim.

Many people feel that when substances are brought into a relationship, that the violence is more prevalent (“Causes” 4). Although in many cases there are probably not many abusers who aren’t abusing substances. Research in this field is not yet conclusive, but health professionals should recognize substance abuse as a risk factor for abuse, not an explanation (“Causes” 4). Evidence indicates that,” while substance abuse and violent behavior frequently coexist, the violent behavior will not end unless interventions address the violence as well as the addiction”(“Causes” 4). Although substance abuse is often a major factor in domestic violence it cannot yet be considered a cause of it. If a person is already a batterer, the violent behavior may increase with the abuse of substances, however, there are many alcohol and drug abusers who never batter their wives (“Causes”4).

There is no one cause for domestic violence. While there is no “typical” batterer. There are though, guys that are a combination of abusers. Such as emotional and physical or emotional and mental. There are also ones that are just physical, mental, or emotional. But they all will have one thing in common and that is there influences.


Abusers come in all shapes and sizes, but there are only three categories to classify the types of abuses, physical, mental and/or emotional. “Physically abusive relationships begin with emotional or mental abuse, Pack said, and as time passes the abuse escalates into violence” (Roberts 2). According to the American Psychological Association, even though many don’t think of emotional and mental abuse as true abuses they are. Psychological or emotional abuse is an associated with jealousy and possessiveness (“Teen” 1). Controlling behavior can often be seen as keeping track of whom you’re with and where you are. Telling you what to wear. Picking your friends. Keeping you from getting a job. Taking your money. Threatening to commit suicide, to spread gossip about you, or out you if you’re part of a same sex couple (Shannon 1). The people out there are right though when they say that physical violence is the worst out of all of them. Physical abuse can be categorized as punching the wall. Yelling. Insults. Name-calling. Isolating you from family and friends. Slamming the door. Insisting on any kind of unwanted sexual activity. Throwing things. Pinching, pushing, spanking…enough said? (Shannon 2). But women have to look for warning signs too. That will help them realize they are in an abusive relationship. And hopefully inspire them to get help and get out of them.


There are often warning signs in the early stages of a relationship that can indicate a potentially abusive situation, Pack said. Often, though, certain warning signs can be exactly what a man or woman is looking for (Roberts 2). It begins with love and affection, followed by getting angry, finding faults, showing jealousy, after which comes the violence/abusive stage, followed by perhaps by a reconciliation, which my lead to a new love and affection phase, and then cycle starts all over (“Teen” 1). Most women tend to think that its all ok if in the end he apologizes for what he has done. The thing that women need to look out for is what seems to be the “perfect guy”. ” People need to look out for people who are to romantic, who are always showing up, sending little notes, saying ‘ I can’t live without you,’ pushing for an early commitment,” Pack said. If women and men can attempt to find these it would help them out greatly in getting out of a potentially abusive relationship.
One of the highest misconceptions and frustration we hold about victims is why do women stay? Why don’t they just walk out? There are many critical reasons for this. Battered women live in pure fear. They spend their days consumed in a life where they are not allowed to make decisions for themselves, earn their own money or turn the doorknob to leave the house when they desire. They live a life without rights or choices. Most battered women, as worn down as their spirits and mental capacities become, know to leave their environment invites even greater risk. ‘People who stay in or get into abusive relationships often have a hard time getting out because the abusers makes it very difficult for them to leave,” Pack said. “The abuser is always telling them that they’re not good enough to find anyone else” (Roberts 2). Yet some victims play a role in their own abuse (“Teen” 1). They fail to escape, often using very strong denials such as “Oh, he didn’t mean to hurt me” or “He promised he would stop” (“Teen” 1). Some of the victims of abuse say that they stay because they are afraid or that they don’t like to be alone. They also may stay in the relationship because the abuser buys them things (“Teen” 1-2). Pack said that abusers and their victims often both suffer from insecurities and a lack of self-esteem, which can lead the abusive partner to become very jealous and controlling. Abusers typically try to isolate their partners from friends and family and restrict their activities, but meanwhile,” they can do whatever they want,” Pack said (Roberts 2).

