“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” -ALBERT EINSTEIN.
How to stop the inter-generational transmission of family violence:
- Support system: A support system is always beneficial in overcoming any barrier. Individuals who have a strong support system with their family, friends, coworkers, etc. have a much higher probability of beating the cycle of inter-generational family violence.
- Individual Counseling: Counseling is a great way to work out problems and potentially stop the cycle if family violence. Many people who are abusive towards their families have never sat back and asked themselves why they act that way. If often takes a professional to ask questions such as, “What was your family like growing up?” and, “Do you remember witnessing any violence between your parents, or from your parents towards yourself as a child?” Professionals also ask questions such as, “Why do you think that you verbally abuse your children?” or, “Instead of taking out your frustration on them with angry words, what are some other options you could use?” to get the abuser thinking. Therapists, psychiatrists, social workers, etc. have a keen ability to make the brain churn and really reflect on the root of the issue.
- Group Counseling: A group on family violence can often be beneficial in efforts to stop the inter-generational cycle of family violence. In a group, the individual has the chance to see that they are not alone. When the abuser gets a chance to hear others stories, their reasons for their actions, and why they want to stop, it can be a very enlightening situation. Many people in recovery from various addictions often have an, “Ah ha!” moment in group therapy, and the switch flips in their brain that recovery is in fact possible. Along with both group and individual counseling, couples counseling is often an effective method to stop the violence as well.
Building a resiliency:
Resiliency is the ability to recover from change and misfortune and it is an important factor in changing repetitive cycle of family violence. There are many factors that affect how resilient an individual is.
- The age that an individual experiences change or traumatic events greatly affects how they recover. If an individual experiences the event at a younger age they are more likely to have a problem adjusting and recovering compared to an older individual.
- Individual characteristics also play a big role. Some people possess characteristics that make them more independent and keep to themselves while others need to express their emotions more.
- The availability of supportive peers and resources has shown to influence how resilient an individual is. If an individual has supportive family and friends who can encourage them and help them through the event then they are going to adapt to the change better.
Children who either witness or experience violence within their environment clearly have a negative impact on the child’s livelihood. Research studies have found that children deal with stressful events in one of two ways, either by internalizing their emotions or by externalizing them. If a child were to internalize their emotions over their traumatic experience, it can lead to a higher chance of the child developing depression or anxiety. Children may also externalize their frustration and confusion over the events they have gone through by partaking in delinquency and violent tendencies. The children who externalize their frustrations are more likely to continue the abuse they experienced when they are older to their loved ones.
Resiliency traits are strengths that help a person or family cope with stress or life difficulties, increasing the likelihood of recovering from a violent experience. Resiliency traits include: high self-esteem, strong social networks, and independence. These traits are tools people can use in times of crisis; they give them the edge and help them break the cycle of violence that could possibly continue if they did not have these traits. These traits don’t prevent problems, but they do help solve them.
Risk traits are influences that may interfere with a person’s or family’s ability to cope during times of stress. Risk traits include: low self esteem, lack supportive social networks, and lack of conflict resolution skills. These traits can negatively influence the way people react to crisis. For example, when a problem presents itself, an individual may not know how to deal with it or even know how to ask for help.
Children who have resiliency traits are far more likely to be able to move on from a violent experience or stressful event in their life, if they are capable of doing this they would be able to effectively break the cycle of violence.
Batterers Intervention Programs (BIPs):
Duluth Model- The Duluth Model uses education to change batterers perception of morally acceptable behaviors towards their partners. The Duluth Model puts emphasis on a woman’s safety and focuses on behavior patterns batterers use to control their partners. The Duluth Model is the most used battering intervention program, or BIP.
“No drop policy” - Today, many states have a no-drop policy, meaning requests to drop charges are rejected whether the victim wants them dropped or not. For example, if a batterer is arrested, then his partner is not allowed to drop the charges. The batterer will be charged.
Safe Houses- Safe houses are designed to protect abused women from their batterers and are usually in an unknown location to the general public. Usually the havens are for battered woman only and in many cases only female children are allowed. Madeline’s House is an example of a safe house. Do you need help?
Family Violence is a wide spread issue that affects everyone. There are a variety of solutions and preventions for the problem. Having a strong support system is beneficial in the healing process of family violence. Counseling is a beneficial resource to help in the healing process as well. Places such as safe houses serve as an outlet for victims who need a place to go. There is no one answer as to how to solve family violence, however with the methods we have discussed, a victim can find the help they need to start the healing process.
Gerwitz, A a. (2007). Young Children’s Exposure to Intimate Partner Violence: Towards a Developmental Risk and Resilience Framework for Research and Intervention. Journal of Family Violence, 151-163.
Havens, J. R., Oka, M., Simmons, L.A., Smith, D.B., Whiting, J.B. (2009) Intergenerational Transmission of Violence: the Influence of Self-Appraisals, Mental Disorders and Substance Abuse. J Family Violence. 24. 639-648.
Martinez-Torteya, C., Anne Bogat, G., Von Eye, A., & Levendosky, A. A. (2009). Resilience Among Children Exposed to Domestic Violence on Adolescent Internalizing and Externalizing Behavior Problems. Journal of Family Violence. 53-63.
National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. (2011). Understanding Intimate Partner Violence. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved 16 February 2011, from http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/IPV_factsheet-a.pdf