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    The Effects of Abuse Essay (2414 words)

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    There are several different types of abuse and each type affects people differently. There is child abuse and spousal abuse, but there is also physcial and mental abuse. This paper will go over each type of abuse, how the abuse affects the person, how people can recover from abuse, and just some general informationTo start off I will discuss spousal abuse and its affect on people.

    Surveys in the US and Canada have shown each year about 12 percent of all spouses push, grab, shove or slap their partner and one to three percent use more extreme violence (Dutton, 1992; Straus & Gelles, 1990). Also you need to keep in mind that these surveys depend on self-reporting and young adults who are low-income or immigrants usually don’t take the time to take the surveys. There are many things that can lead to abuse in a relationship such as social pressures that create stress, personality pathologies like poor impulse control and drug or alcohol abuse (Gelles, 1993; McKenry et al. , 1995; O’Leary, 1993; Straus &Yiodanis, 1996; Yllo, 1993).

    Another critical factor is the history of child neglect or mistreatment. Obviously if a child is exposed to a lot of spousal abuse, physical or mental abuse, or even sexual abuse can increase the risk of that person being abusive when they’re older or possibly even being a victim. There are two forms of spouse abuse that can be seen when a relationship is looked at closer (Johnson, 1995). The first form is called common couple violence in which one or both partners engage in outbursts of verbal and physical attack (Berger, 2003). This common couple violence involves yelling, insults, and physical abuse but they are not part of the campaign of dominance. Women are just as likely to commit this type of abuse as well as men but sometimes both partners get involved in the arguments.

    For the most part a couple involved in common couple violence gradually learn to resolve conflicts in a more constructive way either on their own or with a counselor. However there are some couples that can evolve into worse abuse. The second form of abuse is patriarchal terrorism in which there is almost no hope for the couple to get out of it (Johnson, 1995). Patriarchal terrorism is when one partner, almost always the man, uses a different variety of ways to isolate, degrade and punish the other partner (Berger, 2003). This form of abuse can lead to the battered-wife syndrome in which the woman is physically abused as well as psychologically and socially broke down.

    Patriarchal terrorism can become even more extreme the longer the relationship lasts. Every time an act of abuse occurs it helps the man’s feeling of control and adds to the woman’s feeling of helplessness. There are two main reasons why a woman stays in a systematically abusive relationship. The first reason being she has been conditioned to the abuse step by step and the second reason is she has been isolated from those who might encourage her to leave (Berger, 2003). If the couple does have children they can be taken “hostage” by the man if the woman threatens to leave. In a patriarchal terrorism relationship the woman cannot break the cycle of abuse on her own.

    The recognization of this type of abuse has led law enforcement agencies to have a tougher approach to dealing with these situations. Serious abuse has been found to be more common in younger couples in common-law marriages. The primary prevention that would help decrease abuse in the long run would be educating children about abuse. Also counteracting the poverty and deprivation that underlies abuse and treating alcohol abuse would help in decreasing the amount of abuse (Berger, 2003). The 1999 General Social Survey on Victimization that was done in Canada produced a insight to the extent of spousal abuse in Canada.

    There were 26,000 men and women who have suffered some soft of spousal abuse that participated in this survey. The survey showed that the violence experienced by women was usually more severe and more often repeated than the violence directed towards men. The survey found women were six times more likely to report being sexually assaulted along with being five times more likely to require medical attention as a result of an assualt. The women were much more likely to fear for their lives or their childrens lives as a result of assualt. Women were also more likely to have sleeping problems, suffer from depression or anxiety attacks, or have a lowered self-esteem.

    Women that were involved in more severe types of emotional abuse were four times more likely to report being harassed, threatened, or harmed. These women reported more incidents where they were isolated from family or friends as well as reporting a higher amount of name-calling and put downs. The mental health of an individual involved in an abusive relationship suffers more and more as the relationship continues. Recent research has used the diagnostic Posttramatic Stress Disorder to explain some of the effects of abuse on the mental level.

    Some symptoms found in victims were increased fear/avoidance, anxiety disturbances in self-concept, depression, and sexual dysfunction (Ristock, 1995). The symptoms that are characteristics found in the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder are: persistently experiencing the traumatic event, persistent avoidance of situations similar to those involving the traumatic event, and persistent symptoms of increased arousal (Hanson, 1990; Briere, 1992). However using the PTSD as a model does not account for many other symptoms for victims of abuse. When people think of abuse they usually think physical and psychological abuse. What they don’t know is there are many forms of abuse.

    There of course is sexual assault, sexual harrassment, or sexual eploitation. This form of abuse happens when someone is forced into unwanted, unsafe, or degrading sexual activity. Using ridicule and other tactics to try and control or limit someone sexuality or reproductive choices is also sexual abuse (Department of Justice Canada). There is economical or financial abuse which involves stealing or defrauding a partner is an example as well as withholding money needed for food or medical purposes, expoiting a person for financial gain or even preventing your partner from working.

