Module 3 Learning Objectives 3 Participants will: Explore myths associated with violence against women Learn how to reframe women’s “deficits” to impacts of abuse or safety strategies Understand the dynamics and impacts of violence against women in relationships and apply to case study
Module 3 Learning Objectives 4 Understand impact on children and youth who witness or are exposed to abuse by fathers/partners and apply these to a case study Increase knowledge of the link between supporting the child and/or youth by supporting the mother Identify compounding risks to women Explore women’s obstacles to leaving an abusive relationship
Experience of abuse are complex and vary across culture, class, ethnicity, age, ability and sexual orientation, however: there are some common myths and social stereotypes about women and abuse in relationships there are also common myths and social stereotypes about men’s abusive behaviours. 5 Violence Against Women Myths and Stereotypes
6 MYTHREALITY Each partner is equally responsible for the abuse Abusive men are 100% responsible for violence against woman Men can’t control the abuse An abusive man is in control and makes choices about who he abuses and where he is abusive Women are attracted to abusive men Abusive men initially conceal the abuse from a new partner Abusive incidents are random and isolated Abuse is patterned and intentional
7 Violence Against Women Myths and Stereotypes MYTHREALITY Women can be as abusive as their partners Distinguish between motives and intentions – women act to protect themselves and abusive men act to dominate and control their partners Women can provoke abuse or control abusive partners Women are not responsible for the abuse Women are viewed as having deficits Women have developed safety and coping strategies Abuse is measured by severity and frequency or acts of physical violence Abuse is measured by the impact – fear, health problems, mental health issues
Violence Against Women Myths and Stereotypes 8 MYTHREALITY Abusive men are behaving in socially acceptable ways Standards of parenting and relationship behaviour are lower for men than women Abused women believe that abusive behaviour is normal Women seek support and try to talk about the abuse and it is minimized, dismissed and ignored. Abused women have low expectations of relationships Relationship expectations have been eroded by the abuse.
Violence Against Women Myths and Stereotypes 9 Powerful and harmful myths and stereotypes contribute to the further social marginalization of and increased violence towards: women of colour aboriginal women low income women immigrant and refugee women young and older women lesbians/bisexuals and transgendered women sex trade workers women with disabilities
Violence Against Women Myths and Stereotypes 10 These myths are based on: ideas of what a 'normal' family is - e.g. nuclear family who can/should be a mother - e.g. heterosexual, able-bodied, mature how to care for children and youth - e.g. woman is the primary caregiver, not extended family
Violence Against Women Myths and Stereotypes 11 Understanding our biases can help to alleviate the additional burden that women sometimes feel when they have contact with child protection and other services.
Violence Against Women About Abusive Men 12 Abusers come from all socioeconomic, racial, ethnic, occupational, educational, and religious groups.
Violence Against Women About Abusive Men 13 Perpetrators do not share a set of personality characteristics or a psychiatric diagnosis that distinguishes them from people who are not abusive. Some perpetrators have psychiatric problems, such as depression or psychopathology, but most do not have psychiatric illness. Caution is advised in attributing mental illness and/or addiction as a cause of violence against women.
Violence Against Women About Abusive Men 14 Abusing Power and Control: The perpetrator’s primary goal is to achieve power and control over their intimate partner. Different Public and Private Behaviors: Usually, people outside of the immediate family are not aware of and do not witness the perpetrator’s abusive behavior. Projecting Blame: Abusers often engage in insidious types of manipulation that involves blaming the victim for their violent behaviour.
Violence Against Women About Abusive Men 15 Claiming Loss of Control or Anger Problems: There is a common belief that domestic violence is a result of poor impulse, control or anger management problems. Minimizing and Denying the Abuse: Perpetrators rarely view themselves or their actions as violent or abusive. As a result, they often deny, justify, and minimize their behaviour.
