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Domestic Violence: The Underlying Truth

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Domestic Violence: the underlying truth

Domestic Violence: The underlying truth

Why are individuals being abused by those who supposedly love them? Is it a result of violence in the media (TV, movies, computer games, publications)? Is it a result of the lack of parental love and caring during childhood? Or is it because of alcohol and drug abuse? (Summers & Hoffman, 2002, p. xiii). Domestic Violence isn't just hitting, or fighting, or an occasional mean argument. It's a chronic abuse of power. Actual physical violence is often the end result of months or years of intimidation and control (Domestic Violence: The facts, ¶ 1). Domestic violence is not a new phenomenon, in fact it s a common occurrence throughout recorded history. Also called "intimate partner abuse", "battering", or "wife-beating", it refers to physical, sexual, psychological, and economic abuse that takes place in the context of an intimate relationship, including marriage, and is one of the most common forms of gender based violence (Newton, 2001, ¶ 1). Women remain the primary targets, with statistical evidence from the FBI showing that a woman is beaten every 15 seconds in America (Bringear, 1992, pg. 2). Mary Sullivan Miller, author of the book "No visible wounds" (1995), writes about the several factors that aid and abet a women in her refusal to face the truth of abuse, like denial, and the opinion of others close to the family. Among other popular factors include fear, which is another weakness that hold women back from leaving an abusive relationship. Domestic violence is a widespread issue that needs to be put to rest once and for all.

The famous poet Goethe wrote, "None are more helplessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free." Many women choose to put up with abuse, not because they enjoy or like to, but because they feel their spouse is justified in their actions. Denial; they tell themselves "he goes out to work and brings home the money to support this family, so why should I complain?", and often make excuses for their spouse's behaviour, or deny what is happening. Hospital rooms across the nation have become accustomed to treating women who claim accidental injury instead of battering; their bleeding cuts are due to broken glass, their body bruises to falling down stairs, their broken nose to running into a door (Miller, 1995, p.203). Silence allows domestic violence to continue generation after generation. It keeps women from asking for help; it makes women so ashamed of what is happening to them that they believe they are at fault. Silence keeps women helpless. In many societies, women live with their husband's family and are not financially independent. Where can an abused woman turn for emotional support? And in poorer communities, how can a woman support herself and her children? ("Domestic Violence Prevention Workshop," 2004, ¶ 5).

A second factor that contributes to the difficulty facing abuse is shame, and the opinions of other people looking "in", especially the abusers family, which can ultimately fall into the category of denial. Since an abuser is a master mind at manipulation and deception, he will be able to convince the outside world that he is what many sarcastically call "Mr. Perfect." While battering his wife at home, he can turn on the charm for another woman with flattery, and outshine other men with his wit and consideration; "Mr. Perfect creates a persona that fools them all" (Miller, 1995, p.206). Family members of an abuser chose not to believe that he is "capable" of the things he is being abused of, so often times the victim won't get much support, since his controlling behavior has forced her to sever all ties with her own family. She feels alone and helpless, so she continues to remain living in fear, because she believes that she has no other choice. Therefore, other men and women instead of validating the abused woman's feelings, help her deny them, when they repeatedly tell her what a wonderful man or husband she has, so she begins to doubt herself wondering if she is inventing her hurts and fears. She then, will eventually erase the picture she has painted of her husband as an abuser, replacing it with the image of everyone else tells her exists. "He must be a pretty good husband after all" she decides (Miller, 1995, pg. 208)

Finally, fear, which is another factor contributing to the difficulty of facing abuse, and also probably the most common of all. Fear of losing the life they have built, and fear for their lives. Women who are receiving beatings are afraid of reprisals on the part of the aggressors because at times they threaten to kill them. Others are afraid of facing life alone or they simply don't have the means to do so.

Hidden abuse in upscale marriages is another means of fear for a woman being abused to leave a relationship. In the book titled "Not to people like us: Hidden abuse in upscale marriages" (2000), written by Suzan Weitzman, Allison, a survivor of domestic violence, tells her story about the financial seduction experienced in her upscale relationship. "Sometimes the psychological vulnerability combines with financial difficulties to create a perilous situation" (pg. 47). Men frequently control and lessen the woman's freedom by running all economic aspects of the relationship i.e. running the home, shopping etc. creating financial dependence. If the woman were given an allowance, she would have to account for every penny spent, preventing the opportunity to save enough money to attempt to leave. It also creates a fear of leaving as it presents huge problems when thinking of feeding and housing herself or her children and often would mean leaving all or most of their possessions. Women find that their abuser's money brought with it pleasures they couldn't afford on their own, it was not crucial for her existence, but it certainly made her life more interesting. For some women, the financial need is more pronounced and more enticing (pg. 207).

Many women do not know their rights or what help is available to them, some do not have the knowhow to leave immediately. This in turn



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