Deterrent Effects of Male Domestic Violence Offenders

Effects of Male Domestic Violence Offenders
Buzawa & Buzawa (2003) stated that until the start of the 20[th] century, women hand very few rights. They were considered part of the properties that men owned and were not free to engage in varied activities. Buzawa & Buzawa (2003) claimed that back in the day, laws such as the “English Feudal law reinforced both the concept of male property rights over women and the right of men to beat their spouses”. Women were not viewed as adults and as people who could be autonomous but rather as children who were part of property that spelled out social status (Buzawa & Buzawa, 2003). This began changing with increased activism on women`s rights. Dutton (2011) stated that the rise in feminism has considerably contributed to the “ending of social oppression for women”. Even with the reduced instances of violence against women, there are men who still attack their partners violently.
McCue (2008) stated that domestic violence against women can take many forms including sexual abuse and battering. Even so, domestic violence is more understood in the context of wife battering (McCue, 2008). Stover (2005) claimed that data from the bureau of statistics showed that about 692,957 women were battered in 2001 only. Out of those who were victims of domestic abuse, 1,247 died while 691, 710 did not die. This shows that the violence against women only has a staggeringly high figure. McCue (2008) stated that most men who batter their wives do so because they feel the need to be in control and to have the power of say and action in all that happens around their homes, their spouses and other situations. This research outlines the effects on male domestic offenders on different parties involved including the women, the children, the society, their families, themselves and other stakeholders who may be involved.
McCue (2008) outlined a number of ways in which women are affected by male domestic violence offenders. McCue (2008) outlined negative psychological effects as rampant among women who are victims of domestic violence. McCue (2008) noted that psychological problems are the reason why women get through and survive domestic violence even when it takes place recurrently. Low self esteem is noted as a product of domestic violence. Women stop feeling that they are worthy and lack confidence in themselves and in what they do. Similar sentiments are also shared by Stover (2005) and Buzawa & Buzawa (2003). Women not only lose their self esteem but also end up feeling generally traumatized emotionally and this may result to depression (Buzawa & Buzawa, 2003).
Buzawa & Buzawa (2003) stated that women who are battered also stand higher risks of experiencing other medical problems linked to battering including psychosocial problems, increased risks of rape, abortion, miscarriage, drugs and alcohol abuse, increased chances of suicide and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). McCue (2008) also mentioned PTSD as one of the negative effects experienced by women as a result of domestic violence. McCue (2008) noted that PTSD leads to undesirable experiences, characteristics and behaviors among women who are abused domestically including re-experiencing the violent episodes, intrusive flashbacks, avoidance, hypersensitivity and other symptoms. Buzawa & Buzawa (2003) went on to note that the suicide statistics for women who are battered are higher by 5% compared to the statistics of the general population. Buzawa & Buzawa (2003) claim the psychological effects of domestic violence are considered far much worse than the physical ones.
McCue (2008) also stated that women who are battered end up experiencing what is termed as the “Stockholm Syndrome”. This refers to attachment to the perpetrator of violence and the perception of people trying to help as the enemies. They end up feeling that their survival is threatened without the batterer, that they cannot escape, that the abuser is kind to them and they become isolated from other people (Mc Cue, 2008). McCue (2008) also noted that women who are violently abused end up “acting crazy and exhibiting bizarre behavior”. Other effects on women include denial, anger, minimization, nightmares, dissociation and shock (McCue, 2008).
McCue (2008) highlighted learned helplessness as another negative effect suffered by women due to violent abuse. McCue (2008) noted that when women are violently abused, they “develop distorted perceptions of reality”. McCue (2008) outlined several defense mechanisms used by women when they are being battered and these include denial, minimizing, dissociation and splitting the mind from the body. They feel helpless and these mechanisms eventually harm their psychological well being.
Physical harm stands out as another effect of domestic violence. Buzawa & Buzawa (2003) claim domestic violence has led to physical harm to many women. While occurrences such as miscarriage may be caused by psychological dispositions, there are instances when women are led to miscarry by the beatings they receive from their husbands. In instances when women are not pregnant, physical harm is limited to them and may end up crippling them and in turn reducing their quality of life. Physical harm can go a notch higher by leading to death because as noted earlier on in this research, McCue (2008) stated that women die in some cases of domestic abuse.
McCue (2008) noted that in the United States, many studies have pointed out that the number of children who witness domestic violence is between 3.3 million and 10 million. McCue (2008) claimed that 8.4 million is however considered to be the average number outlined by the U.S. department of justice. McCue (2008) went on to note that among the children who witness domestic violence, “80-90 % of them are aware of what is happening”. McCue (2008) also noted that between “1993 and 1998, 45% of women who were violently abused at home lived in households that had children who were less than 12 years old. These statistics are vital to discussions on the impacts of domestic violence on children because they show the possible magnitudes of those effects (McCue, 2008).
Children are affected by male domestic violence offenders in several dimensions just as women are including physically, psychologically and emotionally. McCue (2008) noted that domestic violence against women is a predicator to child abuse. In most instances, when men abuse their partners, they end up turning to their children too. McCue (2008) noted that a national survey that was carried out by the U.S. Department of justice showed that “50% of men who assaulted their wives also abused their children. This means that the more a woman is abused the more likely it is for the children to suffer similar abuse. While the children may be abused and get harmed physically when being offended, there are instances when they get hurt by items that may be flung around when their fathers are battering their mothers (McCue, 2008). Their fathers may throw things around to hurt their mothers, to get them out of the way or due to anger and children may get hurt in the process. Their mothers on the other hand may throw things such as furniture and other household appliances in self defense (McCue, 2008).
