Domestic violence should be considered child abuse

From victim to perpetrator. What effects does domestic violence have on those affected?


1 Introduction

2. Definition of terms
2.1 violence
2.2 Domestic violence
2.3 Aggression

3. Development of violence

4. Forms of domestic violence

5. Effects on child development

6. Victims and perpetrators

7. Challenge to social work - prevention and intervention

8. Conclusion


1 Introduction

The following housework deals with the question of whether victims of domestic violence, i.e. those who experience it first-hand, but also those who witness and observe it, also become perpetrators in principle.

First, the terms violence, domestic violence and aggression are explained with the help of authors such as Ulrich Papenkort, Maria Schäfer-Hohmann, Sandra Dlugosch, Joachim Lempert and Anja Steingen. Continuing, the development of violence is described on the basis of Lempert's cycle of violence. Then the causes, forms and consequences of violence are discussed. Literature from Lamnek, Luedtke, Ottermann and Vogl was used here. In a further point, the effects on child development are presented and substantiated by interviews that Philomena Strasser carried out for a study on various children. In addition, the victims who result from domestic violence and the perpetrators, who often suffered from it themselves, are examined more closely. Furthermore, the challenges to social work are examined in more detail. A particular challenge is to find suitable prevention and intervention measures to largely prevent or counteract domestic violence.

Finally, a summarizing conclusion is formulated in which the question is dealt with in more detail.

2. Definition of terms

2.1 violence

In order to be able to deal with the topic of domestic violence, it must first be clarified what is meant by the term violence. Ulrich Papenkort names in the book “Violence - an interdisciplinary consideration” “four distinguishable meanings” of violence (cf. Papenkort, 2009: p. 17). These are "moving violence", "determining violence", "necessary violence" and finally "damaging violence".

The "moving violence" can also be described as "violence as force". This means "forces of nature", the "violence of passions" and "force majeure". The determining force is “the concept of power” (Papenkort, 2009: p.18): “If someone is ascribed power and strength that he can actually dispose of, but does not have to, power is transformed into a physical one Power out or into social power independently of it: determining violence. ”(Ibid.) The term“ violence, necessitating violence ”means“ coercion or compulsion ”(Papenkort, 2009: p.20). “In general, coercion or coercion is present when an individual manipulates the circumstances of another individual in such a way that he acts against his will according to the will of the compelling person.” (Cf. Batthyani 2007, p.199, quoted from ibid.) Last gives there is still the concept of necessary force. After coercion, this is the second action concept of violence. "Harmful violence only emanates from people and is> violence <(cf. Papenkort, 2009: p. 21)."

2.2 Domestic violence

Maria Schäfer-Hohmann writes in the book "Violence - an interdisciplinary consideration" that Schwander (2003) sees domestic violence as given when physical, psychological or sexual violence is exercised by people within an existing or dissolved family, marital or marriage-like relationship . (cf. Schwander, 2003, quoted from Schäfer-Hohmann, 2009: p.76)

It also refers to the definition of the Berlin Initiative against Violence Against Women (BIG eV 1999), which defines domestic violence as such: “Domestic violence can be seen as the abuse of power and the exercise of domination by one person over another in the context of a close relationship “(cf. BIG eV 1999, quoted from Schäfer-Hohmann, 2009: p. 77) Domestic violence is a term that has been used synonymously with family or family violence or violence in the family. Domestic violence means any violence that occurs within family or family relationships. The specialty of domestic violence is the fact that family in the actual social understanding represents a place of security support. Violence runs counter to this task of the family. The term domestic violence describes the place and the privacy of the violence very aptly. "Domestic violence takes place in the vicinity of your own home." (Dlugosch, 2010: p. 23 f.)

2.3 Aggression

Aggression is defined in the technical lexicon as “deliberate action aimed at harming another” (Bierhoff, 2017: p. 7). A distinction is made between two forms of aggression. First of all, the impulsive aggression, "which shows little planning and takes place spontaneously on the emotional basis of anger, anger or indignation" (Bierhoff, 2017: p. 7). And the second form is instrumental aggression, in which “violence is used carefully and calculatively in order to achieve a worthwhile goal” (Bierhoff, 2017: p. 7).

