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NCJ Number: 54451 Find in a Library
Title: BATTERED WOMAN
Author(s): L E WALKER
Corporate Author: Harper and Row
United States of America
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 288
Sponsoring Agency: Harper and Row
New York, NY 10022
Sale Source: Harper and Row
10 East 53rd Street
New York, NY 10022
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST DESCRIBES WIFE ABUSE IN A THREE-PHASED CYCLE AND EXPLAINS THAT A 'LEARNED HELPLESSNESS' SYNDROME KEEPS WOMEN IN RELATIONSHIPS WITH BATTERING MEN. CASE STUDIES ARE USED FOR ILLUSTRATION.
Abstract: THERE ARE SEVERAL MYTHS OR COMMON BELIEFS ABOUT BATTERED WOMEN: THEY MAKE UP ONLY A SMALL PERCENTAGE OF THE POPULATION, ARE MASOCHISTIC OR CRAZY, ARE USUALLY FROM THE LOWER CLASS OR A MINORITY, ARE UNEDUCATED OR UNSKILLED, AND DESERVE TO GET BEATEN. THERE ARE ALSO SEVERAL MYTHS ABOUT BATTERING MEN: THEY ARE ALCOHOLICS OR PSYCHOPATHS, ALSO BEAT THEIR CHILDREN, AND CAN BE CHANGED THROUGH THERAPY. THE BATTERED WOMEN IN THIS STUDY REPRESENT ALL AGES, RACES, EDUCATIONAL LEVELS, CULTURES, AND SOCIOECONOMIC GROUPS. THEY HAVE THESE COMMON CHARACTERISTICS: THEY EVIDENCE LOW SELF-ESTEEM, ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE BATTERER'S ACTIONS, SUFFER FROM GUILT, PRESENT A PASSIVE FACE TO THE WORLD, HAVE SEVERE STRESS REACTION, AND BELIEVE THAT NO ONE WILL BE ABLE TO HELP THEM RESOLVE THEIR PREDICAMENT. THEIR HUSBANDS ARE EXCESSIVELY POSSESSIVE AND JEALOUS, TYPICALLY COME FROM VIOLENT HOMES, AND HAVE UNUSUAL RELATIONSHIPS WITH THEIR MOTHERS (OFTEN LOVE-HATE RELATIONSHIPS). WIFE BATTERING OCCURS IN THREE-PHASED CYCLES THAT INCLUDE A TENSION-BUILDING PHASE, THE EXPLOSION OR ACUTE BATTERING INCIDENT, AND THE CALM, LOVING RESPITE. BATTERERS USE VARIOUS COERCIVE TECHNIQUES ON THEIR VICTIMS INCLUDING PHYSICAL, SEXUAL, AND ECONOMIC ABUSE, SOCIAL BATTERING, AND DISRUPTION THROUGH FAMILY DISCORD. BATTERED WOMEN BECOME VICTIMS BECAUSE THEY ARE CONDITIONED THROUGHOUT LIFE TO THINK THEY HAVE NO CONTROL OVER THEIR LIVES, AND THIS BELIEF IMPAIRS THEIR ABILITY TO RESPOND AGGRESSIVELY TO BATTERING. THIS EARLY-RESPONSE REINFORCEMENT AND SUBSEQUENT PASSIVE BEHAVIOR IS CALLED 'LEARNED HELPLESSNESS.' SEVERAL NEW POSSIBILITIES EXIST FOR HELPING BATTERED WOMEN INCLUDING SAFE HOUSES, LEGAL AND MEDICAL ALTERNATIVES, PSYCHOTHERAPEUTIC INTERVENTION, AND PROGRAMS TO HELP EXTINGUISH THE SEX-ROLE STEREOTYPE THAT FACILITATES WIFE ABUSE. AN INDEX IS PROVIDED. (DAG)
Index Term(s): Battered wives; Domestic relations; Psychology; Shelters for Battered Women; Victim-offender relationships
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=54451

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