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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 92839 Find in a Library
Title: Beating Wife-Beating
Author(s): L H Bowker
Date Published: 1983
Page Count: 157
Sponsoring Agency: Lexington Books
New York, NY 10022
Sale Source: Lexington Books
866 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10022
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Based on interviews with 136 women who had been previously beaten by a spouse or cohabitant and who had succeeded in terminating the violence at least for 1 year prior to the interview, this Milwaukee study examines the strategies used by the wives to address their problem.
Abstract: To be included in the study sample, a woman had to have been physically beaten at least once by a person with whom she was married or cohabiting at the time of the violence. The subjects must also have succeeded in terminating the violence, with or without the help of the abuser, for at least 1 year prior to the interview. Findings are presented about the experiences that husbands and wives had with violence before they met, the premarital violence occurring in their relationships, the characteristics of their marital relationships, the nature and extent of the violence suffered by the wives, and the relationships between the dimensions of marital violence and the previous experiences and marital characteristics of the couples. Also examined were the personal strategies and techniques used by the women to terminate their abuse. The four major sources of informal help used by the wives are discussed, namely, the wife's family, in-laws, neighbors, and friends; shelter services were also identified as an informal help source. The formal help-sources identified were the police, social service agencies, lawyers and district attorneys, and clergy. Women's groups were classified as semi-formal help sources. The husband's efforts to end the violence were also explored. A principal focus of the study was on the wife's judgment of her most and least successful efforts in ending the battering in the last incident as well as her global judgments about why the abuse ceased, and her specific recommendations and general advice to other battered women. Overall, it was found that the crucial factor was not always the nature of the strategy or help-source; what matters is the woman's showing her determination that the violence must stop immediately. Once the batterers became convinced of their wives' determination to end the violence, they usually reassessed their position in the marriage and decided to reform. The concluding chapter integrates this study with previous research and offers recommendations for dealing with spouse abuse. Tabular data, 143 references, and a subject index are provided.
Index Term(s): Abused women; Abusing spouses; Conflict resolution; Crisis intervention; Domestic assault; Wisconsin
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