Anja Steingen describes in her book "Domestic Violence - Handbook of perpetrator work" that when working with domestic violent perpetrators, a biological approach is particularly useful. Aggression describes the positive assertiveness of animals and people and is essential to achieve goals, to assert oneself, to be able to distinguish and protect oneself. Aggression is therefore an important aspect of vitality and mental health. There is an essential difference between this healthy aggression and violent behavior. In the case of violent people, healthy aggression is often inhibited and their violent behavior is unsuitable for meaningful delimitation or assertion. "It is often not directed against the actual triggers of aggression and real threats, but mostly against other people." (Steingen, 2020: p.17 f.)

3. Development of violence

Papenkort writes in his article “Distinctions of Violence” in the book “Violence - an interdisciplinary consideration” that the first distinction is between effect and purpose. According to Papenkort, violence can occur on the one hand "as a reactive effect on a cause, i.e. on a triggering event" (Papenkort, 2009: p.26). The result would be assessed negatively and this assessment would be the psychological cause of the violent reaction. One can also speak of affective violence, since the negative evaluation is almost always associated with anger or anger. “Second, violence can be used proactively as a means to an end. If the effectiveness of the agent is in the foreground, it is, in the words of Max Weber, "purposeful" violence ”(ibid.). However, if the emphasis is on the meaning of the purpose, then the violence is "value-rational" (ibid.). In summary, "the violence is psychologically motivated and takes place, legally speaking, with intent" (ibid .: p.27).

The cycle of violence is a model that has been revised and changed over and over again. The first version was developed in 1988. The concept of the circle is more confrontational, because it expresses that the man is turning in a circle, not taking a step forward and turning further unless he really changes something. “The cycle of violence goes through in ten phases.” (Lempert, 2009: p. 145 ff.) The book describes that there are ten phases. However, there are eleven phases that he carries out here. The intensity of the violence increases over time and the intervals between the acts become shorter and shorter.

The first phase is the act of violence. The perpetrator feels relief and liberation and is active. “He was able to ward off the threatening powerlessness, the experience of being small, through the act of violence.” (Ibid .: p.146) The violence worked because he stabilized himself in an otherwise frightening situation. In the second phase he becomes aware of what he was doing. It becomes clear to the perpetrator what he has done and now he also perceives the resulting situation. In phase three, remorse and shame set in on the perpetrator when he realizes what he has done. He felt guilty and wanted nothing more than to undo what had happened.

The change between violence and the rather nice, courteous and loving manner of the man is confusing for the woman. They are afraid that the situation could tip over again at any moment. Through this constant change, the woman will fend off any kind gesture and try to keep her distance.

In the fourth phase, he is at the stage where he no longer understands why he is abusing someone who is closest to him. He apologizes again and again in the hope of being able to clear his conscience in this way.

The fifth phase is the filing of guilt, in which the perpetrator tries to get rid of the guilt. First, the perpetrator looks for the guilt in himself, but then begins to blame the victim more and more. He tries to ward off his feelings of guilt, defend himself against guilt.

After the previous debt levy, the responsibility transfer now comes in phase six. Lempert goes into the difference between responsibility and guilt "to make clear the possibility of change" (ibid .: p.148). If one speaks of guilt, there is only right and wrong. “It is precisely the mixture of guilt and responsibility that leads, via the assignment of guilt, to the responsibility for one's own actions being surrendered.” (Ibid.) Once the perpetrator has reached the phase of surrendering responsibility, he will definitely become violent again. The next act of violence is only a matter of time. The partner or the victim is now often ready “to react positively to the man's defense against responsibility and to take responsibility” (ibid .: p.149). The victim now hopes to be able to prevent her partner's outbreaks of violence in the future by changing their behavior. However, this has the following consequences. The perpetrator no longer feels responsible for his act and the victim is now bound to the perpetrator. It could not part with it because it was the "real cause of the violence" (ibid.). Ultimately, the man is the performer and the partner is the actual perpetrator of violence. Therefore, victims would keep coming back to their partners. In order to avoid a new quarrel and further violence, past deeds are kept silent and thus the disputes are never fully resolved. The victim no longer addresses issues related to violence in order not to provoke the perpetrator, since the whole thing is already over for him anyway.

When the perpetrator surrenders responsibility to the victim, in phase seven the perpetrator “gives up the awareness of any influence on the situation” (ibid .: p.150). The perpetrator is now at the mercy of the situation, since he is not a co-creator of the If the perpetrator sees himself as a co-creator, however, he will again feel guilty, thereby creating the emotional situation that he wanted to avoid all the time.

