One of the most common social issues that need to be addressed is the abuse directed against women, specifically of married women who fall under the status of battered wives. “Battered wives” are those women who endured physical abuse by their husbands. For most of the cases, battered women suffered from verbal, emotional and physical abuse. In such a scenario, there is a high possibility that their lives and those of their children are in danger. There is a need then for “battered wives” to ask for help from outside sources.
However, like all other social problems facing modern society, there are internal and external barriers that interfere in the provision of effective help. Discussion Wife battering is a domestic violence prevalent in many households today. According to Schechter in his book A Framework for Understanding and Empowering Battered Women published in 1988 about one out of twenty-six American wives get beaten by their husbands every year, or a total of almost 1. 8 million per year” (p. 40 ).
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Barriers to Receiving Help
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Although it involves only between husbands and wife in a family framework, interference from friends and relatives as well as the government social agencies is of necessity for the woman’s life, and perhaps of his children, may be at risks. Major researches since the early 1980’s had claimed that children exposed to marital violence had higher levels of psychological problems (Roberts, 172, 1996). A. Internal Barriers There are six common internal barriers that prevent battered wives from seeking help. 1.
Wife blames herself for the violence There are wives who believed that they were the cause of the violence. In other words, they think they deserved to be hit or beaten because of something that they had or had not done. This is especially prevalent for women whose husbands kept on telling them that the reason they were beaten was because they did not clean the house enough, their cooking skills were “terrible”, they had disobeyed him or that they were stupid for forgetting to do something that should have been done out of “common sense”.
Oftentimes, when the abusive husbands are generally regarded as a good friend or good leader by his peers, battered wives will tend to believe all the more that the fault is on them. These wives are haunted with guilt and find it fitting to fix the problem by themselves ( Schwartz, 2007). 2. Wife’s financial and companionship dependence on husband Some abused wives stay at home as a fulltime wife and mother which means that they and their children are totally financially dependent on their husband for economic survival.
If they do decide to leave, they think they will not be able to make it (Schwartz, 2007). Aside from their financial need, some wives were led to believe by their abusive husbands that there would be no other man who will be interested to take her if she would decide to leave him. This is a very effective tactic for women who have poor self-esteem. They fear the prospect of facing the future alone and would therefore stay with their violent spouses. 3. Wife believed husband’s promises to reform
In some cases, husbands who beat their wives will later tell their wives that they regretted what they had done and that the truth is “he loved her and promised that he will reform or that it will never happen again”. Women who still think they love their husbands would readily fall to this trap, hoping that it was the last beating or that their husbands will change in the future. This situation may go on for years especially if the cycle of violence happens between long intervals (Schwartz, 2007). 4. Wife believed her children needs their father
Women will sometimes not seek help from outside sources for fear this may aggravate the problem, anger her husband and would be the cause that he will leave her or that she and her children had to be advised to leave. Some women would not want an “absentee” father as she may thinks that her children needs him (Schwartz, 2007). 5. Wife believed the authorities cannot help Some “battered wives” may not actually believe that the authorities will be able to help them but will in fact, make a public spectacle of their suffering.
They fear they may not be able to win the case and send their abusive husbands to jail. If such a case happens, her angry husband, who had now become more violent for disgracing his name, will still be able to harm her. 6. Fear of Husband’s threats Abusive husbands successfully prevent their wives from seeking help from authorities due to threats. They usually threatens to kill their wives , run after her wherever she may go, and if she seeks help from her friends or family he will also consume them with his wrath.
