the secret behind closed doors

spreading awareness and information of abuse

Posts Tagged ‘domestic abuse’

Male Abuse Awareness Week

Posted by shadowlight and co on December 9, 2010

There is a cultural bias which maintains that males cannot be victims. Males are expected to be confident, knowledgeable, and aggressive. When boys are victimized, they tend to be blamed more for their abuse and are viewed as less in need of care and support, than girls who are abused.


Types of male abuse, facts and statistics

– At least 41 percent of the victims of domestic violence are men. (Harvey P. Forehand)
– As many as 1 in 5 males will be sexually abused before the age of 18. And one in five of adult rape victims are male. (Federal Bureau of Investigation in the US, or FBI)
– One in six men will be a victim of domestic abuse in their lifetime. (The British Crime Survey 2006/07 figures)
– Same-sex batterers use forms of abuse similar to those of heterosexual batterers. They have an additional weapon in the threat of “outing” their partner to family, friends, employers or community. (Lundy, Abuse That Dare Not Speak Its Name: Assisting Victims of Lesbian and Gay Domestic Violence in Massachusetts, 28 New Eng. L. Rev. 273 (Winter 1993)
– women who abuse men tend to prefer forms of abuse that don’t involve physical violence. The hurt, the injury caused by the habitual use of vicious mockery, frequent emotional blackmail, spreading odious lies and so on aren’t visible. (Harvey P. Forehand)
– Male Sexual Harassment in the Work Place on the Rise; According to a report by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission there were a record amount of harassment complaints filed by men in 2006. The figures given in the report state that of the 12,025 sexual harassment claims made in 2006 15.4 percent of these claims came from men. This shows a significant increase of male harassment cases made in the last ten years of 4.5. ([link])
– Munchausen by Proxy is when someone is causing illness or injury in another to obtain attention; usually by a parent or caregiver against a child (in 85% of cases the child is male) ([link])


Useful websites and books

Why men do not disclose – [link]
ManKind (chariity supporting male victims of abuse) – [link]
M-Power – [link]

Abused Boys: The Neglected Victims of Sexual Abuse – by Mic Hunter
Victims No Longer: Men Recovering from Incest and Other Sexual Child Abuse – by Mike Lew
The House On Telegraph Hill (An Asylum): Growing Up with Abusive Parents and a Lifetime After – by Charles S. Wilson


Posted in abuse, child abuse, domestic abuse, female abuser, male abuse, Male rape, Male Sexual Harassment, male victim, physical abuse, statistics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Reclaim the Night

Posted by shadowlight and co on November 28, 2010

Thousands of women from all over the UK and the rest of Europe will be travelling to London to attend the 7th Reclaim the Night march on Saturday 27th November 2010. Be one of them!

-Reclaim the nights website –

In Britain, it is estimated that one in two women will experience domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking during their lifetime, and rape convictions are at an all-time low – just 5.6% of all reported rapes end in a conviction. Every week, two women die at the hands of a former or current partner and new cases of child sexual abuse are reported weekly.And the idea that women should protect themselves by staying inside after dark seems to carry as much weight as ever. Recent coverage about women being “irresponsible” if they drink to excess and then report rape has given the distinct impression that the streets are only safe for very well-behaved, sober women, and then only if they venture out in daylight hours. Police still routinely warn women to “be careful” when out late at night, an approach that puts the onus on women to protect themselves, rather than pinpointing their would-be attackers.

In the summer a U.K. study revieled that a significant number of people thought that rape victims were at least partially to blame for their attacks. The various reasons that respondents blamed women for were the unsurprising — if she had been drinking, if she had worn something revealing, if she had engaged in some other kind of sexual contact with the rapist, etc. — but no less disturbing than they’ve always been.

In 2009 there was a 15% in reports of vioelce against women, and in 2008 there was a 8% rise in rapes. These are the only 2 crimes to have increased in number ove rthe last few years.

And now for some pictures of tonights event from our friends over at shadow light photography:

Posted in abuse, bystander apathy, domestic abuse, rape, reclaim the night, sex trafficking, sexual abuse, sexual assualt | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Types of abuse of adults

Posted by shadowlight and co on June 2, 2010

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Domestic violence

Domestic violence refers to the physical, emotional, and sexual abuse of a spouse or domestic partner (regardless of gender). Early research into the problem of wife battering focused on middle-class couples, but it has since been recognised that spouse abuse occurs among wealthy professional couples as well. In addition, studies done in the late 1980s and 1990s indicate that domestic violence also occurs among gay and lesbian couples. It is estimated that four million women in the United States are involved in abusive marriages or relationships; moreover, most female murder victims are killed by their spouse or partner rather than by strangers.

