Domestic Violence | Dark Side of Humanity

Domestic Violence.
Dark side of Humanity: Domestic Violence. 

Domestic Violence 

Stories of human cruelty and exploitation are archived in historical documents dating back to ancient times; however, among the salvage, and shocking historical accounts of slavery and genocide, there exist multiple accounts of jaw-dropping atrocities committed against the vulnerable. Let history serve as a reminder to contemporary people. The question then arises," are we brutish beast by nature, or are we civilized?  Do we truly have the ability to love our neighbors as we love our self's?" 

Domestic Violence and History

Domestic violence has left a dark stain on the history of humanity, and it continues to be a fixture in societies today. 

Domestic violence at one point in the history of the world was largely accepted and justified, but even more so for suspected or actual infidelity mainly due to gender inequality.

In many societies within the context of heterosexual relations, one's wife was considered one's property; therefore, if a man beat his wife, he was merely exercising property rights. The act of wife-beating was sanctioned and not publicly scrutinized. English law granted husbands the right to moderate correction during the eighteen century.

The man of the house was held responsible for the conduct of everyone in his household. Therefore, he had the authority to moderately correct his spouse under English law.

Domestic Violence is against the law

However, when it was believed that a man was overstepping his authority, the act was viewed as criminal in nature and the corporate had to appear before a court magistrate. The infraction was more time than not viewed as a misdemeanor punishable by a fine.

Rule of Thumbs is a phrase that has been associated with domestic violence and an archaic body of  English law. The rule of thumb, according to some historians, has no true roots in England's legal history. Yet, the phrase has been used in commentaries and in association with English law and domestic violence. The rule of thumbs asserts that a man may use a stick or a rod approximately the same as the size of his thumb, but that rule didn't exist.

Women and Men can be Abused

It is a statistical fact that women are more likely than men to become victims of domestic violence and abuse.

However, men experience domestic violence and abuse and according to some reports, at an alarming rate. 

What is Domestic Abuse?

Hold on a minute!" What is Domestic Violence and abuse?

Domestic violence and abuse occur within the confines of a domestic setting when one person violently assaults or abuses another. 

Domestic violence and abuse, sometimes referred to as intimate partner violence, usually is a means to gain power and control over the other. 

Intimate partner violence can occur at all social-economic levels and can concern heterosexual relations as well as same-sex relations. 

Therefore, no one is completely immune to the potential of experiencing domestic violence.

Experts cite the following as warning signs of domestic violence:

  • Insulting, or shaming you with put-downs in front of others, for example," You're dumb! You will never be anything! I do not see you making it in life! 
  • Displaying jealousy of friends. They don't want you to spend time with friends or family
  • Intimidation through violence, guns, knives, and threats. 
  • Undermine all of your efforts, for example," You're not good enough to get promoted." 
  • Controls funds and resources. For example, I once knew this guy whom, during deployment to field exercises, he would make sure his spouse had only the bare minimum to survive, did not leave any transportation or money, and forbid her to leave the house unless she was with him. 
  • Threatens to put you out and onto the street.
  • Threatens to end your life, for example," If I can't have you, want nobody have you!!!"
  • Blames you for his or her violent behaviors and tells you," you deserve it." 
  • Blames you for his or her drug and alcohol abuse. 
  • Blames you for his or her abuse towards the kids. 
Abuse cycle

The abuse cycle

Initially, you find yourself attracted to a seemingly nice and aesthetically pleasing person. You may come to the conclusion that you're both sexually and physically attracted to one another. Maybe it's the way they move or the way he/she smells.  

He/she appears to be the cat's meow; you fall in love days go by, months pass, and turn into years. 

Two or three kids later; as you sit on the side of the bed gazing into the mirrored chest, a striking image appears; a reflection of a stranger who seems vaguely familiar unable to flee, frozen in horror gasping for air. 

In a panic, you try to yell, but nothing comes out. you become increasingly aware of your own mortality; you notice similarities between a younger you and the crude effigy. 

Bruises and scars now take up residence where youth and beauty once resided.  Experts posit the existence of an abuse cycle. 

Tension building

The abuse cycle consists of four stages.

1) Tension building:

During the tension-building phase, pressure begins to build like a volcano. Just before it erupts, the victim begins to sense an impending unfathomable catastrophe. 

The stress of day-to-day life began to exert a negative effect on the abuser.

The following are examples of common triggers: 
  • financial issues, 
  • disagreements, 
  • infidelity, 
  • lack of trust, 
  • issues surrounding children, 
  •  pressures at work. 

