Abused Women and Children

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He beat her 150 times. She only got flowers once.

Domestic violence or domestic abuse is the dirty little secret that some people in society want to ignore. Women hide behind dark glasses, makeup and lies to cover the secret of abuse out of shame, blame and fear. Domestic violence is a cycle of abuse that needs to be addressed. There needs to be more research on the cycle of abuse. Society needs to be educated on the effects of domestic violence and acknowledge that it is a societal problem because the abuser is not the only one abusing the victim. There has been focus on domestic violence when it occurs in the home, but the cycle of abuse is important as well to understand the etiology of domestic violence and find solutions to end this cycle of violence. According to the National Coalition on Domestic Violence, 1 out of 4 women are being abused. 1.3 million women are victims of domestic violence and is the number one reason that women end up in the emergency room with injuries with an average of 3 women a day victims of homicide as a result. Women between the ages of 20-24 are more likely to be victims of nonfatal injuries. Besides rape, domestic violence is underreported. Men are abused as well, but 85% women are victims of domestic violence. 30% to 60% of abusers will abuse children in the home. The cost of intimate partner violence exceeds $5.8 billion a year. Children who witness domestic violence are more likely to repeat this cycle of abuse than those who do not and this is the continuation of the cycle of abuse. The diagram below demonstrates the cycle of abuse beginning with abuse, guilt from the abuser because of fear of being caught, excuses in the form of rationalizing the behavior, normal behavior by trying to apologize to the victim, fantasy and planning of the abuse into reality, and finally set up in which the abuser justifies the abuse. There are different types of domestic violence or abuse. Physical abuse occurs when there is an assault on someone that can injure or kill another person. Sexual abuse is in the form of rape or degrading sex and is considered an aggressive violent event. Emotional abuse occurs when there is verbal abuse that includes yelling, blaming, intimidation, and name calling that result in stripping the victim of self-worth and independence. The abuser throws a tantrum which can and usually results in physical force against the victim. All of these forms of domestic violence and abuse are choices that are deliberately made by the abuser because they have to be in control and manipulative and go to extremes to make this possible. They use humiliation, isolation, intimidation, blame and threats to accomplish this goal. Dr. Lenore Walker, a psychologist coined the term ‘cycle of violence.” The honeymoon phase occurs when the abuser is gentle and affectionate. In the tension building phase, there is violence and problems in the relationship because of emotions of the abuser. The acting out phase occurs when the violence reaches its critical stage to the point where the abused is afraid to get help and then the cycle repeats itself. At the time, Dr. Walker’s cycle of violence was criticized because the sample size was small, lacked diversity and challenged the predictability of domestic violence.

In order to understand the origins of domestic violence to stop the cycle of abuse, the origin has to be traced. The cycle of violence hypothesis is connected to the social learning theory (Bandura, 1977). This theory is attributed to behavioral patterns in individuals through observation and modeling. If there is observed violence or aggression in the home, then this may be exhibited in their relationships with others leading to aggression and/or violence with their partners. If there is violence in the home, then the child believes that conflict is resolved through aggressive violence and this is known as modeling...
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