Domestic violence and abuse are the widespread problems in America. It is interesting to note that women are the easy target of this kind of abuse. Over 2 million women in the United States are battered by a family member each year. Over two thirds of all violent attacks against women are committed by someone the victim knows. Women are ten times more likely to be attacked by spouses, ex spouses, partners, or children.
Domestic abuse can be psychological and physical, as well. In psychological abuse, it is found that the jealous or possessive family member may threaten a woman with words and force her to curtail all other relationships. When this happens, the woman is restricted to meet others and thus loses the social support. The person will bombard her with demeaning comments on a regular basis and make threatening remarks to hurt the woman. Regardless of which form the abuse takes, all domestic abuse against women is an act of violence because the perpetrator asserts control or power and the woman gets victimized and loses her personal freedom.
Why is it that women get subjected to domestic violence and abuse? It has been found that women want to carry on the abusive relationships because they are too willing to love and forgive their abusive partner. They put trust in the words of their partners and accept their apologies and promises to reform. Sometimes they are stuck due to children, and financial reasons. They are too codependent and lack self esteem so they are not able to assert themselves. Some cultures give a message to women that it is their duty to help their “sick” partners due to the fear that they will hurt themselves or others if they get abandoned by them.
It has been found that women who witnessed domestic violence by their parents or who were abused as children, are more likely to be the victim of abuse. Moreover, they are also more likely to abuse their children and have substance abuse problems. The most critical age is between 18 and 24 when women are more likely to be subjected to abuse. Sometimes, when the woman has a husband or partner who is holding a job which is inferior to the educational level or occupational level of the woman, he makes her an easy target of abuse. Also, women who are pregnant are also more likely to be victimized by their male partners. This results in risk of miscarriage and delivering an infant of low birth weight.
Women who are constantly subjected to domestic abuse have a tendency to have abdominal pain, irritable bowel syndrome, insomnia, headaches and fatigue. They are also more prone to experiencing depression, eating disorders, alcoholism and substance abuse. They suffer from feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, worthlessness, inadequacy and fear. Women who have been subjected to domestic violence and abuse are more likely to abuse themselves through self mutilation, self starvation, or re victimization by returning to a partner who has been abusive to her and thus risk chances of being further abused. Abused women often show signs of post traumatic disorder, a mental illness which occurs when severe trauma overwhelms normal psychological and biological coping mechanisms.
Women who are victims of domestic abuse seem to have an increased rate of personality disorders, especially borderline personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder. It has been found that victimization to such abuse is also associated with a high rate of psychosomatic disorders, such as conversion disorder, somatization disorder, and chronic pain syndrome. Sometimes, the abuse is kept as a secret and women do not tell anyone about it or lie about it to their care givers and medical professionals. Many women do not trust the medical care system and also do not want their partners to get arrested or prosecuted. Clinicians are now being trained to look for signs of abuse and take them seriously. Physicians are now mandated to report if they suspect domestic violence or abuse when their patients come for medical checkup.
Support System for victims of domestic violence and abuse
These days it has become easy to seek help and support in the community if the woman is an abuse victim. There are shelters for battered women, support groups for victims and their families. These groups can provide information about the legal rights of battered women and their families. Issues like child custody can be addressed by them and provide guidance to the victims. Sometimes, advocates from these groups can accompany the woman to the court and help attain temporary or permanent restraining orders against the abusers. State and federal programs for victims of crime can help women recover any lost wages or uncovered medical or psychotherapy costs incurred while under care for abuse. There is a lot of awareness about the problem of domestic abuse in the community and professional staff. It becomes a team work when a medical person is able to detect abuse. A team of social worker, nurse practitioner, and physicians intervene and advocate for the victim. They direct the person to appropriate referral center or a psychotherapist and help her find a safe and supportive place to live. In this way, the woman gets a lot of support and feels that she is not alone and help is available.
Women who get victimized have a low self esteem and are unable to assert themselves. They need to form healthy boundaries in relationships. They also need to learn to identify and express their feelings assertively as opposed to being passive and tolerating the abuse. The more they tolerate, the more they get victimized. They need to seek professional help and be able to confide in a family member who is supportive of them. Some therapists give them assertiveness training and make them realize that it is their bill of right to be able to express their feelings and they do not need to feel guilty if they express their feelings. They also need to occupy their mind in healthy and productive activities versus being lonely and dwelling on the pain. Positive self talk, use of affirmations, relaxation and meditation techniques also help in managing their anxiety, fear, and depression. Sometimes medication also helps with problems of depression and insomnia. Joining support group is also very therapeutic to give them guidance.
Domestic violence is a very common problem in America. The perpetrators need to join anger management group in the community. Sometimes the judge orders these perpetrators to learn these skills and many mental health centers in the community are running these groups where probation and court mandated referrals are received. Sometimes the perpetrators have substance abuse problems and they are court mandated to seek inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation program where their mental health and substance abuse issues are professionally addressed.
In summary, domestic abuse and violence are the widespread problems in America and they need to be addressed professionally.
Hypnosis can help the survivors of domestic abuse by instilling courage and working on the codependent traits of the person. Positive suggestions offered during the hypnotic trance get embedded in the subconscious mind and begin to alter the behavior of the person. Please visit our Blossom Hypnotherapy page to learn how hypnosis can help reduce symptoms of Anxiety disorders.
The Women’s Concise Guide to Emotional Well-Being by Karen J.Carlson, Stephanie A. Eisenstat, MD, and Terra Ziporyn, Ph. D.