America’s War on Drugs

The War on Drugs is one of the largest under takings, by the U.S. government that spans over the past 40 years. It has cost the U.S. billions of dollars each year since 1968. In fact, Miron and Wadlock (2011) reports the U.S. federal government spent over fifteen billion dollars in 2010 on the War on Drugs, at a rate of about five hundred dollars per second. Yet, within this great investment lies much debate and controversy. This paper will address the connection between drugs, crime, and violence, and whether or not the United States government has had much success decreasing crime and violence using the current strategies in the last thirty to forty years.
There is a strong correlation between drugs and crime. To begin with, producing, selling, and using drugs are unlawful. Florida Statute 499.03 deem it unlawful for a citizen to use drugs without a valid prescription. It also states that, it is unlawful to possess illegal substances with the intent to make a profit or to assist in a drug sale in any form or fashion. It is also unlawful to establish a lab of any sort that is maintained for illegal substances according to Florida Statute 465.015. Drugs are also interrelated with crime because of the influence they have on the user’s behavior. Drugs impair judgment and generate violent behavior that can not only hurt the user, but the innocent people around them. According to data collected and reported by the Florida Institute of Technology (2014) drugs and alcohol contribute to more than 50 percent of all violent crimes in the United States. It continues to report that nearly 50 percent of traffic accidents involve the use of illegal substances and are the root of 80 percent of domestic violence calls. Judgment is generally the first to be impaired while under the influence of drugs and alcohol. The effects can lead to poor decision making, poor concentration and loss of inhibitions, extreme emotions such as rage and anxiety, and blackouts. Also, many offenders find themselves committing crimes in order to obtain the money to purchase drugs that feed their addiction. In October of 2006 the Bureau of Justice Statistics reported as many as 18.4% of prisoners in our Federal jails committed a violent crime in order to obtain the money needed to purchase narcotics. There was no care in the world, when committing the crime for the individuals that were harmed. The motivator was the addiction to such a dangerous substance.
In 1986, Ronald Reagan spoke out to the citizens of the United States and expressed his gratification on the war on drugs in America. In his speech he shared great news that reports by the DEA reflecting a shortage in Marijuana and an increase in seizures of illegal drugs. The government tripled its costs on the war on drugs, but it was done in great measure and with great progression. Even still after costing over sixty billion dollars a year, we faced challenges with drug smuggling, babies being born with an addiction to drugs and abnormalities, and crack a new drug that was being described by the President as an “uncontrolled fire” as we slowly entered the 90’s. Drug abuse affects everyone not just the user and will take everyone’s efforts to control. This was Regan’s message to America. During Reagan’s presidency there was a spike in the number of people behind bars for nonviolent drug law offenses. As many as 50,000 offenders were incarcerated in 1980 to over 400,000 by the late 90’s.
Thirty years later, America is still amidst the war on drugs. We face new challenges and new drugs that inhibit clear thinking and influence dangerous behaviors. During the presidential campaign in the 90’s Clinton gained popularity by promising the public that he would bring an end to the war on drugs by providing treatment for the offenders rather than incarcerate them. Shortly after taking over the White House, Clinton quickly reverted back to “Republican ways” and started filling the state and federal prisons with the people that use drugs, once again. When Bush took over he also invested a tremendous amount of American dollars with an effort to control illegal substances in the country. Efforts by the Bush Administration focused on student drug testing. This strategy was an epic fail with an increase in overdose fatalities. On the Issues (2000) reported George W. Bush also ignited the militarization of domestic drug law enforcement by adding 40,000 SWAT style raids on US citizens each year. These raids were mostly for nonviolent crimes that involved illegal substances. During President George W. Bush’s presidency the war on drugs stalled. Many state governments began to see a decrease in the drug epidemic that plagued the country. This created opportunities for change. Under Obama’s “reign” in the White House, Americans are being offered the chance to rock the vote on legalizing drugs. This past year Liberals were pushing to legalize Marijuana. Politicians see Marijuana as a leisure drug and compare it to alcohol and tobacco. Voters in Florida voted no and have kept this dangerous drug illegal across the state.
There has been much effort to end the war on drugs in America. With each strategy implemented, there has been change. Yet not enough to eliminate the issue altogether. It is inevitable that Americans will see more outlandish opportunities to change drug policies and to legalize drugs in hopes to wipe out crime. Progress to win the battle on the war on drugs is slow, but if America sticks to her guns positive change is bound to occur.

