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Language & Gender: Intimate Partner Violence 101

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Heather Eastwood

on 16 October 2017

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Transcript of Language & Gender: Intimate Partner Violence 101

What is Domestic Violence?
Economic Abuse
Physical Abuse
Verbal Abuse
Sexual Abuse
Men, too
Selective Coverage
Language of Headlines

IPV & Media
Problematic representation of IPV in the media
"Patient was hit in the face with a fist."
"Domestic dispute prompts shooting outside elementary school."
"Wife and toddler killed in crime of passion."
of abusive, threatening
behaviors including:
sexual violence
The Victims
In 80% of intimate partner homicides, no matter which partner was killed, the man physically abused the woman before the murder
Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women—more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined.
Victim Blaming
Mutual Responsibility

Excusing the Perpetrator

Clear on your desires
Speak up
Follow your instincts
when situation is described in a way that makes it unclear who is responsible and who is the victim.
My son died in
a car crash.
That's what he gets for
not taking the bus.
Victim blaming is when victims are held responsible (or blamed) for wrongful acts committed against them.
Using language that minimizes or justifies abusive behavior
One study found that more than 88% of news coverage presented IPV as a one-time crisis.
Source Selection

Research Shows
Use of passive voice linked with perceived responsibility of victim.
Passive voice more likely to be used when perp is male and victim is female
Almost 30% IPV reported in media involves politicians, sports stars, celebrities.
News articles more likely to mention victim

Diminishes significance when don't interview professionals
Suggests that these are unpreventable random tragedies, not a public health concern that we KNOW exists and can mitigate.

