Spouse and Intimate Partner Abuse

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The majority of victims of intimate partner abuse are women, and they are assaulted by someone who is a former or current spouse, cohabiting partner (opposite or same-sex), date, or boyfriend or girlfriend. When the victim is female, 93.4 percent of the time the offender is male, and when the victim is male, 85.9 percent of the time the perpetrator is male (Gosselin 2000). Studies focusing on the adult male batterer have identified characteristics and personality risk-factors that characterize this type of abuser, but these factors can also be applied to female perpetrators, abusers in gay and lesbian relationships, and elder and child abuse situations. These characteristics, behaviors, and tactics of the offender of intimate partner domestic violence can include controlling behaviors (i.e., attempts to control the victim's time, dress, and behavior), fear and intimidation, manipulation, excessive rule-making, and isolation. The average male abuser, as revealed through statistics on court appearances and encounters with law enforcement officials, is thirty-two years old (with two thirds in their mid-twenties), possesses low self-esteem, is frequently jealous and possessive, and is overly dependent on the victim. He often denies responsibility for his actions, blaming others for his behavior, and minimizes the effects of his actions on the victim. Some personality risk-factors in male abusers include an aggressive personality, insecurity, emotional dependence, low empathy, and low impulse control. Also substantial evidence exists linking alcohol and/or drug abuse and the frequency of domestic violence occurrences. Furthermore studies have indicated there is not one single type of male abuser. Three categories of offenders have been identified: family-only, dysphoric or borderline, and antisocial or generally violent (Gosselin 2000). The last type is the most aggressive and is likely to have had a past that includes abuse as a child or a violent family history....
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