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.

Animal Abuse and Domestic Violence – A Correlated Generalized Deviance

I believe it is safe to say that a majority of defendants charged in our courts with animal abuse have prior domestic violence convictions as well. It is because of the “generalized deviance” that domestic violence and animal abuse are correlated. Anti-social behavior of different levels can happen in one individual but how that individual came to exercise the deviance is more complicated as there are many pathways that lead to it. An example of one of these exercises is the individuals use of violence or other anti-social manipulations to “solve” problems which is called “modeling” and explains why violence is often intergenerational. Although animal abuse and domestic violence are correlated, it varies as to which occurs first.

But are there any numbers we can connect here; any studies conducted to make this deviance a little more tangible? A study done in New Jersey found that in 88% of households where children were physically abused, there were records of animal abuse as well. In Wisconsin, four out of five battered women cases revealed the partner had been violent toward pets. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence conducted a study of abuse victims after arriving at domestic violence shelters and found that 85.4% of women and 63.0% of children reported incidents of pet abuse. The Chicago Police Department’s Domestic Violence Program compiled a history of arrestees for animal fighting/animal abuse for the period of 2000-2001 and found that approximately 30% had a conviction of domestic violence on their record. Animal abuse is often associated with other serious crimes such as drug offenses, gangs, weapons violence, sexual assault, and domestic violence and the individuals committing these acts of violence against animals are viewed as a danger to the public and therefore, must be addressed. The whole premise of an animal abuser is to demonstrate power. The abuser will batter an animal to hold control over his family, to isolate them and enforce submission. He will abuse a pet to perpetuate a fearful environment; to prevent a victim from leaving or coerce them to return. They will batter an animal to punish a victim for showing independence.

First responders and professionals who investigate abuse should be aware and trained to observe the cycle of violence. Some states practice this observance and take it a step further by implementing cross-reporting laws. When an animal control officer is called to investigate animal abuse in a home with children, they are mandated to report child abuse when animal abuse is confirmed. Children are generally more willing to discuss what happened to a pet than they are to their own victimization. In Ohio, any child under the age of 18 years of age who commits cruelty to a pet, is required to undergo psychological evaluation to determine individual or family counseling as necessary. The legislation also permit’s the court to include a protection order for any companion animal in the home of the person seeking a criminal protection order, domestic violence protection order, a civil stalking order, a sexual offense protection order, or the approval of a civil domestic violence consent agreement. Often a partner will abuse a pet that is in the home as a tactic to keep the victim under control. It is understood that many victims will not leave when it puts their pets in harm’s way. When questioning victims and their children, first responders should be alert for signs of child and/or pet victimization. They should ask if the abuser or anyone else threatened to harm their pet and ask if they need help finding a safe place for their pet to go if they leave. Many victims will not prosecute their abuser however, animal cruelty prosecution can result in incarceration or treatment that is equal to results from a domestic violence prosecution.

Domestic Violence Shelters, Animal Shelters, and Humane Organizations can do much to offer protection for animal victims. When working with abuse victims in their safety planning, be sure they include their pets. Question them about any threats or injuries to their pets. Work with legislators to include pets in orders of protection and educate judges on the necessities of these inclusions. Team up with your local animal control and humane organizations and local domestic violence shelters to establish emergency housing of pets coming from homes experiencing violence. If there is no space available, establish a network of homes that provide emergency care for these pets through foster care agencies then incorporate these connections in school programs where they might reach children who are at risk of family violence. Also, many YWCA’s have pet shelter programs that are in partnership with the humane society, local clinics, kennels, stables, and veterinarians.

Unfortunately, victims of domestic violence often choose to stay in abusive relationships to protect their pets. A study shows that 71% of women seeking “safe haven” in domestic violence shelters had companion animals threatened, hurt, or killed by their abuser. Many victims never even go to a shelter because of this fear for their pets. It is in recognition of this fact that many states have passed laws including pets in court-issued orders of protection and to include any animal that is harmed or threatened with harm in the state’s definition of “domestic violence.” Society doesn’t consider animal cruelty as severe as violence against humans but it is increasingly viewed as a serious issue by professionals in law enforcement and mental health. Effective prosecution of animal abuse can provide early and timely response to those who are, or who are at risk of becoming, a threat to the safety of others. It is a tool for protection for victims of family violence, developing new skills and understanding which will help build a truly compassionate society.