References

Miron, J., & Wadlock, K. (2011, January 1). The Budgetary Impact of Drug Prohibition. Retrieved March 29, 2015, from https://www.whitehouse.gov/ondcp

Florida Statute 499.03 Possession of certain drugs without prescriptions unlawful; exemptions and exceptions. (2015, March 11). Retrieved March 29, 2015, from http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?mode=View Statutes&SubMenu=1&App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=unlawful drugs&URL=0400-0499/0499/Sections/0499.03.html

Florida Statute 465.015 Violations and penalties. (2015, March 11). Retrieved March 31, 2015, from http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?mode=View Statutes&SubMenu=1&App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=unlawful drugs&URL=0400-0499/0465/Sections/0465.015.html

Facts about Alcohol and Drug Abuse. (2014, January 1). Florida Institute of Technology. Retrieved March 31, 2015, from http://www.fit.edu/caps/articles/facts.php

Drug use and crime. (2006, October 1). Bureau of Justice Statistics. Retrieved March 29, 2015, from http://www.bjs.gov/content/dcf/duc.cfm
Ronald Reagan-Speech to the Nation on the Campaign Against Drug Abuse (September 14, 1986). (1986, September 11). Retrieved March 31, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FYWS7udm0yg

George W. Bush on Drugs. (2000, January 1). Retrieved March 31, 2015, from http://www.ontheissues.org/2004/George_W__Bush_Drugs.htm

Juvenile Delinquency

The reduction of juvenile delinquents and the extremities that follow are a major focus in criminal justice agencies today. (Cox, Allen, Hanser, & Conrad, 2014 pp. 3) With an ever changing society come new trending crimes. The question that presents itself is why are these children turning to criminal behavior? There are so many theories that can be used to identify and explain what causes our youth to walk down a cricked path. In this paper, we are going to focus on two case studies and pinpoint the causation theory that best explains the behavior.

In the case study involving thirteen year old Abby, we discover that her step father had been sexually abusing her. Abby displayed signs of withdrawal and she got involved with drugs and alcohol. Abby ran away several times to get away from the abuse. We can look toward the sociological theories for an explanation for Abby’s withdrawal and why she ran away from home. According to Agnew’s strain theory, criminal behavior is evident when things are taken away by a negative and unwanted stimuli. (University of Delaware online, 2014) The abuse that Abby is victim too is stripping away her innocence along with her self-respect. The strain theory suggests that the negative stimuli can cause inert anger and cause the victim to engage in criminal acts. Crime in children have been linked to child abuse and neglect, like Abby is experiencing. With the ongoing abuse, Abby withdraws and her grades drop below her normal standard. These results would suggest a problem or major stressful event in Abby’s life. According to Agnew’s strain theory the abusive adult is the blame for the unlawful acts Abby displays, such as running away and the use of illegal narcotics and underage drinking. Strain theory is most likely prevalent in teenagers that have a hard time coping with stressful or straining situation. Abby was irritable and needed refuge from her step father which caused her to run away. A key factor in strain theory is the desire to blame someone else for the delinquent behavior displayed. Abby told officers that she ran away because her stepfather sexually abused her. She neutralized her delinquent behavior by placing the blame on the step father, however this does not excuse her from her actions. The strain theory best describes Abby’s behavior. Due to the stressor of her step father sexually abusing her, she acts out trying to seek refuge by running away; and to hide the disgust she has for herself and her body she turns to drugs and alcohol. She does not want to hurt anyone, but in order to cope with the situation she makes poor choices. Her behavior meets the defined criteria of the Sociological strain theory. The best way to intervene and help Abby is to remove her from the stimulus causing her grief and provide her with counseling. Abby will also need to go through a rehabilitation program that will help her with the drug and alcohol problem she has developed.
In the case study involving Ryan, a teenage Hispanic boy that has been subjected to domestic violence we can turn to several theories that suggest a reason for the violent behavior that has recently developed with Ryan at school. First looking at the psychopathology theory that suggest the behavior Ryan is displaying has been molded by the interactions he has witnessed at home, between mother and father. (Wolfe, 1999) This theory suggests that Ryan lacks the knowledge of how to handle his aggression and is unable to build a healthy relationship with individuals around him. However, the theory that works best to explain the process of learning this behavior is the Social Learning theory. This theory suggests the behavior is learned by watching and hearing the behavior displayed in the home by both parents. The children are learning that it is ok to display aggression and violence to solve any disagreements or conflicts that may arise. Ryan and his brothers have learned that there are no consequences to hurting someone because it has always been kept a secret family matter in their home. We learn from our environment and the individuals we trust the most. These children have a bond with the father. Dad is the leader and if the behavior works for him and he is able to accomplish the desired outcome by beating mom, then this must work in every volatile situation. These children will need to go through counseling and undergo an anger management program. Ryan and his brothers will need to learn that the behavior is unlawful and not the best way to handle conflict. Due to the lack of remorse the father displayed after becoming violent with the mother, one can only assume that the boys will also lack the ability to feel remorse for the repeated actions. These children will need to follow through with counseling. The parents will also need to undergo counseling, anger management, and parenting courses. In order for the children to understand there is consequences for the violent and abusive behavior their dad will need to be incarcerated. Ryan will need to receive punishment for his behavior in school in order to recondition him. With every bad choice and unlawful behavior there is a consequence that needs to be placed in order to unlearn the behavior.

