Free Domestic Violence Essay Sample
Domestic violence is a cycle that follows not only the person who is suffering from it but also other people like there children who often repeat the cycle of abuse. This is because the abuser follows a certain behavioral pattern to gain control over his/her victim by threatening and abusing the victim. Although it is not really heard of much domestic violence is not discriminatory toward its victims it effects males the same as females. The males that report the abuse they encounter make up for around 3million victims in the United States alone. However many male victims do not report attack for fear of ridicule. When considering the statistics regarding women one in every four women subject to encounter physical abuse on average. The women at the biggest risk for encountering a DV situation are around the age range of twenty to twenty four with over four million women in a lifetime becoming the victim of a physical assault or rape by an intimate partner (Safe Horizon). As far as homicide is concerned one out of every three women killed are murdered by a person they are with or used to be with. These statistics show a serious need for there to be awareness made available to everyone about all of the facts concerning Domestic Violence (DV).
Facts about children in domestic violence situations
When it comes to children who become witnesses to this type of abuse there has been research that shows these children are prone to be responsible for continuation of the cycle. Small children are like sponges and when they witness violence regularly they are more prone to repeat the same violence they grew up seeing. That means children in this situation after being repeatedly exposed to violence between their parents or caregivers often have a tendency to repeat what they seen whether that means becoming the abused or abuser when they reach adulthood. Over three million children are exposed to this type of violence in their current living situation every year making this a growing concern and not just something that can be ignored in hopes it will go away. The children who are in this type of home are not only subject to become abused or abusers themselves but up to 60 percent of these children are already suffering from child abuse as a means for the abuser to maintain control. These children are at a constant risk for being involved in or becoming victims of violence themselves because of the situation that they are in that prevents a proven safety risk. The mental stress that domestic violence puts on a child is just as intense as the physical injuries and can lead to other health issues. Facts state children in these situations are more likely to develop headaches, stomach issues and show more sleepiness than others. These children are also more likely to be sick at greater rates than other children. It is no wonder with this type of stress put on a child that there would be repercussions later on in life that lead to the child developing no other means of dealing with anger than to repeat the behavior that they have always known.
The cycle of abuse
It was discovered that most cases involving domestic violence and intimate partner abuse follow certain patterns and cycles. The first person to take recognition of this cycle was psychologist Lenore Walker in 1979. Considering the cycle or pattern it must be recognized that not any two situations are the same so this pattern although assuredly composed could be different in its representation for each person suffering from abuse. Dr. Walker says that “many report a constant state of siege with little relief” (Domesticviolenceroundtable.org).
The first recognized phase is known as the “tension building phase” (Domesticviolenceroundtable.org). In this stage of the cycle research indicates that things that stressors in any normal relationship begin the tension building. These can be different for every couple but some common stressors for most households include money problems, differences in opinions on disciplinary measures for children and jobs. When the tension builds to a high enough peaks there will be a breaking point no matter how much the victim tries to be passive. This phase always ends in a starting point for physical abuse.
The next phase is known as the “acute battering episode” (Domesticviolenceroundtable.org). During this phase victims are subject to abuse after the abuser has already reached the top of the tension building phase. When victims are subject to the acute battering episode there does not need to be a specific situation or stressor for the abuse to be triggered. It can happen at any time for any reason. Some victims may even try to engage this phase so they can get the fighting over and get to the part where there abuser shows remorse and the need to make up.
The third phase of the cycle of abuse is “The honeymoon phase” (Domesticviolenceroundtable.org). This is the part of the cycle where the abuser will show that he or she is remorseful or ashamed for the abuse they have committed. Abusers will attempt to make the abuse look like it is the victim’s fault that they lost control or like it was not as bad as it seemed. In this part of the cycle there is a game of brainwashing and convincing projected by the abuser as an attempt to show the victim there is no need to leave and they are sorry for what happened even though the promise to do better next time will be an empty and broken one.
This cycle may repeat endlessly if the victim does not realize how to put an end to it. The abuser essentially gets away with their attacks every time the victim gives in during the honey moon phase. As it continues the types of abuse tend to escalate making the situation even more dangerous for the victim every time he/she goes back or gives the abuser another chance. Things will seem normal and okay for a certain amount of time until the tension begins to build once again and the abuser reaches his/her breaking point starting the seemingly never-ending cycle once again.
The person who I chose to interview is a thirty one year old mother of three who has both been witness and victim to domestic violence. At her request I will use an alternate name when referring to her. My first question was how did the violence begin in your life as far as you can remember? Angela’s response was that this violence was nothing that she was a stranger to as she had been a witness to it all throughout her childhood. She says there are two types of people that experience domestic violence, victims and survivors. Angela considers herself a former victim turned survivor, however she reports this was not easy and required a long road of recovery. Angela says that she grew up in a large family that consisted of 15 children. She was the oldest of all of the others and the one who remembers the most. The first incident she can recall she says she must have been around 4 or 5 years old. Angela says she could hear her mother screaming and followed the screams to see why. What she saw was her father taking her mother’s head and sticking it in an old chest while slamming it repeatedly. Her mother screamed for help and begged Angela to go next door and call the police. However Angela’s father was quick to shoot a stern look and responded in a deep voice that if she complied he would whoop her too. Angela remembers to this day the fear that she felt that day and says although she was crying and wanted to help her mother she was too afraid. Luckily the neighbors overheard and called the police anyway and Angela’s father was escorted to jail. Unfortunately this would only be one situation in many that Angela would be grown before her mother would find the strength to end.
