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NCJ Number: 66947 Find in a Library
Title: VULNERABILITY TO VIOLENCE - MASOCHISM AS PROCESS
Journal: AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PSYCHOTHERAPY  Volume:33  Issue:2  Dated:(APRIL 1979)  Pages:174-189
Author(s): N SHAINESS
Corporate Author: Assoc for the Advancement of Psychotherapy
United States of America
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 16
Sponsoring Agency: Assoc for the Advancement of Psychotherapy
New York, NY 10021
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE CONNECTION BETWEEN WOMEN'S MASOCHISM IN A MODIFIED FREUDIAN SENSE AND THEIR VULNERABILITY TO VIOLENCE IS EXPLORED.
Abstract: THE RECENT GROWTH IN VIOLENCE TOWARD WOMEN INCLUDING RAPE, ASSAULT, WIFE-BATTERING, AND MARITAL RAPE HAS ELICITED THE INTEREST OF WOMEN'S SELF-HELP GROUPS AND OF THE POLICE WHO SEE THE VICTIMS. THE TYPE OF VIOLENCE OFTEN INDICATES THAT THE AGGRESSOR IS STRIKING OUT AGAINST AN INCORPORATED, HATED MOTHER IMAGE, WHILE THE VICTIMS ARE DESCRIBED AS INHIBITED, PASSIVE AND HELPLESS. AS FACTORS LEADING TO INTRAFAMILY VIOLENCE, PSYCHOLOGISTS NAME THE OFFENDER'S IDENTITY (MARKED BY VULNERABILITY OF SELF-CONCEPT AND LOW SELF-ESTEEM), UNWANTED CHILDREN, RELIGIOUS DIFFERENCES, UNEMPLOYMENT, FINANCIAL PROBLEMS, AND ILL HEALTH. IT IS ALSO ARGUED THAT THE VICTIM'S PERSONALITY AND IDENTITY IS ANOTHER CRUCIAL FACTOR. ALTHOUGH RECENT RESEARCH ON VIOLENCE AND SPOUSE ABUSE TENDS TO DENY THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE WOMAN OR HER MASOCHISTIC PREDISPOSITION, FREUD'S CONCEPT OF WOMEN'S MASOCHISM (IN THE FORM OF 'LEARNED HELPLESSNESS' OR 'PAIN DEPENDENCE' CANNOT BE RULED OUT. FREUD CONSIDERED MASOCHISM A UNIVERSAL TRAIT OF WOMEN AND SUPPORTED THE NOTION THAT THEY SEEK OR ENJOY THE PUNISHMENT THEY RECEIVE. HIS CONCEPT HAS BEEN RE-EXAMINED AND TRANSLATED INTO A MORE OR LESS UNIVERSAL, CULTURALLY DETERMINED PROCESS WOMEN USE IN DEALING WITH CERTAIN SITUATIONS; IT IS SUGGESTED THAT FEMALE GENDER RESTRICTION IN SOCIETY HAS PLAYED A PART IN THE EVOLUTION OF A SUBMISSIVE, SELF-DESTRUCTIVE STYLE WHICH DOES INDEED INCREASE WOMEN'S VULNERABILITY TO VIOLENCE. NUMEROUS ANECDOTAL INSTANCES FROM DAILY LIFE, IN WHICH SUBMISSIVE WOMEN ARE SYMBOLICALLY OR PHYSICALLY PUT ON THE DEFENSIVE BY AGGRESSIVE MEN, ARE CITED. THE ARTICLE INCLUDES FOOTNOTES AND REFERENCES. (AUTHOR ABSTRACT MODIFIED--SAJ)
Index Term(s): Battered wives; Crime Causes; Domestic assault; Female sex roles; Masochism; Psychological theories; Violence
Note: PRESENTED AT THE 14TH NATIONAL SCIENTIFIC MEETING OF THE ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF PSYCHOTHERAPY, ATLANTA, GEORGIA, 1978
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=66947

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