By studying these two case studies we learn that there are several theories that will suggest the reasoning behind the delinquent behavior. The theory that works best to explain delinquency in juveniles is the social learning theory. Children see a behavior and they will repeat the behavior. We learn through our experiences and our environment around us. It is proven even in small children that what is seen will be repeated unless we have developed the ability to control the id. Freud’s theory tells us that when developed our superego will control the id and provide a balance. Without this control, the environment and those that influence us will shape our behavior, much like it did for Abby and Ryan.

References:

Kam, J., Cleveland, M., & Hecht, M. (6, May 31). Abstract. Retrieved November 3, 2014, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3881184/

Wolfe, D., & Jaffe, P. (1999). Emerging Strategies in the Prevention of Domestic Violence. Domestic Violence and Children, 9(3). Retrieved November 2, 2014, from http://www.princeton.edu/futureofchildren/publications/journals/article/index.xml?journalid=47&articleid=228§ionid=1497

Socioloical Theories of Drug Abuse. (n.d.). Retrieved November 2, 2014, from http://www.udel.edu/soc/tammya/pdf/crju369_theory.pdf

Characteristics of Partner Violence

Domestic Violence and abuse can happen to anyone with no regard to size, gender, or even strength.  The abuser can be male or female and often times it is someone the victim knows personally or on an intimate level.  Domestic violence is often times overlooked, excused, or denied.  Victims will place blame on themselves and will do what they can to protect the perpetrator.  Emotional abuse is most often disregarded because it is unseen, but it can leave the deepest scars.  You do not have to live in fear.  Being aware of warning signs and potential characteristics of an abuser may help protect potential victims from entering a dangerous and violent relationship.  This paper will pinpoint four characteristics that have been identified as the most common in potential abusers.  Knowing what signs to look for in an intimate partner may just save your life.

You may wonder what a perpetrator may look like; they do not walk around with a sign that reads “abuser,” and most likely they will not tell you upfront in their introduction that they possess violent or controlling tendencies.  An intimate partner may use psychological, emotional, and physical abuse along with spurts of love, happiness, and respect; known as the “good times.”  An abuser can act out violently and within minutes feel shame and regret.  Speaking from my personal experience as a victim, my abuser would shame me with words and hit me.  The next day he would shower me with gifts; a diamond bracelet, dinner, flowers, or a new dress.  This creates confusion for the victim and generates submission.  The abuser wants to be in control and dominate the victim.  Seeking dominance in the relationship displays a lack of respect for the partner and can be set off by jealousy. (Gosselin, 2010 p.247) This jealousy sets a spiral effect of obsessive behaviors in which the aggressor keeps the partner under supervision with check in’s, the need to know where the partner is at all times and who they are spending their time with.  David Adams, author of “Why do they kill?  Men who murder their intimate partners,” found the obsession to dominate their partner led to very violent crimes, a murder of passion.  The jealous type is very common in domestic violence cases in which the man is the aggressor.  Throw in drugs or alcohol and a gun into the mix and we are looking at a very dangerous man.  Adams reported he found this to be the case in 40 percent of the men he interviewed.  (Auchter NIJ Journal, 2010)

