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Culture and Domestic Violence

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The article on the cultural model context generally highlights the insights into the parameters that constitute abuse among couples. It further elaborates on the fact that not only heterosexual couples go through this menace but also beterosexual partners.

However, there are a couple of misconceptions by therapists that are highlighted in the article that have been concluded before in a bid to analyze domestic violence. Couple abuse usually goes beyond physical abuse. It further elaborates that domestic violence is the repeated use of force to control behavior to limit, shape and direct a partner’s feelings thoughts, and actions. A number of control tactics are used to carry out domestic violence. Emotional abuse, Physical abuse, threats and intimidation, economic withdrawals, sexual abuse and exploitation, isolation and entrapment, are mechanisms used to carry out violence.

An analysis has been put forth that evaluates the marital status quo imbalance. It shows how women’s desires and autonomy are systematically brought under the domination of men, Walsh (1989). Culture is the initiation of individuals through the agency of outside forms, which have been objectified in the course of history (Narayan, 1997). Nevertheless in the article it is defined as the accumulation of social traditions and practices as well as rich anthologies of art, music, dance, food, and language. These are passed down through the generations to bind the interior of family life within different societies. It is the positive transmission of rituals and celebrations, stories and religious beliefs that maintain connections for families over time.

However, in the process of analyzing abusive behaviour among couples it is essential to consider certain factors that culminate to this. The first among these factors is the intersectional aspect. Mainstream barterers’ intervention programs and services for battered women have largely neglected the issue of intersectional for women of colour (Almeida, 1998). The intersection of gender, race, class, culture, and sexual orientation radically shapes the experiences of abusive men and abused women, whereby certain women and men are more entrapped within contexts of violence than others (Almeida, 1998).

The fact that women are perceived as cultural bearers does not imply that they do not get empowerment. Many men perceive this empowerment as a potential loss of their power in family and community life and therefore, perceive it as a threat (Felson, 2002). Part of the backlash against this has been men from diverse racial, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds expressing great concern over women’s changing roles and the disintegration of culture. Women are allocated the role of culture bearers. This means they should be responsible for family survival and the continuation of culture.

However, in a bid to explore the context for change that is anticipated in the process of bringing harmony among couples, there are serious issues that need to be addressed. Consciousness should be raised regarding the power of men, the role of women and the interrelationship emanating from the correlation. According to Richie (1996) this should be tackled with regard to the historical and socio-political contexts of culture. Raising consciousness requires paradigms that are larger and beyond the couple system. This paradigm shift can be seen in barterers’ programs where activists work with men from a pro-feminist stance (Merry, 2009). It further places the intersection of gender, race, class and sexual orientation at the heart of the work. The primary goal is to raise consciousness about the toxic and potentially lethal consequences of the intersectional of gender, race, class, culture and sexual orientation which continue to dominate family life.

The two main underlying tenets of this approach are:

1. Credibility begins in the therapeutic process with the victim’s personal narrative.

2. For abusing partners dismantling the structures of power and control that promote violence is a lifelong process that intends to pass nonviolence on to the next generation through internalization. Besides, the two tenets in the picture of domestic violence, male partners are required to take part in men’s groups that emphasize the following three critical components: accountability, socio-education, and sponsorship.

In the sense of accountability therapy with heterosexual men who have actively used violence must be situated within a framework of therapeutic accountability. Accountability in the domestic violence field has oftentimes meant the ensued link between the criminal justice system, the shelter system and the system offering intervention to the abusing partner (Wykes & Welsh, 2009). These include punitive measures and institutionalized structures of accountability. They represent oppressive control mechanisms of the dominant culture and neglect the realities of racially or culturally different abusing partners and their victims.

Intervention towards couples’ abuse has also been outlined in the article. This is in the essence of the period it is being administered in comparison to its efficiency. Historically, research has shown that abusing partners programs that last approximately 52 weeks long produce better results than those of shorter duration. Although more recent data indicate that programs are as brief as 12 weeks (Gondolf, 1997). Most programs however set a minimum of 36 weeks for men who are mandated for services. Being mandated implies that they have restrained orders against them. It is believed that positive results gained by shorter programs can only be sustained through vigilant monitoring by the courts and probation. It is therefore necessary to maintain close contact with those systems on behalf of clients.

Another important phase under intervention is the conjoint therapy which marks the beginning of couple’s therapy. To underscore the essential, conjoint work only begins for abusing partners after they have successfully completed at least a month’s program and have shown the necessary changes in behaviour and attitude. On the contrary, for the nonviolent men, it happens once they have made clear moves towards equitable ways of relating to their partners. Within an accountability framework for therapy, the couple’s unit boundaries remain flexible and open to conversations among other men. Therefore, couples work is done in conjunction with each partner's ongoing participation in their respective culture circles.

In conclusion, it is essential to address the interaction of substance abuse with domestic violence. When the abusive partner and in some cases their partner is abusing drugs or alcohol, it is possible to focus on both domestic violence and recovery from substance abuse at the same time. While an addiction is dangerous to the entire family system, the lives of other members are immediately endangered by violence. When a client is addicted to a substance and is abusing their partner as well, it is of concern to attend to the safety of the abused partner and children first. Stopping the abuse therefore takes precedence over all other family dilemmas and time is of the essence.

There are various forms of domestic abuse that one can get to experience. These forms of abuse may have both physical and psychological effects on those whom it affects. This created the need for the government to institute various laws to protect those who face this form of abuse. Various evidences point to the fact that these forms of legislation have reduced the amount of abuse that is being experienced. The laws have also improved the lives of those who have faced this abuse. They have provided them with some   relief, once these incidences occur.

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