effects of Domestic abuse
Domestic Violence can affect more than just the people directly involved. It can harm friends and family, and the relationships the victim has with both. Domestic violence isn't something people deal with at the time and then move on, it can impact their relationships with family and friends. It can also cause varying degrees of PTSD and other serious mental illnesses. Domestic violence has become a public issue because of how wide-spread the effects of it are. Domestic violence is beginning to become more studied and with the new research being done, it has come to show that domestic violence takes so much more of a toll on people than most initially believed it did. Victims of domestic violence can face problems such as PTSD, social isolation, childhood scars from witnessing it, and the violence can show how important social support is.
Evidence shows that psychological disorders such as PTSD can be a direct result of experiencing domestic violence. PTSD is one illness that is extremely hard to recover from. PTSD is most common with those who have had any traumatic experience, but is most prominent in those who experience extremely traumatizing events. Considering that Domestic violence can be extremely traumatizing, many domestic violence victims will also become victims to post traumatic stress disorders. Kim Anderson in the article, Recovery: Resilience and Growth in the Aftermath of Domestic Violence, states that, "...a substantial percentage of domestic violence survivors (31% to 84%) exhibit PTSD symptoms," (2). This goes to show that a majority of victims experience some sort of post traumatic stress from the abuse they experience. Domestic violence/abuse when it is mental, is the hardest to recover from as far as psychological conditions go, because the damage done cannot be seen which makes it hard to treat. For those who have lived with the psychological abuse for a long time, they may not even know that they have psychological problems. Mental abuse can make PTSD even harder to recover from because the mind is essentially continuously putting the victim through the same mental abuse and can give them intense fears of experiencing the abuse again. The mind gets so used to the trauma that it begins to think it is there even when it is not, which is why most victims who experience domestic violence also experience PTSD at some point or another. Social support is the most effective way of softening the blow of mental problems such as PTSD.
People who have strong social support are more likely to recover from psychological problems faster. People who are recovering from domestic violence can often feel alone in their quest towards recovery. Strong social support is crucial during the recovery process because it allows for the victim to feel like they aren't alone in their recovery. Ann Coker in the article, Social Support Protects against the Negative Effects of Partner Violence on Mental Health states that, "If social resources are supportive when they learn about IPV [Interpartner Violence], the potentially devastating impact of IPV may be lessened," (2). What Coker means is that, when a victim reaches out and tries to get help, and they receive support from whomever they're reaching out to, they are less likely to take on the full force of the mental illness. They feel more empowered to recover and they don't feel so alone in their quest towards recovery. Strong social support is like that of a beam to victims of domestic violence, because it helps keep the victim from 'falling', or in other words going to extreme measures to relieve their mental pain. Coker states in her article that, "...abused women with higher levels of support were less likely to attempt sucide..." (32). More social support for those in abusive relationships who are struggling with mental issues such as depression are less likely to commit suicide, or even cut themselves off from others, and eventually isolating themselves.
Social isolation is a huge reason why many people in abusive relationships can't get out. Social isolation is when a perpetrator constantly makes the victim feel alone and as if they have nowhere to go. This tactic allows for the perpetrator to control the victim and to make sure that the victim feels as if they have no way out. Social isolation is one reason why social support is extremely necessary when a victim is in and/or recovering from an abusive relationship. A study conducted by Carol Coohey talks about the fact that as far as social connections go women aren't isolated, but because of the abusers gaslighting, they believe that they are (Coohey 8). Abusive partners tend to do what they can to make the victim feel small, and by making them feel socially isolated they are both taking away their sources for help, and keeping outside suspicions from arising. Gaslighting is when a person deliberately messes with another's psychological state by making believe something that isn't true. By using gaslighting, perpetrators can socially isolate their partners without the victim even knowing it is happening. Perpetrators have a tendency to do whatever they can to take control of the victim's life and social isolation is their most effective way of doing so. They make the victim believe that they only have the perpetrator and that they don't have anyone else to turn to.
People who experience social isolation are less likely to reach out, because they feel as if they don't have strong social support. Many victims of social isolation based abuse are in a state of mind that makes them feel as if they are alone, even if they have tons of family and friends that are there and want what's best for them. Strong social support is hard for socially isolated victims to get because they don't know who to reach out to or they are too afraid to reach out. Coker mentions that, "Abused women may not disclose abuse or seek social support because they may feel stigmatized if others know of their abuse..."(2). This points out the fact that some people in domestically violent relationships may end up being the ones isolating themselves out of fear of what their peers will think of them. But, they also isolate themselves and don't reach out because they are afraid of what would happen if their abuser found out that they were getting help. Levendosky states, "`Empirical and clinical evidence indicates that severely battered women tend to be socially isolated and lack individuals in their network who can provide support,"(3). This is important to understand that many of those in physically abusive relationships may isolate themselves, because they are afraid of people knowing that they get battered.