Many abusers isolate their partner from family, friends, and coworkers.  Isolation occurs when the abuser is seeking attention and wants the partner all to them self.  The abuser will start out by inching their way into the victim’s life little by little, until they have gained complete control, in which the victim may not even be permitted to leave their home.  This isolation keeps the victim from personal connections that could ultimately be support and help when the abuse escalates.   Sharon Long lived with her boyfriend of 2 years.  She was not permitted to work nor could she visit family unless he was with her.  Teddy, her boyfriend made sure that she was never alone with anyone; to keep her from speaking up and reporting the abuse.  She was not allowed to have a cell phone and he set up surveillance cameras that were connected to his iPhone to watch her when he was at work.  Sharon stated that she no longer felt like a person, she had no emotions and no relationships with anyone.  “Teddy threatened to kill my family if I was to ever see them alone or suggest to them that he was abusing me.” (Long, 2014)

Abusers are also great manipulators.  They tend to confuse the victim by lashing out at them and then quickly apologizing in very sincere patterns that lead the victim to believe the apology.  In Daughters in Danger, Bennett shares the most common thread in the domestic violence cases she studied, was the abuser apologized and promised the abuse was going to stop; halting the victim from leaving or seeking help.  One of the cases that Bennett brings light is the Yeardley Love murder in North Carolina.  Yeardley Love was murdered by her alcoholic boyfriend.  He was very aggressive when he was drunk and became uncontrollable.  Love tried to leave Huguely on a number of occasions but when he sobered up, he would be regretful and promise to get help.  He was the star of the lacrosse team and went to all the parties on the college campus and every time he would get drunk and threaten Love.  Alcohol impaired him and brought out a very dark and violent side of him that ultimately pushed him to murder Yeardley Love.  (Bennett, 2013 p.24-26)

When an abuser is impaired by drugs or alcohol the level of danger for the victim increases.  By increasing the violent behavior from the abuser, the substances will also increase the severity of the injury for the victim.  It is not that matter of the substance making the aggressor violent, but that it changes the way the brain thinks and the emotions.  Alcohol and drugs impair the human mind and simply disinhibits normal functions.   “Probably the largest contributing factor to domestic violence is alcohol. All major theorists point to the excessive use of alcohol as a key element in the dynamics of wife beating. However, it is not clear whether a man is violent because he is drunk or whether he drinks to reduce his inhibitions against his violent behavior” (Labell, 1979 p. 264).

It is key to be aware when involved in an intimate relationship.  When we stay aware we are able to see our partner for who they truly are.  We do not need to wait for the mask to fall off and their true self be unveiled.  We must be on the lookout for jealous, manipulative, controlling, isolating partners and steer clear.  Knowledge is power and in cases of domestic violence knowledge is a matter of living.  Do not live with a blindfold on, cause it may cause you to live in a forever darkness.

References:

Gosselin, D. (2010). Adult Perpetrators. In Heavy hands: An introduction to the crimes of family violence (4th ed., pp. 246-250). Boston: Prentice Hall.

Auchter, B. (2010). Men Who Murder Their Families: What the Research Tells Us. NIJ, 266. http://www.nij.gov/journals/266/Pages/murderfamilies.aspx

This site is a .gov and a reputable source of information.

Structure: Long, S (2014, September 4). Personal Interview

Hamel, J. (2007). Label Family interventions in domestic violence a handbook of gender-inclusive theory and treatment (p. 264). New York: Springer Pub.

Bennett, E., & Meeker, M. (2013). In Loco Parentis. In Daughters in danger: Helping our girls thrive in today’s culture (pp. 24-26). Nashville: Nelson Books.

Domestic Violence and the Social Learning Theory

There are many theories that try to explain why men and women become violent in relationships.  Albert Bandura was a firm believer that behavior is caused by something deep in the brain and others believe that it is a controlled choice.  (University of South Alabama online, 2003) The theory that best explains domestic violence is the social learning theory.  The social learning theory suggests that violence is a learned behavior and can be triggered by stress, alcohol abuse, and money.  We learn behavior starting at an early age in life from our parents.  In fact our parents and guardians have the greatest impact on our behavior, attitude, and relationships.  The learned behavior carries with us into our adulthood.  “One hypothesized mode of intergenerational transmission is modeling. There is evidence that witnessing and/or experiencing violence are related to different patterns of abusive behavior.” (Murrell, Christoff, & Henning, 2007 pg. 523-532)