In the eighth phase, the perpetrator is in a fainting defense, which he tries to fend off. Lempert speaks of the perpetrator being so busy producing size that he has less and less contact with his environment. Phase nine is known as the disconnection phase. The perpetrator now separates the relationship with his victim and is no longer available to him. At least now, the victim is in great danger.

The tenth phase is called depersonalization and describes the objectification of the victim by the perpetrator. The victim is no longer perceived as a person. As soon as the perpetrator no longer sees his victim as human and no longer ascribes any wishes or feelings to him, he can do violence to the victim. The eleventh and final phase is the renewed act of violence as a result of the depersonalization. The woman has no influence whatsoever on the described cycle, since even a changed behavior would not prevent the perpetrator from his acts of violence.

Lempert nevertheless sees victim work as meaningful and necessary, since a victim of prolonged violence needs support in order to no longer take responsibility for the actions of the partner, i.e. the perpetrator. He prefers separate therapy for a couple in such a situation because they are too intertwined. (see Lempert, 2009: pp. 145 ff.)

4. Forms of domestic violence

Lamnek, Luedtke, Ottermann and Vogl, refer to the literature by Kaselitz and Lercher, which cites three main forms of violence: physical, psychological and sexual violence. "In the prototypical case, physical violence is monological, that is, it can> be carried out by the perpetrator alone [...], while psychological violence is an interactive event, that is, the perpetrator is dependent on the victim's cooperation for success" "(Nunner-Winkler , 2004, quoted from Lamnek, Luedtke, Ottermann and Vogl, 2012: p.114).

The four authors carried out a telephone survey which dealt with “partner violence and parent-child violence under the aspect of physical violence”. “Both partner violence and parent-child violence were recorded using indicators of light and severe physical violence.” (Lamnek, Luedtke, Ottermann and Vogl, 2012: p.114) The “blow with the flat of the hand or with the The fist, the kick and the blow with an object ”(ibid.) Were used as indicators of partner violence.

In the case of physical violence against children, indicators such as “violent pushing of the child, blow with the flat of the hand, blow with the fist and blow with an object” (ibid.) Were used.

In general, a distinction is made between lighter and more severe forms of physical violence. The lighter forms are acts of violence, some of which are socially tolerated and accepted as "normal". Severe forms of physical violence would be tolerated far less socially.

Psychological violence is more difficult to identify than physical violence.

The wounds left behind by the use of psychological violence are not necessarily more harmless than those caused by physical attacks and are often even experienced by victims as having more serious consequences. (see Lamnek, Luedtke, Ottermann, Vogl, 2012: p.115)

"Domestic violence can be broken down into its forms in different ways." (Dlugosch, 2010: p.29) On the one hand, it can be broken down into the various forms of violence, that is, "according to the means or facts used" (ibid.). On the other hand, domestic violence can also be divided into two forms of violent relationship formation.

Dlugosch refers to Gloor & Meier, who classify "violent relationships into violence 'as systematic control behavior" and violence as "spontaneous conflict behavior" (ibid .: p.30). The first form is embedded in a pattern of power and control and linked to misogynistic acts. The second form, on the other hand, involves acts of violence in individual escalated conflict situations. (see ibid.)

5. Effects on child development

Domestic violence against women represents a form of psychological violence against children that is only slowly being noticed by the public, as Philomena Strasser begins her article "> Everything trembled in my stomach

"But children are not only forgotten as victims - they are also forgotten and insufficiently perceived as subjects, as equal personalities with their own rights, needs and claims, their own language and ability to express themselves, with their own thoughts and perspectives." (Strasser, 2013: p 47) In this lack of perception and appreciation of children as victims of domestic violence, the family is a mirror of society.

Philomena Strasser carried out a study at the end of the 1990s, to put it in her own words, to “give children a language” (ibid.). The children she questioned reported to her "states of intense fear and threat" (ibid. P.48) that they had to endure for several years. The children also stated that they had witnessed how “fathers beat their mothers, kicked them, threw them against the wall, choked, attacked them with objects, humiliated them and threatened them with killing” (cf. ibid.).

The children's fear was expressed in physical reactions such as “tremors, palpitations, feelings of weakness and paralysis, cramps, tingling and uncomfortable feelings in the stomach” (ibid.).