Domestic violence illustrates the tendency of abusive people to attack anyone they perceive as vulnerable; most men who batter women also abuse their children; some battered women abuse their children; and abusive humans are frequently cruel to animals.

Elder abuse

Elder abuse has become a subject of national concern in the last two decades. As older adults are living longer, many become dependent for years on adult caregivers, who may be either their own adult children or nursing home personnel. Care of the elderly can be extremely stressful, especially if the older adult is suffering from dementia. Elder abuse may include physical hitting or slapping; withholding their food or medications; tying them to their chair or bed; neglecting to bathe them or help them to the toilet; taking their personal possessions, including money or property; and restricting or cutting off their contacts with friends and relatives.

Abusive professional relationships

Adults can also be abused by sexually exploitative doctors, therapists, clergy, and other helping professionals. Although instances of this type of abuse were dismissed prior to the 1980s as consensual participation in sexual activity, most professionals now recognize that these cases actually reflect the practitioner’s abuse of social and educational power. About 85% of sexual abuse cases in the professions involve male practitioners and female clients; another 12% involve male practitioners and male clients; and the remaining 3% involve female practitioners and either male or female clients. The victims of many of these abusive relationships are men and women who sought professional help in order to deal with the effects of childhood abuse.

Workplace bullying

Workplace bullying is, like stalking, increasingly recognized as interpersonal abuse. It should not be confused with sexual harassment or racial discrimination. Workplace bullying refers to verbal abuse of other workers, interfering with their work, withholding the equipment or other resources they need to do their job, or invading their personal space, including touching them in a controlling manner. Half of all workplace bullies are women, and the majority (81%) are bosses or supervisors.


Stalking is the repeated pursuit or surveillance of another person by physical or electronic means. Many cases of stalking are extensions of domestic violence, in that the stalker is attempting to track down a wife or girlfriend who left him. However, stalkers may also be casual acquaintances, workplace colleagues, or even total strangers. Stalking may include a number of criminal or abusive behaviors, including forced entry to the person’s home, destruction of cars or other personal property, anonymous letters to the person’s friends or employer, or repeated phone calls, letters, or e-mails. About 80% of stalking cases reported to police involve men stalking women.

Posted in abuse, Abusive professional relationships, bullying, crime, domestic abuse, ecconomic abuse, economic abuse, Elder abuse, emotional abuse, female abuser, financial abuse, interpersonal abuse, marital rape, rape, social abuse, spousal abuse, Stalking, Workplace bullying | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

What is financial abuse?

Posted by shadowlight and co on April 19, 2010

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Financial and Economic abuse is a type of abuse in which the abuser uses the money as the means of having control over his another.  This form of abuse is common in cases of deomestic abuse.

When the victim asks for money the abuser will deny his it. The victim are not allowed to be self-employed by the partner, or if they are employed will be forced to give over their earnings to the abuser. This way the victim will be totally dependant on the domestic abuser. There could be some economical abused by the abuser on her partner to beg their partner for everyday necessity such as food, health care items (medicines) or diapers or toys for their children. If any case the abuser allows her partner to work, he or she has to give all the earning to their abuser.

Several times the abuser may give the money to his or her partner, which may not be sufficient enough to buy or purchase everything. The money which was given by the abuser to his or her partner generally has to be accounted for and proof of purchase has to be shown to the abuser.

In many cases the abuser will put all the bills in their partner’s name and at the same time the abuser will not allow his or her partner to see the bank statements, bills or any other money transaction that may happen.

Many financial and economic abusers are not good with money and he or she will end up destroying the credit of their partners.

Some domestic abusers who are not good at money may force his or her partner to do illegal acts for money. There are also abusers who will use any money brought in for children through welfare, child support checks or monetary gifts on themselves.

The abuser who refuses to work will put the entire burden upon their partners to keep the household running. And the money which is brought in by the working victim is mishandled and used in wrong way. In many cases, if the household item or bills fall behind the abuser blame the victim.

Posted in abuse, domestic abuse, economic abuse, financial abuse | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

When rape statments are withdrawn

Posted by shadowlight and co on March 29, 2010

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Where the complainant does not wish to give evidence the case could not normally proceed. With intimates, withdrawal sometimes happens because the complainant is reunited with the suspect. Emotional and financial dependence was felt by police and lawyers to be a common reason for a woman feeling unable to pursue the allegation. In one case a complainant’s statement revealed that she wished to withdraw her allegation, although she still maintained that she had been raped: if her husband went to prison and lost his job, she would lose everything.

In interviews with police officers, it was suggested that it was important for them to warn the complainant about possible evidential difficulties with her case and what would happen if she went to court. The following quotes make the same basic point, but with different emphasis.

“We would always explain to them that they are going to get a hard time, we don’t sort of paint a rosy picture especially if… it’s one of consent but we’ll say that we will support them as much as we can and we are behind them. And we sort of prep a re them for what they are going to face and a lot of them realise that.”

