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Essay/Term paper: The problem of domestic violence

Essay, term paper, research paper:  College Essays

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The Problem of Domestic Violence

A problem has become known and to many, they feel that it's about time
that the general public has taken notice. This problem has been a taboo for
centuries and in the mid nineties it has chosen to let itself be known, the
problem that I am talking about is domestic violence, it has ruined families,
and demoralized the victims for years and now because of the "trial of the
century" we finally are allowed to discuss it in detail, without fear of
reprisal, now we get to familiarize ourselves with it and eventually after we
get to know all about it we can, through treatment, get rid of it. In this
paper, I will discuss problems with the so called epidemic of domestic violence.
This entire paper will be about domestic violence, and because of that I
feel it is important to note that "in most families men and women do not engage
in physically abusive behavior" (The Brown U.), but because the media feels that
it is their public duty to deceive us into believing that this problem is an
"epidemic" (Domestic V.) we feel that, that is the case. Webster's dictionary
defines epidemic as "a rapid spreading of a disease; to many people at the same
time", this is not the case with domestic violence, one it didn't just happen
overnight, it has just been popularized overnight, domestic violence has been
going on from as far back as anyone can remember and probably farther than that,
and two, this is not affecting many people at the same timem, because, as I've
stated before, "in most families men and women do not engage in physically
abusive behavior". If you as the reader gets anything out of this paper, it is
important to me as the writer, that you find that, while domestic violence is a
major problem for some families, it is by no means an epidemic.
The major reason domestic violence has become so widespread over the
last couple of years is because of the O. J. Simpson trial, as one person put it
"the O. J. Simpson case would do for domestic violence what Anita Hill did for
sexual harassment" (Domestic V.). The trial of the century brought a much
needed attention to a issue that for too long was pushed to the back burner;
domestic violence was a major issue in the case and it became evident, through
the mass publicity of the case, that women weren't crying wolf all these years,
because of "the murder of Nicole Brown ... the media would focus squarely on and
engage in an unprecedented and lengthy dialogue about the issue of domestic
violence" (Domestic V.), it seems to always take something tragic for us to
listen, but from this particular tragedy allot of good has come out of it and we
can take heart in the fact that Nicole Brown did not die in vain.
Why do men abuse in the first place? That question has allot more than
one answer to it and among them are "he might be under stress, he was beaten as
a child, he lost his job ..." (Domestic V. for B.), the possibilities are
endless, women or the abused has always look at these reasons as excuses for the
abusers to justify their doings, but sometimes men, or the abusers, have a
legitimate case in the reasons why they batter, some, not all, but some men
cannot help it, like the alcoholic who cannot stop drinking or the compulsive
gambler who can't stop gambling, an abuser hits because something clicked inside
of him when he was younger and now he can't stop. The reasons why someone might
find it appeasing to hit someone else is, he might of been raised in an abusive
household, maybe the abuser was abused, physically, or made to feel inferior by
someone else and now he is taking it out on the person who he feel he can beat,
his significant other. After all is said and done we must remember that the
ultimate choice to become an abuser was made by the person himself, but like the
alcoholic and the compulsive gambler with "intensive" treatment they can be
helped to control their problem.
It's weird and even sad that with "over 4 million domestic assaults on
women last year" (Domestic V. for B.) it took the O. J. Simpson trial to finally
illustrate the problem that some families have problems and a problem that
caused "2000-4000 women killed each year" (Family V.). When we as the public
started looking away from the trial itself and into abusive nature in people,
what we saw shocked us, it shocked us into realizing that for years the abused
has gone unheard, when we saw that "60% of women killed were killed by their
husbands or boyfriends" (Domestic V. for B.), it made both women and men feel
ashamed that for all these years we didn't listen to the cries of the abused.
In the past and today, when abused women wanted to seek help, the first
people that they contacted were the police, but before 1994 the police
departments across the nation took these calls "as low priority calls" (Family
V.), one of the reason was that police officers thought that domestic violence
was a family problem best dealt with within the framework of the family, but the
major reason was, it seemed that in almost all of domestic abuse case the
victims was the main protector of the abuser, "sometimes one or both spouses
told police that they had already resolved their problems" (Family V.). Police
officials and prosecutors had a hard time getting the perpetrators the proper
