The Cycle of Domestic Violence Stops Here; Help Abusers Stop Abusing

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      People who are abused or witness repeated domestic violence as a child are 80% more likely to become abusers themselves later in life ("Violence in the Lives of Children & Youth"). Providing effective solutions and possible preventions of domestic violence are desperately needed. By identifying who is likely to abuse and under what circumstances they tend to abuse will allow the development of essential support programs. In order to decrease the harmful cycle of domestic violence, more social awareness on the causes and effects of the abuse are needed to rehabilitate the abuser and end the cycle of violence altogether.                      

        Domestic violence is caused by many different factors and early intervention is needed to stop these behaviors. Society needs to improve the identification of potential abusers so that early intervention can be provided. The abuser often thinks that they have to exert control because it will make them feel powerful. Domestic violence is often a learned behavior that doesn’t stop when the victim is removed ("Domestic Harmony Foundation » Domestic Violence"). The abuser is likely to abuse the next person as well. An understanding of the causes of abuse is needed in order to provide possible solutions.
        In addition to the causes of this form of abuse, many psychological factors contribute to the heated tension that leads to the violence. Whether or not they are experiencing a perceived threat or an extreme and unacceptable provocation, both men and women involved in domestic violence are very often listening to or acting upon their “critical inner voice”. This “voice” is a destructive and critical provoking thought process in which people tell themselves negative and self-deprecating things about their spouses and even themselves. If these harsh thoughts become controlling and taken very seriously, it can escalate to a point of abusive actions and gestures. Most of the time, couples who experience violence also are struck with the illusion that they cannot live without each other, regardless of the abuse. This is because the victim and the batterer establish a “fantasy bond” which is where both couples feel as if they can’t stand on their own ("The Fantasy Bond: A Substitute for a Truly Loving Relationship"). These are the underlying psychological factors that build up the tension in the abuser’s brain and cause them to harm their partner.
       There are several perpetrator programs all around the world, the abuser just needs to be willing to make the effort to change. Changing violent behavior is a long and challenging process that one cannot do alone ("Can I Stop Being Abusive? –"). Special treatment and help is required for rehabilitation. In order to make this realization, the abuser needs help identifying that they are being abusive and that this behavior is wrong. The victim must stand up and tell the batterer why his/her actions are wrong and disrespectful. While this is challenging for not only the abuser to hear but also for the victim to stand up to the abuser, it is necessary. If the abuser comes to the realization that they are doing wrong and that love is respect, changes are possible and in most cases, the relationship can be saved.
        In contrast, some believe that the victim needs the help because they are the ones being harmed. While this is true, the victim isn’t the only one who needs help. The violence must stop altogether. In order to do this, both sides of domestic violence need attention, not just the victim. If only the victim gets help, the abuser will most likely abuse the next person and the cycle of abuse continues. This is because abuse is a learned behavior, the abuser requires help to become aware that it is wrong ("Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence"). There are many support programs and legal restriction opportunities for the victim which is good, but it will not stop the violence, it will only stop the victim from being harmed and create an opportunity for someone else to be abused. Help programs are necessary for both the victim and the abuser. The best prevention technique is early intervention. If the abuse is identified early on, it can stop the risk of extreme effects that cause harm to both the abuser and the abused. Increased social awareness also comes into play when dealing with prevention ("Identifying Signs of Intimate Partner Violence"). If society recognizes when domestic violence is occurring and the urgency to stop the violence, programs that offer rehabilitation for both sides will start to evolve. Increased social awareness and early interventions decreases the likelihood of ongoing domestic violence.
          Therefore, prevention of domestic violence must start with the rehabilitation of the abuser. Early identification of the underlying factors increases the potential to make a change. Whether these underlying factors causing the abuse involve psychological tension, substance abuse, or financial crisis, increased social awareness can help prevent ongoing domestic violence. There are programs for all of these factors to help abusers. They are challenging and costly, but they are strongly recommended and desperately needed to stop this crime. If nothing is done about the violence, the lethality will increase causing mortality rates to rise as well. More social awareness and responsibility facing the problem will decrease the harmful cycle on both sides of domestic abuse. Hence, stopping the cycle of violence altogether.

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