“… if you do really think that it is going to be very difficult to prove, is it worth putting the victim through that and going to court and for them to find a jury don’t convict the person and then sometimes they could end up well nobody’s believed me at the end of the day, which is another sort of trauma for her.”

In warning complainants about the difficulty of securing a conviction, the police might put complainants off pursuing their case without meaning to. The four complainants who were interviewed felt that the police had actively encouraged them to withdraw their allegations. One complainant was told in no uncertain terms that the evidence in her case was weak, even given her injuries:

“I showed them my bruises right… and do you know what they said, ‘your bruises are not good enough’. I went ‘well what do you mean my bruises are not good enough? ’ – ‘your bruises ain’t good enough, you’ve got no case.’”

The manner in which the police deal with a complainant will obviously affect the way she feels. Even if they do not tell her to withdraw her allegation in so many words, she might be left feeling that it is her only option. An extreme example of this involved one complainant who recalled being taken to the police station where two male CID officers sat with her in a room and questioned her; she said that suggestions were made to her that sometimes women allege rape when it is not in fact true, and that her experience was likely to have been consensual given that the suspect was an ex-boyfriend of hers. Further, she alleged that, as far as they were concerned, blood which was found at the scene of the incident was seen as indicative only of ‘rough sex’ having occurred. At no point did the officers apparently take a statement from her, apart from recording her eventual decision to withdraw.

“They didn’t actually let me speak, I never wrote a statement with them, only to retract my complaint, that’s all I did. And that wasn’t my idea.”

Police and CPS law ye rs cited other fa c t o rs which might encourage rape complainants to withdraw their allegations. They thought that certain ethnic communities and religious groups put pressure on complainants to withdraw their allegations. Orthodox Jews were mentioned as one example. It was suggested that there needs to be more specific police training, so that they are better equipped to deal with sensitivities of this sort. As one lawyer put it:

“It may be difficult in [a big city] to cope with the diversity sometimes… police are not always experienced enough or trained enough to deal with pressures from cultural groups.”

Each of the complainants spoken to maintained that if they were raped again they would not report the attack to the police. Of course, too few complainants were interviewed to be able to generalise from their experiences. However, other research supports these findings. A study by Jennifer Temkin (1999), for example, documents the negative perception of rape victims about the way their cases were dealt with. Most complaints were of the disbelieving attitudes of the police and the insensitive ways in which cases were handled.

It should be pointed out that some stations attach a high priority to the care and support given to rape victims. This is reflected in initiatives such as the introduction of victim suites, often away from police premises, the appointment of chaperones in some forces, improved channels of communication to keep victims updated, improved training for officers of both genders and specialist help provided through Victim Support. However, until such initiatives become the rule as opposed to the exception and involve all those concerned, the task of improving police services is not yet complete (Adler, 1991; Temkin, 1999; Victim Support, 1996).

Posted in Acquaintance Rape, attitudes, domestic abuse, martial rape, rape, trauma | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

women, rape and the legal system

Posted by shadowlight and co on March 24, 2010

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For a legal system to be fair it is vital that the rights of the defendant to a fair trial are upheld, but it is equally important for the complainants to obtain justice. The rights of both defendants and complainants must be balanced. Women should be enabled to obtain justice without jeopardising the rights of the accused. In rape trials though this is rarely the case, the defendant is too advantaged, allowing men guilty of sexual assault to go free.

Over the last few decades, the legal system has taken a rapping with freeing defendant after defendant following wrongful conviction: the Guildford four, the Birmingham six and Judith Ward, to name a few.  As shocking as these miscarriages are, miscarriages of justice resulting from wrongful acquittals should not be forgotten. It is an injustice not only when the innocent are convicted but also when the guilty go free, or when a case never gets to court at all.

The plight of the rape victim remains as acute as ever. They are viewed in and out of court with suspicion and hostility, and facilities which are meant to aid them are few and far between (Temkin 1987). In the US too, conviction rates are low. According to the FBI in only 16% of reported rapes end in conviction (Steketee and Austen). Consequently the courts have been described as a “disaster area” for rape victims (Bart and Moran 1993) and many of the reforms enacted have had a very limited effect (Allison and Wrightsman 1993). In Europe too, rape trials are an area of particular controversy (Pitch 1995). For example in Switzerland it has been estimated that only 2% of reported rape cases lead to a conviction (1994).

In the 1970s there were campaigns aimed at dispelling the myths surrounding rape. All sorts of myths were challenged: that rape was an expression of sexual desire; that rape was due to the irresistible urge of male sexuality; that rapists were crazed psychopaths; that rapists were black; that rape was a mere misunderstanding, etc… However, today many of these myths still exist strongly in many peoples minds, along with a few “new” myths.