Violence Against Women About Abusive Men 16 Some key beliefs that abusive men hold that allows them to be abusive: Men are entitled to power and privilege Men are central Men are superior Men are deserving Women are marginal Women are inferior Women are subservient Russell, Frohberg (1995) Confronting Abusive Beliefs: Group treatment for abusive men
Violence Against Women About Abusive Men 17 Women in violent relationships are forced into the marginal, inferior and subservient positions because challenging an abuser’s sense of centrality, superiority and deservedness can increase the risks for women. Cory and McAndless-Davis 2008 When Love Hurts. A Woman’s Guide to Understanding Abuse in Relationships
Violence Against Women Dynamics of Abuse 18 Violence is used by abusers to establish control over their partners. They use abusive tactics such as fear, intimidation, manipulative kindness and isolation to control partners’ freedoms and reduce access to basic human rights.
Violence Against Women Cycle of Abuse 19 Many women, although not all women, can describe a pattern of abuse. The Cycle of Abuse that was first introduced by Lenore Walker in the 1970s has been discredited because it painted a picture of women experiencing abuse as helpless and powerless.
Violence Against Women Cycle of Abuse 20 Even when women can describe a pattern, their experiences are not as ‘tidy’ or predictable as the diagram suggests, but the Cycle of Abuse is a useful teaching tool. Here, the Cycle of Abuse is used to illustrate the pattern of the abuse and dispel the myth that abuse only occurs during the Explosion phase or as a single episode. All 3 phases of the cycle are abusive and men are in control of and responsible for the cycle.
Violence Against Women Cycle of Abuse 22 Honeymoon Phase (Entrapment) Occurs at beginning of relationship, then often follows explosion phase Romance, gifts, flowers, and attention to the woman Attracts a woman to her partner “Hi, I’m Dan, I’m abusive, would you like to go out on a date?” Abuse is rarely present at the start of a relationship
Violence Against Women Cycle of Abuse 23 Honeymoon Phase (Entrapment) also known as manipulative kindness demonstrates women not attracted to abusive men – women attracted to positive qualities he chooses to express men have control over their abusive behaviour – this abuse is focused on creating a dependency on him, rather than fear of him
Violence Against Women Cycle of Abuse 24 Tension Phase Generally follows the Honeymoon (entrapment) phase Quick mood changes, fault finding, much less attention and no gifts, flowers or romance. Women describe themselves as walking on eggshells. Feel that they can’t ‘get the rules right’.
Violence Against Women Cycle of Abuse 25 Tension Phase keep children under control and often out of sight simply survive each step to avoid the “explosion” follow “the rules”: unachievable ever-changing designed to keep her off balance designed to keep her focused on his needs Over time, women learn that they cannot succeed at meeting his ever-changing rules and expectations.
Violence Against Women Cycle of Abuse 26 Explosion Phase Follows the tension phase. Can take a variety of forms, from physical violence to verbal threats and intimidation to the silent treatment. Women are a greater risk during this phase as he has the most explicit control over her.
Violence Against Women Cycle of Abuse 27 When the “explosion” is finished, the “honeymoon” may reappear: apologies promises of change respite from most dangerous forms of abuse …and so the cycle continues
Violence Against Women Cycle of Abuse 28 Throughout each phase a woman adapts and negotiates her safety develops and employs survival strategies: stay in the relationship use drugs or alcohol to appease partner do not take care of own health needs **from the outsider’s perspective, these strategies may not make sense and may seem detrimental
Violence Against Women Cycle of Abuse 29 The tactics of an abusive partner in the Cycle of Violence are patterned and intentional : maintain Power and Control in the relationship keep his partner off balance and focusing on “getting it right”. He maintains HIS power through HER fear, while she is attempting to change the pattern.
Violence Against Women Power and Control 30 Violence was narrowly defined in the Canadian Violence Against Women Survey as “experiences of physical or sexual assault that are consistent with the legal definitions of these offences and could be acted upon by a police officer” Society is increasingly recognizing that abusive relationships are about one partner wielding power and control over the other Cory and Dechief 2007 SHE Framework: A Safety and Health Enhancement Framework for Women Experiencing Abuse
Violence Against Women Power and Control 31 Parallels individual relationships in which one partner exerts power and control over the other relationships on the societal level, where one group exerts power and control over another Eg. An abusive man's domination over his female partner is part of, and a way to maintain, men's domination over women.
