MODULE 3Creating ContextUnderstanding Violence Against Women and Their Children
Understanding Male Violence Jackson Katz
Module 3 Learning Objectives • Participants will: • Explore myths associated with violence against women • Learn how to reframe women’s “deficits” to impacts of abuse or safety strategies • Understand the dynamics and impacts of violence against women in relationships and apply to case study
Module 3 Learning Objectives • Understand impact on children and youth who witness or are exposed to abuse by fathers/partners and apply these to a case study • Increase knowledge of the link between supporting the child and/or youth by supporting the mother • Identify compounding risks to women • Explore women’s obstacles to leaving an abusive relationship
Violence Against WomenMyths and Stereotypes Experience of abuse are complex and vary across culture, class, ethnicity, age, ability and sexual orientation, however: • there are some common myths and social stereotypes about women and abuse in relationships • there are also common myths and social stereotypes about men’s abusive behaviours.
Violence Against WomenMyths and Stereotypes • Powerful and harmful myths and stereotypes contribute to the further social marginalization of and increased violence towards: • women of colour • aboriginal women • low income women • immigrant and refugee women • young and older women • lesbians/bisexuals and transgendered women • sex trade workers • women with disabilities
Violence Against WomenMyths and Stereotypes • These myths are based on: • ideas of what a 'normal' family is - e.g. nuclear family • who can/should be a mother - e.g. heterosexual, able-bodied, mature • how to care for children and youth - e.g. woman is the primary caregiver, not extended family
Violence Against WomenMyths and Stereotypes Understanding our biases can help to alleviate the additional burden that women sometimes feel when they have contact with child protection and other services.
Violence Against WomenAbout Abusive Men Abusers come from all socioeconomic, racial, ethnic, occupational, educational, and religious groups.
Violence Against WomenAbout Abusive Men • Perpetrators do not share a set of personality characteristics or a psychiatric diagnosis that distinguishes them from people who are not abusive. • Some perpetrators have psychiatric problems, such as depression or psychopathology, but most do not have psychiatric illness. • Caution is advised in attributing mental illness and/or addiction as a cause of violence against women.
Violence Against WomenAbout Abusive Men • Abusing Power and Control: The perpetrator’s primary goal is to achieve power and control over their intimate partner. • Different Public and Private Behaviors: Usually, people outside of the immediate family are not aware of and do not witness the perpetrator’s abusive behavior. • Projecting Blame: Abusers often engage in insidious types of manipulation that involves blaming the victim for their violent behaviour.
Violence Against WomenAbout Abusive Men • Claiming Loss of Control or Anger Problems: There is a common belief that domestic violence is a result of poor impulse, control or anger management problems. • Minimizing and Denying the Abuse: Perpetrators rarely view themselves or their actions as violent or abusive. As a result, they often deny, justify, and minimize their behaviour.
Violence Against WomenAbout Abusive Men • Some key beliefs that abusive men hold that allows them to be abusive: • Men are entitled to power and privilege • Men are central • Men are superior • Men are deserving • Women are marginal • Women are inferior • Women are subservient • Russell, Frohberg (1995) • Confronting Abusive Beliefs: Group treatment for abusive men
Violence Against WomenAbout Abusive Men Women in violent relationships are forced into the marginal, inferior and subservient positions because challenging an abuser’s sense of centrality, superiority and deservedness can increase the risks for women. Cory and McAndless-Davis 2008 When Love Hurts. A Woman’s Guide to Understanding Abuse in Relationships
Violence Against WomenDynamics of Abuse • Violence is used by abusers to establish control over their partners. • They use abusive tactics such as fear, intimidation, manipulative kindness and isolation to control partners’ freedoms and reduce access to basic human rights.
Violence Against WomenCycle of Abuse • Many women, although not all women, can describe a pattern of abuse. • The Cycle of Abuse that was first introduced by Lenore Walker in the 1970s has been discredited because it painted a picture of women experiencing abuse as helpless and powerless.
Violence Against WomenCycle of Abuse • Even when women can describe a pattern, their experiences are not as ‘tidy’ or predictable as the diagram suggests, but the Cycle of Abuse is a useful teaching tool. • Here, the Cycle of Abuse is used to illustrate the pattern of the abuse and dispel the myth that abuse only occurs during the Explosion phase or as a single episode. • All 3 phases of the cycle are abusive and men are in control of and responsible for the cycle.