    There is also a form of abuse known as spiritual abuse which involves using a person’s religious or spiritual beliefs to manipulate or control their victim. It may also include denying that person from engaging in spiritual or religious practices. Although there is no definitive reason for spousal abuse of anyone there are several factors that can increase the chance of abuse. Some risk factors that are for both men and women are: being young, living in a common-law marriage, having a partner that drinks heavily, emotional abuse which often is the predecessor to physical violence, and marital seperation in which afterwards the risk of the woman being killed is greater (Department of Justice Canada). Abuse can affect almost every part of a person’s life such as their ability to work. Being abused can affect a person’s sense of self-worth as well as the person’s relationships with their children or loved ones.

    Abuse can be devastating to people who are not the intended target such as children. Having a child exposed to physical abuse in the home can not only affect emotional and developmental areas of the child but can also give the child difficulties in academics. Children exposed to physical violence are more likely to get physically aggressive, be hyperactive or have acts of vandalism. Not only does abuse affect the children involved and the partners in the relationship but also can cost the government millions of dollars. An estimated $4.

    2 billion per year was spent in Canada on social services, education, criminal justice, labor, employment, health and medical costs. Canada’s criminal justice costs alone were totaled near $872 million per year. Many times abuse is learned at a young age and is believed to be the right way to handle certain situations. When a child sees abuse on a daily basis or is abused themselves they continue on through life believing that is the way people should be treated. Child maltreatment can be divided into two categories abuse and neglect. Although neglect is twice as common as abuse it is at least as damaging as abuse (Berger 2003).

    Since 1993 there have been three million reported cases of child maltreatment in the US, and one million cases where they had to be investigated and verified as maltreatment (Wang ; Daro, 1998). Although the rate of child maltreatment has been increasing the way in which we view child mistreatment changes thru different eras. Take for example spanking, while I was growing up I was spanked when I did something bad. Now it is frowned upon if you spank your child unless it’s because they endangered their own life.

    As with spousal abuse, child abuse can affect the child in profound ways. Child abuse goes beyond an immediate injury or deprivation, it affects many parts of the child’s regular life. Children that have been abused often are underweight, slower to talk in a social situation, not able to concentrate as well as well cared for children, and are delayed in academic growth (Cicchetti et al. , 1993; Eckenrode et al.

    , 1993). When these children are mistreated they tend to see adults or other children as hostile or wanting to take advantage of the child. When this happens the mistreated child become less friendly, more aggressive, and tend to isolate themselves more from the other children (Berger, 2003). Depending on how long the abuse has been taking place and how early it started will judge how bad the relationships with peers will be when the child gets older. When children who have been severly abused grow to become adolescents and adults they often use drugs and alcohol to numb any pain or emotions that they are having. These individuals tend to put themselves in unsupportive relationships as well has becoming either an aggressive partner or become victims again.

    These people usually have a self-destructive lifestyle or behaviors. When a child is left to deal with the person every day after being abused they tend to make up ellaborate stories as to why they were attacked. When a child comes up with these ideas as to what they did to cause the abuse or how to avoid the abuse the next time, these children develop a range of maladaptive behaviors which can become pathological problems (Newton, 2001). Besides these problems with child abuse there is another factor that affects the child and that is the stress that is put onto a child. When this victim repeadetly experiencing getting stressed out there are permanent physiological changes.

    The victim can become easily startled especially when the event reminds them of the abuse, they can have cardiovascular problems as well as immune system problems where they are more likely to get sick. Like with spousal abuse, child abuse affects the financial situation of the government. One estimate gives an average of $813 per investigation of abuse whether or not they are true, $2,702 for home services such as homemaker assistance, and $21,902 per year and per child for foster care (Courtney, 1998). The amounts stated are just small portions of what child abuse can cost us financially, what hasn’t been taken into consideration is the costs for special education if the child has a learning disability, imprisonment if the child becomes violent and angry later on in life, also the cost of providing the child with psychological treatment for any emotional or stress problems.

    When all these costs are calcualted together it would appear that spending this amount of money on education to help prevent child abuse and other forms of prevention. Besides the obvious bruises or cuts on a child there are many ways to tell if a child is being abused not only physically but mentally as well. Victims of child abuse may show aggressive, disruptive, or sometimes illegal behavior; but children may also show anxiety or fear, signs of depression, frequent diaper rash in babies, passive or withdrawn behavior and also if the child seems reluctant to go home (Newton, 2001). WORKS CITEDBerger, Kathleen S.

    (2003) The Developing Person Through the Life Span. New York, NY: Worth Publishers. Briere, J. (1992).

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    (1993) Through a psychological lens: Personality traits, personality disorders, and levels of violence. In Richard J. Gelles ; donileen R. Loseke (Eds. ) Current controversies on family violence.

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    Wang, Ching-Tung ; Daro, Deborah (1998). Current trends in child abuse reporting and fatalities: The results of the 1997 annual fifty-state survey. Chicago :National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse. Yllo, Kersti.

    (1993) Through a feminist lens: Gender, power and violence. In R. Gelles ; D. Loseke (Eds), Controversies in family violence, Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

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