Violence Against Women Power and Control 32 Compounding factors also result in groups and individuals having relatively less power in society and these may play a role in a woman being controlled by her partner. For example, a woman who has recently immigrated to Canada and is in the process of gaining her citizenship may face barriers to escaping abuse which include: a partner who threatens to withdraw sponsorship language barriers in receiving outside help difficulties supporting herself financially if training and/or experience from her home country is not recognized
Violence Against Women Power and Control 33 While physical violence may be one way that a woman is controlled, women describe an entire pattern of abuse which functions to: make them feel inferior have less decision-making power in the relationship take away basic freedoms and rights increasingly isolate her from friends, family, other supports
Violence Against Women Power and Control 35 Together with the Cycle of Violence, the Power and Control Wheel helps us to make the distinction between “bad behaviour” and behaviour that is abusive, patterned and intentional, and used to maintain power and control through fear. Discredits the idea of “mutual battering” - power and control cannot be mutual Describes the many types of abuse and some of the tactics employed in each type. Reinforces the futility of women’s resistance
Violence Against Women Impacts of Abuse 36 Understanding the impact of abuse on women and their children is central to making the proper assessment and providing appropriate support and interventions. Understanding the important concept and application of impacts is crucial to conducting an effective risk assessment with women, their children and perpetrators.
Violence Against Women Impacts of Abuse 37 Men who are abusive often make claims of mutual battering and cite examples of women striking them, using physical force or verbal abuse.
Violence Against Women Impacts of Abuse 38 While this behaviour is not condoned, it is not likely to meet the criteria of abuse: an on-going pattern and use of a range of power and control tactics for the purposes of controlling and oppressing their partner. Women use physical strategies in self-defense or to escape, different motives from their abuser.
Violence Against Women Impacts of Abuse 39 When women describe the impact of the relationship, even if they don’t define the relationship as abusive, you will hear stories of fear oppression loss of freedom and basic rights When men who use violence are asked about the impact that their partner’s abuse has had on their safety and freedom, results from a men’s treatment program show no such impacts.
Violence Against Women Impacts of Abuse 40 Abuse is not limited to incidents involving physical assaults. It is the other forms of abuse that have long-lasting impacts on women’s safety, freedom and health. The impact of abuse affects each woman differently; the following are some general impacts:
Violence Against Women Impacts of Abuse 41 living in constant fear forced to be economically and emotionally dependent continually assessing and responding to safety risks fear of losing ability to monitor him if she leaves socially isolated including family, friends and other supports paralysed with fear - action, decision could increase danger contemplating suicide - history of minor attempts threatened by her partner that he will kill her and others
Violence Against Women Impacts of Abuse 42 Health concerns, including: exhaustion migraines and severe headaches eating disorders cardiac-related symptoms dizziness lack of concentration numbness, tingling, loss of sensation twitching gastro-intestinal problems substance use mental health concerns (depression, anxiety)
Violence Against Women Impacts of Abuse 43 Women experiencing abuse often judged harshly and characterized inaccurately when there is not enough understanding of the impacts Women may be viewed and labelled as personally deficient or challenging rather than surviving in dangerous and volatile contexts
Violence Against Women Impacts of Abuse 44 Dysfunctional Unstable Weak Passive Indecisive Uncooperative Demanding Service Resistant Angry Selfish Hostile Aggressive Non-compliant Difficult Irresponsible Complicit Co-dependent Abused Women May Be Labelled:
Violence Against Women Impacts of Abuse 45 Judged as bad mothers because they “allow” their children to be exposed to violence Considered to be responsible for their partner’s violent behaviour Blamed for ‘choosing’ an abusive partner or for staying with an abusive partner Judged for using substances
