Domestic Violence

Primary Indicators of Batterers

  • Batterer's Ownership: The batterer who says "Death Before Divorce" or "you belong to me and will never belong to another" may be stating his fundamental belief that you have absolutely no right to life separate from him.
  • Threats of Homicide or Suicide: The batterer who has threatened to kill you, himself, the children or your relatives must be considered extremely dangerous.
  • Fantasies of Homicide or Suicide: The more the batterer has developed a fantasy about whom, how, when to kill, the more dangerous he may be. The batterer who has previously acted out part of a homicide or suicide fantasy may be invested in killing as a solution to his problem.
  • Obsessive About Partner or Family: A batterer who is obsessive about his female partner, who either idolizes you and feels that he cannot live without you or believes he is entitled to you, your services, loyalty and obedience no matter what, is more likely to be life-endangering.
  • Centrality of Battered Women: If losing you represents a total loss of hope for a positive future, your batterer may choose to kill you.
  • Depression: Where a batterer has been acutely depressed and sees little hope for moving beyond the depression, he may be a candidate for homicide and suicide. Research shows that many people who are hospitalized for depression have killing fantasies.
  • Weapons: Where a batterer possesses weapons and has used them or has threatened to use them in the past in his assaults on you, the children or himself, his access to those weapons increases his potential for lethal assault. If a batterer has a history of arson or the threat of arson, fire should be considered as a weapon.
  • Timing: When a desperate batterer believes that he is about to lose you or when he concludes that you are permanently leaving him and he cannot envision life without you, this may be when he chooses to kill. That is not to say that all batterers kill when they conclude that the battered women is separating from them. Some kill long before they have any inkling that the battered women may be thinking about leaving. So, it is not safe to assume that because you haven't made plans to leave that the batterer will not be dangerous.

Affects of Domestic Violence on Children

When women and children are seen as "belonging" to a man, violence has been used as a tool of legitimate control.

Facts About Domestic Violence

  • 85% of batterers witnessed domestic violence as children
  • Fathers who batter mothers are 2 times more likely to seek sole physical custody of their children than are non-violent fathers.
  • In one study, 27% of domestic homicide victims were children.
  • The rule of thumb expression comes originally from English common law that said that a man could beat his wife with a rod or a switch, so long as its circumference was no greater than the girth of the base of the man's right thumb. No reciprocal right of chastisement was ever accorded to wives. For four decades in the U.S. it was legal for a man to beat his wife.
  • Until the 20th century, it was not illegal for a man to beat his wife.
  • When children are killed during a domestic dispute, 90% are under age 10, 56% are under age 2.

Domestic Violence & Juvenile Delinquency

  • 63% of juveniles serving time in jail for murder are there for killing an abusive father, stepfather, or mother's live-in boyfriend in an attempt to protect their mother.
  • Being abused or neglected as a child increases the risk of arrest as a juvenile by 53%, as an adult by 38%, and for violent crime by 38%.
  • Children are present in 40-55% of homes where police intervene in domestic violence calls.
  • Violent juveniles are four times more likely than are nonviolent juveniles to come from homes in which their fathers beat their mothers.
Children Raised in Violent Homes Are:
  • 6 time as likely to commit suicide
  • 26 times as likely to commit sexual assault.
  • 57 times as likely to abuse drugs
  • 75 times as likely to commit other crimes against persons
The indoctrination into violence often starts very early:
  • 28% of all females battered are pregnant.
  • The March of Dimes reports that more babies are now born with birth defects as a result of their mothers being battered during pregnancy than from the combination of all the diseases and illnesses which we immunize pregnant women.

Behavioral & Emotional Problems

1/3 of the children who witness the battering demonstrate significant behavioral and/or emotional problems including:
  • Anxiety and Fears
  • Drug Abuse
  • Excessive Crying
  • Psychosomatic Disorders
  • Runaway Behavior
  • School Problems
  • Sleep Disruption
  • Stuttering
  • Those boys who witness their fathers' abuse of their mothers are more likely to inflict severe violence as adults.
  • Data suggests that girls who witness maternal abuse may tolerate abuse as adults more than girls who do not.
  • Negative effects may be diminished by law enforcement intervention.

Exposure Alone Is Abuse

  • 87% of the domestic violence assaults in this country are witnessed by children. Of these children:
  • 48% suffer depression
  • 40% suffer anxiety
  • Exhibit low self-esteem
  • Impulse control problems
  • Mood related problems

Physical Danger

  • Children are often hurt during the violence as they get caught in between or try to intervene.
  • Children in violent homes are the target of abuse at a 1500% higher rate than the national average.
  • 62% of sons injured over the age of 14 are injured attempting to product their mother.

Academic Problems

  • Abuser relocates to keep violence a secret.
  • Children are moved from school to school for a number of reasons
  • Food, shelter and safety take precedence over school.
  • Violent homes are loud and tension filled.

Perpetration of Violence

  • Violence in the home is emulated and modeled and becomes primary method of conflict resolution.
  • Violence is normal and effective
  • Abusers tend to isolate their family to keep violence a secret which cuts children off from other positive role models and taints the developmental process.
  • Many of the children are labeled as hyperactive, emotionally handicapped and expelled from school.

Red Flag Behaviors

  • Aggressive - attacking others, destroying property, cruelty to animals, verbal attacks.
  • Health problems - headaches, stomach aches, irritable bowels, bedwetting, backaches, skin rashes, mouth ulcers/cold sores, ear aches
  • Manipulative - extreme jealousy, sulking, "getting sick".
  • Passive/withdrawn - avoids conflict, internalizes feelings, becomes the perfect child.
  • Psychological cues - suicidal ideations/behaviors, depression, self-mutilation, phobias, eating disorders, sleeping disorders, nightmares.
  • Rebellious/acts out - challenges authority, smokes/drinks/drugs, skips school, runs away, steals.
Domestic violence has an immediate and long term detrimental effect on children. Effects can be displayed in many forms. It is society's responsibility to inform children that "There is no excuse for domestic violence", by holding batterers accountable.