One such prevalent myth is that men need protection from women who are prone to make false allegations for all sorts of reasons, ranging from spite and revenge through to fantasy and pretence (as a means of hiding their infidelity or sexual adventures) to confusing bed sex with rape. Or it is argued that a woman could have avoided the rape if she had not laid herself open to attack (victim precipitation), or she asked for it and secretly enjoyed it (victim participation). Myths about the nature of rape are contradictory, on the one hand rape is often seen as easy to get over, or as an experience that women should “lay back and enjoy”; and on the other hand, it is seen as a very serious crime. Rape is the ultimate form of objectification, in which the womans consent is overruled and her humanity denied. The offence poses a threat to physical integrity and this is compounded by humiliation and deprivation of privacy and autonomy. Yet rape is trivialised by women as well as men. It is argued that some rapes are not as bad as others. It is obviously true that there are different reactions to rape, as to any other trauma, but to argue that therefore rape should be graded according to its gravity misses the point. Rape is the ultimate denial of female subjectivity in a culture where a whole range of sexual practices operates in male interests.

Societal expectations concerning rape reporting are also contradictory. One view is that if a woman is raped, she should be too upset and ashamed to report it; the other that she will be so upset that she defiantly will report it. Both views exist simultaneously, but it is the latter that is written into law. Any delay in reporting is therefore used against her. There is further contradiction in that the complainant should appear upset as a victim but controlled and calm as a court witness. If in court she appears lucid as a witness she may not be seen s a victim. If she appears too upset, she runs the risk of being seen as hysterical and therefore not believable.

One common theme throughout many of these myths is that they absolve men from responsibility for rape. Such myths are important, as rapists draw on them to justify their violence. In Scully and Marolla (1985), men convicted of rape were interviewed; one argued “she semi-struggled but deep down inside I think she felt it was a fantasy come true”. Rapists do not invent their rationalisations; they draw on social myths reflecting ideas that they have every reason to believe that others will find acceptable (Grubin and Gunn 1990).

Women have been accused of lying about rape from time immemorial, and some women do make false allegations of physical battery. According to police statistics, approximately 8% of rape, as compared to 2% of reports of other crimes, are false or lack supporting evidence.

Even if 8% of women do lie about rape, they are the exception, not the rule. If there is any rule, it is that sexual assault is by far the most underreported crime in the United States (national crime centre 1992).

Myths about women making false allegations override commonsense explanations of why they should run naked into the street, cry compulsively, spend the night in police stations for fear of retribution for taking the case to court, change their name, move home, or even go into hiding. The phase “false allegations” needs up-picking, the malicious woman who concocts a false story to take revenge on a past lover would not get very far in the legal system, where a past sexual relationship usually precludes cases even getting to court. It is possible that on rare occasions women who have perhaps been raped or abused in the past may allege that it has happened again, but it is unlikely that a sensitive investigator would not be able to uncover this. Temkin (1987) points out that there is no evidence that fabricated allegations happen more often in rape cases than for any other type of crime.

Most commonly, however, false allegations refer to the woman’s words pitted against the defendant’s protestation that she consented. In most trials, the fact of sexual intercourse is not disputed; the issue is the meaning of consent. Men’s exaggerated fear of false allegation is perhaps more about men’s fantasies of women. It reflects a society where forced sex is far more common than imagined and where women who are forced into sex often do not name it as rape.

Two Scottish researchers found that reasons given by the police for complainant fabrication included the following: to explain a pregnancy; as an excuse for getting home late; spite; hyperactive imagination; and remorse (Chambers and Millr 1987). Similar arguments are often presented in court by the defence.

Although the FBI estimates that only 10% of rapes are not reported, police data and the results of national surveys of sexual assault centres indicate that 50% are not reported (Hall 1995). In the UK this issue is even more pronounced with 60% of rapes not being reported.

However, many experts feel that these figures grossly underestimate the degree of underreporting. Underreporting is especially prevalent among illegal and recent immigrants, among women from cultural backgrounds that value sexual chastity, and among women who were attacked by someone they knew (Petrak and Hedge 2002)

The limited information available indicates that African-American and Hispanic survivors, as compared to European and American survivors, face more negative social reaction if they disclose attempted or completed rape (Crawford and Unger 2000). Of all groups, Hispanic women have been found to have the highest rates of staying silent and the lowest rates of asking for help from others. Sexual assault is considered such a stigma that many suffer in silence rather than risk social disapproval and rejection (Ullman and Filipas 2001).

