This chapter discusses how the criminal justice system treats battered women over the past 40 years. In the United States, advocates who began working with battered women in the 1980s believed that the most important step to end threats of violence was to punish the batterer and hold him accountable for his misconduct. To do this the legal system had to be encouraged to take action whenever domestic violence was raised. A study of the needs for victims of intimate partner violence commissioned for the Colorado legislature found that over two thirds of the women in prison stated that they had been abuse victims. Other areas of the civil rights laws have also been used to better protect battered women. The gender bias, including sexism and racism, for women coming before the criminal justice system continues to make it difficult for women to seek safety and protection.
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Attachment theory provides a rich conceptual framework for understanding issues that arise in intimate partner violence (IPV) that have not been well studied in adults. Attachment was initially conceived as a neurobiological-based need for the purpose of safety and survival. Moreover, through the attachment process individuals develop an internalized set of beliefs about the self and others, known as “internal working models”. In adult relationships, attachment processes are activated by way of a cognitive-affective-behavioral triad. Woman who engage in the commercial sex industry have a much higher risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease. An interesting phenomenon that ties use of pornography on the Internet together with the sexual abuse of women and children has been found in the legal community. It is known that early sexualization of children may cause interpersonal difficulties that may make it more difficult to recognize the cycle of violence engaged in by the batterer.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has conducted studies about adverse health conditions and health risk behaviors in those who have experienced intimate partner violence (IPV). The high numbers of women who report childhood abuse and IPV and receive no assistance in healing from the psychological effects obviously will be seen in medical clinics, often too late to stop a disease process that might have been prevented had their posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) responses been dealt with earlier. One of the most negative and lasting effects of IPV on women appears to be the impact on the women’s body image, which is related to their self-esteem. Although the health care system has attempted to deal with battered women, in fact both the structure and function are not set up to be helpful, especially when chronic illnesses are exacerbated by environmental stressors such as living with domestic violence.
This chapter analyzes the murder-suicide cases through a review of the newspaper reports of murder-suicides in the five major regions of the state of Florida. Guns in the home are the predominant weapons used in the murder-suicides in the United States. In countries where guns are not as accessible in the home, such as Great Britain, there is a lower murder and suicide rate. Jacqueline Campbell suggests that domestic violence is implicated in premature deaths of women from aggravated health conditions such as strokes, heart attacks, and other major illnesses that occur after being choked or strangled. The chapter also presents some murder-suicide case and self-defense case studies of women such as Ed and Linda, Nancy Kissell, Catherine Pileggi and Nellie Mae Madison. A recent study in Chicago offered some new information about the neuropsychological profile of men who killed an intimate partner as compared to those who kill others.
Battered women themselves are terrified about being labeled with a mental illness especially since so many are threatened into silence by their batterers who tell them that everyone will think they are “crazy”. While health service providers are now better trained in identification of both health and mental health needs of battered women and their children, there is still little understanding of what to do after identification. The Public Health Model for community distribution of health and mental health services may be a way to conceptualize all of the health services that battered women need to have in place for both prevention and intervention. The legal system also contributes to the primary prevention and intervention with women who are victims of intimate partner violence. Secondary prevention programs attempt to use the early identification of domestic violence victims as a way to prevent the development of further psychological and physical injuries.
- Go to article: Idealization and Maladaptive Positive Emotion: EMDR Therapy for Women Who Are Ambivalent About Leaving an Abusive Partner
Idealization and Maladaptive Positive Emotion: EMDR Therapy for Women Who Are Ambivalent About Leaving an Abusive Partner
After ensuring safety, treatment of victims of intimate partner violence is typically focused on the adverse and traumatizing experiences and related negative emotions. In addition, in many cases, idealization of the perpetrator and maladaptive positive emotion are initial elements that also need to be taken into account. The concept of dysfunctionally stored information described in the adaptive information processing model can be viewed as being broader in nature than maladaptive negative emotions from memories for adverse experiences and can include dysfunctional defenses such as maladaptive positive emotion and idealized life experiences. Self-defeating, dysfunctional, and unrealistic idealization in a relationship can be treated through targeting, with focused sets of bilateral stimulation, specific positive affect memories that are the origin of the distorted idealization. In this way, the client is able to develop adaptive resolution, that is, a more accurate perception of both past events and the present nature of the relationship. This approach to targeting idealization defenses is illustrated with 3 case examples of women who were ambivalent about leaving a highly abusive partner.