Chronic and, or cumulative stress, if not managed, can lead to cataclysmic events in relationships. Abuse and neglect have become commonplace. 

In the tension-building phase, the victim or would-be victim tries to reduce tension by becoming accommodating and considerate. At times the abused person intentionally tries to bait the aggressor into conflict to hasten the inevitable.

2) Acute Violence:

An eruption of physical and verbal abuse constitutes the acute violence phase of the abuse cycle. The release of restraint and energy reduces tensions. The aggressor often makes statements like,” look what you made me do!!! You had it coming to you!” 

3) Reconciliation:

I like to refer to this phase as the honeymoon phase. In the reconciliation phase, the abuser feels a sense of remorse and guilt, and out of fear of persecution by the law and of moral judgment by family, friends, acquaintances, and peers, the abuser becomes apologetic. 

The abuser may say something like, 

"Please don't leave me. I love you. I am going to get professional help with my anger." 

" I do not know what I would do If I lost you and the kids, oh God what have I done?!!"

Domestic violence
Love Shouldn't hurt

4) Calm: 

During this phase, the batterer becomes apologetic and asks for forgiveness. 

The abuser may purchase presents for the victim and become hypersexual and romantic, creating the perfect environment and ambiance. 

However, eventually, the cycle starts over with the tension-building phase. 

During the calm phase, the relationship approaches what would seem to be a normal healthy relationship.

Why are some people at a greater risk of becoming abusive?

It should come as no surprise that individuals of low social-economic standing are at greater risk of experiencing violent crimes. 

Research shows that there exists a positive correlation between poverty and increased crime rates, psycho-semantic illness, and lack of resources and opportunities. 

Absolute poverty refers to a condition in which individuals lack the sustenance or resources needed to survive; for example, the following: 
  • food, 
  • suitable drinking water, 
  • and access to health care.

 Relative poverty refers to a comparison of resources between people or social classes. 

Therefore relative poverty is culturally driven and defined. 

It is my belief that as a result of an uneven distribution of wealth or inequality, resource, opportunities, and or barrier that prevents or limit upward social and economic mobility, people of low social standing or who live in poverty-stricken communities are at greater risk of developing mental health-related issues.

Children who are exposed to domestic violence

Children who are exposed to domestic violence.

Children who are exposed to domestic violence often experience emotional and psychological trauma. They are at greater risk of displaying aggressive behaviors, acting out, and becoming socially withdrawn. 

People adopt their values, beliefs, and sense of morality from individuals who are near and dear to them. 

Parents model behaviors and mannerisms to their children. Therefore, children who are exposed to domestic violence learn that they can get what they want through intimidation and violence. 

Children reared in families where they see men disrespecting women learn that it is okay to disrespect females or others whom they perceive vulnerable or weaker. 

Individuals who are exposed to domestic violence are not predestined to become abusers; however, it is my belief that children who are exposed to domestic violence may be at greater risk of becoming abusive.

Why do some people stay in abusive relationships?

Many regard Abraham Maslow as the father of humanistic psychology due to his groundbreaking work within the paradigm of humanistic psychology, which focuses on human motivation toward satisfying physiological, psychological, and social needs and the drive toward self-actualization.

Maslow's Hierarchy
Maslow's Hierarchy

Maslow's hierarchy of needs is depicted as a pyramid with the most basic of human needs physiological needs positioned at the bottom of the pyramid. Physiological needs are related to survival, for example, food, water, air, and shelter. 

Needs are generally satisfied, beginning at the base of the hierarchical structure. Moslow posits that some needs take priority over others, and once one need is satisfied, we move on to the next one. 

There are five tiers in Maslow's hierarchy

  • physiological needs, 
  • safety needs, 
  • love and belongingness needs, 
  • esteem needs and
  • the need for self-actualization.  

According to Maslow, the order does not always follow the same pattern. 

For some people, esteem needs may take president over love. 

Therefore, one need may supersede another. 

In cases of domestic violence, one might say that esteem needs, belongingness, and love needs may supersede safety needs. 

Take, for example, a woman with kids who is in an abusive relationship and feels she is financially dependent on her husband. She would sacrifice her safety for financial stability and to maintain the family structure. 

Author: Gregory M. Green is a Rehab Therapist. He is also the author of various topics in the Social Sciences section of Inveigle MagazineHe writes on informative topics that bring awareness to the world. We are so pleased to have him as a part of Inveigle Magazine's Team. Follow us on Twitter. Follow me on LinkedIn. View more articles by Gregory M. Green

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