© 2016 by SEMAH Inc. Proudly created with FirstDaySocial.com

SEMAH is an online conduit for resources to  help build bridges to safer communities especially those that are not well served. We have a special focus on the Muslim and inter-faith communities.

DYNAMICS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

 

National And State Domestic Violence Statistics

  • Twenty-five percent of all women are abused by an intimate partner during their lifetimes. (National Violence Against Women Survey, 2000.)

  • A quarter-million women in California, annually, are the survivors  of severe violence at the hands of an intimate partner. (California Women's Health Survey of 1999.)

  • There were 186,439 calls for domestic violence-related assistance in 2002. (CA Department of Justice, 2004.)

  • Between 4% and 8% of pregnant women in the United States are abused  at least once during pregnancy. (Centers for Disease Control and  Prevention.)

  • In a gathering of 100 women, it is statistically possible that 25 of them have been abused or will be abused by their partners. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)

  • At least four to five of these women have possibly been abused within the past year.

 

Defining Family Violence

 

The Relationship Between Forms of Family Violence 

Often violence of one type co-exists with or has a history of other  manifestations. For example, in a household where domestic violence  exists there may also be child abuse or a child that is abused may later abuse an elderly/dependant parent. Listed below are the various forms  of family violence.


Child Abuse
Physical violence, neglect, emotional abuse, or sexual abuse of a child or youth under 18 years of age.


Elder Abuse
Physical, sexual, financial, or emotional abuse/neglect (verbal,  psychological, spiritual, denial of basic needs) of anyone 65 or older.


Dependent Adult Abuse
Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse/neglect (verbal, psychological,  spiritual, denial of basic needs) of a physically or mentally dependent  adult who is 18 though 64 years old.


Abuse of People With Disabilities
Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse/neglect (verbal, psychological,  spiritual, denial of basic needs) of a dependent disabled adult.

 

Defining Domestic Violence


California Penal Code Section 12700 Definition
(a) "Abuse" means intentionally or recklessly causing or attempting  to cause bodily injury, or placing another person in reasonable  apprehension of imminent serious bodily injury to himself or herself, or another.
(b) "Domestic violence" means abuse committed against an adult or a  minor who is a spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant, or  person with whom the suspect has had a child or is having or has had a  dating or engagement relationship.


Domestic Violence- a simpler definition
Physical, sexual, economic, or emotional abuse in an intimate  relationship. Emotional abuse may be verbal, psychological, and/or  spiritual.

 

Forms of Abuse: "The PEEVS-S"


Physical Abuse can include:

  • Abuse done to someone or around you.

  • Restraining, blocking, spitting, squeezing, shaking, drowning or locking you out of your house.

  • Throwing, striking, breaking, or upsetting objects around you. It  can also include killing or hurting pets to frighten you, and destroying clothing, jewelry, photos, or personal items that are important to you. The message this sends is that "You're next!"


Emotional Abuse can include:

  • Deliberately withholding the 4 A's (Acceptance, Appreciation,  Attention, & Affection) from you for the sole purposes of  controlling or coercing you.

  • Ignoring you or giving you the "silent treatment."

  • "The look" is a facial expression which shows that a person is angry and on the verge of being verbally or physically violent.

  • Isolating you from family and friends.

  • Isolating from family and friends.


Economic Abuse can include:

  • Controlling your financials resources

  • Trying to keep you from getting og keeping a job

  • Making you ask for money

  • Giving you an allowance

  • Taking your money

  • Forbidding you to work or handle your own money

  • Putting all resources in the controlling parnter's name


Verbal Abuse can include:

  • Threatening.

  • To threaten verbally is to use words that imply that physical  violence will be done, such as "I'm gonna kick your butt if you try that again!" or "You don't even wanna ask me questions like that."

  • Teasing and taunting can start out playfully and evolve into abuse. These include name-calling, jokes, sarcasm, and ostracism.

  • Thingifying is a word we use to describe being called a name that  makes you seem like an object. These can be profane words or insults  such as "filthy", "lazy", "nasty", "stupid". Thingifying makes it easier for someone to be violent against another person, in the same way that  it is easier for soldiers to kill an enemy with a nickname like "The  Jerries", "The Krauts" or "Charlie".

