How do I know if I'm being abused?
- He/she loses his/her temper frequently or easily.
- He/she uses alcohol or drugs excessively.
- He/she displays an unusual amount of jealousy toward others in your life.
- He/she monopolizes your free time.
- You must keep him/her informed about your whereabouts.
- There is a sense of overkill in his/her cruelty and kindness.
- You are fearful when he/she's angry.
- Your behavior constantly focuses on keeping him/her from becoming angry.
- He/she has rigid ideas of behavior based on male or female sex role stereotypes.
- Physical/psychological abuse is present in his/her family history.
If you think you are being abused, seek help immediately!
What books can I read to know more about domestic violence?
- The Batterer - Dutten
- The Verbally Abusive Relationship - Evans
- The Emotionally Abused Woman - Engle
- Getting Love Right - T. T. Gorski
- Helping Her Get Free: A Guide for Family and Friends of Abused Women - Brewster
- When Violence Begins at Home - Wilson
- Black and Blue - Quindlen
- Why Does He Do That? - Bancroft
What did she do to deserve this?
This is a victim blaming statement that places responsibility for the batterer's behavior squarely on the woman's shoulders. Most battered women spend inordinate amounts of energy trying to placate and please their abusive partners. The reality of the situation is that no one else, including the woman, is responsible for the abusive partner's behavior.
Would marriage counseling be beneficial?
Not if there has been abuse in the relationship. Marriage counseling will not solve the problem. The problem is not the couple's communication skills it is the batterer's violence. The violence is not in response to the victim, it is a response to the batterer's own feelings and frustration. Batterers use violence to control the situation. If the victim is afraid of the batterer, she generally can't express her own feelings and anger. The victim who participates in couples (marriage) counseling honestly and openly will be re-victimized outside the counseling sessions. The batterer will have more ammunition and skills to use to control and victimize her more after counseling.
Why does she stay?
Fear - The most understandable explanation, and one we often forget to mention. Battered women are trapped by fear and terror.
Hope - Women cling to the belief that their abuser will change. Research suggests that abusive individuals do not change unless they receive professional treatment. Research also suggests that a majority of batterers will never change their abusive behavior.
Responsibility - Society has traditionally placed the responsibility of marriage and family issues on women. Women are socialized to be nurturing and that the family needs to stay together. Society still holds women responsible for their victimization. Some religions preach that women are to submit to their husbands.
Economics - Many women do not have the economic means to care for themselves. This issue becomes more problematic when children are involved. Most abusers keep total control over financial matters. Women do not always have the job skills to gain employment. A woman can face up to a 73% drop in her income after a divorce.
What behaviors do children who have witnessed domestic violence exhibit?
Infants: Injury to the body, poor health, fretful sleep pattern, lethargy, physical neglect, vaginal or rectal discharge (often associated with sexual abuse), and excessive crying.
Toddlers: Injury to the body, frequent illness, shyness, withdrawn behavior, low self-esteem, reluctance to be touched, difficulty in preschool or childcare, poor speech development, separation difficulties, and excessive fantasy in play.
School-Age Children: Injury to body, frequent illness, psychosomatic complaints, hitting, stealing, lying, nightmares, eating disorders, repetitive self abuse, nervous disorder, lack of motivation, poor grades, depression, need to be perfect, withdrawal, attention-seeking, sophisticated knowledge of sex, drug/alcohol abuse, regression, protective mother, assuming parental role with younger siblings and difficulty with siblings.
Teenagers: Injury to body, loss of childhood, "perfect" child or "caretaker", helplessness, anger at the abused parent, identification with the aggressor, isolation, delinquent behavior, difficulty with siblings, heightened suicide risk, drug/alcohol abuse, and sexual acting out.
What are characteristics that may help identify a potential batterer?
- Emotionally dependent or unavailable.
- Reports having been physically or psychologically abused as a child.
- Known to display violence against other people (no sense of violating another's boundaries).
- Has guns and uses them to protect himself against other people.
- Loses his temper frequently and more easily than seems necessary.
- Commits act of violence against objects and things rather than people.
- Drinks alcohol excessively.
- Displays an unusual amount of jealousy when mate is not with him.
- Expects you to spend all your free time with him or to keep him informed about your whereabouts.
- Becomes enraged when you do not listen to his advice.
- Has sense of overkill in his cruelty or in his kindness.
- Has a limited capacity for delayed gratification.
- Do you get a sense of fear when he becomes angry with you? Does not making him angry become an important part of your behavior?
Can I be raped if I'm married?
Yes. Idaho Code 18-6107 states "Rape of Spouse" can occur if:
1) the victim resists and that resistance is overcome by force or violence
2) the resistance is prevented by threats of immediate and great bodily harm
A spouse can be raped even though it is not prosecuted in the courts. The emotional damage still occurs and the victim needs to be helped to work through this form of abuse.
If rape is about passion and sex, why is it a crime?
Rape is a crime - it is not about sex. It is a crime of power and control, using sexual organs. When you are hit over the head with a rolling pin, you do not call it cooking. Idaho Code 18-6101 defines the crime of rape.
"If my date said "yes" last week, she can't change her mind now and say no, she's just being a tease." A person can always change her mind. No means No. Previous consent does not, in any way, support the assumption of consent.
"OK, so she was too drunk to drive. She fussed a bit and said no, but gave in eventually."
Consensual sex, right? No, this is sexual assault. If she's too drunk to drive, she is too drunk to consent to sex. If she "fussed" it means she objected to his advances. No means No.