“Sociologists state that men batter because they learned violence in their families as children and that women seek out abusive men because they see their mothers being abused.” (McCue 2008)  I interviewed Sharon Mullen, who was abused in her home as a child.  She describes a home with lots of fighting.  Mullen states that her father was never violent, but his words were very demeaning and hurtful.   “I remember my father would call me stupid and would get very angry with me for spilling something or burning dinner.  My father verbally abused me and I learned that it was okay for men to speak to women in that manner.  As an adult I unknowingly sought out relationships in which my partner spoke down to me and with each relationship the abuse got more intense.  Overtime, I went from dating a man that verbally abused me to a more physically abusive relationship.” (Mullen, 2014)  Studies show this to be a pattern in women that witnessed some form of abuse as a child between her parents or was victimized as a child.  Children are very observant and even when you think they are not paying attention they are absorbing everything in.  Little eyes and little ears don’t miss much, soaking in sights and sounds. Children that witness violence and abuse are overwhelmed by intense feelings and replay consciously the turn of events.  (Cunningham and Baker online, 2007)  Children that see repeated behavior become numb to the violence and abuse and see it is as normal and accepted behavior.  When a man is abusive to a child’s mother, it’s more than bad role modeling. It’s bad parenting.   Let’s face it, as parents we act as role models.  We teach our children by word and action.

Children can be confused and not sure of what is right and what is wrong and will start to repeat the behavior they see.  Children that live in homes with repeat violence will act out by hitting, biting, and pushing friends, siblings, and classmates.  “Social learning theory suggests that a child learns not only how to commit violence but also learns positive attitudes about violence when he (or she) sees it rewarded (Dutton and Holtzworth-Munroe 1997; Kalmuss 1984).This suggests that children who have witnessed violence, or have been abused, learn destructive conflict resolution and communication patterns. Sternberg et al. (1997) suggest that Bandura’s social learning theory would predict that both observers and victims can be affected, with children from more violent environments being more likely to acquire aggressive modes of behavior.” (Murrell, Christoff, and Henning, 2007) The violent behavior will then escalate into personal relationships as they get older.  Think about the concept of the social learning theory; humans learn from observation from the people and environment around them.  When children witness violent behavior in the home they are learning more than it’s acceptable.  Violent relationships in the home teach children the following ideas:

  • violence and threats get you what you want; a person has two choices – to be the aggressor or be the victim;
  • victims are to blame for violence;
  • when people hurt others, they do not get in trouble;
  • women are weak, helpless, incompetent, stupid, or violent; anger causes violence or drinking causes violence;
  • people who love you can also hurt you;
  • unhealthy, unequal relationships are normal or to be expected;
  • men are in charge and get to control women’s lives; women don’t have the right to be treated with respect (Cunnigham and Baker, 2007)

By the time children reach adolescences they have this warped idea of how a relationship should be.   They have trouble with problem solving and are not able to reach a healthy solution to normal, every day challenges.  Media also plays a negative role by desensitizing our youth with violent video games and movies that reflect domestic abuse and men overpowering females.  Socially our youth struggle with emotions and become  very confused, especially if they do not have a positive, healthy, and stable home environment.  In fact teenage girls may have difficulty establishing healthy relationships; may fear being abused or being abusive in intimate relationships, especially when conflict arises; may avoid intimacy or prematurely seek intimacy and child bearing to escape and create own support system.  (Cunnigham and Baker online, 2007)

Through extensive research it has been discovered that men that have witness’s accounts of abuse and battering as a child are nine times more likely to play the role of the abuser in intimate relationships.  In cases of verbal violence, men who report observing domestic violence were also more likely to verbally abuse and threaten their partners. Further, the more physical the abuse, the more likely these men were to report committing verbal and physical violence to their intimate partners.  (Wareham, Boots, and Chavez, 2009)

It is evident that we learn by observing.  When we witness attacks of domestic violence become an every day event; we become numb to the real issue.  The violence becomes a normal event and a way of dealing with personal issues.  The social learning theory is undoubtedly the best way to explain the transfer of violent behavior generation to generation.   “A child who lives with violence is

forever changed, but not forever “damaged.” There’s a lot we can do to make tomorrow better.”  (Cunningham and Baker online, 2007)

References:

McCue, M. (2008). Domestic violence: A reference handbook (Revised/Expanded ed.). Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO.

Murrell, A., Christoff, K., & Henning, K. (2007). Characteristics Of Domestic Violence Offenders: Associations With Childhood Exposure To Violence. Journal of Family Violence, 523-532.