  • To trivialize someone verbally is to use words that imply that that  person is inferior such as: "You can't do anything right. You'll never  get a job. You are unfit. Who'd want you?"


Sexual Abuse can include:

  • Sexual behavior that crosses someone's or your own boundary without his/her or your permission.

  • It can be physical in nature, such as forcing you to have sex when you don't want to.

  • Forcing you to do sexual things that you don't like.

  • Sexual violence of a verbal nature is talking about sex with someone who doesn't want to talk about it, or using sexual words that she or he does not want to hear.


Spiritual Abuse can include:

  • Using misinterpretation of spiritual doctrines or traditions in  order to permit or perpetuate behavior which is abusive. All members of a community are reinforcing this form of spiritual abuse by sharing these views with others (i.e.: family members, faith leaders, fellow  congregants, etc).

  • This form of spiritual abuse can also be used to manipulate a victim into accepting the abuse; by believing that she/he will be punished by a higher power if attempts to stop the abuse occur, or that the victim  deserves this treatment and is currently being punished by a higher  power.

  • Mocking or denying practice of spiritual beliefs and customs.

  • Takes place when someone behaves in such a way that the spirit, the  will, the morale, of a person is drained and even demeaned as a result  of verbal or non-verbal harassment, criticism, ostracism, or any of the  above types of abuse.

 

A Common Pattern of Abuse in Domestic Violence

 

THIS ABUSE OFTEN ESCALATES IF ALLOWED TO CONTINUE.

 

  • The Pattern of Abuse is the person who abuses pattern.

  • The abuser has control over the frequency and severity.

  • The purpose of the pattern is to establish superiority and control.

  • The survivor often accepts responsibility for the abuse and continues to alter behavior in the hopes of stopping the abuse.

  • The person who abuses often makes a conscious choice to use abuse to  maintain authority and services. The abuse often escalates over time.

  • In a dating or marital relationship where the person who abuses is  the male and the survivor the female, after abuse occurs, the person who abuses may portray himself as the person that his partner fell in love  with. This causes the survivor to doubt that the abuse took place, or to blame herself for causing it. The purpose of the Hearts and Flowers  stage is to invalidate the survivor's memory and perception of the  abuse. Over time, the Hearts and Flowers stage often disappears. This  pattern can be applied to other superior-inferior relationships. In some cultures this stage may be completely absent, or may take very  different forms.

Some people find it helpful to consider domestic violence as an often observed cycle of behavior. The cycle does help explain one reason the  survivor has difficulty leaving. Fueling the cycle is one person's need  to control the partner. Be aware, however, that not all domestic violence fits this model.

 

Tension Building

In abusive relationships, there will often be a period of building  tension, which will erupt in an episode of abuse. During this  tension-building phase, the survivor often feels like he or she is  "walking on eggshells"—trying to alter his or her own behavior (i.e., be the "perfect partner", cook the "right" foods, dress to please the  other) to prevent an explosive outburst.

 

Abuse Occurs

Typically, the person who abuses explodes regardless of the partner's behavior and attempts to be "perfect"—demonstrating that the abuse is  not about what the partner did or didn't do. When the partner's attempts fail and the abuser explodes, the abused person may feel helpless  and/or blame him or herself for not doing a good enough job. This is  reinforced by the abuser's blaming behavior.

 

"Hearts and Flowers" Phase

After the explosion, the person who abuses may enter into a phase of  trying to re-establish "normalcy" in the relationship, using whatever tactics are effective in the moment to keep the partner in the  relationship or get the partner back. This may range from "hearts and flowers" behaviors (apologies, tears, presents, promises to change, buying flowers, taking care of the  partner), to subtle forms of blame ("If you hadn't ruined my dinner I  wouldn't have had to hit you") and more direct threats (to kill or harm  the partner or family members, to commit suicide, to take away children, to report an undocumented partner to immigration officials, that no one else will ever love or want the partner). The survivor is sweetly seduced into staying with the partner by  promises - or is entrapped by threats and afraid to leave.

