For Margaret, fourteen years of abuse came to an end one night when her husband finally got too drunk to completely control his actions, he hit his daughter. This is what it took for the police to take her husband to jail, and give her the restraining order she had so desperately wanted for years. Her husband had no prior criminal record, was a twenty four year Mariene, had a good job, and a lot of friends. After his arrest, he said the reason he did it was because Margaret had hid his alcohol.
Why do people abuse their partners, and why do the abused partners stay in the relationships? Abuse and violence are mostly about control, the abuser controlling the abused, either emotionally, physically, verbally, or mentally. Many physiologists agree that there is a cycle of abuse. A man will abuse a woman, then show remorse, then becomes even more violent. Most women in these relationships believe that the abuse is because they are doing something wrong, so they try to please the man, but nothing will please him, and then they mistake his possessiveness for love, and allow the cycle to repeat itself.
The typical male abuser is not normally violent. He is normally insecure and jealous, and uses the abuse to make himself feel in control, more powerful, and is prone to adictiveness. The number of women that get taken by these men is outstanding. Husbands, ex-husbands, and boyfriends kill about 1,400 women every year, and three to four million women are battered by their partners. Statistics say that one in every three women will be abused in their adult lifetimes, and violence will occur at least once in two-thirds of all marriages. In the united states, a woman is more likely to be assaulted, injured, raped or killed by a male partner than by any other type of assailant, and wife beating results in more injuries that require medical attention than rape, mugging, and auto accidents combined, and during the six months following a domestic violence incident, about thirty two percent of women are victimized again.
Domestic violence doesn t only involve men abusing women though, almost five percent of reported cases are filed by men. Sociological reattach suggests that despite men displaying more aggressive tendencies outside of domestic relationships, women are just as likely to initiate physically abusive acts with in the household.
One view on the abuse issue, and why it continues, is that our society has ignored the problem, or blamed the victim, leaving no room for an easy escape. So what keeps an abused person in the abusive relationship? Greg Clayton, a professor at Brown University says it is important to focus on the family background and cultural factors when looking at domestic abuse. Society and culture have a lot to do with why a woman would stay in an abusive relationship, as well as why the men are abusive. Men don t have a lot of recourses for handling their anger in most societies, causing them to take out their anger in the home. Also, men that witness their fathers being abusive towards their mothers are one thousand times more likely to be abusive towards their partners, and women who witnessed their mothers being abused are more likely to be victims. Also, black women are more likely to seek help than white women, and black women are more likely to kill their partner, and Jewish women are more likely to stay in an abusive relationship than non-Jewish women are. But regardless of cultural and social groupings, cretin signs are evident in almost all abusive relationships. The national naval medical center has made a checklist of signs to look for in an abusive personality:
Jealousy- The abuser will insist that the jealousy is a sign of love, but it is a sign of possessiveness, and lack of trust.
Quick involvement- Many battered women dated or knew their abuser for less than six months before they married or lived together.
Unrealistic expectations- abusive people expect their partners to full fill all their needs. They want the perfect person.
Most women who stay in abusive relationships do so because they feel trapped. After entering a relationship that seems normal, a woman may eventually be faced with a partner who exhibits jealousy and criticism. The woman will begin to question herself, and wonder if it s her fault. When physical abuse takes place, the woman doesn t want to leave the house, because she doesn t want anyone to see her bruises and know, so she becomes isolated and depressed. Shame, confusion, and embarrassment, are only part of the obstacle facing women who may want to get help, but feel unable to do so.
Some people see marriage counseling as a solution, but according to most experts, it may worsen the problem. Clinical phycologyst, and director for the domestic violence institute says that entering into counseling to deal with abuse suggests that both partners have contributed to the problem, when in most cases that isn t true. Counseling may actually lead to the abuser feeling validated in his thinking that the abuse was the partner s fault. It is also likely that the abuser will be so angered by the idea of counseling, that while he will act nice for the councilor, will take out his aggression on the victim once they get home. Experts also say that men may use counseling as a way to lure the women back, saying they will change. The wife may be taken by her husband s charm, and sincere effort to change, and the cycle will begin all over again.
Perhaps most importantly, domestic abuse makes for high risk of homicide. Women who are abused are much more likely to be killed by their current of former partner than women who are not abused. Sometimes there is an increase of threats and violence before a homicide, but not always, so there is never a way to know when the violence is going to be taken to far. Helping the victim realize that the best predictor of future violence is past violence is very important. When there is even one happening of violence a critical line has been passed in a relationship. It must be assumed that the abuse will continue, and that any abuse will not be permitted.