The anti-rape movement of the 1970s resulted in greater public awareness of sexual assault and improved recording procedures and legislation, making it easier for women to come forward. However within less than 2 decades, this process started to be, and continues to be, undermined by a backlash that dismisses sexual assault as “rape hype” and feminist propaganda. This movement also alleges that researchers exaggerate statistics (Media Education Foundation 1992) and that date-rape victims “cry rape” as an excuse for “bad sex” (Roiphe 1993)

Women who regained memories of childhood abuse were accused of lying to gain attention, financial compensation or of waging a personal vendetta against a family member. There have even been efforts to eliminate federal funding for rape crisis centres (Gilbert 1993).

These and other forms of backlash have silenced and continue to silence women who have been sexually attacked, causing some women (at times myself included) to wish that they had been mutilated physically as well as raped, so that they would be believed and respected as truth-tellers and not ridiculed and alienated as liars.

Women may regret having sex (the morning after phenomenon), but this does not cause them to “cry rape”. Women may reluctantly agree to have sex, but there is no evidence that they cannot distinguish such occasions from when they do not consent and are raped. In 1991 a study was carried out by Painter which indicated that it is more common for women not not recognise certain situations, including being “coerced into sex”, as rape than to “cry rape” when dissatisfied with sex. Rather than being eager to classify themselves as having been raped, the opposite appeared to be the case. In other words, when they were raped, they were often disinclined to see it as rape. Painter concluded, firmly, that women are unlikely to “cry rape”. It is important to be clear that consenting to sex, however reluctantly, is different from being raped. Additionally not resisting in response to threats or coercion is also distinct from consenting. The focus of trials should not be placed so heavily on whether or not the woman resisted, but on what lead the defendant to the belief that she consented. It is for this reason that it is (or should be) essential for the defendant to give evidence, or at least to justify his failure to do so.

The police treatment of rape cases has radically changed in the last few decades. The catalyst for this was, in part, an episode of the BBC television series police in 1982, in which police officers were seen in a live investigation of a woman reporting a rape. The brought to the public’s attention the harsh interrogation techniques rape complainants were subjected to and provided the impetus for the police to reform the procedures (Scott and Dickens, 1989). As a result of pressure from the Womans National Commission following publication of its report “violence against women” (1985), the Home Office issued a circular calling for improved police training to deal with rape and sexual assault, the appointment of more women police surgeons and the provision of better facilities for medical examination of women who had been attacked. Police handling of rape and sexual assault complainants, if not perfect, has greatly improved. Most police officers now have had some training (although this is often fairly minimal) and a chaperonage system is in place in many stations.

The number of women reporting rape and sexual assault to the police has doubled over the past decade in Britain, but the proportion of reported rapes resulting in a conviction has more than halved there are possible reasons why more women are reporting rape: confidence that the police will believe them has undoubtedly increased and greater acknowledgement of the prevalence of violence against women within the community could well have had an effect; but there could also have been an actual increase in the prevalence of rape.

1 2 3 3a 4 4a 5 5a
Total number of cases reported to the police Total number of cases proceeded against at magistrates court Total number of trials committed for trial Percentage of cases that that did not proceed from 2 to 3 Number of cases appearing at crown court Percentage of cases that do not get from 3 to 4 Total found guilty Percentage of  guilty who got conviction of “rape” Percentage of reported cases that end in conviction
1985 1842 884 758 10.2% 569 25% 450 53.3% 24.4%
1986 2288 927 804 13.3% 593 26.2% 415 44.8 18.1%
1987 2471 1048 867 17.3% 649 25.1% 453 43% 18.3%
1988 2855 1288 1082 16% 799 26.2% 540 42.9% 18.9%
1989 3305 1400 1140 18.6% 930 18.4% 613 43.8% 18.5%
1990 3391 1467 1147 22% 914 20.3% 561 38% 16.5%
1991 4045 1711 1323 22.7% 961 27.7% 559 32.6% 13.8%
1992 4142 1648 1184 28.2% 933 21.2% 485 29.4% 11.7%
1993 4589 1704 1202 29.5 892 26% 455 26.7% 9.9%
1994 5039 1782 1266 29% 940 26% 425 25% 8.4%

This trend has continued, and in 2008 the percentage of reported cases which ended in conviction was at an all time low of 6%.

In 1993 a study was done by Lees and Gregory in which women who had not reported their rape where asked why. The most common reason (57%) was a lack of confidence that the police would believe them, or take them seriously, particularly if they knew their attacker. Other reasons were fear of further attack from the assailant or his friends (18%), fear that the man would return, as he knew where they lived (14%), fear that if the man was of professional status he would the advantage over them (in one case the assailant was a high-ranking police officer). Several women did not report the event as they felt, or were made to feel, that the rape was their fault because they had gone willingly to the man’s home. Finally, 15 women were put off from reporting because they did not want to testify in court. Reasons including belief that a conviction was unlikely; belief that she, the victim, would be “on trial”; fear of reprisals by the man; not wishing to involve relatives; and not wishing other people to find out what happened. The reality of woman’s fear of retaliation were brought home by the case in 1995 of a husband who was acquitted of raping his wife only to return to their home days later where he beat her to death in front of their children.

