Twilight asked in Social ScienceGender Studies · 1 decade ago

When Domestic Violence is a Pattern, are questions of Justification Relevant at all?

(inspired by a couple of questions about if or when hitting is justified)

Is it the case that most Domestic Violence happens over a sustained period, rather than being a one time thing?

If this is so, then are questions of "when it's okay to hit" really relevant at all to most real life situations?

Are the better question for most people - "when is it appropriate to leave an abusive situation?" and "How much should anyone be prepared to tolerate?"

What do you think?

12 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favourite answer

    Q: Is it the case that most Domestic Violence happens over a sustained period, rather than being a one time thing?

    A: Yes. Abuse tends to escalate over time. It most often begins with verbal/psychological abuse and progresses to violence. The victim is increasingly traumatised.

    Q: If this is so, then are questions of "when it's okay to hit" really relevant at all to most real life situations?

    A: No. Never. It is never acceptable to physically assault others. There is never justification for it at ALL.

    Q: Are the better question for most people - "when is it appropriate to leave an abusive situation?" and "How much should anyone be prepared to tolerate?"

    A: "It is widely believed that women who remain in abusive relationships lack the self-esteem to get out. Now, researchers report that a lack of resources and practical support keep many women tied to their abusers. The investigators found that 41% of abused women had left home temporarily and 20% sought outside help. Women who experienced the most violence were more likely to leave or seek help. Women living in rural communities, however, did not seek help regardless of the severity of the violence they suffered.

    About 70% of abused women left their partner eventually and one quarter of these women left within the first 4 years of the relationship. Women who were younger, better educated and did not have a history of violence in their own family were more likely to abandon an abusive relationship quickly, the report indicates.

    "Women who have witnessed violence against their mothers, or whose husbands were raised in violent homes may be more likely to consider violence as an inevitable part of marital life," Ellsberg and colleagues explain.

    About two thirds of women, mostly those in the least abusive relationships, said they defended themselves physically or verbally and were able to stop the attack.

    Thirteen percent of abused women reported having more than one abusive relationship with a man.

    According to research cited in the study, 20% to 50% of women worldwide will be physically or sexually assaulted by their partner and up to 25% will be assaulted during pregnancy."

    Source(s): "Many Abused Women Lack Social Support to Leave" Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 2001;55:547-555.
  • 1 decade ago

    Personally? I think violence, and threats of it, don't ever solve anything.

    The number one rule of a civilised society could well be "don't touch".

    There are very few justifications for violent behaviour, but people behave in violent ways all the time, and male violence against women ~ and against other men ~ is part of the cultural baggage of western society.

    It's hard to say how long people should put up with abuse. Most people who have been abused wish the abuse would stop, but are often confused, upset and in shock. They aren't thinking clearly and their responses are skewed by their experience.

    Most people in stress situations don't think well, really, and very often people stay well beyond when they *should* or when it would be appropriate, holding out hope that the abuser will change and become the person they used to love, or that the 'honeymoon' periods between abuse might be permanent this time.

    People who are abused know something many of us don't recognise about abusers ~ that they are often acting out of grief and pain that isn't expressed otherwise. Where we see a thug and a bully, they often see the vulnerable spirit.

    Who sees more clearly ~ both views might be correct, but the abused person fails to realise that by staying, they are not forcing the abuser to confront their behaviour and try to change.

    It's a complex and terrifying dynamic, and very few of us could say with real truth that they would *never* behave in this and that way ~ not unless they've been there.

    How much *should* any of us be prepared to tolerate? None ~ we should never be willing to tolerate abuse. But how much DO we tolerate ... that's the question with a human face.

    It's also worth remembering that the period just after leaving a relationship is a very dangerous time for women especially ~ that is when they are statistically at most risk of being killed or permanently injured by the abuser. That message isn't lost on lots of abuse victims.

    Very thought provoking question, and certainly better than the once a day "When is it ok for guys to hit women" and "why can't I hit girls" questions. After a while, it seems appropriate to change the wording a little ~ and watch the fur fly :-)

    Cheers :-)

  • 1 decade ago

    Domestic violence is something more than the report writers potray. The attempt to categorise and fit it into neat psychological patterns is not entirely successful. I would accept the bulk of what Curly wrote above, except to point out that it is one kind of typical domestic violence (perhaps the most prevalent kind).

    I'm not convinced by the 'one occurrence is a sign of what's to come' approach. There are men who slap their partners for no reason other than perverse pleasure, and those who do it other reasons like desperation after being cuckolded. It would be better if it didn't happen, there are those urging people to just 'walk away', but the world and emotions are not simple black and white entities overflowing with reason.