Wareham, J., Boots, D., & Chavez, J. (2009, May 13). Social Learning Theory and Intimate Violence Among Men Participating in a Family Violence Intervention Program. Retrieved August 19, 2014, from https://www.ncjrs.gov/App/Publications/abstract.aspx?ID=249555

University, P. (2013, February 11).  – The Future of Children -. Retrieved August 19, 2014, from http://www.princeton.edu/futureofchildren/publications/journals/article/index.xml?journalid=47&articleid=228§ionid=1495

Structure: Mullen, Sharon   (2014, August 12). Personal interview.

Barrett, E. (2003, January 1). Social Learning Theory. Retrieved August 18, 2014, from http://www.southalabama.edu/oll/mobile/theory_workbook/social_learning_theory.htm

Major Problems with Domestic Violence Worldview

To begin there are many countries that do not outlaw domestic violence.  Women and children are viewed as property and fall at the mercy of the male leader in the family.  In Pakistan there is absolutely no recourse for violence against women.  Due to a lack in governmental support for women’s rights and an extreme amount of poverty and illiteracy the issue continues to get worse for Pakistani women.  Another issue that provokes abuse is patriarchal in the Islamic society.  In this culture men have the right to beat their wives. (Global Health Action, 2011)  Domestic abuse is considered an intimate issue, which the family leader should handle as he sees fit.  Women report being psychologically and sexually abused by partners, in-laws, parents, and other male figures of the family, and there is no consequence laid out for the abuser.  The report is made and quickly swept under the rug and no investigation is made.  In Pakistan it is also culturally accepted to perform dowry deaths and bride burning.   Even though it is culturally accepted to perform such acts the United Nations now views these traditions as a form of domestic violence.   “Violence against women in this country takes on an added twist because of the “dowry death” a form of intimate partner violence practiced due to an inadequate dowry.” (Gosselin, 2010 pg.11) Statistics show that four women are murdered in the act of a bride burning or stove death each day in Pakistan.    “Either Pakistan is home to possessed stoves which burn only young housewives, and are particularly fond of genitalia, or looking at the frequency with which these incidences occur there is a grim pattern that these women are victims of deliberate murder.”  (Terzieff, 2002 pg. 188) Our American culture views these murders as a criminal offense, punishable by death penalty.  Since the civil right’s movement women have full equality and civil rights. 

Lebanon just passed the country’s first law on domestic violence.  Lebanon’s law on domestic violence finally recognizes that abused women are in need of protection and legal recourse.  However, recognizing abuse towards women is still a fresh idea and the law has serious flaws and there is much concern that rests among the people.   “The parliament should consider amendments to fully protect women from domestic violence.” (Begum, 2014)  It will take time before this country evolves to a full score of equality for all, as displayed here in America.  For many years the women of Lebanon had no civil rights under the law.  Neither the Government nor the law considered violence against women a domestic issue and was regulated by religious culture.  Due to religious law and cultural beliefs women were subject to sexual and physical violence.  It has been reported that one woman per month is murdered by a family member.  Although, this country has finally recognized domestic abuse as a crime against women, the new law is under much debate.  The law does not view marital rape as a crime and supporters are pushing for the law to be amended.  Here in America, we do view marital rape as a crime against partner; however, it very hard to prove in a court of law due to the intimate nature of the crime. 

Women in Kenya still struggle over their civil rights and equality.  Women report sexual and physical abuse on a daily basis and yet culturally these acts are socially accepted.  According to the Kenya Demographic and Health survey 39 percent of the women surveyed said they were abused by a husband or partner.  In a report  from 2008 written by the Federation of women Lawyers of Kenya, or FIDA, says “almost 75 percent of women they surveyed reported being beaten.” (Chebogut and Ngeno, 2010)  However, there is a stigma that engulfs the women and backs them into a wall to avoid dishonoring of the family name.   Women in Kenya fail to report domestic abuse to avoid the stigma.  “Stigma is such a big issue in many cultures. Women and girls blame themselves and fear that they will be ostracized from society if they admit to being raped, and they often are outcasts if they do so.” (Njogu, 2014 pg.32) Another issue in Kenya that women fall victim to is proving rape within marriage.  Again, here in America we have the same problem.  In order to prove rape the victim must show signs of struggle and markings to prove rape because of the intimacy level shared in marriage.  In a case in Central Kenya where a man faced acquisitions of defiling a young girl on church grounds, authorities dropped the investigation reporting, “married man with children and, therefore, incapable of committing such an offense”. (Njogu, 2014 pg. 32)   In the state of Florida, USA it is a crime to have sex with a child younger than the age of 18.  To have sexual contact or intercourse with a minor younger than the age of 12 is considered a first degree felony and is punishable with at least 25 years in prison.  Offenders must also register as a sex offender in a national database that is available to the public. 

