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Essay/Term paper: Domestic violence in america

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Critical Essays

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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
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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