To begin with, when I was 7, my aunt Brynn went missing. Foul play was suspected, as was her husband. Her husband Aaron abused her from the beginning of the marriage. In 2002, she disappeared. In 2010, Aaron was charged with the first degree murder of my aunt Brynn, her body is still missing to this day. Aaron was a domestic violence perpetrator. According to the US department of Justice National Crime victimization survey, more than 1,200 women were murdered by a current or former inmate in 2000.
Secondly, our society has to understand what domestic violence is. Domestic violence is violence that occurs between two or more parties who also know each other, generally they are family or the perpetrator is the victims intimate partner or ex-partner. There are four separate groups of violence; physical, sexual, psychological, and economic abuse.
Physical abuse is the easiest to recognize. There are several “symptoms,” including; scratching, biting, spitting, shaking, shoving, pushing, restraining or throwing, twisting, slapping, punching, strangling or burning. the abuser may also subject her to reckless driving, or he may lock her in or out of the house.
Sexual abuse is often something people do not want to talk about. Sexual abuse can be indicated when the batterer: is jealously angry and assumes she will have sex with anyone, withholds sex and affection as punishment, calls her sexual names, pressures her to have sex when she doesn’t want to, insists his partner dress in a more sexual way than she wants to, coerces sex by manipulation or threats, physically forces sex or is sexually violent, coerces her into sexual acts that she is uncomfortable with, inflicts injuries that are sex-specific, or denies the victim contraception or protection against STDs.
With psychological abuse, the batterer: breaks promises, isn’t fair, verbally attacks his partner in private or public, attacks her vulnerabilities, plays mind games, forces her to do degrading things, ignores her feelings withholds approval or affection as punishment, regularly threatens to leave, harasses her about affairs he imagines her to be having, stalks her, always claims to be right, and is unfaithful after committing to monogamy.
Economic abuse can be indicated when the batterer: controls all the money, doesn’t let her work outside the home or sabotages her attempts to work or go to school, refuses to work and makes her support everyone, or ruins her credit.
Next, there are several commonly used control tactics. One of these is isolation, the intent is to control her time and isolate her from her support system. Another tactic includes using the children. The batterer may punish the children as a way to hurt her, he might sexually abuse the children, he may even threaten to kidnap or kill the children to keep his partner from leaving, he could gain legal custody, just take the children or use custody and visitation to harass or harm her. Then there’s damaging relationships. The abuser may discredit her relationships with others in the community, by spreading rumors or distorted information. Another tactic is attacking property and pets. They abuser may harm pets to hurt or intimidate her. Then there is also the stalking tactic. The abuser may follow, threaten, harass or terrify his victim, especially after she has left or separated.
Then comes the dilemmas in leaving or staying in an abusive relationship.
First there’s the physical dilemmas. If she stays; he can continue to injure her, he may kill her or the children, and she may not have any choice regarding safe-sex practices, he might sexually sexually assault her. If she leaves; he may be inclined to escalate the violence if she leaves, leaving does not mean that he cannot find and kill her, he may also continue to sexually assault her.
Then there’s the children dilemmas. If she stays children can witness violence, be targets themselves or be hurt trying to protect others, or he could make false allegations of child neglect or abuse. If she leaves;the children may be at a great risk during visitation or he could get custody or just take the children.
Then there’s the financial dilemmas. If she stays, he may control the money and give her very little to live on, he could keep her from working, or limit how much she works, he may destroy things of importance to her. If she leaves, she may have to live on alot less money, go into hiding away from her community, she may have to quit her job, or she may have to leave things behind if she flees.
After that there’s the family and friends dilemmas. If she stays, he may threaten or injure family or friends, especially if they try to offer assistance, her family may want her to leave, and stop supporting her if she stays. If she leaves, he may still threaten or injure family or friends or they may not want her to leave, and may stop supporting her.
Lastly, there’s the psychological dilemmas. If she stays, she may receive verbal, emotional, and physical attacks, she may use drugs to help cope with the emotional and physical pain, he may threaten or commit suicide. If she leaves, he may have continued access to her, she may still use drugs or he may threaten or commit suicide.
Furthermore, men who batter usually have a very different attitude as to men who do not batter. He may use intimidation and violence by resolving conflict with intimidation, he may also hold her down or restrain her form leaving the room. He could also be verbally abusive and say things that are meant to be cruel and hurtful. He may also minimize abuse and accuse her of exaggerating the abuse or of being crazy. He could site alcohol as an excuse or explanation for the hostile or violent conduct. He may use symbolic violence like tearing a wedding photo. Some batterers already have a history of violence while others may not. He may also project blame and blame his partner to justify the violence. He could also treat children cruelly or is insensitive to their suffering. He may think “If I can’t have you, no one can.” He is extremely impatient and shows poor impulse control. He can use isolation by accusing people who support her of causing trouble. He may be one of those who has a Dr. Jekyll and a Mr. Hyde side, where he is alternately loving and abusive. He can also behave explosively. He could use sulking, anger, harassment or coercion to manipulate her into compliance with sexual demands. He may also treat her like a servant and he may make all the “big” decisions.
Therefore, millions of children are exposed to domestic violence each year. They are harmed in many ways, including: intentional injuries inflicted by the perpetrator, unintentional injuries from violence directed at the mother, an atmosphere in which they directly witness the violence, and emotional abuse from being used as a pawn to coercively control the abused parent.The way children react to violence will change depending on the age and gender, other violent acts, the severity and frequency of the violence, or the social support available. Women battered with children are not hidden because the children are not hidden because they attend school, church, or childcare.These children also deserve education and support, communication with others about what happened to them and safety planning.
Next, in assisting a women through domestic violence, there are four basic steps; listen, inform, facilitate, and empowerment and assisting her. Listen to her, it’s the best thing you can do for her. Inform, tell her about available services. Facilitate, explore all contingency plans. Empower and assist her, educate her so that she can advocate for herself.
Empowerment through advocacy is how most survivors survive. Respect her privacy. Believe her and affirm her experiences. Acknowledge the injustice, insure her that she’s not alone. Respect her autonomy. Help her plan for future safety. Promote access to community services.
Domestic violence programs provide a range of services including a hot line, crisis intervention, a shelter, transitional housing, support groups, services for children, professional therapy, ongoing advocacy, and court advocacy.
Domestic violence has many different sets of statistics. One in five high school girls report being abused by a boyfriend. In Missouri, 36,943 incidents of domestic violence were reported to law enforcement in 2009. 75% of domestic violence victims defend themselves in the attack. The percent of female murder victims killed by a current or previous partner has remained at about 30% since 1976. In three separate surveys of women experiencing domestic violence, researchers frowned that 37% and 45% of respondents also had been raped by their partners. In 2002, 62.6% of spousal murders involved a firearm. The majority of spousal violence (78.1%) and boyfriend/girlfriend violence (64%) occurred in the victims home. High percentages of abused women reported arguments about child support (30%), visitations (23%), and child support (15%).
In conclusion, anyone can be a victim. No one person should be able to have power and control over another no matter what they want. All men and women who batter do not deserve a second chance. According to the Missouri coalition against domestic violence, 4 out of 5 women are in or will be in an abusive relationship during their lifetime.