Violence Against WomenCycle of Abuse “Hi, I’m Dan, I’m abusive, would you like to go out on a date?” • Honeymoon Phase (Entrapment) • Occurs at beginning of relationship, then often follows explosion phase • Romance, gifts, flowers, and attention to the woman • Attracts a woman to her partner Abuse is rarely present at the start of a relationship
Violence Against WomenCycle of Abuse • Honeymoon Phase (Entrapment) • also known as manipulative kindness • demonstrates • women not attracted to abusive men – women attracted to positive qualities he chooses to express • men have control over their abusive behaviour – this abuse is focused on creating a dependency on him, rather than fear of him
Violence Against WomenCycle of Abuse • Tension Phase • Generally follows the Honeymoon (entrapment) phase • Quick mood changes, fault finding, much less attention and no gifts, flowers or romance. • Women describe themselves as walking on eggshells. Feel that they can’t ‘get the rules right’.
Violence Against WomenCycle of Abuse • Tension Phase • keep children under control and often out of sight • simply survive each step to avoid the “explosion” • follow “the rules”: • unachievable • ever-changing • designed to keep her off balance • designed to keep her focused on his needs • Over time, women learn that they cannot succeed at meeting his ever-changing rules and expectations.
Violence Against WomenCycle of Abuse • Explosion Phase • Follows the tension phase. • Can take a variety of forms, from physical violence to verbal threats and intimidation to the silent treatment. • Women are a greater risk during this phase as he has the most explicit control over her.
Violence Against WomenCycle of Abuse • When the “explosion” is finished, the “honeymoon” may reappear: • apologies • promises of change • respite from most dangerous forms of abuse • …and so the cycle continues
Violence Against WomenCycle of Abuse • Throughout each phase a woman • adapts and negotiates her safety • develops and employs survival strategies: • stay in the relationship • use drugs or alcohol to appease partner • do not take care of own health needs • **from the outsider’s perspective, these strategies may not make sense and may seem detrimental
Violence Against WomenCycle of Abuse • The tactics of an abusive partner in the Cycle of Violence arepatterned and intentional : • maintain Power and Control in the relationship • keep his partner off balance and focusing on “getting it right”. • He maintains HIS power through HER fear, while she is attempting to change the pattern.
Violence Against WomenPower and Control • Violence was narrowly defined in the Canadian Violence Against Women Survey as “experiences of physical or sexual assault that are consistent with the legal definitions of these offences and could be acted upon by a police officer” • Society is increasingly recognizing that abusive relationships are about one partner wielding power and control over the other • Cory and Dechief 2007 • SHE Framework: A Safety and Health Enhancement Framework for Women Experiencing Abuse
Violence Against WomenPower and Control • Parallels • individual relationships in which one partner exerts power and control over the other • relationships on the societal level, where one group exerts power and control over another • Eg. An abusive man's domination over his female partner is part of, and a way to maintain, men's domination over women.
Violence Against WomenPower and Control • Compounding factors also result in groups and individuals having relatively less power in society and these may play a role in a woman being controlled by her partner. • For example, a woman who has recently immigrated to Canada and is in the process of gaining her citizenship may face barriers to escaping abuse which include: • a partner who threatens to withdraw sponsorship • language barriers in receiving outside help • difficulties supporting herself financially if training and/or experience from her home country is not recognized
Violence Against WomenPower and Control • While physical violence may be one way that a woman is controlled, women describe an entire pattern of abuse which functions to: • make them feel inferior • have less decision-making power in the relationship • take away basic freedoms and rights • increasingly isolate her from friends, family, other supports
Violence Against WomenPower and Control • Together with the Cycle of Violence, the Power and Control Wheel helps us to make the distinction between “bad behaviour” and behaviour that is abusive, patterned and intentional, and used to maintain power and control through fear. • Discredits the idea of “mutual battering” - power and control cannot be mutual • Describes the many types of abuse and some of the tactics employed in each type. • Reinforces the futility of women’s resistance
Violence Against WomenImpacts of Abuse Understanding the impact of abuse on women and their children is central to making the proper assessment and providing appropriate support and interventions. Understanding the important concept and application of impacts is crucial to conducting an effective risk assessment with women, their children and perpetrators.
