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Domestic Violence Essay, Research Paper

As you read a newspaper or watch the news on T.V., you probably have come to the conclusion that violence is becoming a real serious problem in the world were we live. The nation has witnessed many acts of violence through the past few years. Some prime examples would be: O.J. Simpson, who was accused of murdering Ronald Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson; Susan Smith, who was found guilty of killing her own children; Timothy McVeigh, who is accused of the devesting Oklahoma City bombing of a federal building; Jeffery Dahmer, who was killed in prison after he was sentenced for the murders of several men.

Violence is a very broad topic, although it is categorized into many small groups. There is domestic violence, juvenile violence, hate violence, terrorist violence, and violence displaced through various forms of mass media. Domestic violence is a form of violence that usually occurs between individuals that reside in the same living arrangement. Domestic violence is one of the leading forms of violence. If you have ever seen one episode of the T.V. show Cops , you would have witnessed at least a couple of domestic disputes that the police were called to respond to. This domestic violence is usually a result of an argument about money, emotional problems, or drugs and alcohol abuse. Most of the domestic disputes that become violent are not reported because of the fear the victim has for the offender. A very publicized illustration of domestic violence is the double murder of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson. The accused murder was Nicole Brown Simpson’s husband, Orenthal James Simpson.

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I am from Towanda, which is a small rural town in Bradford County, Pennsylvania. The population of Towanda is roughly 2,200 people. Being raise in a small rural town, I haven’t been a victim of any crime, but I have witnessed an increase in violence, especially domestic violence. A prime example of this would be an incident in April 1995 that occurred in Windham Township. This violent act was a double homicide. The victims of the crime were Regina Ann Clark and her 9-year-old son, Ausin Wade Hopper. The suspects in the incident are John Joseph Koehler and William E. Curley. Our local newspaper reported that, “Koehler was the teacher in a contract-killing lesson in Bradford County” (Corie). The other disturbing fact was that Regina Clark, one of the victims, was the girlfriend of John Koehler. The trial for John Koehler is now in progress at the Bradford County Courthouse. “John J. Koehler, 35, Blackwood, N.J. is charged with criminal homicide, criminal conspiracy, aggravated assault, kidnapping, burglary, endangering the welfare of a child and possessing instruments of a crime” (Corie). “William E. Curley, 19, Rome, also charged in these killings, waived his right to a jury trial earlier this month. At his trial before President Judge Jeffery Smith, Curley was found guilty of first and second degree murder and burglary” (Corie). “The body of Ms. Clark was found stuffed inside a refrigerator at a make-shift dump site along a rural road in Stevens Township. Two days later the small boy’s body was located in a sluice pipe under a road in Windham Township” (Corie).

Besides this disturbing act of violence, recently there has been an attempted kidnapping that occurred April 14 in Dushore, which is a small town 45 minutes away from Towanda. “The victim was a 9-year-old girl, who was not harmed and returned home safely” (Turissini). “According to the police, the suspects are a white male, 25 to 35 years of age, bald or a ’skin

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head,’ with no facial hair or glasses, and a white female with brown hair, worn in a ponytail” (Turissini).

The statics I received on domestic violence are almost unbearable. “In a national survey of over 6,000 American families, 50% of the men frequently assaulted their wives also frequently abused their children” (Straus). “Men who have witnessed their parents’ domestic violence are three times more likely to abuse their own wives than children of non violent parents, with the sons of the most violent parents being 1000 times more likely to become a wife beater” (Straus). The spouse isn’t the only one at risk in a violent relationship. Statics show that the children are also at risk. “Over 3 million children are at risk of exposure to parental violence each year” (Carlson). “Child abuse is 15 times more likely to occur in families where domestic violence is present” (Stacy). “Children who witness violence at home display emotional and behavioral disturbances as diverse as withdrawal, low self-esteem, nightmares, self-blame and aggression against peers, family members and property” (Peled). “A comparison of delinquent and nondelinquent youth found that a history of family violence or abuse is the most significant difference between the two groups” (Miller). From these statics it is obvious that the child’s fate is in their parents’ hands.

Some potential indicators of domestic abuse of women are: “In general, women who are abused physically are often isolated. Their partners tend to control their lives to a great extent as well as verbally degrade them” (YWCA). Some examples follow:

- the woman mentions not being able to use the telephone.

- she is forbidden from seeing friends unless he is along.

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- the man has exclusive control over all money and household financial matters.

- she is not allowed in the decision making process at home.

- he won’t let her learn to drive, go to school, get a job.

- she is limited in her freedom as a child would be. For example, ‘Go to the store, get milk and come straight home. It should take you 15 minutes.’

- look for self-esteem, poor self-concept. The woman speaks very poorly of herself. She is unable to make contact, always looks away or at the ground when talking.

- many times, women complain of non-specific aches and pains that are constant and recurring. (YWCA)

The signs of domestic abuse are quite different with children. There are:

- serious problems with temper tantrums.

- continual fighting at school or between siblings.

- lashing out at objects, inside or outside of the home.

- treating pets cruelly or abusively.

- threatening younger sister or brother will violence. For instance, ‘You get over here with my teddy bear or I’ll kill you. I’ll slice you into little pieces with a knife.’