 

How a faith leader can intervene in the pattern of abuse

Faith leaders can help persons being abused understand that the abuse is not about them and not their fault, that the person who abuses'  choice to be abusive is a choice, and that they cannot predict or  prevent the abuser's explosion.

 

Remember that although this pattern is very commonly observed, not every abusive relationship fits it. It does not incorporate cultural  differences or the variability of abusive relationships.

 

Abuse Indicators

The following behaviors are all associated with domestic violence. However, not all behaviors may be present in every case.

 

Jealousy

The person who abuses may question the partner about social contact, makes accusations of flirting, or can be jealous of time spent with family, friends or children. He or she may call the partner frequently during the day or drop by unexpectedly. He or she may refuse to let the  partner work or engage in behaviors such as checking car mileage, asking friends to watch the partner, or asking the children to report.

 

Controlling Behavior

The person who abuses may say that he or she is merely concerned for  the partner's safety or need to use time well. He or she will be angry  if the partner is late returning from an errand, will question the partner closely. He or she may not let the partner make personal  decisions about the house, clothing, going to religious services or out  with friends. He or she may keep all the money or even make the partner  ask permission to leave the house.

 

Quick Involvement

Many abused persons dated or knew their abuser for less than six  months before they were engaged or living together. The abuser comes on  like a whirl-wind "you are the only person I could ever talk to", "I've  never felt loved like this by anyone". He or she needs someone desperately and will pressure the partner to commit.

 

Unrealistic Expectations

The person who abuses is very dependent on the partner to meet all of his or her needs. He or she expects the partner to be the perfect mate, parent, lover, and friend. He or she will say things like "if you love me, I am all you need and you are all I need".

 

Blames Others for Own Problems

The person who abuses takes no responsibility for things that go wrong in his or her life. The abused person is somehow at fault even if not present, like a problem at work.

 

Hypersensitivity

The person who abuses is easily insulted. He or she claims hurt feelings or takes any set-back as a personal attack. He or she will rant about the injustice of things that are really just a part of living,  like working overtime or getting a parking ticket.

 

Cruelty to Animals or Children

This person may be brutal to animals and insensitive to their pain or suffering. He or she may expect children to be capable of doing things  far beyond their ability or may tease children until they cry. He or she may not want to eat at the table with children, or expect children to stay in their rooms all evening.

 

"Playful" Use of Force in Sex

This person may throw and hold the partner down during sex. He or she will be unconcerned about whether the partner wants sex and use  sulking, anger, or guilt to manipulate the partner into compliance. He or she may begin sexual activity while the partner is still asleep, or demand sex even though the partner is tired or sick.

 

Verbal Abuse

In addition to saying things that are meant to be cruel and hurtful, the person who abuses degrades the partner, swears at the partner, and  minimizes the partner's accomplishments. He or she may say the partner is stupid, and unable to function alone. This will often take place in conjunction with sleep deprivation, where the abuser wakes the partner  in the night to verbally assault or interrogate.

 

Rigid Sex Roles

The person who abuses expects to be served, expects the partner to stay home, and demands that the partner obey without question. The abuser will see the victim as inferior, stupid, and unable to be a whole person without the relationship.

 

Jekyll and Hyde

Many people are confused by their partner's sudden changes in  mood—one minute nice, and the next minute explosive. Such mood swings are typical of people who abuse their partners, and are related to other characteristics such as hypersensitivity.

 

Past Abuse

The person who abuses may admit to hitting partners in the past, but  they made him or her do it. He or she may have prior arrests or convictions for assault. The partner may hear of this abusiveness from  relatives or ex-partners.

 

Threats of Violence

This would include any threat of physical force meant to control the partner, such as "I'll kill you" or "I'll break your neck". Most people do not threaten their partners, but a person who abuses will try to  excuse it by saying "everyone talks that way in anger".

 

Breaking or Striking Objects

This behavior is used as a punishment (i.e., breaking loved  possessions) but it is mostly used to terrorize the partner into submission. The person who abuses may beat on a table or throw objects around or near the partner.

 

Any Force During an Argument

The person who abuses may hold the partner down, physically restrain the partner from leaving the room, push, or shove. Or the abuser may  hold the partner against the wall and say "you are going to listen to  me".