In chapter one of our text the author shares with us how children are forced into marriages and sexual abused and women are raped and murdered by their husbands.  (Gosselin, 2010) In more current news Isis is raping Christian women before they are murdered for choosing to worship God.  “Even families that pay the tax, mandated by ISIS for Christians who remain, are now being victimized. The women are allegedly being taken from their husbands and made into “wives” belonging to the ISIS fighters. This means they can rape them and even kill them, if they do not subsequently agree to convert to Islam.”  (Catholic Online, 2014)

The domestic issues of physical, verbal, and sexual abuse that we have read about in this paper exist in the referenced countries due to the lack of respect for equal rights and the overwhelming social approval.  A lack of education for women also creates the acceptance for the abusive husbands and fathers.  In America I believe the problem lies in the intimacy of the issue.  However, domestic violence shares one thing in common with the abusers worldwide; to maintain control and power over the victim.

 

References:

State Laws. (2004, December 15). Retrieved August 20, 2014, from http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/08/SR/StateLaws/statelaws.shtml#Florida

Kenya: The law and domestic violence. (2012, February 29). Retrieved August 17, 2014, from http://www.makeeverywomancount.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2942:kenya-the-law-and-domestic-violence&catid=37:violence-against-women&Itemid=63

IRIN • humanitarian news and analysis from Africa, Asia and the Middle East. (n.d.). Retrieved August 20, 2014, from http://www.irinnews.org

Lebanon: Clerics attack domestic violence law | Violence is not our Culture. (2011, June 26). Retrieved August 20, 2014.

Prevalence of Domestic Violence. (2013, August 1). Retrieved August 16, 2014, from http://www.stopvaw.org/prevalence_of_domestic_violence

Domestic Violence: Explore the Issue. (n.d.). Retrieved August 20, 2014, from http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/svaw/domestic/link/statistics.htm

Ali, T., Krantz, G., Gul, R., Asad, N., Johansson, E., & Mogren, I. (2011, November 2). Gender roles and their life prospects for women in urban Karachi, Pakistan; a qualitative study. Retrieved August 20, 2014, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3208374/

Intimate Partner Violence. (2014, August 8). Retrieved August 20, 2014, from http://www.cdc.gov/VIOLENCEPREVENTION/intimatepartnerviolence/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Im a survivor!

I have been a survivor of domestic violence for over 11 years. At one time I was controlled, manipulated, isolated, and broken. Many times my scars were hidden deep under my skin, sometimes they were visible, and yet they were always hidden. I was ashamed, embarrassed, depressed, and always blamed myself for the abuse. I felt alone. One day I found the courage to tell my family and get help. It wasn’t easy, It takes courage and great strength to speak up and reach out for help.  You are not alone!

My DV survival story

If you do not follow me on Facebook, you may have missed when I shared that I am a survivor of domestic violence.  I did not share because I want some sort of acknowledgement or seeking sympathy.  I share my experiences because I want others to be aware of the issue women face everyday in this country and I speak to victims so they know that they are not alone.  As a victim it is so easy to lose hope and give up; to accept your current situation and believe tomorrow will be different.  I was there.  I was a victim but I found strength to fight back and to get help. I would like to share my story…this is a short version and does not go into detail of all the abuse inflicted upon me.  I was emotionally mentally, physically, and sexually abused.

