Domestic Violence

“Domestic Violence”


An American football hero racing on the freeway in a white Ford Bronco, finally stopping in front of his luxurious home. Six years or more ago this scenario would have sounded like a clever advertisement campaign. Replay the same scenario from 1994 forward and almost all Americans will vividly recall the death of Nicole Simpson and her ex-husband (0.J. Simpson) fleeing the police with a gun to his head. This single event thrust the serious and deadly topic of domestic violence awareness into the spotlight of the world.
There are numerous dynamics that make up the deviant nature of domestic violence. I will summarize five articles that discuss some of the aspects of domestic violence and some of the ways society in the United States combats it.

Although domestic violence touches all walks of life, government and academic studies consistently demonstrate that the majority of victims in heterosexual relationships are female and that batterers in heterosexual relationships are overwhelmingly male. (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1997) Battering also occurs in lesbian and gay relationships, and the use of gender specific language should not be construed to mean that domestic violence exists only in heterosexual relationships. Victims may be doctors, business professionals, scientists or judges, among others. Perpetrators may be police officers, sports heroes, CEOs or college professors. Unlike victims, perpetrators do have at least two common traits -- the majority of perpetrators (1) witnessed domestic violence in their family and (2) are male. (Hotaling & Sugarman, 1986; Stratus, 1980)
There are many other staggering statistics pertaining to domestic violence, too many to list them all. a woman is beaten every nine seconds in the United States. Domestic violence is the most under reported crime in the country, with the actual incidence 10 times higher than is reported. By the most conservative estimate, each year 1 million women suffer nonfatal violence by an intimate partner.Nearly one in three adult women experiences at least one physical assault by a partner during adulthood.Forty-seven percent of men who beat their wives do so at least three times per year. Domestic violence also has immediate and long-term detrimental effects on children. Each year, an estimated 3.3 million children are exposed to violence by family members against their mothers or female caretakers. In homes were partner abuse occurs, children are 1,500 times more likely to be abused. Forty to sixty percent of men who abuse women also abuse children. A study in 1997 showed 27 percent of domestic homicide victims were children and when children are killed during a domestic dispute, 90 percent are under age 10; 56 percent are under age 2.
An article found on the American Bar Association Web page addresses the myths and facts about domestic violence. The first myth is that victims of domestic violence have psychological disorders. People who are not abused think the victims of domestic violence must be sick or they would not take the abuse. When, in reality, most victims are not mentally ill, although people with mental disabilities are not immune from being abused. Some victims of domestic violence suffer psychological effects, such as post-traumatic stress disorder or depression, as a result of being abused. (Dutton, The Dynamics of Domestic Violence, 1994) Another myth is batterers abuse their partners or spouses because of alcohol or drug abuse. Alcohol and drug abuse does not cause a perpetrator to abuse the victim although it is frequently used as an excuse. Substance abuse may increase frequency or severity of the abuse. (Jillson & Scott, 1996) another myth is that law enforcement and the court system, for instance arresting batterers or issuing civil protection orders, are useless. Conclusions drawn from research studies in this area have brought two conflicting results. (See Buzawa & Buzawa, 1996; Sherman & Berk, 1984; Zorza, 1994) Police officers must make arrests, prosecutors must prosecute domestic violence cases, and courts must enforce orders and handout stiff sentences for criminal convictions.
The Male Batterer
In the mid-1970s battered women\'s shelters were just beginning and the main focus was developing services for the victims. Providing services and looking out of the needs of the perpetrator was not a priority. It was thought that focusing on the perpetrator was just another way men took priority over women in our society. In 1977 Dr. Daniel Jay Sonkin