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Violence against women

Sexual assault
Learn about rape trauma syndrome, date rape, and the impact of rape on relationships

Domestic violence
Learn why it happens and how to get help.

Child sexual abuse/incest
Learn how to spot child sexual abuse and how to report it.

Domestic violence

Why does domestic violence happen?

The information below is adapted from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Why do some people abuse their partners? There could be any number of reasons, including family dysfunction, inadequate communication skills, provocation by women, stress, chemical dependency, lack of spirituality, and economic hardship. While these issues are often associated with the abuse of women, they are not the cause, nor will the removal of these factors mitigate or end the problem of domestic violence. Abusers adopt and maintain abusive behavior patterns because these patterns allow them to gain and maintain control over another person. Batterers typically don't suffer adverse consequences as a result of these behaviors.

Violence against women, historically, has not been treated as a real crime; those who abuse their partners are rarely incarcerated, fined, or ostracized by their communities. Abusers come from all walks of life, all backgrounds, and all personality types. There are, nevertheless, some characteristics that may be used to define the general profile of an abuser:

  • Abusers objectify women, unable to see them as people. They do not respect women as a group and instead, they view them as property or sexual objects.
  • Abusers typically have low self-esteem and feel powerless and inadequate, despite their successes in life (e.g., academic, professional, economic, athletic).
  • Abusers externalize the causes of their behavior, casting blame on outside circumstances (e.g.. stress, a bad day, his partner's behavior, chemical dependency, etc.)
  • Abusers may be charming, outgoing, friendly between violent episodes. (See The Cycle of Abuse.)
  • Abusers may be extremely jealous, possessive, ill-tempered, unpredictable, cruel to family pets, and verbally abusive.

Domestic violence

Editor's picks

Following are just some of the wonderful books on this topic available from Amazon.com. Click on the cover art to learn more.

Why Does He Do That?

The Verbally Abusive Relationship

Healing the Trauma of Domestic Violence

It's My Life Now

For even more resources, visit Amazon.com

Video clip

Mary Kay Inc. Supports Women's Shelters
Since 2000, the Mary Kay Ash Charitable Foundation has awarded millions of dollars to women's shelters across the United States. From 2005 through 2007, the Foundation has awarded $20,000 grants, totaling $3 million, to 150 shelters in all 50 states for each of these years.

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