It is astonishing; it is incomprehensible; it is sadly true: all too often, girls and women are beaten, maimed, and killed by the men who vowed to honor, cherish, and protect them. Boyfriends do it; fathers do it; husbands do it; brothers do it. Domestic violence is an evil that can enter any home, no matter the ethnic group, social group, or economic status. Domestic violence has existed for as long as humanity has existed. Its causes are complex, yet it often follows a predictable pattern.
The most obvious fact of domestic violence is that is is nearly always a male who is the abuser and nearly always a female who is the victim (there have been exceptions). Also, the abuser is usually very charming and sweet when he is dating, and few people would ever suspect him of being violent. Often when an abused girl or women speaks to a friend, mutual acquaintance, or clergy, she is not believed because her abuser is so "boyish," kind, sweet, and attentively caring when around people other than their victims: they are extremely adept at concealing their violent temper and dominating personality.
Once a girl or woman becomes emotionally atached to him or married to him, the abuser grows increasingly posessive, jealous, manipulative, and unreasonably suspicious. He will often try to isolate his victim from her friends, family, and even contrive or force her to give up her job or career. He may follow her around town, spying on her. He may demand to know who she's been "seeing behind his back," and ignore her protestations of innocents: he will usually tell her that his anger is because he "loves her."
Psychological abuse usually occurs before physical abuse. He will apply emotional torture against his victim. He will put her into the position of trying to anticipate his every whimsical wish. She will strive desperately to prevent his violent tantrums by trying to please him, but she can never do so: no matter what she does, he will find fault with her. He does not want to be pleased: he wants to intimidate, dominate, and control. It may even be true that eventually an abused girl or women will come to believe that she deserves to be beaten and emotionally abused.
He will eventually hit her. Not often at first, but with time there will be a greater frequency of beatings. The beatings will almost always be followed with a brief period of "regret" by the male, who insists that it will never happen again. But it will: if a man strikes a girl or women, it will happen again. He will often blame his victim for his violence. He will often hold her children hostage, threatening them with violence is she doesn't "straighten up" (that is, submit to him utterly). He may abuse her sexually, insisting that she submit to his every demand no matter how much it repulses her.
All this happens gradually. The victim is slowly stripped of her economic independence; her emotional security. She is threatened with death if she tries to leave. If she has children, she may feel she has no choice but to stay with her abuser until her children are grown--- which is why violent men often want their victims to be pregnant or caring for young children. If she does manage to leave, her abuser may stalk her or drag her into court and abuse her via the "justice" system (i.e. harass her legally).
The time when a woman is on the verge of escaping an abusive male is the time she is most likely to be killed by her abuser. Her death is the ultimate control over her. This is why abused women need a place to hide when they leave. Unfortunately, there are far more abused girls and women (and the children of abused women) than there are safe havens for them.
But there is help for abused, battered women and their childen.
There is no excuse for domestic violence. A man never has the right to abuse his girlfriend, wife, daughter, or son (except in self-defense, which is almost always not the case). It is never "okay" to strike a woman; it is never "okay" to rape someone, regardless of if she is ones' girlfriend or spouse. Domestic violence is never justified!
The root of domestic violence is the male sense of entitlement that most human societies are afflicted with. There are evolutionary reasons for this sense of entitlement among males, but that genetic disposition in no way justifies violence and abuse: human males have the ability, as well as the responsibility, of curbing their violent tendancies. Indeed, there is evolutionary pressure (genetic disposition) pushing in the opposite direction, which sociobologists recognize as the root of socialization. (Shy David will have more to say about this in a book report later.)
Another striking "pattern" of domestic violence is that its victims are not "typical." There is no pattern to who is the victim of domestic violence. There is no set of character traits that make one more susceptible to domestic violence, other than being a female or small child. Being the victim of domestic violence is not some "character flaw" or "lack" on the part of the victim. Every human being is in part, great or small, vulnerable to domination, control, brain washing, and spirit-breaking. IT IS NOT THE FAULT OF THE VICTIM!