United Campus Ministry
Handbook on Domestic Violence
The purpose of this training is to provide information with proactive and preventive approaches to combat domestic violence. This handout also provides help and support for victims and abusers.
Family violence is a very serious problem in our society. It is a deadly phenomenon that cuts across race, age, or social economic backgrounds.
NATIONAL STATISTICS REGARDING FAMILY VIOLENCE
Family violence is the most unreported crime in our nation. The following facts provide an insight into the depth of this problem.
* A person is battered every 18 seconds by a spouse or collaborator.
* Between 3-4 million women are battered each year. Out of this 3-4 million, one million women seek medical treatment making battery the single largest cause of injury to women in the U.S.
* One in four murders nationwide involves family relationships, women are more likely to be assaulted or killed by their husbands or boyfriends than others.
* Half of the couples in this nation have already had at least one violent incident. One third of young dating couples get into physical fights.
* 63% of boys, ages 11-20, who commit homicide kill the men who were beating their mother.
* Violence is a common occurrence in 10-25% of all U.S. marriages.
* In one-half of spouse-abusing families, the children are battered as well as 25% of all women who are beaten are pregnant.
* Abuse related absenteeism in the U.S. results in an estimated economic of three to five billion dollars per year plus another $100 million in medical expenses.
WHAT IS FAMILY VIOLENCE?
Family violence is the mistreatment of one family member by another. The stereotypes of the abuser is male and the victim is female are dissolving.
There are four common forms of family violence:
1. Physical maltreatment is expressed through slapping, hitting and burning. However, restraining or strong shaking, is physical violence and can lead to a more violent confrontation.
2. Sexual abuse, in the past, has been limited to rape and incest. As studies became more complete, however, this area of concern has been expanded to include inappropriate touching and actions within and outside the family members.
3. Emotional abuse is manifest through threats, insults and harassment via verbal and nonverbal actions.
4. Neglect involves inadequate physical or emotional care to a spouse or dependents.
THE PEOPLE INVOLVED
Abusers and victims have some unique characteristic traits that can be recognized by skilled supervisors.
Recognizing certain characteristics can help facilitate intervention and may save injury and restore relationships.
CHARACTERISTICS OF ABUSERS:
* Low self esteem and poor self image which may lead to insecurity.
* Feels a need for power and control. Violence becomes a way to get this.
* Poor communicators unable to verbalize or differentiate their feelings.
* Were abused as children.
* Grew up believing expressing violence was a natural part of life.
* Abuse of drugs or alcohol is used as an "acceptable" excuse.
* Are very social around other people outside the home.
* Have unrealistic expectations of spouse, children and self.
* Difficulty coping with stress and solving problems without violence.
* Inability to accept responsibility for behavior.
* Feels they are exercising a right or responsibility.
* Feels the victims "asked for it."
* Are often jealous and possessive.
People may wonder why a spouse stays and puts up with the violence. In order to better understand the reasons why many individuals choose to remain in a violent relationship, it is imperative to realize the following characteristics also act as emotional snares and traps.
Most are behaviors learned over the course of a lifetime and are not quickly forgotten or unlearned.
CHARACTERISTICS OF VICTIMS:
* Low self esteem, or sense of self worth and feel they deserve abuse.
* Dependency of an economic or personal nature. Not confident alone.
* Taught to accept the responsibility for and expect the abuse.
* Socially isolated due to spouse and family. It is better to take the abuse than break up the family.
* Violent background from parents, step-parents or parent's friends.
* Fear of an unknown future...insecurities.
* Hope for change.
CHILD ABUSE ISSUES
Child abuse involves the mistreatment or neglect of a child, by a parent, guardian, caregiver or any other family member. The following behaviors or abusive situations require immediate action.
* Verbal threats in graphic terms.
* Constantly berating, blaming or belittling the child.
* Repeated hits or slaps that leaves bruises or more severe injuries
* Frightening a child to behave by locking him/her in a small space.
* Punishment by withholding food, clothes or neglecting medical care.
Child abuse is especially dangerous because children are often unable to escape or report the problem. In many cases, the abuser is unable to escape or report the problem. Tragically, the child who continually learns unchecked, destructive behavior can pass the cycle of violence on to his/her children.
Parents are the most frequent child abusers. Many parents abuse their children as a reaction to problems or stress with which they cannot cope. Generally, the stressors an abusive parent experiences will fall into one or more of the following categories:
1. Drugs or alcohol problems.
2. Marital disharmony.
3. Immaturity of parents.
4. Poor childhood experiences or role models.
5. Poor patenting skills including lack of development.
6. Unrealistic expectations of children.
7. Social isolation.
8. Unmet emotional needs.
9. Work related problems.
10. Deployment/return anxieties.
11. Financial difficulties or concerns.
12. Military drawdown unknowns.
13. Concern regarding the portrayal of a positive family image.
THE CYCLE OF VIOLENCE
In any abusive relationship, violence does not "just happen." The concept of a spontaneous beating false. A pattern develops as a method for dealing with the conflicts and tension that are normal in any relationship. This pattern becomes a predictable cycle of violence complete with learned responses and expected results. Unless checked this pattern becomes an accepted routine for the behaviors within a family.
1. Tension builds during the STRESS-PRODUCING phase. The abuser becomes more irritable. Small frustrations began to build. The victim begins to feel responsible for somehow controlling the situation. Attempts are made to postpone the violent act through appeasement, silence, withdrawn or various forms of manipulation.
2. The VIOLENCE PHASE proceeds from verbal abuse and "minor" slaps or holds to an explosion of anger, loss of control and injury.
3. In the SORROW PHASE the abuser feels guilt at causing pain, disbelief in his/her destructive actions, and fears the victim leaving or being found out.
4. In the HONEYMOON PHASE an effort is made to make it all better. Promises are made that "it won't happen again." Since the stresses have now been released, the relationship initially appears to be stable. There may be genuine love and laughter. Both individuals of the couple want things to be "the way it should."
Unfortunately, the cycle of violence is a spiral that will continue unless their cycle is stopped or broken. If allowed to continue, the cycle of violence will have two results: First, the injuries caused by violence will become more severe until permanent disability or death results; Secondly, the dysfunctional behaviors of the parents will be passed to the children.
HOW DO I KNOW IF SOMEONE IS BEING ABUSED
Are any of the following signs evident, (the more that are evident, the more the risk): Does the spouse: throw objects or destroy property? Threaten to do physical harm? Ridicule or insult? Express jealousy? Manipulate with lies or promises?
Children who come from abusive homes are six times more likely to abuse their future spouses or children than those raised without abuse or violence.
The U.S. National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect reports that sons of violent fathers have a rate of wife-beating ten times greater than sons of non-violent fathers.
How we are raised forms the backdrop for our own bahaviors as parents and spouses. How we raise our daughters and sons will influence how they behave as fathers, mothers, husbands, and wives.
For assistance the national battered women’s number is 1-800-333-SAFE.