I’m going to take you back, I was about 19, I just started a new job at a car dealership here in town.  I was the receptionist and one of very few women that worked for this company.  I met a car salesman that won me over.  We began dating and after a few weeks I made a decision that changed the course of my life.  I went home one day and decided I wanted to move in with him.  I remember feeling a sense of freedom.  I was living with my parents at the time and I guess I felt like there were too many rules and it was time to be free.  Be my own person.  He was three years older than me and had his own home.  Even though my parents tried to talk me out of moving, I did so anyway.  I still remember my mom peeking through the window as I pulled out of the driveway, she was so sad and worried for me and I didn’t care.  All I wanted was freedom.  Lil did I know I was about to be held captive and lose everything that made me who I was.  Within a week of moving in with my new boyfriend, my body broke out in hives.  I was stressed.  I hadn’t talked to my family and I was feeling home sick.  I called my mom and apologized to her and the first thing she said to me was, “is he going to marry you?”  My mom and I went back and forth for a few minutes, and she ended with, “you need to make things right and get married.  You will never be blessed if you don’t.”  So we started to talk about it and things were great.  We decided to move into a new place and started shopping around for rings.  I got my mom and my sister involved and we started planning venues and djs.  I found a dress and put deposits down on everything.  Then one day we were arguing about something in the back bedroom and he got in my face.  The next thing I knew my cheek was tingling.  I stared at him not knowing what to do; I was like a deer in headlights.  He looked back at me and apologized.  He said he didn’t know what came over him and was sorry for slapping me.  This was the beginning….
The next day was awkward.  We didn’t speak to one another.  For days he would come home from work and lock himself in the bedroom depressed.  I had to sleep on the couch and use the guest bathroom.  I was not permitted to go in our bedroom.  About a month later his behavior had changed.  He told me I couldn’t go to work anymore.  I had to call out sick for days and finally my employer told me not to come back.  I was stuck at home.  I was told I couldn’t have my family over and I wasn’t allowed to go visit them if he wasn’t with me.  I would sneak my mom and sister over for lunch when he was at work and made sure to remove any evidence that they were there.  I was limited on family contact.   I was instructed to stay home, keep the home in order, have dinner on the table when he walked through the door, and always look pretty. I never knew what he was going to be like when he come thru the door.  If he was happy I knew that wouldn’t last long and if he was angry I had to walk on egg shells to avoid a beating.  I remember lying to my family about bruises, making excuses why I couldn’t come over for a family dinner, and pretending to be happy.  When he was drunk he would say the meanest things to me and when he was sober he told me what he said when he was drunk was nothing but the truth.  I was abused every night.  When we went to bed he would hold me, crying and he would apologize. He would tell me he would never hurt me again.  I believed him every night and prayed tomorrow would be different.  I remember Halloween 2009 I was in the kitchen baking some pumpkin bread and he asked me to make a sandwich for lunch.  I waited til I was done mixing my dough.  10 minutes later he came out to the kitchen and asked what was taking so long. I apologized and the next thing I knew my dishes that were sitting on the counter were angrily knocked off the counter and shattered into a thousand pieces on my carpet.  He came at me and tried to strangle me I turned away and for the first time I knew I had to fight back.  I grabbed the first thing I saw, a hot frying pan that was sitting on the stove and I hit him with it.  I tried to get away and he grabbed me by the hair and shoved my face into the carpet with such force that I couldn’t breathe.  My teeth were cutting into my tongue and I could taste blood.  I literally saw my life flash before  my eyes.  It was dark and I could see images of my family.  I grabbed a hold of his privacy and twisted and twisted more til he let go.  That night we got dressed to go out and acted like nothing ever happened.  I was afraid.  I knew that the end was near.  He tried to kill me. The next day we had another fight because I didn’t hang the towels right and my neighbor called the cops because we were so loud.  When the cops arrived he told them I was just being crazy and he wanted me to leave.  He was turning everything on me.  After a few months my family helped me escape his clutches.  I was terrified of  him.  By the following year we were divorced.  Within 6 months he started to come around and would follow me to work.  He promised me he had changed.  So we tried to work things out.  Once again I lost my job because he would not let me go to work in the morning.  I eventually ended up pregnant and he tried to push me out of the window of my third story apartment.  Once again my family got involved and contacted the cops.  I was pushed to file a police report and my parents home became my safe haven once again.  The state attorneys office became involved.  It was finally over.  But not because I wanted it to be over.  I was in love and didnt see that I was in a bad situation.  I was so broken, confused, and humiliated.  But I knew I had to pickup the pieces and put them together and rebuild for I was to  be a mother.  I was carrying a sweet lil life that I was blessed with and I made a promise at that moment that I would always protect my baby.  I have protected her for 11 years.  We are both survivors of DV.  After a year of counseling, a wonderful supportive family, and God’s love I have overcome and now I can use my experiences and my education to help others like me.
I am proud to be a survivor and a single mother to my amazing blessings.  I am thankful for all the help and support I received as I pieced my life back together.  God blessed me and never left me alone.  And if you are a victim of domestic violence I want you to know that you are never alone.  You are beautiful and created by God.  God LOVES You.
lovw
Please reach out and ask for help.  There is a better life waiting for you.
Please call…
phonecall-slide1 phone-type
I am currently working towards my bachelors in Criminal Justice and plan to use my education and my experiences to help others that fall victim to domestic abuse.  I am on path to become an advocate for victims.