INTRODUCTION Spousal Abuse is a rising issue today in the United States. Spousal Abuse affects individuals of all social classes and gender and both males and females are victims of spousal abuse. Abuse of men is not a topic commonly known or discussed in our society as easily as abuse of females for various reasons. However it is a topic that needs to be examined so men who are being abused know they are not alone and society treats it as problem and not over look it. Bedsides the individuals directly involved it also affects children, other family members and friends that surround them.
More than five million people are battered every year alone in the United States. (Business Wire) It is estimated each year violence occurs in sixteen percent of all relationships. Both American and Canadian wives have reported to be more likely to physically assault their husbands than for their husbands to assault them. (Mills) In California one third of all murders of women are a result of domestic dispute. Six percent of spousal abuse is severe involving some of the following: kicking, biting, beating and attacks with a gun or a knife. (Gross) Twenty five percent of victims require medical treatment.
(Business Wire) Between forty and sixty percent of men who abuse their wives also abuse their children. (Issues and Controversies) WHAT IS SPOUSAL ABUSE? There is a wide range of definitions for spousal abuse. The literal meaning of spouse is a husband, wife or a common law partner. (Spousal Abuse) The following definition is compiled from various sources to better define it. Spousal Abuse is abuse of spouse or partner in a relationship in which the two people are dating, married or living together; abuse may be physical, mental or emotional or sexual. physical abuse Physical Abuse may begin with minor acts and later on escalate to more serious acts upon the victim.
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The results of these acts may lead to marks and / or injuries that may be in need of medical treatment. (Jacobs) The most common forms of physical abuse are striking acts, throwing or destroying property, control or choking acts, repeated beating using objects and humiliation violence. (Wallace) Striking acts are when the abuser may strike various with an open or closed hand to various parts of the body. Throwing or destroying property is when the abuser may throw various objects at the spouse or go on a rampage and destroy household property. Control or choking acts allow the abuser to show control and beg for mercy. Repeated beating-using objects are the use of objects during an assault, using the same object allows the abuser to completely control the victim.
Finally humiliation violence is the abuser will require the victim to assume certain positions for the imposition of violence. (Wallace) emotional abuse There are various forms of emotional abuse but they all contribute to the victim as feeling helpless and inability. One form of emotional abuse is verbal dominance. Meaning the victims opinions, feelings and thoughts carry no weight and are pretty much meaningless. A second form of emotional abuse is isolation, this occurs when the abuser limits the victims access to money, use of the car and other normal activities. The abuser also talks negatively about friends and family making it uncomfortable to maintain outside relationships.
A third form of emotional abuse is guilt, this occurs when the abuser blames the spouse for his / her assaultive behavior with rationale, after a period of time the spouse blames self for the battering. A fourth form is fear; the abuser threatens harm to spouse, family or friends in order to stay in control of a situation. Finally a fifth form of spousal abuse is humiliation, this is when the abuser may put down the spouse in front of children, family and friends. (Wallace) child sexual Abuse">sexual abuse Sexual abuse is abuse of a partner forcing to have sex against their will, making a person perform sexual acts that they find degrading or forcing a woman to risk pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases. Among these there are three forms of sexual abuse.
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One being battering rape this is when there is a continuation of battering behavior. The second form is force only rape occurs in a relationship where there is little or no types of violence. Finally the third is obsessive rape this involves preoccupation with sex this includes a desire for unusual sexual activity. (Mignon) SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF SPOUSAL ABUSE There are various signs and symptoms of spousal abuse.
The physical signs of spousal abuse tend to be more obvious to the eye that emotional or sexual abuse. Some signs of physical abuse are as follows: bone fractures, bruises, cuts, head injuries, gunshot wounds, stabbing wounds, burns, headaches, abdominal pain, pelvic pain, frequent use of pain medication, sexual dysfunction, dizziness, alcohol or drug abuse, self injury, fatigue, palpitations and gastrointestinal problems. (Jacobs) Seventy five percent of women in abusive relationships receive battering to the face or the head. (New Smile) Some signs of emotional abuse are: depression, feelings of anxiety, low self-esteem, post traumatic stress disorder, divorce, separation, missed appointments, vulnerable, maladaptive attribution style and lack of independence. (Jacobs) Sexual abuse signs pretty much can only be determined if victim seeks medical treatment. TREATMENT FOR INJURY Victims’ of spousal abuse who are physically hurt need to be treated medically.
Medical treatment is performed at a doctor’s office or at the emergency room. If injuries are visible then pictures can be taken if the victim has decided to press charges. Thirty seven percent of these women who receive medical help report being a survivor of child sexual abuse and twenty nine percent report having been sexually assaulted as an adult. (Medical College of Wisconsin) Victims of emotional abuse need treatment in counseling and psychiatric treatment. These treatments may include psychotherapy, group therapy, job, welfare, housing assistance and medicine.
