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Let’s talk about Domestic Violence

Posted Sep 29 2008 7:35pm

Since I posted my previous blog, I have been feeling it is important to explain a little bit about Domestic Violence.

Before I start, I need to beg all lonely women out there, do not cloud your judgement due to loneliness. Because the most dangerous thing women do is to c hoose a partner. I don’t want you to be paranoid and ruin the possibly good relationship. Just don’t ignore warning signs of violence and your gut feeling.

In this post, I will be mentioning the victims as ‘she’ because more than 95% of the victim is women. But please do not forget that male can be a victim as well.

 THE THREE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS TO REMEMBER WHEN YOU ARE IN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

1.    Trust Your Gut Feeling

o   It is possible that your family, friend, religious mentor would not believe your concern, and encourage you to stay in the relationship.

o   When you feel that something is wrong and/or fears for you and your children’s safety, trust your gut feeling. They are right.

2.    Make Safety Plan and Safety Exit Plan

o   Set up some safety plans for you and your children. It is important that you don’t let your partner see the plan.

§  Teach your children how to make emergency call.

§  Keep some money, house and car keys in your pocket.

§  Keep legal documents handy to take with you in a hurry. eg. you and children’s birth certificate, Centrelink reference number, medicines/prescriptions, and etc.

§  Try to remember phone number for Domestic Violence Support Centre. If you cannot memorise it, keep it in convenient spot, hidden away from your partner. (For people in Queensland, Australia, the number is 1800 811 811 )

o   Some of the safety tips.

§  Safety Tips by American Bar Association.

§  Safety Tips by American Bar Association summarised by Queensland Police Service

§  If you share a computer with your partner, make sure youdelete all records of activities from current session.

o   If you are in Domestic Violence, please leave as soon as possible. Longer you stay, more dangerous the situation becomes.

o   Leaving can be the most dangerous time. Make a safe exit plan before you act.

§  Consider the safe accommodation. Eg. Family’s place, friend’s place, women’s shelter, and etc.

§  Ask your family and friends if they could look after your pets while you are in women’s shelter. Significant number of women does not leave Domestic Violence because they concerns about safety and welfare of her pets. (In Australia, if you go to women’s shelter, RSPCA will look after your pets for up to 28 days with small cost. However, it can be very difficult to find an accommodation where you can keep your pets.)

§  Some partner starts stalking and/or harassing after the separation. It is advised not to give out new address and telephone numbers. If you have children, please contact Domestic Violence Support Centre for the best option for your case.

§  If you are concerned about leaving, contact Domestic Violence Support Centre. Women’s shelter can help you with children’s school, transport to school, social security issues, financial issues, legal issues, court procedures if required, house hunting and etc.

3.    Contact Domestic Violence Support Centre

o   For people in Queensland, Australia, the number is 1800 811 811. This is a toll free and the number will not show up on your telephone bill.

o   From my experience, they are very understanding and compassionate.

o   You do not have to prove to them that you are victim. They trust your gut feeling.

o   They will listen to your situation and give you advice and options. They will not force you to do anything, as decision has to be yours.

CYCLE OF THE VIOLENCE

The following information is copied from Queensland Police Service web page. The page from Fremantle: Domestic Violence Committee would be easier to understand.

***

Domestic violence is characterised by a number of stages and tends to be cyclical in nature. A graphic representation of this cycle is outlined below.

cycle-of-violence.jpg

Build-Up Phase Tension builds up in the perpetrator/respondent for any number of reasons - family pressures, work stress or the individual’s own thought patterns. Other individuals and couples will have a range of reactions to this tension which do not include violence, but in the abusive relationship it leads to the…

Stand-Over Phase Because of the perpetrator/respondent’s physical strength and/or realistic, frightening threats to hurt the victim/aggrieved, the aggrieved feels that they are held under the respondent’s control. Further verbal attacks reduce the self-esteem and self-confidence of the aggrieved. Frequently the aggrieved will not seek assistance during the early stages of ‘build-up’ and ’stand-over’, hoping that everything will be alright and believing that they will only aggravate the situation if they involve outsiders.