    The best approach is always to discourage hitting people, above all the person you're supposed to love and cherish. But it's not realistic to pretend that it will go away by having a zero tolerance policy.

    Instead of 'when is it okay to hit', it would be better to understand whether hitting has occurred as a result of an emotional cul-de-sac, or whether it is pre-meditated abuse.

    Domestic violence will always be a problem because it is part of the private life of a relationship and people are reluctant to interfere in private lives. This will probably need to change if we want to stop coming across women with black eyes, bruised bodies or even in mortuaries, but as long as it is done via a policy of arresting all men who raise their voices and following one-sided sociology, it will continue to fail.

    Like Two Socks above, I saw a lot of family violence from my mother's second husband, my mother was hospitalised numerous times and abused for years, as was I.

    My father also hit my mother twice, apparently because she was openly running around with the future abusive husband. These situations are not the same.

  • Joe
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    I don't believe that abuse of any kind is ever justified...verbal, psychological, or physical. Life is too short to waste a moment of it on someone who does not treat you well.

    My answers to your last two questions are that it would be appropriate to leave right after the first instance...not the next day...right then and there. Of course you should never tolerate being mistreated. A target will never win respect, and it will not get better.

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  • 1 decade ago

    It's a little bit more complicated than that. My mother put up with years of domestic abuse until I convinced her to leave my father during my sophomore year in college. She stayed because she was afraid to leave knowing she had two sons and very few marketable skills. The question of defending herself was relevant to the situation I believe. Either calling law enforcement, or hitting him back with a blunt object would have been better than putting up with occasional battering. When I got old enough I stepped in a couple times and my father and I had a couple knock down drag outs. I wouldn't allow my mother or younger brother to be abused. I eventually did get both my parents to move on and divorce after my father and I got back on speaking terms years later. I often wish they had never been together. Anyway as I said, it's more complicated then we preceive from the outside looking in sometimes.

    Edit- I eventually got counseling. I would look in the mirror sometimes and be afraid that I would be a monster. Luckily I learned positive ways to deal with negative energy. It's what keeps me from following the same patterns as my forebears.

    Source(s): Experience- having survived being in a family with misogynists.
  • 1 decade ago

    When you can't control your temper and that goes for BOTH genders. or when you beat each other up in front of your kids. then I that is the time to leave before your kids think hitting and beating someone just because your mad is a normal thing to do. and they do the same thing to their kids. stop it before the cycle of abuse is passed on. God Bless

    EDIT: This morning my dad came over he had a black eye and a broken jaw. my mom got drunk again and beat him up AGAIN. he then turned around and beat her up.

    One part of this question I didn't see ( SORRY ) was the one where you asked " How much should anyone be prepared to tolerate? " this has been going on for 20 some odd years now. they have beat each other that long they must like it to stay that long. stay they are BOTH guilty. How much should a person take?

    IF YOU hit someone be ready to be hit back. there is NO reason to hit you can't control your temper then LEAVE the person. ONE time hitting is ENOUGH. NO ONE should have to put up being hit and NO CHILD should have to watch her parents beat each other and live IN FEAR of her parents.

    Oh and my dad is back home I just don't understand it God Bless

    Source(s): Just my two cents from watching my parents beat each other. the cycle of abuse stops with me.
  • 1 decade ago

    I think it is relevant. In some societies, "physical discipline" of all family members including a spouse is a norm (You didnt say who was giving or receiving).

    A pattern of violence should be apparent after the second incident. After a second event then you need to end the relationship before it become a cycle.

  • 1 decade ago

    Abusive situations should be left after the first incident. However, it is preferable not to enter into such situations in the first place.

    Warning signs before you get too involved:

    Negative comments about ANYTHING personal when you first begin dating. (He doesn't like that color on you, you shouldn't wear your hair like that, that dress is too revealing....)

    Controlling behavior: He tells you not to go certain places, not to see certain friends, doesn't want you around other males. Checks on your whereabouts frequently.

    He doesn't speak well of his mother, uses offensive slang to refer to women, interrupts frequently when a female is speaking.

    Seems jealous of what you did before you met him. (Jealousy is not about love, it's about possession.)

    Source(s): Mentor to at-risk teens. Volunteer- Rape Crisis Center.
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    situations of domestic violence are rarely a one time deal... and to not react at the first incidence is to allow it to escalate in frequency and severity.

    if you can persuade the abuser to seek counseling it may help, but i think more often than not the best recourse is to walk away at the first sign of trouble.

  • Anonymous
    6 years ago


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