Emotional Abuse
Preventing you from seeing or talking with friends and family.
Telling you what to do and wear.
Using online communities or cell phones to control, intimidate or humiliate you.
name-calling, accusing, blaming, threatening, and ordering.
generally direct and obvious
by attempting to judge or invalidate the recipient undermines the equality and autonomy that are essential to healthy adult relationships
indirect form: may even be disguised as “helping.” Criticizing, advising, offering solutions, analyzing, probing, and questioning another person may be a sincere attempt to help. In some instances, however, these behaviors may be an attempt to belittle, control, or demean rather than help. The underlying judgmental “I know best” tone the abuser takes in these situations is inappropriate and creates unequal footing in peer relationships.
Denying or Invalidating:
distorts or undermines the recipient’s perceptions of their world. Invalidating occurs when the abuser refuses or fails to acknowledge reality. For example, if the recipient confronts the abuser about an incident of name calling, the abuser may insist, “I never said that,” “I don’t know what you’re talking about, “ etc.
Withholding includes refusing to listen, refusing to communicate, and emotionally withdrawing
as punishment
. This is sometimes called the “silent treatment."
does not deny that a particular event occurred, but undermines the emotional experience or reaction to an event.
“You’re too sensitive,” “You’re exaggerating,” or “You’re blowing this out of proportion” all suggest that the recipient’s emotions and perceptions are faulty and not to be trusted.
using victim's religious or spiritual beliefs to manipulate her/him
preventing victim from practicing her/his religious/spiritual beliefs
ridiculing victim’s religious or spiritual beliefs
forcing children to be reared in a faith victim has not agreed to
Yelling and screaming
Intentionally embarrassing in public.
Blaming victim's actions for their abusive or unhealthy behavior.
Threatening to commit suicide to keep victim from breaking up with him/her.
Threatening to harm victim, pets or people victim cares about.
Making victim feel guilty or immature when doesn't consent to sexual activity.
Threatening to expose secrets such as your sexual orientation or immigration status.
Spreading rumors.
Threatening to have children taken away.
Forbidding the victim to work
Sabotaging work or employment opportunities by stalking or harassing the victim at the workplace or causing the victim to lose her job by physically battering prior to important meetings or interviews
Controlling how all of the money is spent
Not allowing the victim access to bank accounts
Withholding money or giving “an allowance”
Not including the victim in investment or banking decisions
Forbidding the victim from attending job training or advancement opportunities
Forcing the victim to write bad checks or file fraudulent tax returns
Running up large amounts of debt on joint accounts
Refusing to work or contribute to the family income
Withholding funds for the victim or children to obtain basic needs such as food and medicine
Hiding assets
Stealing the victim’s identity, property or inheritance
Forcing the victim to work in a family business without pay
Refusing to pay bills and ruining the victims’ credit score
Forcing the victim to turn over public benefits or threatening to turn the victim in for “cheating or misusing benefits”
Filing false insurance claims
Refusing to pay or evading child support or manipulating the divorce process by drawing it out by hiding or not disclosing assets
Unwanted kissing or touching.
Unwanted rough or violent sexual activity.
Rape or attempted rape.
Refusing to use condoms or restricting someone’s access to birth control.
Keeping someone from protecting themselves from sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Sexual contact with someone who is very drunk, drugged, unconscious or otherwise unable to give a clear and informed “yes”.
Threatening someone into unwanted sexual activity.
Repeatedly pressuring someone to have sex or perform sexual acts.
Repeatedly using sexual insults toward someone.
Affirmative Consent
If you are in the heat if the moment, here are some suggestions of phrases to say:
Are you comfortable?
Is this okay?
Do you want to slow down?
Do you want to go any further?
Why don't they just leave?
But he's so charming...
Warning Signs for Teen Relationships
Because relationships exist on a spectrum, it can be hard to tell when a behavior crosses the line from healthy to unhealthy or even abusive. Use these warning signs of abuse to see if your relationship is going in the wrong direction:
Checking your cell phone or email
Constantly putting you down
Extreme jealousy or insecurity
Explosive temper
Isolating you from family or friends
Making false accusations
Mood swings
Physically hurting you in any way
Telling you what to do
Repeatedly pressuring you to have sex
name-calling, accusing, blaming, threatening, and ordering.
invalidating undermines equality & autonomy essential to healthy adult relationships
may even be disguised as “helping.”
Criticizing, advising, pushing solutions, questioning
can be healthy or unhealthy
unhealthy = attempt to belittle, control, or demean rather than help.
underlying “I know best” tone destroys equality in relationship.
Digital Abuse
Tells you who you can or can’t be friends with on Facebook, etc.
Sends you negative, insulting, or even threatening emails, Facebook messages, tweets, DMs, or other messages online.
Uses sites to keep constant tabs on you.
Puts you down in their status updates.
Sends you unwanted, explicit pictures and demands you send some in return.
Pressures you to send explicit video.
Steals or insists to be given your passwords.
Constantly texts you and makes you feel like you can’t be separated from your phone for fear that you will be punished.
Looks through your phone frequently, checks up on your pictures, texts, and outgoing calls.
Tags you unkindly in pictures
Hacks your account
Power & Control Wheel
believe they have the right to control the person they’re dating
believe they're supposed to be in charge
maybe they think unequal relationships are ideal
Abuse is a learned behavior. Sometimes people see it growing up. Other times they learn it from friends or popular culture.
Why do people abuse
their partners?
Annually, >3 million children witness DV
30-60% kids in DV houses also abused.
Children exposed to DV more likely to have health problems
The Consequences
HUD - third leading cause of homelessness among families.
high rates of depression, sleep disturbances, anxiety, flashbacks, and other emotional distress.
Poor health: Ex/ chronic conditions like heart disease or gastrointestinal disorders can become more serious
Among women brought to emergency rooms due to domestic violence, most were socially isolated and had fewer social and financial resources than other women not injured.
Without help, girls who witness domestic violence are more vulnerable to abuse as teens and adults.
Without help, boys who witness domestic violence are
likely to become abusers of their partners and/or children as adults, thus continuing the cycle of violence in the next generation.
Most domestic violence incidents are never reported.
1:6 women & 1:33 men experience attempted or completed rape.
7.8 million American women have been raped by IP
Sexual assault or forced sex occurs in approximately 40-45% of battering relationships.
1:12 women & 1:45 men have been stalked.
81% of women stalked by IP are also physically assaulted
31% are also sexually assaulted by that partner.

The Cost of IPV
>$5.8 billion each year
16,800 homicides & 2.2 million (medically treated) injuries
$4.1 billion = direct medical and mental health services.
Victims lost 8 million days of paid work
equivalent >32,000 full-time jobs

chronically underreported crime
only about
1/4 of all physical assaults
1/5 of all rapes
1/2 of all stalkings
perpetuated against women by intimate partners are reported to the police.

20% of the 1.5 million people who experience intimate partner violence annually obtain civil protection orders.
Approximately 1/2 were violated.
>2/3 of the restraining orders against intimate partners who raped or stalked the victim were violated.

Every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten.
Hostage Syndrome Traumatic Bonding
hostages express sympathy and have positive feelings toward their captors, sometimes to the point of defending and identifying with them. These feelings are generally considered irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims, who essentially mistake a lack of abuse from their captors for an act of kindness.
The FBI's Hostage Barricade Database System shows that roughly 8% of victims show evidence of Stockholm syndrome.

Stockholm syndrome
a form of traumatic bonding
strong emotional ties that develop between two persons where one person intermittently harasses, beats, threatens, abuses, or intimidates the other.

Battered-person syndrome
capture-bonding psychological mechanism
military basic training and fraternity bonding by hazing.
2. Learned Helplessness
mental state in which an organism forced to endure aversive stimuli, stimuli that are painful or unpleasant, becomes unable or unwilling to avoid subsequent encounters with those stimuli, even if they are escapable, presumably because it has learned that it cannot control the situation
3. Hidden Messages
Victims are seeking help; we just don't get it.
even greater social stigma
even more under reported
wildly variant estimates

Reciprocal Violence
misunderstands power and control
Risk factors, reasons, etc.
same reasons women
Family & Friends
safety plan
be ready
don't judge
(800) 799-SAFE
A Safe Place
Legal Aid & courts
Teen helpline: (866) 331-9474
fewer supports: shelters, etc.
women abusers "bend" the system
women abusers more likely to injure by throwing objects
estimates say once every 40 seconds

Denying or Invalidating
distorts victim’s perceptions of their world.
Ex/ victim confronts abuser about an incident of name calling, the abuser may insist, “I never said that,” “I don’t know what you’re talking about, “ etc.
refusing to listen, refusing to communicate, and emotionally withdrawing as punishment. This is sometimes called the “silent treatment.”
abuser views the recipient as an extension of themselves and denies any viewpoints or feelings which differ from their own.

questions the recipient’s emotional experience or reaction
“You’re too sensitive,” “You’re exaggerating,” or “You’re blowing this out of proportion”
Trivializing: what you have done or experienced is inconsequential or unimportant
Denying and minimizing can be particularly damaging.
lowering self-esteem
creating conflict

the invalidation of reality, feelings, and experiences can eventually lead a person to question and mistrust her/ or his own perceptions and emotional experience.
What Consent Looks Like
Communicating every step of the way. For example, during a hookup, ask if it’s okay to take your partner’s shirt off and don’t just assume that they are comfortable with it.
Respecting that when they don’t say “no,” it doesn’t mean “yes.”
Breaking away from gender “rules.” Girls are not the only ones who might want to take it slow. Also, it’s not a guy’s job to initiate the action (or anything else, really).
What Consent Does NOT Look Like
Assuming that dressing sexy, flirting, accepting a ride, accepting a drink etc. is in any way consenting to anything more.
Saying yes (or saying nothing) while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Saying yes or giving into something because you feel too pressured or too afraid to say no.
Here are some red flags that indicate your partner doesn’t respect consent
They pressure or guilt you into doing things you may not want to do.
They make you feel like you “owe” them — because you’re dating, or they gave you a gift, etc.
They react negatively (with sadness, anger or resentment) if you say “no” to something, or don’t immediately consent.
They ignore your wishes, and don’t pay attention to nonverbal cues that could show you’re not consenting (ex: pulling/pushing away).
to establish and exert

power and control

over others.
California Affirmative Consent Law:
universities that receive state funding or any private institutions where students receive state grants.
"Consent can be conveyed by a verbal 'yes,' or signaled in a nonverbal way, but lack of resistance or objection cannot constitute consent."
in disciplinary hearings, now have to prove victim said yes instead of proving victim did not say no.
most hailed the law as a major step forward.
Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh served as a useful foil when he said affirmative consent "takes all the romance out of everything.” Um....
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