While women may think that there is no way out of these relationships, and they must stay in them, that is not true. If they would take the time to go over the solutions they would realize that getting out of the relationship is safer than staying in them.

One option is to teach our children at a young age that abuse does not make you a strong person. Jay S. Schachne founded the Kate Brown Fund in February of 2001 to attempt to help young people recognize and prevent dating/relationship violence (“Seeking” 1). “To date, the fund has raised almost seventy thousand dollars, enough to hire two full time educators who will work in public and private schools raising awareness about the issue (“Seeking” 2). This program hopes to administer a ten-week prevention program at schools during health classes (“Seeking” 2).
Another option is to have the abuser go to counseling sessions. In these sessions the abusers would learn how to control their anger and emotions.
Our unswerving standards for all interventions for partner abusers are as follows:
 engage abusers in the first session to prevent all forms of retribution against victims, including subtle emotional abuse and blame
 instill zero tolerance for even the most subtle forms of abuse and blame
 motivate abusers to change by teaching the rewards of change based on compassion: unparalleled self-enhancement and self-empowerment
 illustrate the power of understanding and internally regulating one’s own abusive impulse, as opposed to the utter powerlessness of blaming it on the victim
 transformation of the identity of abusers from victims, avengers, or batterers to compassionate moral agents
 supplement criminal justice sanctions and constraints by building internal inhibitions against all abusive behavior (human change processes require a combination of internal reward for pro-social behavior and external punishment for abuse)
 avoid replicating abusive dynamics through intolerance of disagreement and use of power and control tactics to “win” disputes or silence others, thereby reinforcing that the one with the most power and anger wins
 model responsibility and accountability by proving program effectiveness.
Absolute safety and healing of victims is the primary goal. All abusers sign an oath to maintain zero tolerance for all forms of abuse, including accidentally hurting the feelings of all loved ones through failure to understand their perspectives. Failure of compassion is abuse. The reward of compassion is an enhanced sense of self.

To ensure the safety of victims, we strongly advocate mandatory, on going, random-assignment comparison evaluation of intervention programs serving court-ordered clients in every community of the country.

In the interest of victim safety, we seek comparison studies with treatment programs everywhere in the country (Wygoda).

The engine of sexism and abuse is the compulsion to blame vulnerable emotions on others. The inability to sustain compassion for self and others causes not only failure and abuse of partners, but sexist and racist attitudes as well.
Yet another option is to leave the relationship. Many women view this as the impossible way out but it is the best option to ensure their safety. Women shouldn’t just stay in the relationship because they are afraid. There are always organizations that they can go to or they can always talk to a friend or a family member and set up a plan to help them get out.

But with the good comes the bad. Just because theses are an option doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be effective in the long run. Schools can have classes where they teach children and teenagers about the dangers of abusing a partner, but there is always the chance that the program could fail and we would have made no progress.

Then just because the abusers go to counseling sessions doesn’t mean that they will be able to stop the abuse totally. The program may work for little while, but if they have no healthy way of venting their anger then they might end up having the situation go back to the way the were or possible get even worse.
It’s almost unconscionable how passive and ignorant we’ve been about crimes of domestic abuse. But on the other hand we are also aggressively taking steps to right this wrong. The implications of domestic violence are forcing the medical community to address a whole new set of issues, from how to increase accurate diagnoses of abuse, how to counsel victims, and how to report injuries for criminal records. Also having abusers go to counseling sessions and having children learn early on in life the effects of abuse on their partner and themselves.

When we think of domestic abuse let the image of CNN panning in on crime scene photos of Nicole Simpson come to mind. Let us think that these women aren’t just mere strangers. These women could be your mother, daughter, or sister. Domestic violence is not just a physical act. It is an act that falls into several categories, intimidation, threats, and economic depravation, sexual and emotional abuse. A bruise may last a few days, but the emotional scars are forever etched into the minds of the innocent women and children. Let us think of them when we think to keep a family’s “dirty little secret”.

Categories: Emotions

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