2 Questions to Ask Are you dating or living with someone who... is jealous and possessive toward you; won't let you have friends, checks up on you, or won't accept breaking up?tries to control you, gives orders, makes all the decisions, or doesn't take your opinion seriously?
3 is scary, threatens you or uses/owns weapons? has frequent outbursts of anger, is touchy, or brags about mistreating otherspressures you for sex; is scary and forceful during sex; thinks women are sex objects; manipulates you into having sex with statements such as "If you really loved me, you would....."abuses drugs or alcohol and pressures you to use them?
4 blames you for his/her mistreatment? says you provoked the incident? has a history of bad relationships and blames others for his/her misfortunes and problems?hold to the belief that men should be in control and that women should be submissive and passive?
5 makes your family or friends worry about your safety? threatens your life or the life of someone you love?is destructive of your personal property?
6 If you believe you may be in an abusive relationship, get help. Research indicates that abuse escalates both in frequency and intensity. Be safe...take the situation seriously!
7 Verbal AbuseThe following phrases are responses from victims of verbal abuse which clearly define their experiences with this type of abuse. Yelled at, nagged, called names, threatened, told you are ugly, racial slurs, threatening to kill you.
8 Unlike physical or sexual violence, this form of battering is done without actually attacking or ever touching the victim's body. It is, nevertheless, an assault on the victim.
9 Emotional AbuseEmotional abuse, however, is more difficult to both define and recognize.The abuse can be very subtle - the control increasing gradually over time so that the partner gradually adapts to it. The abuser controls the interpersonal communication by refusing to discuss upsetting interactions.
10 The abuser and partner may function very well together in their respective roles; making a home, raising a family, and "getting ahead," so the abusive nature of the relationship is overlooked.At times the abuser is not abusive. Consequently, the partner forgets the "bad times."
11 Effect of Abuse on Children Research has indicated that violent behavior is learned.The child tends to model the behavior of and/or identify with the parent's methods for resolving conflict.
12 The child witnessing violence in the home and identifying with the victim displays passive, withdrawn behavior.Home is not a place of healthy relationships, and security, but a place of unpredictable danger.
13 The passive child has extreme difficulty asserting his/her needs and copes with the violence by withdrawal and isolation.Girls tend to use indirect and passive forms of aggression to meet their goals and to emotionally hurt others.
14 A low or weakened self-esteem is often an effect experienced by the child who witnesses domestic abuse.A parent or teacher may observe the child as an underachiever academically and/or socially.
15 Weakened feelings about the self may often create apathy, refusal to participate in social activities and a feeling of helplessness or hopelessness which may ultimately translate into suicidal tendencies.
16 BattererTraditional sex role expectations: Batterers tend to be preoccupied with a macho ideal of manhood. They feel a need to dominate and control women and often expect it as their right and privilege. They tend to associate feminine qualities with weakness and fear intimacy as making them vulnerable.
17 Communication deficits: Batterers are frequently characterized as lacking in assertive communication skills and appearing alternatively passive or aggressive in nature. They are more inclined to resolve problems and emotions through violence, as the male sex role stereotype would suggest. This tendency tends to add to the stress many batterers create for themselves and their families.
18 Poor impulse control: Batterers how higher levels of hostility than non-batterers. Their range of emotions tend to be reduced to anger, which in-turn is expressed primarily through violent behavior sanctioned by various male subcultures. Emotional tensions are typically suppressed until they finally "explode."
19 Low self-esteem: Despite the bravado that many batterers display, they characteristically suffer from lower self-esteem than non-batterers. They often feel that they have not lived up to the male sex role stereotype and consequently overcompensate with hyper-masculinity. They become emotionally dependent on their partners and consequently become threatened by the possibility of their departure. This is often evident in excessive jealousy and possessiveness
20 Alcohol and/or drug problems: Batterers have a higher incidence of alcohol and drug abuse. The alcohol acts as a uninhibitor, intensifying abusive incidents, but it does not "cause" the abuse. Many batterers are abusive with or without alcohol and continue their violence even after "drying out." Some experts consider alcohol and drug abuse to act as a sedative for the emotional distress most batterers bear in response to their abusive childhood, sense of inadequacy, and poor communication skills.
21 Abusive childhood: The majority of male batterers have experienced or witnessed childhood violence that has left them with low self-esteem, poor role models, and sometimes traumatized.
22 Denial: Very much like the alcoholic, abusers deny there is a problem, and refuses to accept responsibility for the abusive behavior. Blames everyone else for making him angry thereby excusing his actions.
23 Take Threats Seriously Retired Fire Captain Accused of Killing Estranged Wife's Boyfriend at Doc's (bar and grill)" (8/27/98) The retired fire captain was enraged his estranged wife had a new lover. Following a threat, he went to Doc's, firing his revolver at point-blank range into the man's head.
24 "Man Released from Jail; Kills Himself, 2 Others" (8/8/98) A woman who told police she feared her boyfriend would kill her was found dead two days after the man was released from jail.
25 "Estranged Husband Charged with Raping Wife" (8/15/98) A 31-year-old woman said she was raped by her estranged husband after he kidnapped her and forced her to eat dinner with him at gunpoint.
26 Just over one half of all women murdered in the United States are killed by male partners and 12% of murdered men are killed by female partners.
27 How many women are battered each year? The American Medical Association estimates that over 4 million women are victims of severe assaults by boyfriends and husbands each year. About 1 in 4 women is likely to be abused by a partner in her lifetime.
