Violence Against Women in Intimate Relationships
Domestic violence is a conscious behavior in which acts of violence and aggression are carried out by one person in a relationship to dominate the other. This violence consists of deliberate verbal, sexual, emotional, psychological, and physical abuse, along with social and economic deprivation. Statistics and studies show victims of domestic violence are mostly women and their children, but men are victims as well. Friends, spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends, and even family members are capable of demonstrating domestic violence. This widespread practice negatively affects gay, lesbian, bisexual, and straight individuals of all ages, cultures, and social backgrounds.
Violent and abusive relationships are often problematic for many women to escape, and it is sad to see that these women must undergo additional setbacks including race and class struggles. The specific issues that contribute to the difficulty of leaving an abusive partner include economic and financial instability, child custody issues, language barriers, and lack of ethnically sensitive services. Girlfriends and wives who are dependent upon their abusive partner's income have a harder time escaping the abuse, because they do not have money to support themselves independently. If the woman has a child with her partner, this poses an even more difficult situation because she would have to consider the child's needs. In result, if the woman has no one else to turn to, she must stay and suffer the abusive environment. Wen Lin and Imm Tan's essay "Holding Up More Than Half the Heavens," addresses the lack of multicultural and multilingual services for battered Asian Pacific American women. "In the entire United States, only two shelters exist for Asian Pacific American women" (Wen Lin and Imm Tan, 464). Their essay brings to light the issue of who is taken into women's shelters and who is turned away. Women of different cultures who cannot speak English are the individuals being deprived of shelter services often "because of language and cultural difficulties or sheer racism" (Wen Lin and Imm Tan, 464). "The language barrier, in effect, shuts out most refugee and immigrant women" (Wen Lin and Imm Tan, 464). Shelters are these women's last hope, and once they are refused help, they must return to violence in their homes once again. As you can imagine, the men will most likely be furious upon their return, giving way to more beatings and emotional abuse. These women will remain silenced and unable to escape because "of the domestic violence resources available
few have staff who speak Asian Pacific languages" (Wen Lin and Imm Tan, 464).
The abuse and violence experienced in the homes of battered women and children produce many psychological effects. The environment in which they live is neither supportive nor consoling. Del Martin's "A Letter From A Battered Wife", reveals a battered mother's feeling of shame, hysteria, and helplessness. In her letter, she writes, "No one wants to take in a woman with four children
no one wants to become involved in
a domestic situation" (Martin, 454). This woman and thousands other battered women, feel that there is no one to turn to. The mentality of "no one understands or cares" drives battered women mad. "Hysteria inevitably sets in after a beating
the shaking and crying and mumbling is not accepted by anyone, so there has never been anyone to call" (Martin, 454). Low self-esteem and loss of identity are also amongst psychological effects experienced by battered women. In Latina Anonima's "La Princesa", she looks back at an abusive relationship in her early college years and states, "I do not identify, much less connect, with the experiences I've just recounted. It's as if they belong to someone else" (464). Women in violent relationships are forced to become someone they're not, and perform acts they do not identify with. This is what shocks...
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