The threats may sound fearful and convincing if the wives knew that their husbands had some form of criminal record or that he is using drugs ( Roberts, 189, 1996). A. External Barriers “Battered wives” can ask for help from outside sources such as family, police and other legal authorities, therapists/psychologists, social workers, doctors as well as various community services and agencies. However, seeking outside help may not be such an inviting option for them due to the following external barriers: 1. Inability of the court to respond immediately to the problem
Some appropriate authorities such as judges, trial court administrators, case managers and police may minimize certain cases of domestic violence as just a form of a lover’s quarrel would therefore discourage supposedly “battered wives” to follow through with their criminal or civil complaints. They may advise the victim to settle the conflict with their spouses by themselves (Roberts, 96, 1996). The court may also be overloaded with many legal concerns, the staff may not be adequate and the judges overworked, especially in large cities, so that it failed to promptly schedule a hearing and trial date.
As a result, the victims get tired of waiting and went back to live with their abusive husbands. Oftentimes, when trial did arrive, women would usually recant their testimony (as husband was given the ample time to harass or manipulate her). This had actually happened to Mabely Lugo who recanted her accusations against her professional baseball player husband Julio Lugo by telling the police that he did not mean to hurt him(Parameswaran, 2007). 2. Friend’s does not want to interfere with the “problems” at home
Friends approached by the victim may feel that they do not have the right to interfere with domestic affairs and encourage the wife to make necessary changes so that her husband will not beat her up again (Roberts, 235, 1996). The wife may then get discouraged in sharing her problems to others and would eventually keep her suffering to herself. 3. No appropriate place to go to There are cases that battered women need to flee from their violent husbands but there were no safe places to go. Some areas may not have shelter homes from which they can run for protection.
And if shelter houses were in existence, there were no adequate provisions and funding that will sustain their temporary stay. 6. Lack of Counselors and social workers Government agencies may not be able to provide the victims with necessary counseling and mental therapy to help them understand the situation, to help them assess their options and to help them gain the strength and stamina to stand by their decision if they do decide to leave their husbands for good or to file criminal complaints.
Battered women are mostly confused, emotionally as well as psychologically traumatized and may not be able to make concrete wise decisions (Roberts, 188, 196). II. Potential Solutions to the Problems Women who are battered should not be silent. They should remember that no one has the right to hurt and abuse them either physically, verbally or emotionally. To counteract internal barriers, the women should be educated with regards to the psychology of abuse and its consequences. Shelter homes are a very good potential solution to fighting off internal and external barriers for the victim.
It must be safe (violent husband are kept out), with good provisions and adequate counseling programs. One good feature would be teaching women skills that would ready them for outside job when they eventually leave the shelter homes and support themselves. Educational programs should be funded by the government. I think the women should be kept for a certain longer period in the shelter homes( depending on the assessment of counselors ) just enough for them to gain self-esteem, skills and a new love for life!
Counseling and therapy will be very helpful to restore their confidence but I think they should also keep in touch with their spiritual lives. Adequate legal professionals must also be provided for free for the victims. These legal authorities should understand the gravity of wife battering for though the physical manifestation may be minor, these women may be falling apart psychologically. III. Conclusion The social problem of wife battering should not be look upon as minor phenomena.
In this problem, the physical violence may only be a physical manifestation of the cruelty, verbal and emotional abuses practiced at home. The children may be at risks, too. But wives do not seek help due to their own particular internal and external barriers. These barriers must be overcome by education, counseling, prompt assistance of legal and police authorities and provision of shelter homes. References 1. Parameswaran, Lakshmy. (2007). Battered Wives Often Recant or Assume Blame. Women's eNews Inc. Retrieved January 14, 2008 from http://www. womensenews. org/article.
cfm/dyn/aid/1468 2. Roberts, Albert R(ed. ). (1996). Helping Battered Women: New Perspectives and Remedies. New York: Oxford University Press. Place of Publication: New York. 3. Schechter, Susan and Gary, Lisa T. (1988). "A Framework for Understanding and Empowering Battered Women". Abuse and Victimization across the Life Span, Baltimore: John Hopkins UP. 4. Schwartz, Dianne. (2007). Abusive Lies & Battered Wives. Innerself Publications.. Retrieved January 14, 2008 from http://innerself. ca/html/relationships/divorce--separation/abusive-lies--battered-wives. html
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