Violence Against Women Impacts of Abuse 46 Reframing these behaviours and characteristics: a normal response to experiencing violence a survivor within a dangerous and volatile context Reframing can be a powerful process to: Increase understanding of women’s circumstances Create a more realistic assessment of her needs Respond in a way that keeps her safety paramount
Violence Against Women Impacts of Abuse 47 The following are examples of how to reframe impact on women experiencing abuse (more in handout 3.6): Negative Stereotypes of Woman Troublemaker, demanding, hypochondriac Reframe – Impact, Safety Strategies and Strengths Encounter with worker - opportunity to be assertive, aware Is the expert on her experience and health and safety Has skills and knowledge to contribute to the encounter Has a right to an opinion and a right to speak it
Violence Against Women Impacts of Abuse 48 Negative Stereotypes of Woman She is poor, uneducated, a minority, user of drugs and alcohol etc… Reframe – Impact, Safety Strategies and Strengths Abuse impacts women from diverse social locations including ethnicity, race, ability and socio-economic status. However, intersecting inequalities/oppressions can compound the impact of abuse There is a complex relationship between substance use and woman abuse, with abuse/trauma often preceding substance use
Violence Against Women Impact on Children and Youth 49 Children and youth often witness to woman abuse “Witness” implies a passive experience of the violence, does not adequately reflect: real experiences impact of the violence range of ways children and youth exposed to violence against their mothers
Violence Against Women Impact on Children and Youth 50 Identify some of the ways children and youth are impacted by violence against women to know how to best address their needs. Children and youth need specialized interventions and supports: address their experiences of exposure create networks of safety and support for them and their mothers.
Violence Against Women Impact on Children and Youth 51 Studies have documented multiple problems among children and youth that are significantly associated with exposure to abusive behaviour of one parent by another. Children and youth who witness woman abuse experience a broad range of responses from “none to serious”. Jaffe, Wolfe, Wilson (1990).Children of Battered Women Suderman and Jaffe (1997). “Children and Youth Who Witness Violence.” McMahon and Peters (2007). National Coalition for Child Protection Reform, When Children Witness Domestic Violence: Expert Opinion
Violence Against Women Impact on Children and Youth 52 Expert Testimony on the Impact of Children Witnessing Domestic Violence From Nicholson v. Williams, Case #00-CV2229, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
Violence Against Women Impact on Children and Youth 53 In general, the experts found that witnessing domestic violence is sometimes, but not always, harmful to children. And even when witnessing domestic violence does harm, removing the child from the non- offending parent is more harmful.
Violence Against Women Impact on Children and Youth 54 At least half of the child or youth participants who witnessed abuse had ‘few or no problems evident’ when compared with children and youth who were not experiencing domestic violence - Dr. Jeffrey Edelson Profound clinically significant problems abate after a relatively short time of being safe -Dr. Evan Stark
Violence Against Women Impact on Children and Youth 55 For those children who are in homes where there is domestic violence, disruption of the bond [between the child and non-abusing parent] can be even more traumatic than situations where there is no domestic violence - Dr Evan Stark
Violence Against Women Impact on Children and Youth 56 “…taking a child whose greatest fear is separation from his or her mother and in the name of protection that child is removed …is tantamount to pouring salt on an open wound” - Dr. David Pelcovitz Another serious implication of removal is that it introduces children and youth to the foster care system which can be much more dangerous and debilitating than the home situation - Dr. Evan Stark
Violence Against Women Impact on Children and Youth 57 A careful assessment of each child or youth is extremely important Not all children and youth who witness violence against their mothers show immediate consequences.
Violence Against Women Impact on Children and Youth 58 30 to 40 % of children and youth who witness woman abuse experience direct physical abuse themselves. …the “man hits wife, wife hits child” scenario is rare; abuse tends to flow from a single source. – Dr. Stark Emotional and behavioural problems for children and youth who witness abuse similar to physically abused children and youth.
