Thursday, October 4, 2012

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month- Unit

What is domestic violence?
-abuse in a family or household
-Physical, sexual, psychological, economic

Anyone can become a victim of domestic violence. Abuse occurs in all racial, ethnic, economic, religious age groups and across the lifespan.

Violence against women is about control, domination, and a lack of respect.

Once a person begins a pattern of hitting a partner, the violence usually gets worse (more frequent and more severe).

Power and Control Wheel:

Discuss the "Myths and Facts about Domestic Violence" handout.

How common is domestic violence?
Wisconsin loses an average of one person every week due to domestic violence.

Every nine seconds a woman is abused in the United States. 

One in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.

The majority of family violence victims are female. Females are 84% of spousal abuse victims and 86% of the abuse victims at the hands of a boyfriend.

Battering is the single major cause of injury to women, exceeding rapes, muggings, and car accidents combined.

A woman has a higher probability of being attacked in the home than a police officer has of being attacked on the job.

Fifty percent of all homeless women and children in this country are fleeing domestic violence.Sheehan, Myra A. (1993). An Interstate Compacton Domestic Violence: What are the Advantages?@Juvenile and Family Justice Today, 1(4):12-13,19.

Violence against women harms all women. (Climate of fear)

Has domestic violence always existed?

Violence is learned.

Result of how we set up societies...hierarchies
Women as second-class citizens
History of laws and lack of enforcement ("Rule of Thumb")

In the United States, the legal right of men to batter their wives wasn't rescinded until 1871.

Canadian law didn't recognize marital rape as a crime until 1983.
(Estimated that at least one in seven husbands rape their wives.)

What is its cause?

(Institutions in society- media, legal, government, etc.) trivializing the problem of violence against women and children.

Women and children have historically been viewed as property. Women and children historically denied rights. Objectification of women in the media. Glorification of violence in the media. People have become desensitized to violence.

Attitudes about family (private matter) Discuss the study in which 65% college students intervened when they thought they were overhearing strangers and only 19% when they thought the couple was married.

Attitudes about women...misogyny ("a wife, a dog, a walnut tree: the more you hit them, the better they be."

Brainstorm examples (government officials, movies, music videos, video games, song lyrics, advertisements, court cases, laws...)

Reasons abusers give for battering:
"She provoked me."
"I was abused as a child."
"I was drunk."
"I didn't hit her."
"I hate women. They need to be slapped around to keep them in line."

Discuss the handout "Signs to look for in a battering personality."

Why do people stay in abusive relationships?
-Hope things will change
-religious beliefs
-don't want to disrupt children's lives/separate children from father
-fear of repercussions (put family and friends in danger)
-no financial resources to leave
-no place to go
-fear that leaving will make the abuser angrier
--fear the abuser will follow/terrorize the victim
-belief that if she stays, she can "control" the abuse (keep him calm)

Fact: Most battered women have tried to leave. Most extreme violence (murder) against women occurs after the woman has left.  

Costs of domestic violence:

Boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners and children when they become adults.

Children who witness violence at home display emotional and behavioral disturbances as diverse as withdrawal, low self-esteem, nightmares, and aggression against peers, family members and property. (Peled, E., Jaffe, P.G. & Edleson, J.L. (Eds.) Ending the Cycle of Violence: Community Responses to Children of Battered Women. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 1995.)

The cost of intimate partner violence exceeds $5.8 billion each year. ($4.1 billion of which is direct medical and mental health services.)

What can we do about this problem? 
Education-Raise awareness
Domestic Violence Facts:

Pressure on government officials
Contacting members of Congress:

Safety Plans, Restraining Orders
Get help (phone numbers):
Safety Plans: 
Restraining Orders in Wisconsin (Information):
Process for obtaining a restraining order in Wisconsin:

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