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(Domestic Violence) However these treatments will only be effective if victim wants them to work not if he or she is forced into it. EFFECTS ON CHILDREN Children who witness spousal abuse tend to exhibit a wide range of emotional and behavioral problems. Some of these problems include anti-social and aggressive behavior, fearful and inhibited behavior, high anxiety, low self-esteem, depression and even suicide. Children who witness abuse are more likely to abuse in their own adult relationships. (Issues and Controversies) Abused children are arrested by the police four times more than non abused children. (Medical College of Wisconsin) WOMEN ARE NOT THE ONLY ONES BEING ABUSED! Although it seems surprising to say but women are not being the only ones abused.
Their wives and girlfriends today in North America abuse men almost as much as women. Of every one hundred families two experience severe husband to wife violence but about four experience severe wife to husband violence. (Mills) It was found that Black husbands are at a greater risk of spousal homicide victimization’s than Black wives or White spouses of either sex. (Gross) Women are as likely as men to initiate physical violence and they have similar motives for their nonviolent acts.
(Gross) Abuse and violence are behavior chosen by women to cause physical, sexual or emotional damage and worry or fear. (Recognizing the Signs) Since this is not a problem viewed in society there is little research done on it. There are three general reasons why women strike out at men. One is simply in self-defense, two retaliatory aggressions and three is the woman simply has a violent nature and reasonless behavior. Men like women suffer the same results of spousal abuse; shame, loss of power, fear and embarrassment. (Rempel) WHAT EXACTLY IS MALE BATTERY? Male Battery is any violent behavior between adults in an intimate, sexual or relationships.
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(Rempel) It is essentially the same as female battery except the obvious difference of gender. RESULTS OF MALE BATTERY For males the primary response to victimization from a female is shame and the marginalizing his masculinity or makes him feel as though he is less of a man. (Rempel) Other common responses to male battery is the experience of fear, bewilderment, the feeling of riding an emotional roller coaster that they can not escape, feeling sad, depressed, humiliated, exhausted and constant worry of their future. (Recognizing the Issues) Men also face ridicule and isolation. (Cook) Unfortunately very devastating factors also occur quite frequently such as substance abuse, loss of confidence and in some cases even suicide. (Are you a Male Victim? ) WHY DO ABUSED MEN STAY? Abused men like abused women stay for various reasons.
One reason is they have fear of failure. Meaning men have been told to be a man they must be responsible providers. If they leave the family they are abandoning responsibility and the see themselves as failing to do what men are suppose to do. (Are you a Male Victim? ) Another reason is fear for their children. Men know their chances of getting custody of the children are not very good. Losing ones children forever is a major reason why men stay in an abusive relationship.
(Cook) The last major reason men stay is lack of resources. There are few if any victim, crisis lines, media recognition or shelters for men, which leave many with nowhere to turn. (Men and Physical Abuse) WHAT SHOULD MEN DO? Abused men should never be provoked into retaliation with physical or verbal abuse in order to reduce the chance of future more intense circumstances. Abused men should always seek medical help for their injuries no matter how major or minor they feel the injuries are.
It is very important for abused men to keep a record of all incidences in case of court proceeding in the future. Abused men should try not to keep silent because talking about it and dealing with it with someone else will help in personal well-being. Finally abused men should recognize that they are not alone and other men are dealing with the same problem. QUALITIES OF AN ABUSIVE WOMAN Women who abuse often tend to be promiscuous, selfish, narcisse, exhibit erotic mood changes and most are practiced actresses. These types of women tend to use their moods, rage and impulses to control the people around them. Abusive women also tend to lie, connive, extort, insult and humiliate their partners along with stealing or destroying their partners’ possessions.
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Abusive women are driven by jealousy, view others as rivals and falsely accuse their partners of infidelity. (Recognizing the Signs) A CASE OF AN ABUSED HUSBAND ” On a routine check three years ago, a water meter reader in La Crosse, Wis. , was startled to see a man huddled in a dank 8 by 6 foot basement accessible only from a backyard hatch. The company called the police after the man was seen more times. Now, Muriel Smith, 53, is charged with banishing her husband, Leroy, 63, a brewery janitor, to a cellar.
A beat up lawn chair was his bed and a single bulb his only light source. He used a convenience store restroom a half a mile away. When hungry he rang a bell, clapped twice and his wife would bring food.” (U. S News) Conclusion It is obvious to say that spousal abuse alone is a rising problem today in the United States. But what is more alarming is the growing problem of men being abused by wives and girlfriends. There are very few resources out there in society to help a man cope and deal with this domestic issue and changes need to be made in order to accommodate their needs.
An obvious change that needs to be made is the number of resources available but more importantly this issue needs to be brought to society as a common issue so abused men do not feel ashamed or embarrassed to report such abuse to police or medical personnel. Laws also need to be accommodated for abused men in order to protect their rights as victims along with their children. Such changes can not be made however until abused men start coming forward to tell their story otherwise this domestic issue will continue to go unresolved for years to come.