Checklist of Abuse Indicators

 

While it is not always possible to predict whether a potential  partner might become abusive, the following behaviors are often seen in  people who abuse their partners. If the person exhibits several of these behaviors there may be a strong potential for domestic violence.

 

___ Extreme jealousy: Is your partner distrusting and possessive? Does he or she question and "check up" on you excessively?

 

___ Controlling behavior: Does your partner try to control where you go, what you do, whom you see? Does he or she limit your access to family funds?

 

___ Quick involvement: Did your partner come on like a whirlwind, demanding quick commitment?

 

___ Unrealistic expectations: Does your partner depend on you to meet all needs? Are you expected to be the perfect spouse, parent, lover, friend?

 

___ Isolation: Does your partner try to cut you off from  resources, limit your contact with family and friends, prevent you from  going to work or school?

 

___ Blames others for own problems: Does your partner blame you for personal problems, instead of taking responsibility?

 

___ Cruelty to animals or children: Does your partner act brutally to animals, tease children excessively, expect them to do things that are beyond their ability?

 

___ Abuse of sexual intimacy: Does your partner manipulate or coerce you into having sex or performing specific sexual acts when you don't want to?

 

___ Verbal abuse: Does your partner say things that are cruel and hurtful, put you down, minimize your accomplishments?

 

___ Rigid gender roles: Does your partner hold rigid beliefs about male and female roles within a relationship, and demand that you comply?

 

___ Jekyll/Hyde: Does your partner have an explosive temper,  sudden mood swings? Behave kindly in public but cruelly in the privacy  of your home?

 

___ Past abuse: Does your partner admit to hitting partners in the past, but they "made him do it?" Has a relative or ex-partner told  you of past abuse?

 

___ Threats of violence: Has your partner threatened you with physical force?

 

___ Breaking or striking objects: Does your partner deliberately break your possessions or strike walls or other objects when angry?

 

___ Any force during an argument: Does your partner hold you down, push, or shove?

 

The Causes of Domestic Violence
 

Domestic violence is LEARNED:

  • Through observation

  • Through experience and reinforcement

  • In the family

  • Through cultural tolerance

  • In the community, school, or peer group

  • In the society

 

At its core, domestic violence is NOT caused by:

  • Genetics

  • Alcohol and other drugs

  • Sleep deprivation

  • Behavior of the person being abused; nor

  • Problems in the relationship

 

A note on substance abuse

 

It is often used as an excuse for violence:

  • Correlated but not causal.

It may exacerbate or trigger violence:

  • Some feel that alcohol or drug use may trigger violence due to its effect of numbing inhibitions.

  • Stopping the alcohol or drug abuse does not necessarily stop the violence

  • People who abuse their partners while "under the influence" will often continue to do it while sober.

It may be the survivor's reaction to abuse:

  • May use alcohol or drugs as a reaction to their abuse, to make their situations more tolerable.Persons  experiencing domestic violence

  • This is not justification for their drug/alcohol use.

 

THE KABBS: The Knowledge, the Attitudes, the Beliefs and the Behaviors

 

KABBs come from social, institutional and day-to-day messages that  are internalized. Sometimes KABBs give rise to or reinforce a sense of  personal superiority. Not all of these characteristics are negative. The problem occurs when those who consider themselves superior, use assumed power to control others. Conversely, individuals who consider  themselves inferior will be more likely to accept inappropriate  dominance. The lists below are characteristics that come from attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that you might see in those assuming a superior  or inferior role.

Internalized Superior Role

  • superiority

  • authority

  • dominant

  • aggressive

  • expectations for services

  • decisive

  • strong

  • independent

  • "thingifies" partner

  • "chases" partner

  • competitive

  • autonomous

  • sexually controlling

  • powerful

  • tough

  • believes people in inferior roles are inferior in some way and/or should act as such.

Internalized Inferior Role

  • inferiority

  • powerless

  • subordinate

  • passive

  • provider of services

  • unsure

  • weak

  • dependent

  • is "thingified"

  • is "chased" and wants to be caught

  • cooperative

  • lacks autonomy

  • sexually passive

  • powerless

  • vulnerable

  • believes people in superior roles are superior in some way and/or should act as such.