Nine Issues Regarding Domestic Violence in 2009

Domestic violence is on the rise, especially with people losing their jobs, losing their incomes, and facing a drastic reduction in lifestyle as is happening too frequently in ’09. The following are nine issues to consider with regard to domestic violence:

9. Domestic violence consists of physical abuse, and if there is physical abuse, call the police at once.

8. Domestic violence includes using economic abuse. This can include preventing someone from getting, keeping, or leaving a job, damaging someone’s credit rating, making a spouse ask for money, destroying checkbooks, credit cards, money or property, giving a spouse an allowance. Domestic violence can include using coercion or threats. Threats are statements which promise negative consequences for certain behaviors or actions; for example, I’ll kill you if you ever leave me.”

7. Using intimidation. Making a spouse or significant other afraid by using looks, actions, gestures, intoxication, silent treatment, smashing things, destroying property, harming pets, displaying weapons, yelling, stalking, slamming doors, driving recklessly, acting crazy, invincible, or like I have nothing to lose.

6. Using emotional abuse. Putting someone down, making someone feel bad about themself, calling someone names, making someone think she’s crazy, playing mind games, humiliating someone, making her feel guilty, using things that matter to her against her, negatively comparing her to others, expecting perfection, unreasonable demands or expectations.

5. Using others. Using the children to relay messages. Using visitation to harass someone. Threatening to take the children away. Using custody of the children as leverage. Abusing the children. Sexual abuse of the children. Kidnapping the children. Degrading the spouse or significant other about her relationships. Using your job, friends, family, religion as leverage.

4. Using isolation. Controlling someone’s access to resources such as birth control, reproductive choice, medical attention, money, education, employment opportunities, family, friends, transportation, phone use. Using jealousy to justify actions. Embarrassing her in front of others. Kidnapping her. Convincing her that seeing her family or friends is harmful to the relationship.

3. If any of these occur, even when there is no police involvement, seek domestic violence counseling. There are domestic violence counselors and counseling agencies throughout the United States. There are hotlines to handle crisis calls.

2. Obtain a personal protection order. Laws in Michigan and many other states include personal protection orders that can be obtained if you are fearful of physical violence from someone and have a factual basis with previous incidents for your concerns. A personal protection order is a court order prohibiting a person from any, some, or all of the following, including: assaulting, stalking, following, entering the property, removing minor children, threatening to kill or physically injure someone, interfering with someone at his or her place of employment, purchasing or owning a fire arm.

1. Talk to an attorney at once. Find out what your legal rights are, and find out what you can do to protect yourself. If there is a need for a divorce, make sure that you are fully protected because a divorce where there is domestic violence is handled in a much more discreet and careful manner than a normal divorce where everyone is on the same page. Over the years in my career, I have had people murdered and horribly, physically and emotionally abused, based upon domestic violence. I take it very seriously. Make sure that your attorney not only has a background in family law, but is also familiar with issues in domestic violence.

Forms of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a serious crime committed throughout the United States in a wide range of homes and situations. However, many individuals do not realize that the scope of activities that can be considered intimate partner violence goes far beyond physical abuse in the home. Domestic violence is generally defined as any interaction in a partnership or relationship where one person uses either physical or emotional abuse to control the other person.

Across the united sates domestic abuse is considered an illegal act and is punishable by the law. But because there are many incidents that can be considered domestic abuse, many individuals can be involved in a domestic abuse situation without realizing a crime is being committed. By knowing what constitutes domestic violence it is possible to protect yourself, your freedom, and your best interests.

What Constitutes Domestic Violence?

While domestic violence is generally defined as any activity used to control a partner or family member, there are a number of common activities that can be specifically declared acts of intimate partner violence. These acts to not have to happen in the home to be considered forms of domestic abuse. They include:

· Emotional abuse, such as name calling.

· Emotional putdowns and insults meant to cause emotional harm.

· Stalking activities.

· Intimidation tactics and other forms of unwanted control.

· Sexual assault. This can be true for relatives, partners, married couples, and any other pair of individuals who live together or are emotionally tied.

· Sexual battery.

· Alienating a partner and controlling their actions in and outside of the home

· Controlling a partner’s ability to obtain or maintain employment or steady income

· Withholding money or controlling the use of other necessities

· Threatening physical harm or abuse

· Performing physical harm and abuse

· Controlling a partner’s interactions with family and friends, including how often they can contact or see them.

Any of these acts can be considered forms of domestic abuse and may be punishable by the law. Whether you have been the victim of domestic abuse or if you are being accused of intimate partner violence it is important you know what type of activities fall under the title.

For More Information

Domestic Violence Against Women – A Nationwide Epidemic

Domestic violence is an epidemic in the United States. Domestic violence victims and domestic violence perpetrators can be anyone. In domestic violence not only does it involve two people it involves the entire family. The people involved can be of any gender. Unlike our stereotypes, domestic violence happens to the wealthy, educated, and even soccer moms. “Violence is inflicted primarily by men; most men have been socialized into masculine identities.” (Wood, 2009). “In the United States, every twelve to eight seconds a woman is beaten by a man; four women each day are reported beaten to death; and women are six hundred percent more likely to be brutalized by an intimate partner than are men.” (Wood, 2009). Statistically, domestic violence knows nothing about socioeconomic, educational, racial or religious boundaries. Domestic violence is learned and can be unlearned; it is important to identify the forms of abuse, why women stay, programs available and changes that can be made to lower rising statistics for our future generations, because contrary to child abuse and elderly abuse domestic violence is not mandated by law to report in Illinois.How is domestic violence learned? “Most domestic violence is caused by learning and reinforcement rather than by biology or genetics.” (Farmer, 2007).

The behavior is learned by observing others who have abused someone in their presence or they themselves have been abused. “Studies have found that nearly one half of abusive men grew up in homes where their father or step father was violent.” (Farmer, 2007). A boy can learn to be aggressive as a child. For instance, in competing in sports activities boys who play football play rough, endure physical pain and injuries and confront their opponents. (Woods, 2009). Also, showing emotion is frowned upon. This can be linked to violent behavior against women, children, animals, as they become more mature. According to Turning Point, Inc., “male violence against women in intimate relationships is a social problem condoned and supported by the customs and traditions of a particular society. Pornographic videos, magazines and websites are learning grounds which teach that women are unworthy of respect and valuable only as sex objects for men. Most videos and computer games have become an important training source for children and teens. Many of the sex-role messages present men as aggressive males and in control with the value of females restricted to their sexual allure. Boys often learn they are not responsible for their actions. Aggression in boys is increasingly being treated as a medical problem. Boys are being diagnosed and treated with medications instead of identifying that they have been possibly traumatized and exposed to violence and abuse at home.

Domestic violence is repeated because it works and because there are frequently no legal consequences. The fact that domestic violence is learned means that the perpetrators behavior can be changed. Most individuals can learn not to batter if there is sufficient motivation for changing that behavior.” (Farmer, 2007, page 2). In our society there are many forms of violent behavior which include “physical, verbal, emotional, sexual and visual brutality they are inflicted disproportionately or exclusively on members of one sex.” (Wood, 2009, page 285). The first form of abuse is physical. Men physically abuse woman by hitting, biting, stabling, pushing or sexual force. The female victim is viewed by society as the weaker and more deserving of being abused whereas the male perpetrators are considered to be strong, aggressive and controlling. The second form of abuse is verbal. This type of violation can be done by a man by intimidating his female partner. Verbally intimidating can include belittling, demeaning, ignoring, disrespecting, “being told what to do,” or by saying “you are fat, ugly, or stupid.” Or other words used can be “nobody will ever want you,” “and you will never amount to anything.”

The third form of abuse by men is emotional. This can include the male partner making poisonous remarks that leave the female feeling guilty, wounded or traumatized and very afraid to take any steps to get out of the situation. For example the use of tone of voice and body language to indicate the female is stupid, ignorant, incompetent or defective. One statement that is often used is “Just who do you think you are?” According to Julia T. Wood on page 289 of Gendered Lives, “at least twenty eight percent and possibly as many as fifty percent of women suffer intimate partner violence, which is physical, mental, emotional, verbal or economic power used by one partner against the other partner in a romantic relationship.” (Wood, 2009, page 289).

Why do women stay in any relationship when abuse is present? There are reasons so numerous as to why women choose to stay in their relationships while being abused. For instance, lack of income and education. The husbands have total control by not letting the spouse work or have money. Women will be isolated and have no outside relationships including family. The abusive spouse will call several times questioning where their spouse is at and to account for their whereabouts every moment of the day. Most women feel trapped into staying in the relationship feeling like there is no way out. Women stay because they are afraid of the repercussions and do not know where to go to feel safe. They feel like without a new identity they will be found. This is especially true when children are involved.

Women will feel guilty by taking away the child from the father. Finally, women will justify the abuse by saying, “I deserved it,” “if only I had not made him mad,” or “if only I did what he asked me to do,” I might not of been beaten. Many women also feel that it is their duty to stay because of their religion to “be submissive,” to their spouse. Some women are raised in the environment to be a people pleaser especially to their parents. They do not know any better than to marry and submit to their spouse. In Chapter twelve of Gendered Lives on page 284, “four million American women experience a serious assault by a partner during an average twelve month period, and at least three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends every day.” (Woods, 2007, page 284). Western society recognizes domestic violence with having at least four stages of violence. In Gendered Lives by Julia T. Woods on page 293 it talks about the cycle of intimate partner violence and the four stages. They are identified as tension, explosion, remorse, and the honeymoon stages. The two stages that help victims stay is because of the remorse and honeymoon stage. In the remorse stage the abuser will say anything to keep the relationship such as “I am so sorry” and I promise never to “do it again,” or desperately say “I will get help,” and never follow through. In the honeymoon stage the abuser will feel guilty about their actions and usually buy the victim a gift to make up for their behavior.

The startling number of gendered violence is a nationwide epidemic that needs to be taken more seriously by society. Today, domestic violence against women is still on the rise along with the concern of women’s health issues. Thirty years ago battered women had no options such as a place to go or no places that would offer help and assistance. Today, there are more places to go such as shelters, churches and agencies to help victims of domestic violence. These shelters not only offer a place to stay but assistance with restraining orders, money, lawyers, and new lease on life. Society needs to address abuse by men, and help educate the public, especially the future generation in order to prevent more violent attacks. The solutions sound rather simple but we as a nation need to re-evaluate how we treat offenders in our society, and how we define it and prevent it.

We must learn how to be effective parents, spouses, and teachers without resorting to violent behavior in resolving disputes with our loved ones and those we are communicating with. In order to be able to reduce the statistics of gendered violence it is important to identify the stages, characteristics, and types of abuse. Only by voicing our opinions can we make a difference by either stopping the abusive person in the home or by reporting it or when someone you know is being abused. Each community can contribute by volunteering in their town or by raising awareness by speaking out against violence.

All women are subject to becoming a victim of domestic violence; unless society as a whole chooses to speak out. Can statistics be changed in today’s current rise against domestic violence? Yes, speaking out on the laws can help because if the laws and the punishment against the perpetrator become more strict it can prevent further domestic violence overall. In today’s culture domestic violence against women is not just subject to any economic class; it is up to each person and as a society to make changes that will make current statistics a lower number.

Works Cited

Farmer, J. (2007). McHenry County Turning Point, Inc. Retrieved May 29, 2008, from Causes of Domestic Violence.

Hertz, S. K. (2006, SEPT/OCT). Trapped. Retrieved May 15, 2008 From EBSCOhost (Academic Search Premier)

Christian Science Monitor. (1/31/2007, Vol. 99 Issue 45, p18-18, 2/5p). What we can do about domestic violence. Retrieved May 15, 2008 from EBSCOhost (Academic Search Premier)

Pioneer Development Resources, Inc. (1994-2008). Women’s Rural Advocacy Programs. Retrieved May 27, 2008

Wood, J.T. (2009, 2007). Gendered Lives: Communication, Gender, and Culture, Eighth Edition. North Carolina: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Domestic Violence is Unacceptable in the United States

There are many male dominated societies and cultures in the World, but in the United States we have chosen equal rights for both men and women. Thus, we have laws against domestic violence, which is a much fairer way to live. Still, other cultures think we are nuts for allowing women the same rights as men, they still believe that since men on average are stronger than women, it is only natural that they should dominate them and rule over the family unit. Indeed, this attitude is unfortunate and it is far too common in the world today.

We do see that domestic violence is more prevalent in the United States with those nationalities that come from predominantly male dominated societies. You can ask a police officer about the domestic calls they go on, and they will explain to you, the ethnic make-up of those generally involved and the high percentages. Today, in America we are told not to stereotype or to classify race, religion, nationality, but when it comes to domestic violence in the US, it is obvious from an observational standpoint.

Indeed, in this short article, I am not obligated to explain to you these facts or point our which nationalities have the most domestic violence cases. Suffice it to say that although domestic violence happens with all nationalities and races in the US, it is far greater with a certain few. It is probably not wise to sit around and judge various groups, but the data shows the reality. It is far better to do something about it, making it clear that it is unacceptable here in the US and work locally with community groups to put an end to it all. Think on this.

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