The Explosion and the Assault The assault is usually carried out in a fit of rage. After the assault the perpetrator enters the…

Remorse Phase One or both of the partners may feel guilty for what has occurred. They may even try to rationalise what has happened and so minimise its effects. Unfortunately the aggrieved may accept that they are the cause of the violence and blame themselves. This makes it easier for the respondent to rationalise their violent behaviour.

Pursuit Phase The perpetrator will try to buy back the victim, with gifts, promises or both. If this doesn’t work the respondent may revert to threats. However, many aggrieved succumb to this phase and move into the…

Honeymoon Phase Having come so close to separation and destruction, the parties cling to each other for comfort. This is often a time of intense intimacy where earlier difficulties are denied. During the ‘pursuit’ and ‘honeymoon’ phases, the aggrieved may seek the withdrawal of applications for orders and show animosity towards persons attempting to assist. Unfortunately, the cycle inevitably continues as the relationship, still bearing all its original problems, weakens again under the growing weight of tensions.Research has indicated that the phases outlined in the cycle constitute a common pattern to domestic violence. However, it is important to realise that not all stages of the domestic violence cycle are necessarily applicable to all perpetrators/respondents and every situation, i.e. stages may be skipped altogether, or movement may occur back and forth between stages. Periods of time in which cycles are completed may also vary for different individuals and different circumstances. Unfortunately, research has also shown that the cycles tend to become more frequent and more violent (even fatal) unless early and effective intervention is made.

Last updated 09/12/2005  

FORMS OF VIOLENCE

The following information is copied fromDomestic Violence Prevention Centre Gold Coast.

***

Abusein relationships can take many forms and ranges from physical attacks to emotional abuse. Whatever its form, violence has its roots in distorted power relations. Abusive behaviours could include:

Fear:is a key element in domestic violence and is often the most powerful way a perpetrator controls his victim. Fear can be created by looks, gestures, possession of weapons (even when they may not have been used), destruction of property, cruelty to pets – or any behaviour which can be used to intimidate and render the other person powerless.

Intimidation:includes harassing her at her workplace either by persistent phone calls or text messages, following her to and from work, or loitering near work. It could also include smashing things, destroying her property, putting a fist through the wall, handling of guns or other weapons, intimidating body language (angry looks, raised voice), hostile questioning, reckless driving.

Verbal abuse: includes screaming, shouting, put-downs, name-calling, sarcasm, ridiculing her for her religious beliefs or ethnic background.

Physical Abuse:Physical violence can range from a lack of consideration for physical comfort to permanent damage or death. It could include such behaviour as pushing, shoving, hitting, slapping, choking, hair-pulling, punching etc. and may or may not involve the use of weapons. It could also be threats to, or actually destroying prized possessions.

Emotional Abuse:Abusing the woman by deliberately undermining her confidence, leading her to believe she is insane, stupid, ‘a bad mother’ or useless. This type of abuse humiliates, degrades and demeans the victim. Threats include those to harm them or someone else, threats to take the children, to commit suicide. Behavior can include silence and withdrawal.

Social Abuse: This behaviour includes isolation from social networks, verbal or physical abuse in public or in front of friends.

Economic Abuse:Domestic violence can include economic abuse which results in the victim being financially dependent on their partner. She may be denied access to money, including her own, demanding that she and her children live on inadequate resources. These can be contributing factors for women becoming ‘trapped’ in violent relationships.

Sexual Abuse: Sexual assault is an act of violence, power and control. It can include many behaviours including forced sexual contact, rape, forcing her to perform sexual acts that cause pain or humiliation, forcing her to have sex with others, causing injury to sexual organs.

