At least one out of three American women will be a victim of abuse by a husband or boyfriend in her lifetime (Zinta 2008). In my family violence class we have had discussions on the importance of dating violence, common beliefs and misconceptions, and some solutions on prevention and awareness of family violence. According to Zinta, two to four million women are physically and emotionally abused by their partners, this is just involving America.
Believe it or not females are not just victims. Men can be victims also. Additionally, although the research evidence is mixed, some research indicates that young men engage in more serious forms of DV perpetration than young women, and young women report greater injury, fear, and psychological consequences to DV victimization than do young men (Archer, 2000). Dating violence does not have a socioeconomic status. What I mean by this, is that dating violence can happen to anyone. For example, although I have learned in class that dating violence seems to be more prevalent in a lower economic class, it is just as likely to happen to a doctor or lawyers wife. Unfortunately, dating violence seems to be “swept under the rug”. 1 in 3 female homicide victims are murdered by their current or former partner every year (Safe Horizon 2015). Domestic violence costs more than $37 billion a year in law enforcement involvement, legal work, medical and mental health treatment, and lost productivity at companies (Safe Horizon 2015). With statistics like the ones listed I am surprised we do not see more media coverage over dating violence.
While I was reading Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men by Bancroft (2003), I noticed he made several good points. One of the most frequently accepted myths, even by therapists, is that the abusive man’s partner is in some part accountable for the abuse — if only as “enabler” (Bancroft, L. 2003). Some therapists have even said “it takes two to tango” meaning that both partners are accountable. While having a class discussion, I realized that many abusers will put it off on their victims as though it was their fault for the way the abuser was acting. Many people have excuses for the abuser as I have learned in the Bancroft book. Some common excuses are “He is afraid of intimacy and abandonment” or “He has poor skills in communication and conflict resolution” (Bancroft, L. 2003). Bancroft then goes on to say “…indeed the circumstances may apply, none of those are excuses or even causes for his behavior.” We generally hear that abuse is handed down from generation to generation. To elaborate, the abused becomes the abuser. Bancroft argues this is not genetic as much as it is observed and, in adult years, chosen behavior (Zinta 2008). “The more a man abuses you, the more he is demonstrating that he cares only about himself. He may feel a powerful desire to receive your love and caretaking, but he only wants to give love when it’s convenient.” (Bancroft, L. pg.64). The abuser is often misleading if a person is looking from the outside in. “He knows what his is doing but not necessarily why” (Bancroft, L. pg. 113).
In 2008, the US Senate unanimously apporoved S. Res. 710 declaring the first week of February as “National Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Week,” and on January 25, 2010, the Senate expanded the observance by declaring the month of February as “National Dating Violence Awareness & Prevention Month”(EmilyFund 2011). President Obama issued a Presidential Proclamation in 2011 for National Dating Violence Awareness & Prevention Month (EmilyFund 2011).While doing some research I came across the Emily Fund. Further exploring the site, I found that the site has flyers and pamphlets that a person could print off to raise awareness about dating violence. At the bottom of the page are also dating pledge cards that could be handed out around campus or even at high schools. I believe that having a group of supporters where armbands, ribbons, t-shirts, or anything with the insignia will raise questions and present opportunities to speak about Dating Violence. For those that need help have a secret meeting or make up code words for the women so the abusers will not understand what they are talking about or where they are going. Think of safe words for children to know when to call the police or when to go to their designated safe spot.
Every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten (Violence 2015). With that being said dating violence should not go unnoticed. Everyone can make a difference. From learning the importance of dating violence, some common beliefs or misconceptions, to finding solutions to raise awareness; there is a lot to learn about dating violence. The biggest unknown questions from discussions I have in class is, Why does dating violence still happen, and why is it so accepted and unheard of? Throughout the course and the Bancroft book I have personally came to realize I was one of those people who did not want to believe intimate partner violence was still happening. Although I have experienced the mental side of abuse, I blamed myself and the book Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men by Bancroft gave me a new perspective on the situations I have been in and see so many others are in. If you or one a person you love, have experienced intimate partner abuse or are currently experiencing it there is a way out, you are not alone, you are loved and cherished, reach out and seek help.
Fremouw, W. (2001). Dating violence: A critical review of the literature. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0272735899000422
Aistars, Z. (2008, January 7). Zinta Reviews. Retrieved from http://zintareviews.blogspot.com/2008/01/why-does-he-do-that-inside-minds-of.html?m=1
Bancroft, L. (2002). Why does he do that?: Inside the minds of angry and controlling men. New York: Putnam’s Sons.
Archer, J. (2000). Sex differences in aggression between heterosexual partners: A meta-analytic review. Psychological Bulletin, 126, 651680. doi:10.1037/0033–2909.126.5.651
Domestic Violence: Statistics & Facts. (2015). Retrieved from http://www.safehorizon.org/page/domestic-violence-statistics--facts-52.html?gclid=CJ--_eb-hsgCFcOBfgod3xMLXA
February is Dating Violence Awareness & Prevention Month. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.emilyfund.org/date-violence/dvam.htm
Partnership Against Domestic Violence. “Statistics on Domestic Violence.”
11 Facts About Domestic And Dating Violence. (2015). Retrieved from https://www.dosomething.org/facts/11-facts-about-domestic-and-dating-violence