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Domestic Violence and Women

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    Domestic Violence towards women is one of the problem in the United States that is usually over looked and almost always not noticed by today’s society.

    Violence is defined by the Riverside Webster’s Dictionary as: 1. Physical force employed so as to damage or injure. 2. As an instance of violent action.

    If this is the case than why is it that so many women are beaten by loved ones each year and little or nothing is done to correct this violent and hostile situation? In this paper I will attempt to answer this question along with how this big issue, domestic violence is neglected by our society. “The battered women is pictured by most people as a small, fragile, haggard person who might once have been pretty. She has several small children, no job skills, and is economically dependent on her husband. It is frequently assumed that she is poor and from a minority group.

    She is accustomed to living in violence, and her fearfulness and passivity are emphasized above all. Although some battered women do fit this description, research proves it to be false stereotype.”(Walker 18) In fact most battered women have highly lucrative jobs such as doctors or lawyers, Corporation executives and nurses. Most are heavy set women whose assets are controlled by their husbands and cannot defend them physically.

    Battered women are found in all racial, religious, and ethical backgrounds as well as age groups and educational levels. ”Who are battered women? If you are woman, there is a fifty- percent chances it could be you!”(Walker 19) Statistical data on battered women is difficult to find because most records are buried in medical records, domestic disturbance calls to the police or the records of social service agencies. During my research I found that characteristics in numerous categories for both the batterer and battered were the same. Here is a list of those categories that were the same or in a similar fashion the same for both individuals.

    Commonly shared characteristics between battered and batterer. 1. Has low self-esteem. 2.

    Believes all myths about battering relationships. 3. Is a traditionalist about the home, strongly believes in family unity and his or her roles in the family unit. As with the women all racial, religious, educational levels equally represent the men, cultures socioeconomic groups.

    “Batterers typically deny that they have a problem, although they are aware of it; and they become enraged if their women should reveal the true situation.” (Walker 36) Researcher Eisenberg and Micklow found 90 percent of the batterers in their study had been in the military. Twenty five percent received dishonorable discharges. These are some alarming facts and characteristics about both the battered and the batterer.

    I was unable to collect any data on the cause for this percentage of violence by men of the military. Although, it being a school of violence might have some weight on the effects of this violence on women. Some of the reasoning behind these acts of physical and mental neglect may be societies acceptance of such violence. We as a society are always calling for more violence on television, in the theater, and on other individuals.

    We pay for these sorts of entertainment, ask the government to apply force on other nations and as the saying goes “sex and violence sell.” It is glorified in all forms of the media. (Walker 37)Why do battered women stay with there significant others? The answer has many different angles; some stay for financial reasons others for the traditional reasons. The fact is that they stay, but when is enough? “After you live so many years, and you wake up one day, andyour body has just about had it, you say, ‘My God, I just can’t take another punch.

    ‘ That’s what happened to me. I just reached a point where I said, ‘No more. Nothing is worth it.’ I decided I would rather struggle and see if I couldn’t make it, so I just up and left, and that’s been it.

    ” (Langley and Levy 111) This was the victim of spouse abuse for seventeen years. In another case a woman from Maryland described her experience. “Being beaten up is the most degrading, humiliating, crushing kind of thing that could happen to a person.” (Langley and Levy 116) In most cases the women feel that they are the ones to blame for their battering and also apologize for being beaten.

    “A women’s decision to stay or go to seek help or suffer in silence is often determined by the frequency of her beatings.” (Langley and Levy 122) When women do come to the end of the line and have finally worked up enough courage to do it, to leave the one she loves so dear where does she go? Well I would like to tell you that she calls for help via the police or local authorities and receives the compassion and understanding that she so deserves and needs in this time of uncertainty and doubt. But, all too often she is meeting with hostility and cynicism. “Usually, the police, attorneys, prosecutors, public defenders, and even judges feel they should not get involved in so called family problems.

    ” (Langley and Levy 153) One Detroit police officer is even quoted as saying, “there are no rewards for refereeing a family fight.” (Langley and Levy 153) One of the problems is the offense can be both criminal and civil matters. In fact, there are only three states that have laws that deal directly with spouse abuse, California, Hawaii, and Texas which make it an automatic felony for a husband to beat his wife. The system however does not work in the favor of the battered but rather in the favor of the batterer.

    “Assault is a crime in every state. Since wife beating is a form of assault, then wife beating is a crime in every state. In practice, however, wife beating is not treated as a crime but as a civil matter. Prosecutors deliberately look the other way even when a man mad it’s to wife beating.

    ” (Langley and Levy 154) When the judicial system fails to help the abused, the abused must turn elsewhere. Places such as crisis centers, church, or shelters. But in many places there are no such places or organizations to help the abused, then the abused must depend on community help as well as family and friends to help. Mostly with support groups and just by giving the abused the compassion and support once not by the abused in the judicial system.

    One example of this disappointment in the system was found in the Detroit Free Press, in an article headlined ” Emergency Number Still Has Kinks,” reported: ” near-breathless women, beaten by her husband, dialed 911 to ask for police assistance. ‘Does he have a weapon?’ the operator asked. ” She answered, ” No.” “Then I am sorry.

    We won’t be able to help you,’ the operator said to the dismayed women.” (Langley and Levy 160) This lack of confidence in the judicial system in return sends women a message of desperation, fear and frustration. Many women in turn take the law into their own hands, in a study done by the U.S Department of Justice between 1987 and 1991.

    Approximately one in four attacks involved the use of a gun or knife, according to the study. Young, black and Hispanic women were especially vulnerable, as were poor single women with low education levels who lived in inner cities. The findings were drawn from more than 400,000 interviews. The Acting Bureau Director Lawrence A.

    Greenfeld stated that “the number of women attacked by spouses, former spouses, boyfriends, parents or children is more than 10 times higher than the number of males attacked by such people.” It is clear to me that all of us living in this great nation need to join hands in the fight against Domestic Violence in the home, not just against women but children and men as well. But for the purpose of this paper I would like to focus mainly on the women of the American household. We as a society should take action and compose social as well as political laws to rectify this situation.

    There are no set standards, in fact police officers are told to not arrest in cases of domestic violence calls. The reasoning is once again the civil matter of domestic violence being a “family problem”. In conclusion, this simply alarming and terrifyingly eye opening subject matter I would like to suggest five areas in which we as a society and human beings could help in altering the violence. Not just on woman but on women, children and minorities as well.

    The first thing is the expression of violence is most commonly seen in the context of relationships. Secondly, current policies to address personal violence are outdated and superficial. Third, violence does not effect everyone equally-it is ingrained in cultural expressions of power and inequality. The fourth prevention of violence entails on the positive in the context of the relationships, not just focusing on individual weaknesses or deviance.

    And at last, youth are important resources and are part of the solution. I strongly believe in these five seemingly simply and yet necessary areas. Not as a way of solving the domestic problems of society today but as a way of depleting the number of cases of domestic violence each year until a suitable set of guidelines or standards can be developed. Work CitedBalos, Beverly and Fellow, Mary.

    Law and Violence Against Women: Cases and Materials on Systems of Oppression. New York: 1994Chan, Naomi. “Commission on Domestic Violence” (1997): June 3. 1997Http://www., Nancy. Domestic Violence Law: A comprehensive Overview of Cases and Sources.

    Austin: 1996Langely, Roger and Levy, Richard. Wife Beating: The Silent Crisis. New York: 1977Walker, John. Domestic Violence.

    New York: 1996

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