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Front Page » November 14, 2002 » Local News » Domestic Violence Crimes Plague U.S.
Published 4,297 days ago

Domestic Violence Crimes Plague U.S.


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By KAREN BASSO
Staff writer

Domestic violence is believed to be the most common crime against women, yet it is the least reported in the United States. Domestic violence is a problem that faces residents of every city and state in the nation, including Carbon County.

This form of violence is a pattern of behavior by which one party in a relationship attempts to control the other. It can involve emotional, physical and sexual abuse.

In the United States, a woman is more likely to be injured, raped or even killed by a male partner than by any other type of assailant.

An estimated three to four million American women are beaten each year by their husbands or partners.

Domestic violence has become a major problem in America. In fact, according to theU.S. Department of Justice, an average of four women per day are killed by partners at locations across the nation.

Although women are the main victims of domestic violence, men are also abused. However, with the small numbers of men who do come forward with legitimate issues of abuse in their relationships, it is most often emotional abuse which they suffer from.

Regardless of sex, race, religion or age, no one deserves to be abused or live in fear.

Although many domestic violence cases occur between married spouses, unwed couples also suffer from abuse.

When entering a relationship, Carbon County residents must be aware of the signs that a potential abuser displays.

By recognizing these signs, a long term abusive relationship may be avoided.

•Jealousy. At the beginning of a relationship, an abuser will always claim that jealousy is a sign of love. In reality, jealousy has nothing to do with love. In fact, it is a sign of possessiveness and a lack of trust.

•Controlling behavior. At the beginning of a relationship, the batterer will say that their behavior is due to concern for their partner.

After a while, the abuser will make personal decisions for their partner such as what clothing should be worn and when the partner can leave the home and with whom.

•Quick involvement. Many victims of abuse dated or knew their abuser for less than six months before they were married, engaged or living together.

The abuser applies pressure on their partner to make a commitment in the relationship before they feel comfortable doing so.

•Unrealistic expectations. Abusive people expect their partners to meet all their needs, both emotionally and physically.

•Isolation. The abusers will cut their partners off from all social or emotional resources, including family and friends.

The partners will often times be accused by the abuser of causing trouble and will be forced to stay at home or where they can be watched by the abuser at all times.

•Blames others for personal problems and feelings. If the abusers are chronically unemployed, they feel that it is someone else's fault or wrong doing.

They may also blame their partners for upsetting them and manipulate others.

•Hypersensitivity. An abuser is easily insulted and claims that his or her feelings have been hurt when, in reality, the individual is mad or takes the slightest setbacks as personal attacks.

•Cruelty to animals or children. This is a person who punishes animals brutally or is insensitive to pain or suffering.

The abuser may also expect children to do things beyond the youngsters' capabilities.

It is estimated that 60 percent of men who abuse women will also beat children living in the same home.

•Use of force. Abusers may like to throw their partners down and hold and force them into a sexual situation.

•Verbal abuse. In addition to saying things that are meant to be cruel and hurtful, this can be seen when the abuser degrades his or her partner.

•Sudden mood changes. Many abuse victims are confused by the sudden mood changes their partners display.

One minute, the abusers may be nice. But the next minute ,they explode in anger.

•Past battering. The batterer may have abused someone in the past, but the abuser claims that the victim made him or her do it.

Batterers will beat all of their partners if the relationships last long enough.

•Threats of violence. This could include any threat of physical force meant to control a partner.

Most people do not threaten their mates. But abusers frequently claim that all couples talk to each other in similar threatening manner.

•Breaking or striking objects. This behavior may be used as a punishment.

But the form of violence is mostly used to terrorize the partner into submission.

The abusers may beat on a table with their fists or throw objects around or near their partners.

Not only is this type of behavior a sign or extreme emotional immaturity, but there's a great danger when people think they have the right to punish or frighten their partners.

•Force during an argument. This may involve a batterer holding a partner down, physically restraining the victim from leaving the room or pushing or shoving the individual.

Although abusers usually feel powerful and in control, the victim often feels fear, helplessness, embarrassment, anger and guilt.

Once a victim falls into the learned helplessness, the person's energy is drained and maintenance of the battering relationship occurs through psychological devastation that results in very low self esteem.

Also, the chances of a woman being seriously hurt or killed rise dramatically when she tries to leave an abusive relationship.

Of the 64 women who were murdered in Utah by partners between 1994-1999, an astounding 48.4 percent of the victims were separated from the assailants at the time of the murders, according to the Utah Intimate Partner Death Review Team .

To date in 2002, 11 Utah residents have died in a domestic violence related incident. Of the 11 victims, only four were married at the time of death.

Because domestic violence intensifies during the period of a relationship, it is important for those who feel that they may be with an abusive partner to get out of the arrangement before it's too late.

Many of the most serious cases of abuse result when a partner attempts to leave an abusive relationship. That is why so many victims do not attempt to seek help, according to state and national officials.

Domestic violence victims need to realize there are agencies in every community that can assist in placing the individual outside of the home and away from the abuser.

Also, the agencies may assist the abusers by counseling them and teach them that abuse is unacceptable.

In the Carbon County area, abuse victims may contact the Colleen Quigley Crisis Center at 637-6589.

The center will assist both victims and abusers in seeking professional help with the situation.

After all, to ask for help is a sign of strength, not of weakness, explain state and local agencies.

In addition, the local facility may offer domestic violence victims shelter and protection away from their abusers.

Information regarding how to leave an abusive relationship successfully is also available at the women's shelter in Carbon County.

Because domestic violence shelters and organizations are excellent places to begin the transition to a safer place and life, the facilities also offer the following information:

•Keeping the victim safe from their abuser.

•Finding another place to live.

•Getting medical attention.

•Finding transportation.

•Getting financial assistance.

•Finding child care.

•Keeping children enrolled in school.

•Helping the victim to find a job if necessary.

•Legal assistance.

Many times, abuse victims cope with the situations by making excuses, accepting the blame or pretending the violence isn't as bad as it actually is.

The victims very likely know that the abuse is not normal, but they try to get through each day by denying the reality of the abuse.

Victims lie to themselves, their families, private doctors and even the police. Denying the problem makes life seem more bearable, or at least for a while, according to state and local agencies.

The denial actually hurts the abuse victim even more, stress the agencies. Many abuse victims experience a great deal of self-blame, guilt and shame.

The feelings keep the victims from telling a friend or family member about the abuse.

The situation, in turn, increases the victims' feelings of isolation and shame. The cycle of bad feelings will continue until the domestic violence victims lose their self- respect.

The first and most important step in ending the cycle of domestic violence is realizing the severity of the abuse, emphasize state and local agencies.

Identifying one self as an abuse victim is a difficult step to take. However, it is the first step in finding help and creating a life free of the violence as well as the physical and emotional pain.

After domestic violence victims come to the realization, friends and family must support the individuals in any and all decisions that they may make in the long journey to an abuse free life, indicated the agencies.

Carbon County residents may encounter a situation which requires them to support and encourage a domestic abuse victim in seeking help, point out the state and local agencies. Therefore, it is extremely important for all citizens to be aware of the local crisis center.

In addition, Carbon County citizens should never ignore the sounds of violence coming from next door or occurring in a public place, stress the state and local agencies.

Residents should call 911 or contact the appropriate city police department or count sheriff's office when the sounds that are heard could be a person at risk of serious injury or even death.

Law-abiding citizens and communities should remember that domestic violence feeds on silence, conclude the state and local agencies.


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