McCue (2008) also noted that children whose mothers are violently abused also stand the chance of being abused by their mothers. When women are assaulted, they often look for avenues to let out the immense anger that they may be feeling and anger directed at their children may be the immediate option. They may also discipline their children too intensely as a way of placating the barterer. This is done unintentionally in many instances because the women may just be acting in line with their psychological distresses (McCue, 2008).
Children may also not receive the much needed attention from their mothers and fathers in case their mothers are being battered. Both parents and especially mothers may end up being unreceptive and unresponsive to their children and their needs and this may affect their well being. These experiences are bound to lead to psychological instability according to McCue (2008). Children may end up experiencing many nightmares, withdrawal, hyper vigilance, self blame, and regression in development, being temperamental, depression, low self esteem, PTSD and other problems (McCue, 2008). Stover (2005) stated that some of the negative effects are however commoner among children who are younger such as preschoolers and these include behavioral problems in school and other settings.
McCue (2008) stated that when children grow into teenagers and have been witnessing and experiencing domestic violence, they end up learning at slower paces and may turn out to be problematic at the school level and the community level. This is because they are more likely to end up engaging in activities such as “drugs and alcohol abuse, they may run away from home and juvenile delinquency”.
McCue (2008) also noted that when children who were witnesses to domestic violence grow up, they are more likely to engage in acts of aggression and domestic violence. This is especially the case for male children. They perceive domestic violence as part of what ought to be done and are receptive towards it. On the other hand, female children are likely to endure domestic violence in case they end up in abusive relationships. Male children may act in domineering ways and may not be accommodating to the different gender roles and social norms (McCue, 2008). Buzawa & Buzawa (2003) support these views and claim that the reason why children end up reenacting the scenes of violence they witnessed and experienced when they were young is because they feel that they are in better positions to be victimizers and not the victimized.
Families are also affected negatively by male domestic violence offenders. Dutton (2011) claimed that families are affected negatively when the men in them violently abuse women. This is attributed to several concepts with the first one being loss of “family honor” (Dutton, 2011). When people come from families that are characterized by violence they do not receive the same honor as people who come from families that are peaceful and functional. This means that people from the community may begin to shun families because of their “bad” characteristics.
Dutton (2011) went on to outline that the second level at which the families are affected is increased divorce. Dutton (2011) noted that one of the greatest consequences of extensive violence against wives is divorce because it forms a solid ground for the same. Male domestic violence therefore threatens the basic structure of society and reduces prospects of family development and growth in future.
On a larger scale, male domestic violence offenders affect social order according to McCue (2008). The family is a social component and whatever happens at that level affects what happens to societies on a larger scale. As noted earlier on in this research, children who witness domestic violence or experience it are bound to end up being drunkards, drug abusers, juvenile delinquents and are bound to showcase problematic behaviors. These are behaviors that are not only dealt with by their parents and immediate families but also by other members of the society such as neighbors, teachers and others (McCue, 2008). McCue (2008) noted that in view of this, feminists have noted the role male domestic violence continues in promoting inequality in the society and the subdual of women in society.
Buzawa & Buzawa (2003) claimed that male offenders bring about deterrent effects to themselves too. They state that male domestic offenders stand higher chances of getting fired from their office positions because most companies and organizations do not wish to be associated with them especially when they tarnish their reputations and underperform. Buzawa & Buzawa (2003) also noted that men who act violently towards their partners are highly likely to get arrested numerous times. Their arrests may arise from violence against their spouses and in some instances as a result of aggression in other settings. This means that they are more likely to live disrupted lives and to stay under the police radar for other crimes (Buzawa & Buzawa (2003). Another negative determent lies in finances. This is related to employment because when men get fired they are more likely to slip into financial crisis. This also affects their families because they may not be well placed to provide for them. Finances also affect other involved parties because there may be instances when new shelter, moving expenses, medical cover and child support may have to fall on other people`s shoulders including relatives, government and other stakeholders (Buzawa & Buzawa,, 2003).
The above discussions lead to the conclusion that male domestic violence is a grave form of misconduct. It is deterrent to the development of children, to the physical and psychological well being of women and children, to the family as a social structure, to the perpetrators themselves and other stakeholders. When men engage in domestic violence, they disturb social order and deter themselves and other parties from leading normal and healthy lives. This justifies the efforts that have been put in place to ensure women do not suffer from domestic violence. When women are protected from domestic violence, the children, families and societies are protected. The statistics outlined at the beginning of the research are cause for alarm because it means that there are very high chances of varied parties getting affected negatively by male domestic violence. Leahman & Simmons (2009) suggested that male domestic violence offenders should be taken through ordered treatment in the form of therapy to ensure that the “destructive cycle of domestic violence is ended”.
Buzawa, E. & Buzawa, C. (2003). Domestic Violence: A Criminal Justice Response. London: SAGE.
Dutton, D. (2011). Rethinking Domestic Violence. Vancouver: UBC Press.
Leahman, P. & Simmons, C. (2009). Strengths-Based Batterer Intervention: A New Paradigm in Ending Family Violence. New York: Springer Publishing Company.
McCue, M (2008). Domestic Violence: A Reference Book. Santa Barbra: ABC-CLIO.
Stover, C. (2005). Domestic Violence Research: What Have We Learned and Where do we go from here? Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 20, 448-456.