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NCJ Number: 66338 Find in a Library
Title: WIFE-BEATING - A CRITIQUE AND REFORMULATION OF EXISTING THEORY
Journal: BULLETIN OF THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PSYCHIATRY AND THE LAW  Volume:6  Issue:3  Dated:(1978)  Pages:322-334
Author(s): S K STEINMETZ
Corporate Author: American Psychiatric Assoc
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 13
Sponsoring Agency: American Psychiatric Assoc
Arlington, VA 22209
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A REFORMULATION OF THE CONCEPTUALIZATION OF THE DYNAMICS OF WIFE BATTERING IS NECESSARY IN ORDER TO RESOLVE DISCREPANCIES BETWEEN PREVIOUSLY HELD ASSUMPTION AND RECENT FINDINGS.
Abstract: CASE STUDIES OF BATTERED WOMEN SUGGEST THAT THE DYNAMICS OF AN INTERACTION BETWEEN HUSBAND AND WIFE IN WHICH HITTING OCCURS ARE DIFFERENT FROM AN INTERACTION IN WHICH A WIFE IS BRUTALLY BEATEN. THE FIRST ASSUMPTION THAT NEEDS TO BE QUESTIONED IS THAT WIFE BEATING CAN BE VIEWED AS A CONTINUUM OF ACTS OF PHYSICAL VIOLENCE REPRESENTING DIFFERENT LEVELS OF SEVERITY. IT IS SUGGESTED THAT THERE ARE TWO DISTINCT PHENOMENA: THE SATURDAY NIGHT BRAWL (TYPIFIED BY RECIPRIOCAL, ESCALATING, VIOLENT INTERACTIONS WITH EITHER SPOUSE LIKELY TO BE A VICTIM) AND THE CHRONIC BATTERED SPOUSE SYNDROME. THE VICTIMS OF THE SATURDAY NIGHT BRAWL ARE NOT CAUGHT IN CHRONIC BATTERED SYNDROME AND ARE NOT FLEEING TO ANOTHER COMMUNITY OR DESPERATELY SEEKING SHELTER FOR FEAR OF BEING KILLED. INTERVIEWS WITH THE CHRONICALLY BATTERED SUGGEST THAT THEY DO NO PRECIPITATE THE VIOLENT INCIDENTS AND, IN FACT, GO OUT OF THEIR WAY TO AVOID CONFRONTATONS. INSTEAD, THEY TRIED TO REMAIN PASSIVE, PROTECT THEMSELVES, OR ESCAPE. THE NONRECIPROCAL, NONESCALATING, PHYSICALLY VIOLENT ATTACK CHARACTERISTIC OF THE CHRONIC BATTERED SYNDROME OFTEN BEGINS EARLY IN THE RELATIONSHIP AND AT AN EXTREMELY HIGH LEVEL OF SEVERITY. YET THE BATTERED VICTIM IS OFTEN TREATED AS IF SHE PROVOKED THE ATTACK, FURTHER REINFORCING HER FEELINGS OF BLAME AND GUILT AND MAKING HER MORE ENTRENCHED IN HER VICTIMIZED, BRAINWASHED ROLE. IT IS THE DYNAMICS OF THE BEATINGS, THE BRAINWASHING BY HER ABUSER, HER ISOLATION FROM OTHERS THAT LEADS TO SUBMISSIVENESS AND HELPLESSNESS, GUILT, AND EMOTIONAL DEPENDENCY ON THE ABUSER. THE BATTERED WOMEN OFTEN LACKS SUPPORT FROM HER MINISTER, HER PARENTS, LAWYERS, AND EVEN SOME THERAPISTS. SHE MUST DEPEND ON THE VERY AGENCIES WHICH TEND TO BLAME HER FOR THE VIOLENCE FOR PROTECTION. NEW TREATMENT MODALITIES FOR BATTERED WOMEN ARE, NECESSARY AS WELL AS IMPROVED POLICE AND JUDICIAL SUPPORT PROCEDURES. FURTHER RESEARCH ON THE DYNAMICS OF BATTERING IS RECOMMENDED. REFERENCES ARE GIVEN. (MJW)
Index Term(s): Abusing spouses; Battered wives; Domestic assault
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