Violence Against Women Impact on Children and Youth 59 Depression Worry Problems in school Withdrawal from social interactions Aggression against peers Aggression against teachers Aggression against mothers National Clearing House on Family Violence (1996). Wife Abuse – The Impact on Children. 10 to 17 times greater in children and youth exposed to violence
Violence Against Women Impact on Children and Youth 60 Children and youth exposed to violence against women: Frequently experience PTSD - Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder; show signs such as nightmares, flashbacks, consistent fear for safety, etc. Are often misdiagnosed with ADD and ADHD - Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder; behaviours often misunderstood by schools, other systems and community contacts Family Services of Greater Vancouver pamphlet (2007) Children Affected by Family Violence program
Violence Against Women Impact on Children and Youth 61 Children and youth exposed to violence against women: At greater risk for depression At significantly high risk of physical, sexual abuse by abuser Can be inadvertently injured or killed during a violent incident Family Services of Greater Vancouver pamphlet (2007) Children Affected by Family Violence program
Violence Against Women Different Developmental Responses 62 2 to 8 years8-12 yearsAdolescents Change in sleep and/or eating patterns Change in school performance Depression, withdrawal from family and friends Uncontrollable sobbing/emotional outbursts NightmaresBlame mother for the violence and not leaving Difficulty with toilet training Bossy and demanding behaviour Substance misuse
Violence Against Women Children and Youth’s Ability to Cope 63 …children who are exposed to abuse are not doomed to become batterers and victims. Dr. Peter Jaffe, Seen But Not Heard” Video (1993) BC/Yukon Society of Transition Houses
Violence Against Women Children and Youth’s Ability to Cope 64 Evidence shows: substantial improvements in behaviour and emotional states if the child or youth ceases to live with the abusive parent therapy for the child or youth is often helpful Bala et al, March 1998 Spousal Violence in Custody and Access Disputes: Recommendations for Reform Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada 1999 A Handbook for Health and Social Service Providers and Educators on Children Exposed to Woman Abuse/Family Violence
Violence Against Women Children and Youth’s Ability to Cope 65 Evidence shows: keeping children and youth with their non-abusing mothers in a safe environment is desirable wherever possible supporting the mother, without victim blaming, is essential for good outcomes Bala et al, March 1998 Spousal Violence in Custody and Access Disputes Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada 1999 A Handbook for Health and Social Service Providers and Educators on Children Exposed to Woman Abuse/Family Violence
Violence Against Women Children and Youth’s Ability to Cope 66 Factors contributing to a child or youth’s ability to cope Factors contributing to the severity of a child or youth’s responses The child or youth’s own ability to handle stressful situations. The type of attachment developed with the child or youth’s caregiver(s) The availability of a support system within the family structure The type and severity of the abuse they are exposed to The availability of a support system outside the family structure How often the abuse occurs and how long it has gone on
Violence Against Women Children and Youth’s Ability to Cope 67 Factors contributing to a child or youth’s ability to cope Factors contributing to the severity of a child or youth’s responses Strong relationships with friends If the child is also being abused Involvement in extracurricular school activities or cultural activities If the child or youth is also exposed to more violence in the community, on TV, and in video games The mother’s responses to the violence and the supports she receives If the child or youth has other stresses at home and at school
Violence Against Women Impact on Children and Youth 68 Among children exposed to the most severe forms of woman abuse: Well over 80% tested psychologically normal, were self-confident, had positive self image About 96% do not become delinquent About 96% do not develop alcohol or drug problems About 90% do not become violent adults Dr. Stark, Expert Testimony
Violence Against Women Understanding Risks and Barriers 69 Understanding the risks that women face is key to providing appropriate support and services for women and their children offender or perpetrator risks risk factors in the context of women’s lives
Violence Against Women Understanding Risks and Barriers 70 Interventions that reduce these risks Worker sensitivity to the risks that compound women’s experiences of abuse
Violence Against Women Why Women Stay Social expectations/norms For the sake of the children Cultural and religious values Socio-economic conditions Love Fear His threats of violence Embarassment Fear they are “crazy” Hoping for change Shame Feels Responsible Blamed for his violence Expected to stop violence Denial of violence Keep family together Past experiences of blame Obstacles to leaving 71
Violence Against Women Why Women Stay Women face difficult, sometimes life-threatening decisions about staying in or leaving their relationships. The goal is to develop services that could be a support for women and their children and not add to the pressures and obstacles women face. 72
Violence Against Women Obstacles to Leaving 73 Pressure Stigma Feeling embarrassed Feeling responsible Finances Unable to take property Increased violence Threats from abuser Fear of children being harmed or killed Fear of pets/livestock being harmed or killed Fear of harm or death
Violence Against Women Obstacles to Leaving 74 “I ended up going back [to him] after awhile… mostly for financial reasons. I wasn’t able to get welfare. I wasn’t able to sustain a living here in the city even though I had been looking for work and it was one of those practical decisions of women going back into a situation they don’t even want to go into but there were no other choices" - Woman Abuse Survivor
Violence Against Women Obstacles and Inequality 75 Other inequalities intersect with gender to shape the experiences of women in abusive relationships. Different inequalities intersect in women's lives to compound their experiences of violence.