28 Females are victims of family violence at a rate at least 3 times that of males.
29 Does battering end after one incident? About 1 in 5 women victimized by their spouse or ex-spouse reported that they had been the victim of a series of similar crimes. They had sustained at least 3 assaults within 6 months of the interview and the assaults were so similar that they could not remember them distinctly
30 47% of the husbands who batter their wives do so three or more times each year.
32 Tension-building Phase: During this phase of the cycle, tension builds between the couple. Problems regarding jobs, finances, children, and other areas are stressors that increase the tension. There may be verbal, emotional, or physical abuse during this phase. Over time, abuse and battering increase and escalate in frequency and severity.
33 The woman attempts to control the abuse through various coping techniques such as avoidance, placating, or "giving in." These are "stop-gap" measures, however, and do not work for long, if at all. Once the tension reaches an unbearable level, the acute battering incident occurs.
34 Acute Battering Incident: This is an uncontrollable discharge of built-up tension; the process has stopped responding to any control. The "trigger" for moving into this phase is rarely the woman's behavior; rather it is usually an external stressor (problems at work, a flat tire, etc.) or the internal state of the abuser. The type of battering that occurs is usually much more serious and intense than in phase one and the woman may be severely injured. Because the acute battering incident may be triggered by anything, there is a complete lack of predictability.
35 Occasionally a woman may unconsciously provoke the acute battering incident. She knows from experience that it is coming and wants to get it over with, and she knows that there will be a "calm" or "honeymoon" phase following the abuse.There is no escape once the battering has begun; only the batterer can end the incident. After the severe battering has occurred, the couple moves into Phase Three or the "honeymoon" phase.
36 Honeymoon Phase (apologies, excuses, promises of reform) The abuser realizes he has gone too far. He typically exhibits loving, kind behavior while apologizing and promising that it will never happen again. Both the abuser and the victim want to believe that it won't happen again. He believes that she has learned her "lesson" and she becomes "hooked" back into the relationship by his sincere apology and loving behavior, flowers, weekend away, new dress, etc.
37 The tension has been dissipated by the abuse and both members of the couple are relieved. During this "honeymoon" phase, the couple becomes very close emotionally; the effect of the abuser's generosity, helpfulness and genuine interest during this phase cannot be minimized.
38 Ironically, it is during phase three that victimization becomes complete. The emotional, symbiotic bonding that occurs between the couple strengthens the commitment that each has to the relationship. The victim is finally experiencing the relationship in a positive way and thus it becomes increasingly difficult for her to leave it. After the victim has been through the cycle of number of times, her self-esteem begins to wither. She understands that she's trading physical and psychological safety for brief periods of "peace and happiness."
39 The duration of each phase varies between and within couples The duration of each phase varies between and within couples. Slowly, the honeymoon phase fades and the couple moves once again into the tension building phase.The cycle is then repeated.
40 Why She StaysFear: The number one reason for not leaving is fear. According to the FBI, up to 40% of female homicides in any given year occur when the woman decides to leave the abusive relationship. Her fears are not unfounded! Given this face, it is very important that the battered woman's expression of fear not be minimized. If a decision to leave has been made, a safety plan should be put in place.
41 Lack of Resources: Since one of the major components of abuse is isolation, the battered woman most often lacks a support system. Her family ties and friendships have been destroyed leaving her psychologically and financially dependent on the abusive partner.
42 Lack of Finances/Economic Reality: The economic reality for women (particularly those with children" is a bleak one. This is especially true for women who have not worked outside the home. Economic dependence on the abuser is a very real reason for remaining in the relationship. Public assistance programs have been drastically reduced and those that remain provide inadequate benefits.
43 Children: Being a single parent is a strenuous experience under the best of circumstances, and for most battered women, conditions are far from the best. The enormous responsibility of raising children alone can be overwhelming. Often, the abuser may threaten to take the children away from her if she even attempts to leave.
44 Feelings of Guilt: The woman may believe that her husband is "sick" and/or needs her help; the idea of leaving can thus produce feelings of guilt.
45 Promises of Reform: As is consistent with the cycle of violence, the abuser promises it will never happen again; the victim wants to believe this is true.
46 Sex-Role Conditioning: Most women are still taught to be passive and dependent on men. In addition, women generally accept the responsibility for success or failure in their relationships; to leave is to admit failure.
47 Religious Beliefs and Values: Religious beliefs reinforce the commitment to marriage. Many faiths hold that the husband is head of the family and it is a wife's duty to be submissive to him. This may be a powerful reason for staying in a destructive relationship.
48 Societal Acceptance /Reinforcement of Violence to Women/Wives: Many people turn a "deaf ear" to marital violence and believe what goes on behind closed doors is a "private matter." The observance of a burglary, child abuse, or even cruelty to animals in the neighborhood might quickly be reported; whereas, an assault on a wife or significant other may not.
49 Love for Spouse: Most people enter a relationship for love, and that emotion does not simply disappear easily or in the face of difficulty. After a battering, the abuser often is extremely penitent. Because her self-esteem is so low following the incident, the apologies and promises of reform are often perceived as the end of the abuse. (see cycle of violence)
50 Battered Woman's Syndrome: Battered Woman's Syndrome has become a legal defence for battered women who have killed their abuser.
51 The dynamics of domestic violence which contribute to Battered Woman's Syndrome include: 1. the traumatic effects of victimization 2. learned helplessness 3. self-destructive behaviors as a coping response to violence, such as drug/alcohol abuse, and minimization/denial 4. repeated cycles of abuse
52 The battered woman, having been systematically abused by her partner, perceives that there is no way out of the relationship. She believes that if she says, he will eventually kill her and that if she leaves, he will find her and kill her. She feels trapped and helpless. Believing there are no options to escape the abuse, she may kill him.