I have always believed that domestic violence is a choice and nothing more. People abuse people not their past experiences that are typically used for excuses. Just because this is the way I feel does not make it correct. In doing this resource research paper I hope to learn of what really causes domestic violence among loved ones and why these abused people stay with their abusers. How can one person do this to another and what justifies this type of behavior, if anything at all. Also I would like to find out what resources there are for the victims.
Domestic violence is a disease and illness that will probably inflict each of us at least once in our lifetime. It may be a relative, friend, co-worker or you; whoever it may be each of us will come in contact with it in some form or another. Domestic violence is the physical or mental abuse brought on by a person that was loved and trusted by the victim. Someone that you shared your most inner feelings with, that you cherished and admired, someone that you thought was going to be there for you.
It comes in many forms such as child abuse, sexual abuse, verbal abuse, physical abuse and spousal abuse. There is no discrimination, it happens at every age level, every race and in every culture as well. It happens in the poorest communities, the richest of communities and in the blue collar middle class communities also. It is all around us wherever we choose to go in our lifetime, no matter what walk of life that we come from. Abuse is not limited to physical battering; Susan Forward PhD.
has described abuse as, any behavior that is intended to control and subjugate another human being through the use of fear, humiliation, and verbal or physical assaults she says that it is the systematic persecution of one partner to another (The Domestic Violence Sourcebook page 1). There are two other biological factors that may play a role in the prevalence of aggressive behavior. One of these is a brain chemical called serotonin. Serotonin sometimes acts as a behavioral inhibitor. People that have a lower level of serotonin often show increased levels of impulsivity and aggressiveness.
They are not as self conscious about their behaviors so they act on pure instinct more than others. Two other chemicals in the brain, dopamine and nor epinephrine, are also believed to contribute to aggressive behavior (Retzinger, 1991). Another cause of aggressive behavior is believed to come in early childhood. If a child is abused or sees abuse occur, they are more likely to be abusive in their adulthood. Not only does it cause the child to become abusive later in life, abuse has an adverse affect on them immediately.
They are often very fearful, have nightmares, feel powerless, have poor school performance, are more likely to abuse substances, are sexually promiscuous, have stomach cramps, headaches, sleeping and eating disorders and are frequently ill (Roleff, 2000). The information I found was so wide ranged I didn’t feel there was one special research method to cover it. To really get in depth with it you have to be prepared to do interviews, surveys, case studies, and look at past histories of the abusers and the victims.
To even begin to understand you have to analyze the mental, physical, social and economic status of the abusers. With this in mind I began doing my research on domestic violence with several different methods, starting with personal interviews. I wanted to get a local response and try and give everyone the knowledge of just how close it is to where we all live. I also chose to narrow my research down to primarily spousal abuse and why people stay in the relationship. The first source I found Safe House. The research that I found and was provided to me was by making a simple telephone call with the Safe House.
The person on the phone was receptive and appreciated my concerns, but due to confidentiality she had to keep her comments to a generalization and not to particular instances. It was explained that at Safe House they work with a sixty-four bed shelter to house battered women and their children. Besides shelter they also provided a twenty-four hour crisis line, community education, legal services, support groups and counseling sessions are also available to woman inside or outside of the shelter. They work in part with the local police stations to provide a healthy community for victims and their families.
Safe House is a non-profit organization funded by donations and the United Way. This to me was an eye opener. I always thought Safe House was merely a place for battered woman to stay while their significant other cooled down. I had no knowledge of the other services they provided. The free legal services provided for victims I found to be especially wonderful. Safe House has created a wonderful way for victims to get rehabilitated so they may function in society on there own without holding guilt and blame as if they where the one who was wrong in the situation they are in.
Another help that is provided to individuals and which has become one of the most effective techniques to reducing aggressiveness and violence is through counseling and therapy. There are many different ways that this can be done, from anger management classes, to group therapy, to one on one session. Anger management therapy allows the person to learn more about their anger. Another place I found that provided help to individuals is The County of Orange Social Service Department. They refer individuals to sessions anywhere from therapy, counseling and anger management.
Most anger management services try to provide a “warm, comfortable, safe and therapeutic environment. ” This makes it so that the patient does not feel like they are being punished. The idea is for the people to get better, not for them to feel threatened (County of Orange Social Service website). The common process that an individual goes through is first a patient’s behavior and anger must be assessed. Once this is done then a course of action can be picked. The successive appointments will follow along this course and try to discover the roots of the aggression and hopefully turned around.
The counseling hoes to change unhealthy anger responses to new, more productive ways of dealing with anger rather than violence. People involved in therapy will find the origin of their anger and what type of anger they have. That is what they like to do to act out their aggression. They will be taught how to manage their anger and how to release it in a safe and supportive environment. Also patients will learn how to reduce high levels of stress, manage anxiety, and reduce depression, all of which are causes of aggression. One on one counseling is the most effective technique in anger management.