Not only can Domestic violence affect the two directly involved it can affect those indirectly involved, such as children. Children who witness domestic abuse in the home become much more likely to become perpetrators or victims themselves. In the article, From Family to Friends: Does Witnessing Interparental Violence Affect Young Adults' Relationships with Friends? Mahua Mandal states that, "Empirical studies demonstrate that childhood exposure to violence in one's family is closely linked to subsequent violence with intimate partners in later life," (3). Mandal basically states that from his studies he found that kids who were exposed to domestic violence carried similar traits into adulthood and became domestically violent themselves. Domestic violence can influence kids to either not want to be the same, or they fall into similar patterns and don't break away from the abusive tendencies. Witnessing the violence can also lead to kids becoming violent towards their peers. Mandal points out that because of the abuse that kids see at home they can begin to display it at school towards their peers (4). The aggressive behavior that kids display outside of the home can be from not knowing how to express the emotions that they feel inside, and because they see it at home so they begin to think that it is okay. On the other hand, kids who are exposed to domestic violence can become victims of abuse instead. Children who witness violence can also go the other way and become the victims of domestic, and even peer violence. Mandals studies found that kids who witnessed violence at home were more likely to become victims of the violence than kids that did not witness it (4). Mandal goes to point out that although kids can become the perpetrators they are also extremely likely to become the victims. Kids that are witnesses to the violence towards someone they love can adapt to being passive when it comes to getting physically or emotionally abused. Many kids who become victims of peer and domestic violence have a hard time standing up for themselves.
Kids can experience problems when it comes to development due to witnessing domestic violence. Kids who witness domestic violence have issues when it comes to attachment to their mothers. It is typical for kids to get attached to their mothers at a young age, but because of abuse it can become increasingly more difficult for them to develop that necessary attachment (13). There are many different ways that kids can lack in other developmental factors as well. Children who experience or witness violence at home are less likely to be adherent to rules, they are less likely to be social with their peers. Glanz states, "The development of self-regulation is a prerequisite to the development of social skills that allow individuals to successfully negotiate complex social situations and to develop reciprocity and empathy," (15). Basically, kids develop social skills early, and if they experience domestic violence they can wind up not being able to fully develop those necessary social skills. Domestic violence can cause kids to become extremely passive, whether it be from watching their caregiver be passive or being afraid of what would happen if they did stand up for themselves. Domestic violence can be extremely harmful to children, especially in their early developmental stages of life. The main reason for this is because kids are still learning how the world works and learning about basic life skills, so if their homes are corrupted with violence, then their views on the world can be extremely altered and it can affect every aspect of their lives.
Domestic abuse studies show that social support from peers is very important to the victim's well-being. Most people who experience domestic abuse seek strong support to help them get through the many trials that come with abusive relationships. Social support can help victims recover from the violence faster. Levendosky states, "Social support is important throughout the different stages in women's lives as a protective factor for mental health functioning," (3). Levendosky points out the fact that social support is something that is extremely important for women as it is, but when domestic violence comes into the picture it becomes that much more important. When those in violent relationships receive strong support they feel more motivated to find their way towards being healthy again. Social support is one aspect of recovery that is extremely difficult to obtain for women who are not very open about their situation, but it happens to be one of the more important aspects. Social support during traumatic events such as domestic violence allow for the victims to be alleviated of their heartache and fears of what may happen. The quality of the support provided by outside connection is based on how supportive emotionally the outside connections are, which is the most important form of support for those in domestically abusive relationships. (Levendosky 2). Social support doesn't just mean being physically present and listening, sometimes it involves connecting with the victim emotionally, which can allow for better results coming from the victim.
Studies also show that social support acts as a buffer for strong emotions that victims encounter. Strong emotions ranging from fear or depression, to anxiety, can lead to health and mental problems such as PTSD, and social isolation. Because of the fact that social support can impact a domestic violence victims life tremendously, it acts as a sort of diffuser for those stronger emotions. Levendosky takes note of the fact that strong and reliable friends and family can help a victim to become happier and less anxious, (8). This is important because it gives the victim somewhere to get away from the damage and pain that they may be experiencing. More often than not those who are suffering just want someone who will make them feel like they don't have to suffer alone, and thus giving them a reason to keep fighting towards a strong recovery. Anderson that during her study she found that, "For these participants, leaving an abusive relationship and working toward recovery, took a tremendous amount of personal strength that was bolstered through spiritual and social support," (26). Basically, Anderson is pointing out the fact that victims who are trying to recover can benefit quite a bit from having people who are cheering them on to keep getting better. Also that those who are there constantly showing that they believe in the victim's ability to grow and become a stronger person after being beaten down for so long. These kinds of supports can raise the victims spirits which ultimately leads to buffering negative feelings. Anderson also mentions that emotional or "functional" supports had a direct influence as far as buffering out things such as anxiety in the victims, (3). That little bit of relief from emotions that are exhausting for the victim, can lead to the victim reaching a better state of mind that they can grow from and reach the recovery stage that they want. This kind of social support is extremely important in getting rid of those negative feelings that can hold them back from a strong recovery. A little bit of relief from emotions such as anxiety and depression can make the victim feel more hopeful and ready for the trials that recovery has to offer.
Domestic violence doesn't just end with the two people involved. It carries into every other aspect of that person's life, as well as others lives. Domestic violence causes damage that most people tend to overlook, problems such as PTSD, social isolation, childhood scars, and it can show how important social support is. For most, domestic violence is one of the hardest relational problems to recover from, especially when there is no strong social support for the victim. Mental problems can affect kids witnessing it, as well as the victim experience the full force of the psychological and physical abuse. Social support is one of the most important factors when it comes to recovering from the abuse. It allows for the victim to not feel so alone, which leads to a faster recovery from mental problems such as PTSD and social isolation. People that feel they are supported are far more likely to want to get better and they have a reason to strive towards getting better.
GUIDELINES: Remember that the research paper will run between 8-10 pages, will integrate sources from a diverse array of resources using MLA style, will have a clear thesis/research question as the backbone of the paper, will avoid fallacious rhetoric, and will construct logical arguments to advance the ideas in the paper.