Have you ever asked a woman who has been raped if she enjoyed it? Have you ever asked her if she was asking for it by wearing short skirts? Have you ever asked her if her shoes are not real leather but a “cheap” fake, implying that she may be too? Have you ever asked her to describe loudly in detail what happened in front of room of people? Have you ever asked her why she did not fight back more strenuously? Have you ever asked her whether she has ever had an abortion? Asked her about past sexual relationships? Ever demanded details of her menstrual cycle? Probably not… but these are all questions that have been asked in court. In fact these questions are encouraged on the grounds that they are the only way to protect men from false allegations. These questions also have the side effect of destroying the womans credibility.

So, if only 6% of rape cases end in conviction does this imply that the other 84% are examples of false accusations? Well I don’t think so… especially after myself reporting a rape a few years ago and never getting to court at all… women often put themselves through all the above only to have the defendant acquitted and walk free.

I will leave you with an example of this, which occurred in 1984 when Alister Winter (not real name) was accused by Julie (not real name) of rape. Julie was living with her parents in Sussex and had a boyfriend. One night she went to a Christmas party and got talking to a man there, when she went to leave he claimed that his car would not start and asked if she could give him a lift, thinking that it was a simple good deed she agreed. When they got to his home he insisted that she come in for a Christmas drink to say thankyou. She agreed to go to his flat and once there, the mans mood changed. He offered her drugs, which she refused, saying she had to go as she had to up early the next day. He physically stopped her from leaving, blocking the door and gripping her wrists. The more scared she got the more he seemed to enjoy what was happening/ he threatened to break her arm if she resisted, she pleaded with him and pretended to have an asthma attack. He pushed he down and raped her. After the rape he kept saying how he was not finished with her.

Julie managed to convince him that she needed her inhaler from her car, he made her leave her bag and shoes in his flat to ensure that he would return. When they got to her car Julie managed to leep in and lock the doors before he stopped her. She then drove off with him following her until she got to the police station; half naked, with no shoes and no bag.

Julie was covered in bruises and cuts, and had gotten a STI. She attempted suicide and ended up in psychiatric treatment. But Alister Winter was acquitted, although the judge unusually made an order for him to pay his legal costs of £15000. A friend of Winter was quoted in the media as saying “he used to have any woman he fancied, and has probably raped many times and gotten away with it”.

In 1993 Winter again appeared in court. It transcended that he had been taking women and raping them showing them the newspaper cutting from the previous trial as a method of making sure they did not tell as he would only be acquitted anyway. On this occasion he was found guilty of rape, buggery and administering controlled substances to have sex with female clients.

Posted in domestic abuse, gender roles, incest, legal system, martial rape, misconseptions, myths, rape, sexual assualt, trauma, trials | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Adverse Childhood Experiences

Posted by shadowlight and co on March 16, 2010

The  adverse childhood experiences study population included 9,367 (54%) women and 7,970 (46%) men (total sample=17,337). Their mean age was 56 years. Seventy-five percent were white, 39% were college graduates, 36% had some college education, and 18% were high school graduates. Only 7% had not graduated from high school.1,13
The Study assessed 10 categories of stressful or traumatic childhood experiences (seen below). The experiences chosen for study were based upon prior research that has shown them to have significant adverse health or social implications, and for which efforts in the public and private sector exist to reduce the frequency and consequences of their occurrence.
Prior research into the effects of childhood maltreatment and related experiences (including witnessing domestic violence) has tended to focus on only one or two categories of experience, such as physical or sexual abuse or domestic violence, and has generally focused on a limited range of outcomes. The ACE Study is unique not only because of its size, but because it was also designed to assess the relationships of a broad range of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) to a wide range of health and social consequences.

• Childhood abuse




• Neglect



• Growing up in a seriously dysfunctional household as evidenced by:

-Witnessing domestic violence

-Alcohol or other substance abuse in the home

– Mentally ill or suicidal household members

– Parental marital discord (as evidenced by separation or divorce)

– Crime in the home (as evidenced by having a household member imprisoned)

The first important conclusion to be drawn is that adverse childhood experiences are very common. Moreover, ACE Study estimates of the prevalence of childhood exposures to physical and sexual abuse are similar to population-based surveys. A national telephone survey of adults conducted by Finkelhor et al. used similar criteria for childhood sexual abuse and determined that 16% of men and 27% of women had been sexually abused; in the ACE Study cohort 16% of men and 25% of women in our sample had experienced contact childhood sexual abuse. In our study, 30% of the men had been physically abused as boys; this closely parallels the 31% prevalence recently found in a similarly structured population-based study of Canadian men. The similarity of the estimates from the ACE Study to those of population-based studies suggests that findings would be applicable in other settings.

