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What appears to explain their shared high rates of violent behavior is their increased interpersonal dependency. They are socially withdrawn and entertain a negative view of themselves. These difficulties with trust are common in the two disorders. They are thus more personally dependent on their partners. Furthermore, veterans with a major physical health problem are likelier to commit domestic violence than the other veterans surveyed. The physical problem tends to increase their irritability and dependence on their partners. Other studies found this characteristic high partner-specific dependency among physically abusive men who exhibit personal inadequacy, low social self-confidence and increased reliance on those nearest them. Many of these physically abusive men greatly fear abandonment and are anxiously attached. They are thus hypersensitive to rejection and often show anger in their intimate relationships. Veterans often display excessive coercion to which the partners respond by distancing themselves. The veterans' fear and dependencies can also be increased when their partners display autonomy. The veterans' frequent response is more intense and potentially violent and coercive behavior aimed at regaining control and connection.
The attempts of the partners of depressed and PTSD-afflicted veterans are often viewed by the latter as insulting and irritating. Partners may attempt to ask questions, suggest change of behavior or criticize the veterans' behavior. This often ignites violent behavior from the veterans. Other studies unsurprisingly reported that husbands or men expressed higher marital satisfaction than their wives or intimate partners. Their relationships remain highly satisfactory despite the high level of violence inflicted upon the partners. Therapists assume that the partners' empathy for the veterans inclines the former to rationalize or excuse the veterans' violent behavior.
Kelly, K.A (2004). Working Together to Stop Domestic Violence, Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare: Western Michigan University School of Social Work
Kelly writes about the many and frequent alliances between government and non-government entities to solve nagging social problems. The advantages presented by these alliances consist mainly in improving their collective capacity to meet the needs of persons involved in those social issues. These victims are caught in the vicious cycle of violence, poverty, addiction and related conditions.
The author discusses the merits of community partnerships in stopping domestic violence. Records show that state-based and community-based initiatives against the issue have important advantages. Among these are empowerment of victims and empowerment of the community. Empowerment of victims enables them to choose the kind of help they want. Empowerment of the community creates new opportunities for them and offers education and support to those who want to help them. Community partnerships also develop new challenges in balancing state and community responsibilities in developing public response to a social problem like domestic violence. A choice must be made between the state and the community in dealing with it. That choice must maximize the partnerships' potentials and minimize risks. It will involve combining public and private, profit and non-profit, religious and secular in building and providing education, welfare, human services, medicine and law to insure that democracy lasts. It should weave through new conceptual frameworks, which will reveal the links and the disruptions within.
The author also discusses the Battered Women's Movement, a prominent example of state-community partnership. It began in the early 70s when activists clamored for attention and action on the prevailing situation of violence against women by their male intimates. The state responded by considering and viewing violence a serious crime and not just a personal matter between partners. Legal reforms were made until domestic violence became illegal in every State by the 80s. Police departments began implementing arrest policies and procedures, which treated violence by one adult towards another as a serious crime. Alongside, the spearheading activities strongly lobbied for the enactment of laws and a grass-roots community-based approach to help and serve victims of domestic violence. The first domestic shelter was set up in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1979 and entirely staffed by volunteers. Currently, there are more than 2,000 throughout North America. Some of them are financially supported by private donations. But most of them are maintained by public and private funds and operated by professional and non-professional volunteers and a mix of paid and unpaid staffs. Recent collaborations have been characterized by services and problem approaches, which rely on both state and community policies and measures.
Movement activists became aware of the limits of legal interventions in recognizing and intervening in this relatively new kind of violence. Although domestic violence already changed from a private to a public problem, many victims still remained reluctant to cooperate and ask for State assistance. One reason for the reluctance was the victim's desire to keep their problem private. Experts explained that privacy protects intimacy and that intimacy is socially expected to be satisfied in marriage. Women who experienced domestic violence for the first time should consult with doctors and marriage guidance counselors who observe strict confidentiality. Another reason was a very specific and concrete fear about the negative consequences of reporting it. The offender may be engaged in illegal activities, such as drug abuse or prostitution, or illegal immigration. Some victims cannot separate the promise of protection and the potential of punishment when the State enters the picture. Victims of color fear that turning to the law for help might expose them to further victimization by other sectors, such as the police and racist legal personnel. African-Americans observe a more generalized view against public intervention in their affairs. This derived from a desire to free their private world of assaults on their public lives as racially subordinated people. They saw the home as a safer haven that should be protected from a racist society in which they lived.
Victims who did not have these constraints still felt that turning to the State for protection could actually increase the violence and put them in even greater danger. And a last reason was that many of the victims were quite dependent economically on the abuser. Imprisonment or other criminal sanctions could lead to homelessness and destitution for them and their children. Whatever the reason for reluctance, the only way they could secure intervention and help was to call the police and involve the State in the action. This could subject the offender to imprisonment. Many victims would then prefer to handle the problem themselves. In response to this reality and the limitations of legal sanctions, movement activists decided to provide the victims with a range of resources not connected to the coercive powers of the State. Movement activists and other sympathizers opted to link up with the general and diverse community to develop a public response to domestic violence. Examples were public education programs on avoiding domestic violence, fund-raising activities to help victims survive without the abuse and media messages on the wrongness of abusive behavior, violence-prevention services and policies at the workplace.
A weakness of informal interventions on domestic violence cases is that it does not have the same force or backing as the threat of State sanctions. Hence it does not chance the behavior of the offender. Records show that there have been low rates of prosecutions and convictions of domestic violence despite large numbers of repeat offenders. In addition, sentences on those convicted have been too light. Brainwater (2002 as qtd in Kelly), however, argued that increased reliance and use of informal interventions would, in the long run, have greater benefits than legal sanctions. He believed that coercive legal control would be more legitimate and effective after some more dominating social control through dialogue is first resorted to. The offender is likely to accept an eventual punitive, legal action if he does not comply with social control. Research found that people saw the law as generally fair. Greater reliance on non-punitive actions is also likely to improve the authority of punishment. As a result, this renders such authority as a deterrent by inclining offenders to believe that they will eventually be subjected to stiff sanctions if persist to break the law and get convicted. Brainwater believed that the preference for non-punitive measures would alleviate the "system capacity" problem of the current criminal justice system and assist the State follow through cases where punitive actions are deemed really warranted and necessary.
Klotter, J. (2004). Domestic Violence. Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients: Townsend Letter Group
Klotter points to domestic violence as among the major health risks. The victim is usually a female, who is physically and/or emotionally battered by her husband or intimate partner. Approximately 2-4 million women are physically beaten by their partners every year. Those subjected to emotional abuse were more difficult to determine and assess. The victim and the abuser have no definite profile or type. They come in all ages, races and socioeconomic and educational backgrounds. The victim can be passive, anxious, angry or aggressive. The abuser may be well-educated, pleasing and even charming. Substance abuse, unemployment and poverty may aggravate the situation, but the real problem is the abuser's desire to control the victim.…[continue]
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