The second question I asked was if Angela had a normal childhood or if she was a victim of child abuse? Her answer was as to be expected and the same for many children who witnessed domestic violence as children. Angela also suffered from physical and mental abuse at the hands of her father mostly growing up. She says she feared him but never respected him. Being the oldest of the children she took the majority of the beatings trying to protect not only her siblings but sometimes even her mother.
My third Question was did you ever think of telling someone? For Angela this was normal and to be expected. At that age she did not know why but figured it was just what families did when they were mad. By the time Angela was fifteen she was pregnant and had met her own new abuser. Her parents were battling there battles while Angela battled her own. She stated that if she were to be honest it could be her that initially started the abuse. She says she probably hit him when he cheated which made her mad. However on day he hit her back and from then on she seemed to pick the men that liked to hit women. This did not end for Angela she reports until she decided to be single for a while and pursue a rewarding career in criminal justice.
My last Question was how did your education on the subject change your life or is it still the same? She says there were three classes that she took that really opened her eyes. The first was interpersonal communications which taught Angela about different personality types. She realized that she was very social and an extrovert and that most of the men she dated were introverts. The last man was not only an introvert but a controller who tried to make sure she was where he could always see. This drove Angela crazy because naturally she craved social interaction and hated being controlled. The mixture of these two personalities was sure to cause a huge explosion and it did. The second class that made a huge difference was psychology. During her psychology courses not only did Angela have the opportunity to learn more about her own life but she learned about the cycle of abuse. Which allowed her to learn more about how this not only followed her mother and her but could also follow her children into their adulthood? Armed with this new information Angela vowed to break this cycle and left the children’s father after he would not get help for his control issues and violent tendencies. The third thing Angela learned and most important is that abuse affects anyone who allows it no matter your age, race, social status etc. , she says “if you allow the cycle to continue then you must take partial responsibility for the results even as the victim.” Angela states that this is when she went from being a victim to a survivor and she wishes she could share what she knows with the rest of the world. She proclaims that this is what helped her end the cycle of abuse that she learned as a child and carried over into her adulthood. Angela seemed relaxed at the end of the interview explaining that only now that she is educated about abuse and how she can control it has she managed to meet someone and have a nonviolent relationship. She reports that they have been married three years and never even raised their voices when upset as they deal with any stressors together respecting each other’s needs for time when there is no other solution available. She says she would have never thought she could have this kind of life and if it was not for her knowledge of domestic violence it would not be a reality.
In my interview with Angela and through all of my research on the subject I have realized that the main reason that domestic violence is still an issue is that there is not enough helpful education available for victims. Angela did not even see anything as out of the ordinary until she was involved in classes that pointed out how and why domestic violence exists. This class not only helped her learn more about herself but about others as well helping her to determine what was wrong with her current situation. For all victims of domestic violence the same problem occurs and that is that most of them just do not realize they are abused or do not know any better way of life so they just accept it. To put an end to domestic abuse there should be awareness first in schools as a child. The reason for this is that most abuse starts with witnessing domestic violence from your parents. After growing up with something like this it becomes familiar and although it is not acceptable it seems like a normal process that everyone deals with. Considering the high number of victims in the United States each year that statement does hold some truth however it should never be acceptable no matter the statistical average of people that are going through the same thing. With this education there should be some psychology incorporated for older children who can start to understand both their own personality type as well as others. There are even assessments that could make learning this fun and help students understand that being different is okay (MyPersonality.info). When you understand why another person is different it helps you to understand that they are not doing anything wrong by being this way it is just part of who they are making it more acceptable.
The world health organization posted an article with sixteen keys to stop domestic violence and one that was on there was to get educated on the facts about domestic violence. This further shows that there are not enough people who are truly aware of the facts concerning domestic violence making it even more difficult to see a change in the pattern of behavior. They further go to say that statistics report a large number of women suffering from domestic partner abuse making it almost impossible to be a person who does not at least know another person who is enduring this unnecessary abuse. So besides education there needs to be more support from the surrounding community to help victims break free and follow a new path. This support can come from just being there or helping the victim find valuable resources because often times a person in this situation does not think they have any other option than to stay with the person who is abusing them. There should be no tolerance for this abuse or any abuse and to turn a blind eye is allowing it to happen.
Many people suffer from some form of domestic violence which makes it something that is very difficult to find a real solution for. Research indicates that the patterns of abuse begin in childhood and follow both the victims and abusers into their adulthood. If an intervention is put into place during childhood there could be a real opportunity to experience a positive change in this area and considering the stress that children suffer it would not hurt to add this to their curriculum in school. In fact it may help young children speak out and against the abuse and break the cycle rather than having it continue endlessly with them as adults and then their own children. The communities have to stand up and raise awareness, stop ignoring the signs and do something. That does not mean each person needs to become physically involved but with the proper awareness and education on the abuse people would be able to offer valuable resources about options to a victim that might not know these options exist without help from someone else. To make a change we have to know everything about the problem and the only way to know as much as we can is to get educated and share that education by spreading awareness about domestic violence and intimate partner abuse.
Domesticviolenceroundtable.org, 'The Cycle Of Domestic Violence?’ N.p., 2015. Web. 5 Jan. 2015.
MyPersonality.info,. 'Extraverted Or Introverted Preference'. N.p., 2015. Web. 5 Jan. 2015.
Nonell, Jerica. '16 Ways To Stop Domestic Violence In Your Community | The Pixel Project's "16 For 16" Campaign'. 16days.thepixelproject.net. N.p., 2013. Web. 5 Jan. 2015.
Safe Horizon,. 'Domestic Violence: Statistics & Facts'. N.p., 2015. Web. 5 Jan. 2015.
Vagianos, Allanna. '30 Numbers That Prove Domestic Violence Is An American Epidemic'. The Huffington Post. N.p., 2015. Web. 5 Jan. 2015.
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