punishment and treatment they deserved because, whether out of love or out of
fear, women wouldn't press charges or testify against their spouses.
Before O. J. and all the hysteria that followed during and after the
trial, arguably the most dominant voice for women in the fight against domestic
violence was and probably still is, Dr. Lenor Walker. Through years of work in
her private psychotherapy practice she developed the theory of "battered women
syndrome" (Domestic V. for B.) in 1980, this theory gives us an understanding as
to why a woman who is being systemically beaten by her husband or boyfriend does
not leave the relationship right away or ever. The theory that Dr. walker came
up with has three stages, one "the tension building stage" (Domestic V.), this
stage consists of allot of minor verbal altercations and the next stage, "the
acute battering incident" (Domestic V.) stage is just an escalation of stage one,
it becomes more physical and most often "the abusers cannot stop even if the
woman is severally injured" (Domestic V. for B.) and finally the "love
contribution stage" (Domestic V.) or the "honeymoon period" (Domestic V.), this
is the stage that inevitably causes the woman to stay in the relationship, in
this stage the "abuser becomes at once charming, loving ... willing to do
anything to be forgiven" (Domestic V.); some speculate that "sometimes women
want to get to the honeymoon period so badly that they 'provoke' the violent
episode" (Domestic V. for B.). It is mainly because of this stage, the "love
contribution stage", that police and prosecutors had such a hard time getting
abusers locked up, the mistreated, more often than not, believed the abusers and
eventually decide to give them another chance.
The before mentioned cycle is one part of the "battered women syndrome",
the other part of Dr. Lenor Walker's theory is that after years of this cycle
and "because of years of repressed rage, rage she swallowed so that they
wouldn't get beaten, they can suddenly snap and become violent themselves"
(Domestic V. for B.). This violent rage against men from women, which sometimes
leads to the woman killing the man, has been going on for years, but it is only
until Dr. Walker came up with the theory in 1980 that we have an understanding
as to why.
We are well aware of the fact that women get abuse, but it might suprise
us that "approximately 2 million husbands compared to 1.8 million wives
experienced at least one or more serious forms of spousal abuse" (Domestic V.),I
understand that the punishment that a man can inflict on a woman is much greater
than what a woman can do to a man, but it is important for us to know that abuse
isn't as simple as, woman equals victim and man equals the evil abuser; numerous
researchers found that "when physical abuse does occur men are as likely to be
the victims as women" (The Brown U.). What most men find is that their in a
lose, lose situation, if they take the abuse, and report it, they are considered
"inferior" and if they fight back, because they are perceived as the aggressors,
they are the ones who get arrested. The solution for men, sadly will not come
anytime soon and if by chance it does, it will take a gender "swap" O. J Simpson
case, were the dead will be the ex-husband and his female friend and the accused
will be the former basketball player, current hall of famer / actress /
basketball commentator abusive ex-wife.
They're two major problem with the way we look at domestic violence, one,
which I have previously mentioned, is that men are always perceived as being the
abuser and two, the misrepresenting of facts that the media has sought to bring
to the public's eye, an example of this is that it is said that "4000 thousand
women are killed by their spouse every year" (Domestic V.), but at the same time
"in 1992 in a high risk group of women aged 18-34 there was a total of 702
fatalities" (Domestic V.), granted, one death due to domestic violence is one
death too much, but to exaggerate the fact by that great of an amount does the
cause of stopping domestic violence a great mis-justice. Another widely used
fact that no doubt is true, but the way that it is portrayed distorts the truth,
is that "at least one fifth of all emergency room visits by women are the
results of being beaten by men"(Domestic V. for B.), again, the striking blow
that the media pushes would be lost if they disclose the fact that this survey
was done in an "inner city population of Detroit" (Domestic V.), there's two
problems with that, one because the survey was done in an inner city, it cannot
be appropriately projected nationwide, just as if they were to do a survey in
Anchorage, Ak and say that nationwide, only 1 in 200 women in the emergency room
are there because of domestic violence; problem two is that the survey also
"includes men hit by women" (Domestic V.). Looking at the facts given out by
the media becomes less shocking when the entire story is analyzed and realized.
Because domestic violence has become such a well known problem, it has
become common knowledge that unless something is done, it will continue to be a
problem for families to deal with. Killing the abuser obviously isn't the
answer, and arresting the abuser might just be a short term solution, the way to
end domestic violence is to give treatment to those who need it, the problem is
that "most abusers don't believe that they have a problem ... or that there
isn't any reason to change"


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