The Dynamics of Domestic Violence

The Texas Council on Family Violence defines Domestic Violence as: a pattern of coercive controls that one-person exercises over another. It is behavior that physically harms, arouses fear, prevents a person from doing what the person wishes, or forces the person to behave in ways the person does not want. Battering includes the use of physical and sexual violence, threats and intimidation. emotional abuse and economic deprivation.

WHAT CAUSES DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?
When we try to discern the causal relationships factoring into domestic violence. The most common myth is that use/abuse of alcohol or illegal drugs caused the batterer to become violent. Although alcohol and drug use is often a factor in domestic violence cases, it is rarely the cause. Abusers are abusive with or without the use/abuse of substances.

WHO IS THE BATTERED WOMAN?
Society's understanding of the "battered woman syndrome" has gradually increased over the past several years. Yet, domestic violence is still believed to be the most common, yet least reported crime in our nation. Most incidents of domestic violence are not reported because those involved, and much of the general public, consider it a private matter and because the victim fears repercussion from the batterer if they tell.

The only thing battered women have in common is that they are female. There is no one group of women battered more than another. A common myth is that the majority of battered women are poor and uneducated. Family violence crosses all cultural, economic, racial and regional lines. There is no such thing a typical battered woman.

Often an abused woman is isolated and is unaware of how many other women share her problem. She may be embarrassed to admit to her abuse. In other cases, she may think it is normal to live with abuse, especially if she was raised in a household where family violence existed. If a woman thinks she is abused, she probably is, because most battered women tend to minimize their abuse rather than exaggerate it.

Women are the primary victims of battering. In the United state a woman is more likely to be assaulted by a male partner (husband or boyfriend) than any other assailant. According to the Department of Justice, when abuse occurs within a marriage 95% of assaults on spouses are committed by men. Married men are the victims of battering in 2-5% of cases. The FBI estimates that 1/3 of all women murdered in the United States are murdered by their current or former partner. Moreover, the woman is usually not the only victim in a violent home; a child in a home where the woman is battered is 1500 times more likely to be the victim of child abuse. (excerpt from Phoebe's Home Volunteer Training Manual, 2002)


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