Violence against children
An interview with Prof. Dr. Murray Strauss (1926-2016)
A social experiment
A man hits a woman who hits a man and how the public responds.
John Hamel/Tonia L. Nicholls (editors):
Family Interventions in Domestic Violence
A Handbook of Gender-Inclusive Theory and Treatment
Here are a few excerpts from the handbook
For far too long, the theory, research, and practice in the field of intimate and family violence have been stifled by a punishment paradigm that focuses on only part of the problem: heterosexual male violence caused by gender imbalance. This paradigm has limited the creativity of scholars and practitioners, as I saw in 1996, to address this seemingly intractable problem and has shut out women and whole families from playing a meaningful role in treatment. Having questioned the salience of such assumptions myself, I have found that in recent years many theorists, researchers, and practitioners have been caught up in the politics of domestic violence, as several of the authors in this volume acknowledge. Painfully, this tunnel vision has caused many key thinkers to lose sight of the importance of asking fresh questions that may give rise to new solutions. …. The uniting theme of this work is treating men, women, and children “where they are”—a basic tenet of good clinical practice that has long been missing from the field of domestic abuse. Instead, past interventions have often judged clients for the violence in their lives without providing them with the tools they need to address it. We now know (…) that treatment must encompass a wide range of gender dynamics, including violence perpetrated by heterosexual females or between same-sex partners, as well as the fact that abuse can deeply penetrate family systems and cross generations
Given that we continue to live in a patriarchal society, patriarchal expla- nations for abuse are certainly not irrelevant, but they are insufficient and often lead to superficial assessments and inappropriate treatment, thus reducing rather than increasing the odds of treatment success. The large number of equalitarian relationships in our society and the correla- tion between violence and relationship domination by both females and males (Coleman & Straus, 1990; Medeiros & Straus, this volume); the fact that most men are neither physically abusive nor prone to engage in power and control tactics (Cook, 1997; Dutton, 1994); the high rates of female-on-female abuse in lesbian relationships (McClellen, Summers, & Daley, 2002; Renzetti, 1992; West, 1998), and research indicating that violent men in fact display less traditional masculine characteristics than their nonviolent counterparts (Felson, 2002; Neidig, Friedman, & Collins, 1986; Sugarman & Frankel, 1996) negate simplistic explana- tions along culture and gender lines.
The source of trauma, as revealed in this work, was physical abuse combined with shaming by the father and with a lack of secure attach- ment to the mother. Consequently, the latter could not provide buffering against the former (Dutton, 1998, 2002b). Tangney, Wagner, Fletcher, and Gramzow (1992) have presented a more focused analysis of the potential role of shame as a mediator between the early experiences of assaultive men and their adult experience of anger and abusiveness. They describe shame proneness as a moral affective style that has to do with “global, painful, and devastating experience in which the self, not just behavior, is painfully scrutinized and negatively evaluated” (p. 599). In this sense, shame-inducing experiences, which generate a shame-prone style, may be viewed as attacks on the global self and should produce disturbances in self-identity. Shame-prone individuals have been found to demonstrate a limited empathic ability, a high propensity for anger, and self-reports of aggression (Wallace & Nosko, 2003). Dutton, van Ginkel, and Starzomski (1995) found recollections of shame-inducing experiences by parents of assaultive men to be significantly related to the men’s self-reports of both anger and physical abuse and to their wives’ reports of the men’s use of dominance/isolation.
Violence between parents may also signify other patterns of interpa- rental dysfunction that might play their own unique roles in the devel- opmental course of child adjustment. Research has specifically shown that violence in the interparental relationship is associated with a greater incidence of other forms of destructive interactions between parents, such as verbal aggression and threats, hostility, escalating anger, poor resolution, child-rearing disputes, and disengagement between parents (Jouriles et al., 2001). Because the incidence of witnessing many of these “nonviolent” forms of interparental conflict is likely to be substantially higher than exposure to specific bouts of physical aggression, even in the most violent homes, these more rampant types of conflict may have a unique, insidious impact on children’s adaptation.