The other findings from this study are detailed below:

The effects of ACEs are long-term, powerful, cumulative, and likely to be invisible to health care providers, educators, social service organizations, and policy makers because the linkage between cause and effect is concealed by time, the inability to “see” the process of neurodevelopment, and because effects of the original traumatic insults may not become manifest until much later in life. When a child is wounded, the pain and negative long-term effects reverberate as an echo of the lives of people they grew up with—and then they grow up, at risk for taking on the same characteristics and behaviors—thereby sustaining the cycle of abuse, neglect, violence and substance abuse, and mental illness.

Anda RF, Felitti VJ, Walker J, Whitfield, CL, Bremner JD, Perry BD, Dube SR, Giles WH. The Enduring Effects of Abuse and Related Adverse Experiences in Childhood: A Convergence of Evidence from Neurobiology and Epidemiology. European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 2006; 256(3):174-86
Dube SR, Miller JW, Brown DW, Giles WH, Felitti VJ, Dong M, Anda RF. Adverse Childhood Experiences and the Association with Ever Using Alcohol and Initiating Alcohol Use During Adolescence. . Journal of Adolescent Health, 2006;38(4):444.e1-444.e10.
Anda, RF, Felitti, VJ, Brown, DW, Chapman, D, Dong, M, Dube, SR, Edwards, VJ, Giles, WH. (2006) Insights Into Intimate Partner Violence From the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study. In PR Salber and E Taliaferro, eds. The Physician’s Guide to Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse, Volcano, CA: Volcano Press; 2006.

Posted in abuse, child abuse, child neglect, domestic abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, physical abuse, psychological abuse, trauma | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

What causes Abuse?

Posted by shadowlight and co on March 8, 2010

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The causes of interpersonal abuse are complex and overlapping. However, the following are widely regarded to be some of the most important factors:

  • Early learning experiences: This factor is sometimes described as the “life cycle” of abuse. Many abusive parents were themselves abused as children and have learned to see hurtful behavior as normal childrearing. At the other end of the life cycle, some adults who abuse their elderly parent are paying back the parent for abusing them in their early years.
  • Ignorance of developmental timetables: Some parents have unrealistic expectations of children in terms of the appropriate age for toilet training, feeding themselves, and similar milestones, and attack their children for not meeting these expectations.
  • Economic stress: Many caregivers cannot afford part-time day care for children or dependent elderly parents, which would relieve some of their emotional strain. Even middle-class families can be financially stressed if they find themselves responsible for the costs of caring for elderly parents before their own children are financially independent.
  • Lack of social support or social resources: Caregivers who have the support of an extended family, religious group, or close friends and neighbors are less likely to lose their self-control under stress.
  • Substance abuse: Alcohol and mood-altering drugs do not cause abuse directly, but they weaken or remove a person’s inhibitions against violence toward others. In addition, the cost of a drug habit often gives a substance addict another reason for resenting the needs of the dependent person. A majority of workplace bullies are substance addicts.
  • Mental disorders: Depression, personality disorders, dissociative disorders, and anxiety disorders can all affect parents’ ability to care for their children appropriately. A small percentage of abusive parents or spouses are psychotic.
  • Belief systems: Many men still think that they have a “right” to a relationship with a woman; and many people regard parents’ rights over children as absolute.
  • The role of bystanders: Research in the social sciences has shown that one factor that encourages abusers to continue their hurtful behavior is discovering that people who know about or suspect the abuse are reluctant to get involved. In most cases, bystanders are afraid of possible physical, social, or legal consequences for reporting abuse. The result, however, is that many abusers come to see themselves as invulnerable.

Posted in abuse, Acquaintance Rape, alcohol, attitudes, child abuse, child neglect, domestic abuse, ecconomic abuse, emotional abuse, female abuser, gender roles, illness, martial rape, misconseptions, myths, neglect, physical abuse, psychological abuse, rape, ritual abuse, sexual abuse, social abuse, spiritual abuse, trauma, verbal abuse | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Verbal Abuse

Posted by shadowlight and co on March 4, 2010

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Verbal abuse is a form of battery that involves the use of words, rather than blows and punches. In a verbally abusive situation, words are used to attack, control, and inflict harm on another person. Verbally abusive behaviour goes far beyond mean behaviour; it involves inflicting psychological violence on another person, attacking the very nature of an individual’s being and attempting to destroy his or her spirit. Verbal abuse can affect people of all ages and in all types of relationships. However, it is especially prevalent in marital relationships. Verbal abuse falls into many categories, including:

  • Abusive anger: They would blow up at you.
  • Criticizing: They make derogatory comments about your weight and figure.
  • Name-calling: They  called you a liar and a hypocrite.
  • Threatening: They taunt you about their leaving and liking other women/men.
  • Blaming: They tell you their behaviour is your fault.