Animal Abuse and Domestic Violence – A Correlated Generalized Deviance

I believe it is safe to say that a majority of defendants charged in our courts with animal abuse have prior domestic violence convictions as well. It is because of the “generalized deviance” that domestic violence and animal abuse are correlated. Anti-social behavior of different levels can happen in one individual but how that individual came to exercise the deviance is more complicated as there are many pathways that lead to it. An example of one of these exercises is the individuals use of violence or other anti-social manipulations to “solve” problems which is called “modeling” and explains why violence is often intergenerational. Although animal abuse and domestic violence are correlated, it varies as to which occurs first.

But are there any numbers we can connect here; any studies conducted to make this deviance a little more tangible? A study done in New Jersey found that in 88% of households where children were physically abused, there were records of animal abuse as well. In Wisconsin, four out of five battered women cases revealed the partner had been violent toward pets. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence conducted a study of abuse victims after arriving at domestic violence shelters and found that 85.4% of women and 63.0% of children reported incidents of pet abuse. The Chicago Police Department’s Domestic Violence Program compiled a history of arrestees for animal fighting/animal abuse for the period of 2000-2001 and found that approximately 30% had a conviction of domestic violence on their record. Animal abuse is often associated with other serious crimes such as drug offenses, gangs, weapons violence, sexual assault, and domestic violence and the individuals committing these acts of violence against animals are viewed as a danger to the public and therefore, must be addressed. The whole premise of an animal abuser is to demonstrate power. The abuser will batter an animal to hold control over his family, to isolate them and enforce submission. He will abuse a pet to perpetuate a fearful environment; to prevent a victim from leaving or coerce them to return. They will batter an animal to punish a victim for showing independence.

First responders and professionals who investigate abuse should be aware and trained to observe the cycle of violence. Some states practice this observance and take it a step further by implementing cross-reporting laws. When an animal control officer is called to investigate animal abuse in a home with children, they are mandated to report child abuse when animal abuse is confirmed. Children are generally more willing to discuss what happened to a pet than they are to their own victimization. In Ohio, any child under the age of 18 years of age who commits cruelty to a pet, is required to undergo psychological evaluation to determine individual or family counseling as necessary. The legislation also permit’s the court to include a protection order for any companion animal in the home of the person seeking a criminal protection order, domestic violence protection order, a civil stalking order, a sexual offense protection order, or the approval of a civil domestic violence consent agreement. Often a partner will abuse a pet that is in the home as a tactic to keep the victim under control. It is understood that many victims will not leave when it puts their pets in harm’s way. When questioning victims and their children, first responders should be alert for signs of child and/or pet victimization. They should ask if the abuser or anyone else threatened to harm their pet and ask if they need help finding a safe place for their pet to go if they leave. Many victims will not prosecute their abuser however, animal cruelty prosecution can result in incarceration or treatment that is equal to results from a domestic violence prosecution.

Domestic Violence Shelters, Animal Shelters, and Humane Organizations can do much to offer protection for animal victims. When working with abuse victims in their safety planning, be sure they include their pets. Question them about any threats or injuries to their pets. Work with legislators to include pets in orders of protection and educate judges on the necessities of these inclusions. Team up with your local animal control and humane organizations and local domestic violence shelters to establish emergency housing of pets coming from homes experiencing violence. If there is no space available, establish a network of homes that provide emergency care for these pets through foster care agencies then incorporate these connections in school programs where they might reach children who are at risk of family violence. Also, many YWCA’s have pet shelter programs that are in partnership with the humane society, local clinics, kennels, stables, and veterinarians.

Unfortunately, victims of domestic violence often choose to stay in abusive relationships to protect their pets. A study shows that 71% of women seeking “safe haven” in domestic violence shelters had companion animals threatened, hurt, or killed by their abuser. Many victims never even go to a shelter because of this fear for their pets. It is in recognition of this fact that many states have passed laws including pets in court-issued orders of protection and to include any animal that is harmed or threatened with harm in the state’s definition of “domestic violence.” Society doesn’t consider animal cruelty as severe as violence against humans but it is increasingly viewed as a serious issue by professionals in law enforcement and mental health. Effective prosecution of animal abuse can provide early and timely response to those who are, or who are at risk of becoming, a threat to the safety of others. It is a tool for protection for victims of family violence, developing new skills and understanding which will help build a truly compassionate society.

Domestic Violence – What It Is And The Most Common Charges

Domestic violence cases are some of the most common types of cases taken on by criminal defense attorneys. So lawyers must have vast knowledge of domestic violence law in order to have a successful practice, but it’s important for lay citizens to have a good understanding of this type of law as well.

The definition of domestic violence is an act or threat of violence between people in an intimate relationship. The violence could be intimidation, control, coercion, or punishment as well. The people in question do not have to be married in order to fall under the domestic violence umbrella, but they do have to be proven to be in an intimate relationship by the District Attorney.

There are all shapes and sizes for these types of cases that come through the office of an experienced criminal law attorney, but some of the cases show up more often than others. There is a top 5 list of allegations that most attorneys would agree are the most common cases that they receive calls about. That list is outlined below:

1. Child Abuse or Child Endangerment- Involving a child in any of the types of violence explained in the second paragraph or having a child in the same area as violence against another could result in a domestic violence charge.

2. Battery- This is when an injury incurred due to violence is not severe enough to warrant a felony, but instead just a misdemeanor

3. Criminal Threats- Even though no physical harm is imposed through a threat, it is still illegal to threaten someone with serious harm or injury to cause fear within them.

4. Corporal Injury to a Spouse or Cohabitant- This means physical violence has actually occurred and there is physical evidence to show for it (ie a bruise, or swelling). Depending on the severity, the act of violence could be charged as a felony or misdemeanor.

5. Elder Abuse- Neglecting, causing physical or emotion abuse to, or financial fraud to a person over 65 years old is also considered domestic violence.

Police can make arrests for domestic violence allegations fairly liberally, so just because someone has been arrested, doesn’t mean they’re going to be charged with a crime. People who are worried about being charged, though, need to get a hold of a criminal defense attorney to ensure that they are properly protected. Without the help of a criminal defense lawyer, people are left directionless in their moment of need due to accusations against them.

Don’t get left alone in your moment of need. Call an attorney if you think you may be charged for a domestic violence crime.

The Laws Behind Domestic Violence

“Domestic violence is a criminal matter and needs to stay in criminal court,… Too often, judges see charges of domestic violence as a ploy to get custody and send the case to family court.” – Catherine Campbell.

The Federal government has enacted many domestic violence laws to protect those that are married or in a domestic partnership from being victimized and abused. There are specific laws that deal with stalking, protection, traveling to commit violence, and violence against women. These laws are dealt with specifically on the federal level, and then there are state specific laws as well.

In 1994, Congress joined the fight against domestic violence by enacting legislation as part of the crime bill. Historically, the government did not have jurisdiction over domestic violence related crimes that occurred in the community. These types of crimes were dealt with in the local and state levels. The Congress of the United States recognized that crimes against women and children were posing a serious problem. Congress came up with legislation to address the shortcomings called the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). This legislation created laws to address some types of domestic violence crimes on the federal level.

The precedent that was set by Congress in 1994 spread to the fifty states also. The states were asked to pass harsher laws dealing with crimes related to domestic violence. As time has passed, laws have been created to address other issues such as stalking, internet stalking, internet related crimes such as communicating threats, and so on.

Laws have been passed to fund help for victims and their children. The government has also made grants available to help states implement more support programs and networks to add victims of this type of crime. There is a national hotline that has also been created to connect victims with someone in their local area to help them with intervention and information.

The federal government has also created programs that rank how states are doing in the fight against dating violence, and are funding more shelters. The government is taking this fight very seriously and is backing their stance with funding and support. How successful have these new laws been? Well this depends upon who you ask. Official statistics show that the domestic violence laws put into place are making a dent in the amount of crimes being reported and being committed. Advocates claim that the instances of domestic violence have increased and are continuing in an upward trend.

We are making progress in the fight in our communities by making more programs and making help available to victims. We are not making progress in decreasing the amount and severity of instances of violence. More funding should be given to rehabilitate the perpetrator of this violence to end the cycle. Adding more severe domestic violence laws to punish might curb some violence but not all.