- Go to article: EMDR for Survivors of Sexual and Intimate Partner Violence at a Nonprofit Counseling Agency
Trauma related to sexual violence and intimate partner violence (IPV) affects millions of women, resulting in detrimental impacts to economic, physical, and mental health. Survivors are often subjected to repeated acts of violence or abuse, compounding the trauma and its effects. Participants in this mixed-methods research study included 41 women who experienced trauma related to sexual violence or IPV and were seeking counseling services at a nonprofit community agency. Quantitative assessment of depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) through validated measures showed statistically significant improvement in all areas after eight sessions of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). Qualitative analysis through semi-structured individual interviews revealed improvements in assertiveness, self-control, functionality, and self-acceptance. Increasing access to EMDR across underserved communities, which are disproportionately affected by trauma, is discussed.
- Go to article: Relationships Between Shame, Restrictiveness, Authoritativeness, and Coercive Control in Men Mandated to a Domestic Violence Offenders Program
Relationships Between Shame, Restrictiveness, Authoritativeness, and Coercive Control in Men Mandated to a Domestic Violence Offenders Program
Coercive control, a key element of intimate partner violence (IPV), is defined as an abuse dynamic that intends to strip the target of autonomy and liberty. While coercive control is gaining popularity in the research world, little is known about its correlates and causes. This study sought to examine how shame and men’s need for dominance, measured by two trait indexes of dominance, restrictiveness and the need for authority, influence coercive control. The present study used a diverse sample of men (n = 134) who were mandated to attend a domestic violence offenders program. Findings suggest that shame plays a role in the commission of coercively controlling behavior both directly and partially through its influence on authority but not through restrictiveness. Implications for understanding IPV in a domestic violence offenders program are discussed.
- Go to article: Intimate Terrorism and Situational Couple Violence: Classification Variability Across Five Methods to Distinguish Johnson’s Violent Relationship Types
Intimate Terrorism and Situational Couple Violence: Classification Variability Across Five Methods to Distinguish Johnson’s Violent Relationship Types
Johnson’s (1995, 2008) theory of violent relationship types represents an opportunity to resolve debates surrounding intimate partner violence (IPV) prevalence and to adapt policy and treatment options for victims accordingly. However, the use of quantitative methods to distinguish between situational couple violence (SCV) and intimate terrorism (IT) remains in its initial stages of discovery. This study included a 2-phase (N = 840; via targeted community and agency sampling) online survey design comparing the utility and grouping variability across 5 methods of IT/SCV classification: victimization-variables and coercive-control-variable hierarchical clustering, vignette-choice, cutoff scoring, and expert coding. Findings are discussed in terms of contributions to differing IPV-research perspectives, researchers’ understanding of existing classification methods, and practitioners’ awareness of victims’ voices in quantitative research.
- Go to article: Predicting Potentially Life-Threatening Partner Violence by Women Toward Men: A Preliminary Analysis
Predicting Potentially Life-Threatening Partner Violence by Women Toward Men: A Preliminary Analysis
Researchers have documented predictors of life-threatening violence by men toward women. Little research has assessed predictors of life-threatening violence toward men by women. We investigated such predictors in a sample of 302 men who sustained partner violence (PV) and sought help. Based on prior research on women as victims, we examined the following as potential predictors: demographics of the participant, his female partner, and their relationship; relationship power imbalances; her use of various forms of PV; her alcohol/drug use; his use of various forms of PV; his mental health and substance abuse; and his help seeking and social support. Logistic regressions indicated that there were 2 consistent predictors: the female partner’s frequency of physical PV and the number of sources from which the participant sought help.