Violence Against Women Obstacles - Aboriginal women Racism and discrimination Insufficient response Multiple forms of abuse Fear of isolation and judgment Position of partner in community Fear of removal of children 76
Language barriers Racism Distance from friends and family Unfamiliar Canadian system Fear of reporting to authorities Vulnerability regarding citizenship 77 Violence Against Women Obstacles - Immigrant and Refugee women
Dependency on abuser Consent Fear of consequences Concerns about being an “adequate mother” 78 Violence Against Women Obstacles - women with disabilities
Being “outed” Abuse minimized Assumptions about violence in same-sex relationships Fear of judgment from support systems Homophobia/ transphobia 79 Violence Against Women Obstacles - women in same sex relationships
Substance use as weapon of coercion Risk of increased violence eg. if she abstains Transition houses no-use policies Fear of child removal Compromised cognitive and motor coordination **May be particularly vulnerable to sexual exploitation 80 Violence Against Women Obstacles - women using substances
neglect over/under medicating censoring mail invasion or denial of privacy denial of access to visitors and services 81 Violence Against Women Obstacles – older women threats that disclosures will be attributed to confusion or onset of dementia services perceived as focused on younger women
Younger women at a higher risk of violence and of being killed by a partner May be due to downplaying of the seriousness of abuse in relationships between younger women and their partners Research reports that abuse can begin as early as in elementary school. 82 Violence Against Women Obstacles – younger women
Has likely experienced abuse or violence in her life Most experience past and present abuse Most have been victimized more than once. Marginalization, stigma associated with survival sex trade Normalizing of violence 83 Violence Against Women Obstacles – women working in sex trade
Poverty Mental health Low literacy skills Living in a rural community Living in an isolated community 84 Violence Against Women Obstacles – other inequalities
Barriers: Fears/Realities of Deportation Language Barriers Knowledge of Canadian Laws and Services Fears of authority due to past persecution Betrayal of family, community Loss of family, community 85 Violence Against Women Assisting Immigrant and Refugee Women
Sponsored to come to Canada by a partner/ fiancé/ spouse family class sponsorship refugee status as a dependent entrepreneur program dependent 86 Violence Against Women Assisting Immigrant and Refugee Women women without landed status
If she leaves the relationship she may be in breach: landing condition to marry within 90 days inland sponsorship application in progress dependent upon establishing that marriage is genuine claim for refugee status based on partner’s fear of persecution conditions as accompanying dependent under the entrepreneur program 87 Violence Against Women Assisting Immigrant and Refugee Women
In order to leave an abusive relationship, women may need to apply to change their immigration status. 88 Violence Against Women Assisting Immigrant and Refugee Women
Immigration Information Citizenship and Immigration Canada Call Centre 1 888 242 ‑ 2100 automated service agent Website: www.cic.gc.ca 89 Violence Against Women Assisting Immigrant and Refugee Women
May Require Legal Advice To: apply to change her immigration status resolve family law matters such as custody and access Legal Aid: must be financially eligible problem must be covered under the legal aid rules family violence priority 90 Violence Against Women Assisting Immigrant and Refugee Women Information on Eligibility: Legal Services Society of BC www.lss.bc.ca Nearest Legal Aid office
Employment Authorization Education Financial Assistance 91 Violence Against Women Assisting Immigrant and Refugee Women