Is name-calling verbal abuse?

Yes! Name-calling is abusive because it says that you are X, Y or Z, but actually you are a person. Abuses define their victims as objects. It isn’t healthy to be in the same room with a person who objectifies you, and in cases of domestic abuse it is harmful to children who witness it. They either see their survival threatened or they think it’s normal, or both.

Why does it seem that after he abuses me verbally he is happy, like he feels relieved? Also, he will act like it never happened. It’s like he has no memory of it. I try hard to not fight with him because it’s not worth it — it only makes him say more things. I end up asking myself if I am blowing things out of proportion or overreacting.

This is what verbal abusers do. Verbal abusers almost universally act like nothing happened, like they feel fine and the relationship is fine. This is because they feel they have more control. Maybe they got you to back down, believe them or doubt yourself. If you doubt yourself then you might go with what they tell you, be more compliant and more slave-like. This makes them happy.

I know I’m being verbally abused, but I just can’t bring myself to leave. What’s wrong with me?

There are many reasons why it’s hard to go. People who suffer from frequent verbal abuse need plenty of support. If you have family or friends to go to, just get away and see what it’s like. Know that while you stay, you’re with the same mentality as a batterer. And physical abuse is always a possibility, but the emotional abuse is worse in the long run. You can lose your spirit. I recommend that you read all you can on getting away from batterers — and what they’re like — and see if you can find a support group at a local shelter. Abusers get worse over time and always blame the victim.

Have I brought this abuse on myself?

Put simply – NO

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Domestic violence against men study

Posted by shadowlight and co on February 18, 2010

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The recent report from Scotland provides no new information for those familiar with the issue of domestic violence against men. Many of the more recent studies and research has found that male victims make up a significant amount of the victims of domestic violence, but the lack of support services, anti-male bias in the support community and cultural bias against male victims keeps men silent.

This does not often sit well with the domestic violence community, and several within the community are quick to dismiss any findings of high rates of violence against men. However, what the Scotland research showed is difficult to deny:

Interviewees were asked about their experience of physical or psychological partner abuse both since the age of 16 and within the preceding 12 months. The findings included:

• 18% of adults who had had at least one partner since the age of 16 reported having experienced at least one form of partner abuse. The figure for women was 20.9% and for men 15.3%.

• However, in the most recent 12 months the figure for both men and women was 5%.

• The data for the last 12 months showed that young men aged 16-24 experienced physical and/or psychological abuse more often than young women and more often than any other demographic group.

• For persons experiencing partner abuse in the last 12 months, 48% of the perpetrators were male and 45% were female.

• Police came to know about 35% of incidents of partner abuse reported by women in the preceding 12 months but only 8% of incidents in which a man was on the receiving end. 40% of men told no-one compared to 21% of women.

Again, there are those who would dismiss those findings. However, the problem with the research the domestic violence community prefers is that the language of some of those studies portrays the respondents as victims, and many men do not view themselves as victims. Part of this is because of the cultural narrative that women cannot hurt men, but part of it comes from the domestic violence community itself and its framing of domestic violence as a man-on-woman only crime. Nevertheless, the language issue can seriously impact the results of a study. As was noted in the article:

[John Forsyth said,]“The research has to be commended for its rigour. When asked whether they had been subject to domestic abuse since the age of 16, only 3% of men and 14% of women said yes. However, when asked to report specific conduct by a partner that falls within the definition of partner abuse, the number for men rose 5 times to 15% and for women by half to 20.9%. This is hardly surprising given the tens of millions that has been spent by successive Scottish administrations on campaigns, support services and organisations targeted at women, encouraging them to recognise and report domestic abuse. In the same period precisely nothing has been spent on efforts to encourage men to recognise and report domestic abuse.”

My emphasis. The shift in the reporting rate shows how damaging ignoring male victimization can be and specifically why domestic violence should not be presented as a crime against women. As more research is done and as more male victims come forward, it is beginning to appear that the actual rates of violence between men and women is not significantly different.

There is no harm in acknowledging that, but there is harm in not acknowledging male victims. Maintaining the double standard established by the domestic violence community leads to instances in which women who violently assault their male partners get slaps on the wrist even as the judge acknowledges the double standard at play. One constantly hears there is never an excuse for violence against women, yet the narrative coming from those same people is that violence against men is minimal, unimportant and excusable. Numbers like those above contradict those notions and organizations like The One in Three Campaign can help fight for the recognition of male victims.

Posted in abuse, domestic abuse, female abuser, misconseptions, myths, physical abuse, PTSD | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »