Domestic Violence: Traumatic Bonding Theory (Essay Sample)
Research domestic violence and its prevalence in society. Describe what you find interesting about this domestic violence crime. Conduct research to identify a news article regarding the commission of domestic violence. Within domestic violence context, which theory do you think explains the offender’s criminal behavior? Write a five-page essay that answers the following questions:
• How does the theory you have chosen explain the offender’s behavior?
• What is the impact of domestic violence upon victims?
• What punishment was assigned to the offender for domestic violence and do you think the punishment was adequate?
• What preventive measures can be taken to address domestic violence?
Gordon Duncan is gay. His story was published by BBC UK detailing how he had suffered in an abusive relationship. Duncan reached out to Dyn Project Charity which is funded by Welsh government to support victims of domestic abuse. His partner continually abused him so much such that he attempted suicide. One of the things I find interesting about this case is because it belonged to a gay couple. Most of domestic violence cases are from heterosexual relationship and women are the ones who suffer most. This could be a case that stems from the nature of the society being patriarchal. The feminism wave got the spotlight barely a decade ago and the society has not yet embraced gender equality and thus the power balance in many relationships is tipped in favor of men hence the prevalence of domestic violence against women. However, in this case, both partners are of the same sex and the society accords them the same treatment. Additionally, gay marriages are not even recognized in many countries and in other places they are illegalized. Therefore, as the human species, we have not yet created an all-inclusive framework to accommodate these people and thus the stigma and public judgement of such unions is subjected to higher scrutiny. It is also unfortunate that very few organizations exist that specifically handle gay domestic violence. In an attempt to understand domestic violence in this case, I applied Traumatic Bonding Theory.
Traumatic Bonding Theory
Traumatic bonding theory explains why some people stay in physically abusive relationship even though they understand they need to quit. It is a problem that stems from power imbalance in the relationship and the batterer perceives himself as dominant to the other person and thus the intermittent nature of abuse. This theory is pegged on the premise that power in relationships polarize with time and eventually the powerless partner finds himself/herself increasingly dependent on the other partner. In many cases it is usually for economic reasons or social protection. For example, an undocumented immigrant partner might find himself/herself abused by his/her partner because he/she can turn him to the authorities and eventually get deported. In between the abuse episodes, the dominator expresses positive displays of affection which are often means to avoid guilty for the despicable things they do to their partners. The victim is usually grateful to these menial displays of affection and rationalizes the acts of violence. He/she perceives the abuser as a good person who is sometimes overcome by anger or just moody. The victim then starts to find ways to please the dominator/abuser whilst denying their abuses and justifying them because they understand they might lose more than just the partner is the relationship comes to an end.
Mr. Duncan was tolerant of the abuses he was getting in the marriage. He said, "He'd broken me down so much… even though I knew in my head I needed to get away or I'd end up dead, but my heart was saying I didn't want to lose him at the same time." It is evident that he was suffering in the relationship and only afraid of losing him. Additionally, while in the relationship Mr. Duncan noted he was wary of speaking out because of the stigma and possibly the fear of losing his partner. Duncan acknowledges that his partner was not always a bad person, hence his level of tolerance even in the face of death threats. He says, “He just got into my head - sometimes he was in a good mood, sometimes he was in a bad mood.” This shows that the abuser was ‘caring’ at times and the Duncan tolerated is abuses because he perceived them as ‘passin...
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