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Research paper topic: Love Shouldnt Hurt - 1624 words
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Love Shouldn't Hurt Domestic Violence is emotional or physical abuse or the threat of physical abuse, used by one person in a relationship to gain control over the other person.(1) Rich, poor, Jewish, Christian, homosexual, heterosexual, abuse comes from all shapes and sizes. Domestic violence is the most prevalent cause for injury to woman in the United States. Often incidents of abuse start small with an abuser slowly taking control, as the relationship intensifies, the frequency as well as the intensity of the incidents also steadily increase. The incidents are then preceded with a phase in which the abuser may apologize, claim it will never happen again, express regret, promise to change, and/or blame their partner for what occurred. It is not easy for a person who is being abused to just walk away, and someone fleeing from their abuser will often return repeatedly before making a complete break.
At the point in which a person is ready to walk away, they are normally battered, their life in danger, with no self-confidence, feeling they cannot live without their abuser. To a person who is not in an abusive relationship it is easy to tell someone being abused simply to walk away, but that person either doesnt know they are being abused, wont except it, or thinks it is their fault and they deserve it. Basically it is not as easy as it sounds. Domestic violence can take a number of forms, including: physical behavior such as slapping, punching, pulling hair or shoving, forced or coerced sexual acts or behavior such as unwanted fondling or intercourse, or jokes and insults aimed at sexuality, threats of abuse -- threatening to hit, harm or use a weapon on another, or to tell others confidential information, and psychological abuse -- attacks on self-esteem, controlling or limiting another's behavior, repeated insults and interrogation. When all is said and done, wife-beating results in more injuries requiring medical treatment than rape, auto accidents, and muggings combined.(2) Although on the surface domestic violence can appear to involve only the two parties of the abuser and their victim, the effects of abuse branch out to incorporate, indirectly all of society. It is not just a personal issue.
Abuse goes outside the house, and affects every aspect of the victims life, because abuse is not about hitting the person, it is about controlling their lives. A child, by definition, is a person who is dependent upon adults and the environment for not only physical, but for emotional sustenance as well. This includes emotional warmth and nurture as well as protection from both external and internal threats to a child's sense of safety, self-esteem and well being. A parent and the home should provides a child with a safe space in which to experience their many complex and often intense emotions. Aggressive, passionate, sad or painful feelings arise in all human beings. The infant, toddler, and young child are helped by care taking adults to accept and tolerate frightening impulses and feelings.
A child's idea of self worth and of belief in one's own goodness and in the general goodness of others -- is thus a fragile entity. When the adult surroundings are full of conflict, fear and pain, a child's growth and emotional well-being are clearly jeopardized. There is a public education campaign about domestic violence currently being conducted on the New York City subway system. The poster used in the campaign has a picture of a child who is described as a highly sensitive recording device capable of detecting and remembering the abuse that occurs in his or her home. As the poster suggests, if tension, anger, and violence are present in the home, a child will know about it -- whether or not he or she has witnessed it directly and whether or not abuse is openly discussed. Regardless of how much effort has been made by adults to shield and protect a child by making sure that the violence takes place in private and by keeping it a secret, when a mother is being battered, a child becomes a victim too.
The difference between the child and the adult victim is that the adult is, at least to some extent, a fully developed person who is physically equipped to take care of her own basic survival needs, and who has the tools of language and reason available to her for the purposes of making sense of a difficult experience and for meeting emotional needs through connecting with, and asking for, support from others. If the abuser has convinced themselves that they are only doing whats best for their partner, they are wrong. But it is not just the victim; the children often are scarred for life. A number of concerns, behaviors and disturbances have been repeatedly observed in the children of battered women who come to a shelter. Among these are the following: general fearfulness, exaggerated, constant fears of impending danger, nightmares, various troubled responses to fear, anger and sadness, anxieties around separation and loss, indiscriminate, quickly-formed attachments to unfamiliar adults, ambivalence about fathers, feelings of powerlessness, identifying with mom in terms of survival, it is experienced as better to be bad like dad than weak and terrified like mom, an exaggerated sense of guilt and responsibility for protecting a parent and often younger siblings, as well as a tendency to aggressively act out.
Many of these conditions and/or behaviors first begin to emerge after a child and his or her mother have begun to settle into shelter and the child feels safe enough to begin to let down his guard and internalize what had occurred. Other than children, the victims entire life is dominated by the abuse. It is often difficult to remain in a job or school when fleeing from an abuser because of the knowledge of work site location and the ability to contact them there. However, corporations today are becoming increasingly sensitive to the needs of battered women and many may be willing to arrange job transfers for their employees who are abused. Colleges and training programs might also be able to transfer credit to other institutions so that a woman can continue her education elsewhere.
The fact still remains that the victim must move and start life over again. Domestic violence often does not confine itself to the home; husbands and boyfriends are responsible for 13,000 acts of workplace violence each year. In addition to physical danger, businesses are at risk of decreased productivity due to the physical and emotional injuries suffered by battered workers. These effects indicate a need for education about domestic violence, its prevalence, and its consequences, and for strategies to be created to combat it at least in the workplace. Now that its been established that abuse hurts other people far past the person being abused, and can even go as far as indirectly hurting a corporation, the stereotypical poor white-trash weak woman with her huge beer drinking husband is going to be destroyed.
An abuser or their victim can be a man or woman, although 95% of reported cases have the male as the abuser, 5% then are not, heterosexual or homosexual, and race, color, economic status, religionabuse affects category within society. Often it doesnt matter if the family has money, because the victim isnt aloud to work, because the abuser feels that they are losing control if they work. So in any case, when a person leaves the abusive relationship they normally have nothing. In New York State, every woman who enters the shelter system has to have a public assistance case number, which is assigned when she applies for welfare. This enables the state to track the number of people staying at each shelter and reimburse the shelter, through funding from the federal Emergency Assistance to Families program, for the expense of providing room, board and services to the women. However, women who are working often do not receive cash assistance and have to contribute to their room and board. Many of these women are dependent on welfare because their abusers will not allow them to work.
Having jobs would enable the women to be financially and socially independent and would threaten the abusers' control over them. Recognizing this dynamic, many shelters offer job training programs so women can develop the skills they have been denied. In the interim when they are not able to work, many battered women and their children are supported by public assistance. Because finding permanent, affordable housing in New York City is a difficult task, many women living in Safe Horizon' shelters have to devote all of their time to their apartment search and are unable to hold jobs at the same time. To supplement this income, some of Safe Horizon' shelters provide a transportation stipend to allow resident to travel locally, keep appointments, and conduct routine chores such as grocery shopping or picking up.
It is not yet known how the welfare reform bill (the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996) will affect battered women. Advocates for these women and their children have expressed concern that the strict time limits on assistance will push these families deeper into poverty because the women may not be able to comply with workfare attendance requirements or gain employment in five years time. Finding and keeping a job is extremely difficult when one's life is continually disrupted by violence. Abusers have been known to sabotage their partners' efforts to become employed by withholding childcare, turning off the alarm clock, and harassing them at work. Additionally, abuse leaves the partner with out self-confidence and robbed of the opportunity to focus on long-term goals because the immediate goal of safety is so pressing. It is usually because of thi ...
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