Controlling Behaviours:Controlling what she does, who she sees and talks to, where she goes, keeping her from making any friends, talking to her family, or having any money. Preventing her from going to work, not allowing her to express her own feelings or thoughts, not allowing her any privacy, forcing her to go without food or water. Not allowing cultural, religious or personal freedom. Controlling behaviours are often linked to jealousy. 

Separation Violence and/or Stalking:Stalking can involve various activities such as loitering and following, receiving persistent telephone calls and mail, and being watched. To be classified as stalking, more than one type of behaviour has to occur, or the same type of behaviour has to occur on more than one occasion.

Spousal Homicide:Research indicates that 25% to 31% of homicides in Australia involve either spouses or sexual intimates (Esteal, 1993).

EXAMPLE OF VIOLENCE

Most of us know that physical or emotional, any form of violence cause serious damage to the victim. But have you ever thought about just “refusing to pay household bill” can be a sign of violence? It all depends on the cases. TRUST YOUR GUT FEELING, if you are not sure. Contact Domestic Violence Support Centre, and they will listen to your concerns and give you some advice and options if you request.

The followings are some of example of violence also copied fromDomestic Violence Prevention Centre Gold Coast.

***

Has your partner ever:

  • Accused you of having affairs or being sexual with others?
  • Acted like you are a possession that can be owned?
  • Smashed your belongings or broken things around the house?
  • Punched holes in the walls or doors?
  • Blamed you for his anger and violence, saying it was your fault?
  • Monitoring or limiting your phone calls, conversations and emails?
  • Checked the mileage on the car to see if he can work out where you have been     or who you have seen?
  • Threatened to leave you or told you to leave?
  • Kept you from seeing family and friends?
  • Taken away your money or controlled how you spend it?
  • Refused to pay household bills, or give any money towards them?
  • Called you fat or ugly, or made you feel bad about the way you look?
  • Said that you were “asking for it” after physically hitting or abusing you?
  • Taken away the keys to the car from you?
  • Used the children to threaten you. For example, told you that you would lose  custody or never see the children again?
  • Has, or threatened to, hurt the children, pets, a friend or members of your  family?
  • Made you do something very humiliating or degrading?
  • Insisted you dress more or less sexually than you want?
  • Called you a whore, slut or other derogatory names?
  • Made you have sex after emotional or physical abuse or when you are sick?
  • Made you beg for sexual affection or attention?
  • Threatened to turn you into Centrelink, Taxation Department or other authorities?
  • Tried to control and confuse you with lies?
  • Has he denied all responsibility for his behaviour?
  • Pushed, shoved or pulled you?
  • Slapped, kicked or punched you?
  • Thrown objects at you?
  • Spat or urinated on you?

NEED MORE INFORMATION?

The information I displayed here don’t cover whole Domestic Violence issues. If you are in Australia, and your family consists of mother, a sister and a daughter who all had been or be in relationship, one of you, including you have experienced Domestic Violence. It is that common, but you may not notice it. So I feel it is very important for us to open our eyes and ears.

Not all Domestic Violence is something like you watch on TV dramas. However, victims has been murdered, physically injured or emotionally scarred. Survivors are battling with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, self-esteem issues and all sorts of depression for a very very long time. Do not forget children who were also involved or witnessed the Domestic Violence. It is important to give them support and education. I read it from somewhere that more than 60% of boys are likely to become abusers and more than 60% of girls are likely to become victims when they grow up.

I only started learning about Domestic Violence. So my knowledge is not much. If you would like to add more advice and/or information, I will always appreciate it.

Followings are some of the websites give you more information about Domestic Violence. Some of the sites have links to other information.

·         Queensland Police Service

·         Domestic Violence Prevention Centre, Gold Coast

·         City of Fremantle: Domestic Violence Committee

·         Mayo Clinic; Domestic Violence toward women: Recognize the patterns and seek help

·         Home Sweet Home: A blog about crime within relationship.

·         And of course, you can Google.

  

Thank you for your time and attention.

Filed under: Domestic Violence

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