One of the children surveyed was eleven-year-old Sabina. She describes her “feeling of overwhelming helplessness” (ibid.) As follows: “It also hurt me when he hit her, everything was trembling in my stomach”. (ibid.) The twelve-year-old Amela had a similar experience. She always cried because it hurt her when her father hit her mother. “Please leave my mom alone, please please!” (Ibid.), She keeps pleading with her father when she has to watch her mother being abused. Amela is flooded with feelings of fear and helplessness, which she feels physically as a state of paralysis. In doing so, she suffers a loss of ego, which is expressed in a feeling of alienation from herself. She feels the humiliation of her mother is just as hurtful as the abuse. Amela feels the abuse of the mother in her own body. Her stomach was afraid, sometimes for her mother, but sometimes she was even afraid for her father, that "he doesn't know what he is doing" (ibid .: p.49). Despite the family situation, the twelve-year-old Amela was torn between her parents because she was also fond of her father. Strasser writes that around a third of the children interviewed remembered scenes of abuse in which they stood between their parents. They tried to organize help, "called the police or provided first aid" (ibid .: p.50). Many children were threatened by their father, some were mistreated themselves when they tried to help their mother.

In many of the families the children are forced to represent the parents' position and to carry out their duties. This situation leads to the fact that the parents do not meet the needs of the child, since the children have to "assume adult, protective and caring roles" (ibid .: p. 52). The girls in particular have sacrificed themselves by taking on the “protection and care of their younger siblings” (ibid.). This loss of one's own childhood is to be seen as a form of “mental orphan” (ibid.), Since it amounts to a loss of good parents. "But no matter how much children sacrifice themselves for the protection of their mother, they can never be enough, because they do not have the power to end the violence of their father." Parents ”(ibid.). "The violent fathers looked for allies against their mother in their children and put them under psychological pressure." (Ibid.)

They manipulated their children by portraying themselves as victims and trying to influence the children's feelings by feigning sadness. As a result, the children began to feel increasingly remorseful. Although the children lead a life “between love and hate” (ibid.), For some children it is usually unbearable that the parents separate and the family is divided, although they were also tormented by the father.

This is what happened to the eleven-year-old Johann, who vehemently resisted his father's turning away, "although he was severely abused by him as a child and constantly witnessed the violence against his mother" (ibid.).

Johann is looking for a father who will give him protection and orientation, but this father does not exist in reality. The real father is distant and violent, Johann cannot reach him. Because the father disappointed his son, a gap remains in the “male identity” (ibid .: p.54), “which is filled with fantasies of grandeur and omnipotence of invulnerability” (ibid .: p.54). The sexual violence that was perpetrated on the mother in front of the children gives the children affected a feeling of powerlessness and helplessness. "Some men even raped the women in the presence of their children, other children overheard the rape from another room." (Ibid.) The fathers included their children in "sexualised intimate partner violence" (ibid.) And thus cared for them for “intense feelings of confusion” (ibid.).

Often the mothers withhold "the violence they suffered" from their children (ibid .: p.57). This makes it difficult for the children to process what has happened. "The consequences of remaining silent and persevering in violent relationships are serious, the children suffer from fears, nightmares, sleep disorders, wetting, feces, language and learning difficulties, destructive and independent behavior, to name just a few effects." (Ibid.) Recurring violence in the family leaves deep marks in the emotional development of children, which is not easy to repair.

If the children repeatedly experience violence in their private living space, which should offer them a safe environment, “the children's trust is fundamentally shaken and their development and development are massively impaired” (ibid.).

The children can only trust new people and process what they have experienced once they have turned their backs on violence. It is also important for the children to put their experiences into words and “to give the impotence a name” (ibid.) So that they are not overwhelmed by the events later.

6. Victims and perpetrators

Most of the victims of violence are children and women. According to a study from 2004, every fourth woman is affected by physical or sexual violence. (Schröttle & Müller, 2004 in Röck, 2020: p. 29) Domestic violence can be expressed in different ways and is also perceived and experienced individually by those affected. Domestic violence in the lives of women causes their dreams and desires to shatter and they are plagued by feelings of shame, disappointment and helplessness. (see Röck, 2020: p. 29)

Violence against women not only harms them but also children. This would often be forgotten. So children are the neglected and forgotten victims of domestic violence. However, they are equal personalities with their own rights, needs and claims. (see Strasser, 2006 in Hafner, 2020: p. 35)


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