Violence Against WomenImpacts of Abuse • Men who are abusive often make claims of mutual battering and cite examples of women striking them, using physical force or verbal abuse.
Violence Against WomenImpacts of Abuse • While this behaviour is not condoned, it is not likely to meet the criteria of abuse: • an on-going pattern and use of a range of power and control tactics for the purposes of controlling and oppressing their partner. • Women use physical strategies in self-defense or to escape, different motives from their abuser.
Violence Against WomenImpacts of Abuse • When women describe the impact of the relationship, even if they don’t define the relationship as abusive, you will hear stories of • fear • oppression • loss of freedom and basic rights • When men who use violence are asked about the impact that their partner’s abuse has had on their safety and freedom, results from a men’s treatment program show no such impacts.
Violence Against WomenImpacts of Abuse • Abuse is not limited to incidents involving physical assaults. • It is the other forms of abuse that have long-lasting impacts on women’s safety, freedom and health. • The impact of abuse affects each woman differently; the following are some general impacts:
Violence Against WomenImpacts of Abuse • living in constant fear • forced to be economically and emotionally dependent • continually assessing and responding to safety risks • fear of losing ability to monitor him if she leaves • socially isolated including family, friends and other supports • paralysed with fear - action, decision could increase danger • contemplating suicide - history of minor attempts • threatened by her partner that he will kill her and others
Violence Against WomenImpacts of Abuse • Health concerns, including: • exhaustion • migraines and severe headaches • eating disorders • cardiac-related symptoms • dizziness • lack of concentration • numbness, tingling, loss of sensation • twitching • gastro-intestinal problems • substance use • mental health concerns (depression, anxiety)
Violence Against WomenImpacts of Abuse • Women experiencing abuse often judged harshly and characterized inaccurately when there is not enough understanding of the impacts • Women may be viewed and labelled as personally deficient or challenging rather than • surviving in dangerous and volatile contexts
Violence Against WomenImpacts of Abuse • Abused Women May Be Labelled: • Dysfunctional • Unstable • Weak • Passive • Indecisive • Uncooperative • Demanding • Service Resistant • Angry • Selfish • Hostile • Aggressive • Non-compliant • Difficult • Irresponsible • Complicit • Co-dependent
Violence Against WomenImpacts of Abuse • Judged as bad mothers because they “allow” their children to be exposed to violence • Considered to be responsible for their partner’s violent behaviour • Blamed for ‘choosing’ an abusive partner or for staying with an abusive partner • Judged for using substances
Violence Against WomenImpacts of Abuse • Reframing these behaviours and characteristics: • a normal response to experiencing violence • a survivor within a dangerous and volatile context • Reframing can be a powerful process to: • Increase understanding of women’s circumstances • Create a more realistic assessment of her needs • Respond in a way that keeps her safety paramount
Violence Against WomenImpacts of Abuse • The following are examples of how to reframe impact on women experiencing abuse (more in handout 3.6): • Negative Stereotypes of Woman • Troublemaker, demanding, hypochondriac • Reframe – Impact, Safety Strategies and Strengths • Encounter with worker - opportunity to be assertive, aware • Is the expert on her experience and health and safety • Has skills and knowledge to contribute to the encounter • Has a right to an opinion and a right to speak it
Violence Against WomenImpacts of Abuse • Negative Stereotypes of Woman • She is poor, uneducated, a minority, user of drugs and alcohol etc… • Reframe – Impact, Safety Strategies and Strengths • Abuse impacts women from diverse social locations including ethnicity, race, ability and socio-economic status. However, intersecting inequalities/oppressions can compound the impact of abuse • There is a complex relationship between substance use and woman abuse, with abuse/trauma often preceding substance use
Violence Against WomenImpact on Children and Youth • Children and youth often witness to woman abuse • “Witness” implies a passive experience of the violence, does not adequately reflect: • real experiences • impact of the violence • range of ways children and youth exposed to violence against their mothers
Violence Against WomenImpact on Children and Youth • Identify some of the ways children and youth are impacted by violence against women to know how to best address their needs. • Children and youth need specialized interventions and supports: • address their experiences of exposure • create networks of safety and support for them and their mothers.