It allows each person’s individual needs to be addressed, because no two persons’ anger and aggression are the same. Group therapy is also effective but does not give the people the individual attention that they need. When in therapy people’s aggression can be greatly reduced, but it can never be “cured”. It is a basic instinct that we all have, just some people act on it more than others, and this must be controlled. Therapy takes a long time and will help to reduce the outbursts, but the aggression will still always be there (County of Orange Social Service Website).
Lastly next I decided to contact the psychiatric department at UCI which provide assistant to the community for domestic violence. I was referred to Dr. Fero, she explained she was wondering what kinds of questions she could possibly help me with. I stated I was looking to see if she could answer why an individual could physically hurt the person they supposedly love. Another question I asked her was what preventative measures could be taken to avoid it from happening again in a future relationship, or in the current one if the two people choose to remain together.
I asked if there are characteristics that have been studied to prove that certain type of people are more prone to batter as well as certain type of people who are prone to stay with an abuser. Dr. Fero paused for a minute and finally said I would be glad to give my opinion for your paper. She stated first that she believes there is no real reason anyone has to abuse another. Many people want to blame it on learned behavior as a child and personally she says that she disagrees with these types of excuses people give for their actions.
Why would someone in their right mind want to inflict the kind of pain they have seen or underwent on another person is beyond her. Some say it is because that is the only way they know how to communicate. I tend to disagree with this as well. Ignorance is not an excuse to abuse, if you want to better your communications skills there are plenty of classes out there on interpersonal communications and are available if you put the time and energy into yourself. Lastly, many believe it is due to a chemical imbalance.
For an initial, out of the ordinary occurrence I’d have to say this is possible. The number of medications readily available to help a person with such a condition is in the hundreds. Each person has a choice to be treated and try to even out what your body is physically lacking in production, but so many people either refuse to be on a medication or if they do get on one they do not take it in the appropriate manner which could ultimately lead to even larger problems. Dr.
Fero went on to say that there where different reasons people stay in an abusive relationship. The most common reason is fear. Most people who have been in one for quite some time start with verbal abusive and the abuser slowly wears the self-esteem down while using manipulation at the same time. This process does not happen overnight; usually it takes years to get them exactly where they want them. They continue the process by alienating them from family and friends making them feel no one cares enough about them or even loves them at all.
Once the victim has the feeling of insecurity they then proceed to make them believe this is all there fault, and that they are forced to beat them. Hearing this verbal abuse repeatedly causes these women to start believing it to be true. With already low self-esteem they then start to cover up that this is happening so other outsiders don’t see and think she is stupid as well. Dr. Fero then states that she believes every person has an inner child and the stronger that inner child is the more likely that person will be to overcome their situation and allows them to fight back.
With repeated trauma the inner child starts to shut down until it stays buried and will no longer surface. This is why it is easier for a person who has had many traumatic incidents to revert back to the same type of behavior as a safety net since they have nothing defending for them. It is a lot less difficult if the situation is nipped right at the beginning, but unfortunately that’s where the saying “love is blind” comes into play. I then thanked Dr. Fero for her time and ended the interview. Domestic violence is often shown in many different ways.
It is a necessary emotion because it helps us to release anger. However there are good and bad ways of releasing aggression. When released in bad ways violence often occurs, whether it is domestic, sexual or homicidal. Both males and females have aggression, but males are more likely to act out on it because of their higher levels of testosterone, a cause for aggression. Other causes include alcohol and video games. Treating aggression can be a hard and long process, usually done by therapy. Aggression adversely affects many people’s lives.
It causes divorce, incarceration, hospitalization and even death. Aggression can never be fully done away with because all beings are born with it and can act on it from the moment of birth. People just need to learn how to control it. I was given the opportunity to learn a lot in this research project and now am certain that there is plenty of more research out there. I want to finish it with an outline of an abuser I found. “An abuser objectifies their partner. They do not see their partner as a person.
They do not respect them. Overall, they see their partner as property or sexual objects. A batterer has low self esteem and feels powerless and ineffective in the world. They may appear successful, but inside they feel inadequate. An abuser externalizes the cause of their behavior. They blame there violence on circumstances such as stress, there partners behavior, a bad day, alcohol or other factors. A batterer may be pleasant and charming between periods of violence and is often seen as a nice guy to outsiders.
Some behavioral warning signs include extreme jealousy, possessiveness, a bad temper, unpredictability, cruelty to animals, and verbal abusiveness. (http://www. ncadv. org/problem/why. htm) References Dr. Fero, UCI Psychiatric Department (Phone Interview) Forward PhD, S. (n. d. ). Domestic Violence Source Book. : . Retzinjer, (1991). Theories of Violence. : . Roleff, T. L. (April 2000). Mental Illness: Opposing Viewpoints (1 edition ed. ). : Greenhaven Press. Safe House (phone communication) www. ncadv. org/problems/why. htm www. ssa. ocgov. com