.. s that often no matter where the victims are coming from their abusers make them feel like they are not economically stable enough to be on their own. A lesbian relationship can be just as violent as a heterosexual one. Just like hetero. domestic violence, it is not about two women fighting; it is about power and control with the goal of dominating and disempowering the victim.
There are many factors involved in a victim’s inability to leave a battering relationship and just like relationships between straight couples, there is a behavioral cycle that includes periods of abuse as well as periods of love and calm which can lead to confusion about whether the abusive partner is really, in fact, abusive. There are also issues of economic dependency, lack of resources, fear and shame that the survivor must deal with in order to break free from the relationship. But, unlike with straight couples, in a lesbian relationship, there are additional issues that must be faced: manipulation on the part of the abuser who may threaten to out her partner if she tries to get help or to flee. Outing is a serious issue in a society that continues to deny gay citizens full rights. A lesbian who is outed to her employers may lose her job.
Being outed to friends or family may cause the loss of relationships to people who have been important in her life. The fear of losing her children by court order can also keep an abused lesbian in an unsafe relationship. This added power gives these relationships a little bit of a new dimension to understanding why some woman dont leave. Statistics from the National Family Violence Survey show that poverty puts women at added risk for sustaining physical and psychological injury.
Since women and children of color constitute disproportionate numbers of the poor, it may be that domestic violence is more prevalent in communities of color because of the poverty. However, many anti-domestic violence activists question the accuracy of such statistics. One theory suggests that domestic violence might simply be more visible in poor, immigrant, and racial minority communities because people call the police when they need any kind of social service because the police are there 24 hours a day and they are free. By contrast, some middle and upper class women, mostly white, can choose to hide their bruises and wounds by going to a private doctor instead of the emergency room, and can buy an airplane ticket to escape instead of going to a shelter. This then calls into question whether it is the fact that the community is Black or not. It is obvious that abuse is occurring in wealthy white neighborhoods as well as poor black ones, so it may very well be true that color has less to do with abuse than poverty.
Poverty has to do with abuse because the victim will get blamed or it is seen more prevalently in poorer neighborhoods. This may again go back to the theory that the wealthier woman can simply afford to buy nicer makeup to hide the bruises. Women fleeing domestic violence often return to their abuser repeatedly before making a complete break. According to stereotypes, Jewish families are warm and nurturing, and Jewish women are strong, and in control of their own lives and the lives of their family.
As a result, there is a false belief that Jewish women are likely to be victims of abuse. These stereotypes and perceived responsibilities create an atmosphere of shame and disbelief around the issue of domestic violence, preventing Jewish women who are abused from seeking help, and as a result, Jewish women stay in violent relationships longer than non-Jewish women by an average of five to seven years. Now that the concept of abuse not being category biased has been thoroughly exhausted, the next concept to be explored is what exactly constitutes abuse and how to detect it. There are two categories of signals that should send a red flag off when they come up in a relationship. The first is emotional attacks on the person.
Name-calling; accusing; blaming; yelling; swearing; making humiliating remarks or gestures are all examples of emotional warning signs that indicate something might be wrong. Also rushing the person to make decisions through guilt-tripping, telling them what to do, always claiming to be right, being disrespectful, saying bad things about their friends and family, putting them down, not expressing feelings; not giving support, preventing or making it difficult for them to see friends or relatives; monitoring phone calls; telling then where they can and cannot go are all examples of emotional abuse. The second category is actual acts of physical violence. This can range anywhere from intimidation and threats to weapons and sexual abuse. The entire process can be thought of as a two simultaneous cycles, and just keeps each other spinning. The first is a tension/violence/ seduction cycle fuelled by the love/hope/fear cycle.
The first starts with a fight, escalates to abuse, and then is followed by apologies and promise of change, and blame. This cycle is moved by the one that starts with love for the partner, moves to hope for change and then ends with fear. It is that cycle that often makes it very hard to leave the relationship. These two circles make relationships hard to leave, and keep a victim in this constant spin on love and fear of their abuser. Because it is so hard to get out and break away from a relationship, there are government groups, layers, and counselors that are helping.
The government is providing money for shelters, making laws to be stricter on abusers, layers are working harder to win the cases and have woman testify and speak out, counselors have hidden places of refuge that families can stay to be safe, and I too have taken a part in trying to at least heighten the awareness of domestic violence in the community. Teenagers are the future of tomorrow, and just like children abuse at home, or in their own relationships will scare them for life. I am a cofounder of a group called STAR (students terminating abusive relationships) where a growing group of kids educates high school kids on domestic violence. The group basically is there to tell high school kids that it domestic violence is in their school, and is everywhere. We are essentially there to scare them with facts, teach them about warning signs and what to do if someone is being abused. We arent there to council, but more to make sure the kids know that domestic violence is out there, and that they arent alone.
A lot of what kids feel is that they deserve it, or the guy is on the football team so its ok, or he loves them and so they stick with the relationship. Our job is to if not send a red flag up to the victim themselves, make their friends aware of the situation and so that maybe they could move one step closer to helping them. Abusive relationships are especially detrimental and hard to leave in a teenage relationship because adolescents are often have a feeling of loneliness and long to fit in, so when an abusive boyfriend calls the girl pretty and tells her he loves her, the girl will do everything in her power to stay with him. She has essentially been brainwashed. Although our group is purely informational, its goal is to tell people that there is help, what to look for, and to maybe send off a warning signal to someone who needs it.
Domestic violence affects everyone in one-way or another. Whether you are a victim, an abuser, child relating to one, friend, relative, lawyer, work with someone, just know someone, in some way everyone is connected to the violence. Abuse breaks all boundaries and therefore abusers and their partners can be poor, rich, young, oldany group there is, there is the possibility for an abuser. As a person gets sucked into the cycle of abuse that they just cant escape, one begins to realize that these people have become powerless and their abusers have won the game unless they get out. The idea of love, or the possibility of change seems to always lead the victims back to their abuser, leading them deeper into the relationship, and more intense in the violence. Groups and people want to help domestic violence come to an end, yet it is not that simple.
Often the victim thinks that it is their fault, or that they are not worth anything, and with such a weak spirit, the abuser easily keeps control of the situation. It is only with guidance and the partners own desire to break free that they will finally walk away. Abuse is not about love or about fighting; it is about control, and one persons need to control anothers due to their own insecurities. They must hurt another to make themselves feel better and that is not love, and they will not change no matter how many times they say they will. Domestic violence comes in all shapes and sizes from everywhere, and because of it, children are learning from their parents who will continue to be abusive, and until people learn to identify the problem, abuse will continue because people have the need to control.
Love Shouldnt Hurt An essay on domestic violence By Debbie Mayer End Notes 1) Law Enforcement Television Network. A Look at Domestic Violence. Dec. 1999: n. pag. Online.
Internet. Dec. 1999. Available WWW: http://www.letn.com/articles/dec99article2.htm 2) Stark, E.
and Fliterart, A. Medical Therapy as Repression: The Case of Battered Women, Health and Medicine. Summer/Fall (1982) 29-32 Bibliography End Notes 1) Law Enforcement Television Network. A Look at Domestic Violence.
Dec. 1999: n. pag. Online. Internet. Dec.
1999. Available WWW: http://www.letn.com/articles/dec99article2.htm 2) Stark, E. and Fliterart, A. Medical Therapy as Repression: The Case of Battered Women, Health and Medicine. Summer/Fall (1982) 29-32 Sociology Essays.