it is, temporarily, until tension builds and the cycle repeats itself. During the build up phase, the victim knows all too well where the verbal attacks are leading. She can see the dark side coming. As the tension grows, the gradual descent into hell begins, paved with sarcasm, put-downs, insults, and humiliation about her ability as a mother, a housekeeper, and a lover. The woman, in a desperate attempt to avoid the inevitable, usually goes into a survival mode.She swallows her own outrage and caters to her man’s every whim. She tries, at first, to avoid the inevitable by pacifying him, making sure nothing upsets him, doing little extra favours. It’s hopeless, and the fists fly, or an abrupt backhander sends her reeling.
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And, sometimes, sensing that it is unavoidable, she may even provoke him, just to get it over with. During an assault, the victim quickly realizes that escape is futile.She usually dissociates. Women describe leaving their bodies with their mind. A surrealistic state of calm may occur during which the wife experiences the abuse like a slow-motion movie. This may be coupled with a sense of disbelief, a sense that the incident is not really happening to her. After the violence, the victim’s reactions are similar to those who have experienced a natural disaster.
These typically involve emotional collapse within twenty-two to forty-eight hours after the catastrophe and symptoms of post-traumatic stress such as listlessness, depression, and feelings of helplessness. Victims tend to isolate themselves for some time, in an attempt to heal and to avoid the shame that accompanies having their injuries detected by friends. Frequently, battering occurs when assaultive men are inebriated, and they often blame the violence on alcohol. In general, assaultive men have very high alcohol use scores. Alcoholic men experience depression and anxiety – so-called dysphoric states. Alcohol is one of the common ways they learn to suppress and blot out these uncomfortable feelings.
So is anger. Since these individuals experience the dysophoric feelings as a function of their personalities, and since alcohol is a disinhibitor – that is, it relaxes one’s inhibitions – what results is a volatile combination of unhappy, angry men who have lost all restraint. This puts them at an even greater risk for violence. Alcohol and anger clear out depression but unfortunately, they do so at great cost to the drinker. Like alcoholics who haven’t confronted their addiction, batterers are in denial, minimizing the seriousness and frequency of their violence and their responsibility for it.It is a mistake to blame alcohol for the violence. When people say, “The alcohol made me do it,” they’re blaming one symptom – violence – on another – alcohol. These are both aspects of an abusive personality.
So, while there is an association between alcohol use and violence, one does not cause the other. Both are traced back to an earlier aspect of the self. One’s personality is formed much sooner than one learns to use alcohol or to hit.Children can be hurt simply by seeing parental violence. The parent uses criticism as a means of control, so no matter what the child does, the parent will find something to criticize.
The child becomes an outlet of frustration, a scapegoat for all that is wrong with his parents. This is a corrupting way for alcoholic parents to justify and ventilate their own inadequacies. Sometimes when children see abuse, they have nightmares and trouble sleeping.Little children and even older children may wet the bed.
Children may also have trouble in school, even getting into fights with their friends. Or, they may retreat into silence and stop playing with their friends. Sometimes children who are abused take out their anger on pets and sometimes may even kill them. Sometimes they become very passive and quiet and always seem sad.
Abused children have confusing feelings. They feel trapped and guilty that they may be responsible for the violence. They also feel ashamed that this is happening to them.
At the same time, many abused children feel loyal to their parents. They want and need attention and love, and they deserve it.When the person who is supposed to love them hurts them instead, they may feel it is because they are bad. Abusive parents are often very cold to their children. Some children want attention from their parents so badly that they confuse getting hit with getting attention. An abused person feels like a hostage. She feels afraid, alone, and trapped. When children are abused, if someone comes to help them, they may cling to the person who is hurting them.
These children do not like being hurt, but they want and need attention and love from their parents. They think the parent who is hitting them doesn’t love them. They think they are hit because they are bad, so they cling.
In some cases, the abused child unconsciously identifies with his abusive parent. After all, the abuser looks powerful and invulnerable.Abused women may also feel trapped. They may lack money or a safe place to go, and they don’t want to leave their children. They may even be afraid to leave because they think the abuser will find them and hurt them worse. Today we know that there are many non-violent ways to punish a child or to disagree with adults.
Violence is a choice people make. Only the abuser is responsible for this choice, and nothing a child or an adult victim does causes abuse.And, there is little a child can do to stop or prevent abuse. That is why there are services to protect and support victims of abuse. It is against church laws to cause intentional harm to any other person. Domestic violence hurts all areas of the church. Violence against women breaks the fifth commandment.
It is a sin, a crime, and a serious social problem. The government is against domestic violence. Common assault can be dealt with either as a serious offence (called an indictable offence) or as a less serious offence (called a summary offence). The sentence may be a fine, a jail term, a discharge or probation. It depends on the seriousness of the assault.The judge may choose one or more of these penalties. For example, the judge may fine the offender and place him on probation. The offender will have a criminal record.
When child abuse is reported, a child worker looks into it. If there is serious danger, the child is removed from the home and placed with a family that will keep him safe. When the child is no longer in danger, the child worker can help the family learn how to deal with its problems in a better way.Today, battered women and children can seek help. They can live on welfare or go to a shelter for abused women. These shelters help each family start a new life where their abuser cannot find them. The women and children learn that abuse is not their fault and about equal rights.
The shelters help women find jobs and safe places to live.The children learn to solve problems in ways that are not violent and most important, they learn that not all men are violent. In our society, strict ideas about how boys and girls should behave can cause trouble. This kind of thinking, about what is right for boys and girls, is called “sexism”. Today many professional counsellors are trying to teach people how to avoid this kind of thinking.
They can also help people to change their feelings about the things that are right for boys and girls. The more we learn about respecting the rights and the independence of all others – boys, girls, men, women, wives, husbands, children, mothers, and fathers – the easier it will be to keep family violence from happening.Human Sexuality.