Wednesday, September 16, 2009
How does Violence happen To Some women
Methods of Coercion
ISOLATION Deprives victim of all social support for the ability to resist. Develops an intense concern with self.
Makes victim dependent upon interrogator
From other battered women: He moved me away from my friends. He didn't want to go anywhere unless he was with me. He would eavesdrop.
From Mary’s story: Russ's rude treatment of family and friends made them stop coming or come less often. Russ would determine when and if Mary could go out (as in final, attendance-at-shower incident).
MONOPOLIZATION OF PERCEPTION Fixes attention upon immediate predicament; fosters introspection.
Eliminates stimuli competing with those controlled by captor.
Frustrates all actions not consistent with compliance.
From other battered women: I was always scared he'd blow up. I had to dress up for him. Give him sex whenever he wanted. I had to control the children so they wouldn't bother him. It was like walking on eggshells.
From Mary’s story: Same words re walking on eggshells. Watched "blood and guts" TV programs as Russ's requirements. Was to be available for sex to "make up" after fight.
INDUCED DEBILITY AND EXHAUSTION
Weakens mental and physical ability to resist.
From other battered women: He wouldn't let me sleep. He started fights at night. He wouldn't let me see a doctor.
From Mary’s story: "All that night, he kicked me while we were in bed together. He turned the lights on and off all night. I got hardly any sleep."
THREATS Cultivates anxiety and despair.
From other battered women: He threatened to kill the cat. He said he'd take the kids. He said he'd have me committed. He said he'd burn down the house. He said he'd find me if I left.
From Mary’s story: Russ said she'd "get the beating of her life" that night. After she left, he said he'd "get her" and make her death look like a suicide.
OCCASIONAL INDULGENCES Provides positive motivation for compliance.
From other battered women: He took me on vacation. He bought me jewelry. He allowed me sex only when we "made up." Once in a while he really listened to me and seemed to care.
From Mary’s story: Gifts following severe attacks. Some good times, at least in the beginning, when Russ was genuinely affectionate toward her.
DEMONSTRATING "OMNIPOTENCE" Suggests futility of resistance.
From other battered women: He beat me up. He had me followed. He called me deluded.
From Mary’s story: Beatings, stalking, called her "crazy" because of thyroid medication.
DEGRADATION Makes cost of resistance appear more damaging to self-esteem than capitulation.
Reduces prison to "animal" concerns.
From other battered women: He told me I'm too fat. He'd call me names and touch me inappropriately in public. He put me down intellectually and sexually and said I was ugly.
From Mary’s story: "Your thighs are fat. Your boobs hang down. No one else would want you. You're lucky to have me." Nearly convinces her to have her breasts enlarged.
ENFORCING TRIVIAL DEMANDS Develops habits of compliance.
From other battered women: The bacon had to be cooked to a particular doneness. I couldn't leave a cup on the bathroom basin.
From Mary’s story: Mary was not allowed to watch television comedies like "Cheers" or "M*A*S*H."
Source: Amnesty International, Report on Torture (1973), as adapted by Women’s Shelter of Northampton, Mass., in Ann Jones, Next Time, She’ll Be Dead 90-91 (1994).