- attempting to get attention through hitting, kicking, or choking

- modeling after the abusive parent–’Monkey see, monkey do.’

- with girls, withdrawal signs not so obvious.

- occasional cringing if you raise your arm. (YWCA)

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Our federal government is trying their best to crack down on domestic abuse. There is currently a bill on the drawing board in our congressional system that is called the Violent Crime Control Act. “The Violent Crime Control Act makes the prohibitions of the federal firearms

laws applicable to domestic abusers” (Domestic Abusers). “Under the Act, these domestic abusers are prohibited from possessing a firearm. The Act also makes it unlawful to transfer a firearm to any such person” (Domestic Abusers). “The prohibitions apply to any person, subject to court order restraining him or her from harassing, stalking, or threatening his or her ‘intimate partner,’ including a spouse or former spouse, or a child of his or her ‘intimate partner.’ It also applies to any person, subject to a court order restraining him or her from engaging in conduct that would place his or her ‘intimate partner’ in reasonable fear of bodily injury” (Domestic Abusers).

If either one of their parents are abusive the chances are that the child will become abusive, which is considered juvenile violence. A clear cut definition of juvenile violence is any violent or malicious act committed by a juvenile delinquent. Some unpleasant examples of juvenile violence are: “On December 5th, 1995 -Two young boys who dropped a 5-year-old to his death from a 14th floor apartment because he wouldn’t steal candy for them will be confined to a youth home for no more than 10 years, a judge ruled the day before. Convicted on the juvenile equivalent of first-degree murder, the boys, now 11 and 12 could be released earlier if a court determines they have made enough progress. Juvenile Court Judge Carol Kelly said she wants the state to locate a center that can offer hope of returning the boys to society” (Three

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Charged). “On November 16th, 1995 – Jacqueline Williams, Fedell Caffey, and Levern Ward, allegedly sliced open Deborah Evans’ belly with a pair of scissors and plucked out a healthy boy who was due to be born the day before. All three had long criminal records. Williams’ record includes convictions for theft and forgery. Caffey has been convicted of attempted theft, domestic battery, and unlawful use of a weapon. Ward was released from a prison work camp in January after serving a three year sentence for striking a police officer” (Boys Sentenced).

The statics for juvenile violence are outrageous. “U.S. teens are killing each other with guns at the highest rate since the government began recording the deaths 30 years ago, a new study shows. Almost 4,200 youths ages 15 to 19 were killed by guns in 1990, or about 11 every day. Lois Fingerhut, an epidemiologist for the National Center for Health Statistics states, ‘These are just the deaths. We’re not talking about the kids who are shot and don’t die.” (Scanlan).

The juvenile violence isn’t only confined to the streets, it is branching out into the classrooms of our public schools. Some statics on school violence show that there has been a shocking increase during a five year period. This chart shows just that: (Violence)

Incident Urban (%) Suburban (%)

Girls fighting 59 41

Boys fighting 43 34

Gang-related 43 31

Gun-related 38 26

Drug-related 26 17

Fights/different races 20 23

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Being raised in a small town, I have definitely witnessed an increase of violence in our public schools. There has been a stabbing that occurred on one of our school buses while on its way to

school, and numerous reports of kids bringing guns and knives to school. This all occurred in a school district with a student population of close to a thousand.

I am thinking right now, what can be done to stop the violence? The essays in the “Responding to Violence,” Chapter in Contemporary Culture give different motives for why violence is occurring rapidly, and gives suggestions on how the violence can be stopped. Most of the essays suggest that the juveniles who commit violent acts are influenced by the mass media. For instance, arcade games like Mortal Kombat , which is a fighting game that displays graphic details. The essays also imply that comic books, magazines, movies, and popular music inspire juveniles to commit violent acts. Some examples of violent movies are the Friday the 13th series and the Nightmare on Elm Street series. The essays mostly blame popular music, like “gangsta rap,” and “heavy metal,” which are particular styles of music. Really good examples of these styles of music come from musicians, such as Dr. Dre, Snoop Doggy Dogg, 2 Pac, and from groups ranging from AC/DC to Rage Against the Machine. Mortimer B. Zuckerman says it best when he states, “gangsta rap is the lighting rod” (80)

In the essay, “Some Reasons for Wilding,” the authors’ Susan Baker and Tipper Gore give an excellent solution to the violence problem. They state,

“As parents, it is our responsibility to teach our children to make wise decisions. This responsibility is not only to feed and clothe their bodies, but also to feed and

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nurture their spirits, their minds, their values. The moral crisis facing our nation’s youth requires that we all share the responsibility, parents and the entertainment industry”(200).

I can’t say it any better than Mortimer Zuckerman did in his editorial in the U.S. News. He states,

“The price we pay for our cultural freedom is that a few noxious weeds may thrive amid the thousand flowers that bloom. Better the rough anarchy of the free market than government, directly or indirectly, telling us what we can hear and watch. We can and should fight bad speech with good speech. We can and should encourage corporate executives to think twice before putting trash on the marketplace. We can and should support those institutions that offset some of the ills of the marketplace – public television and public radio. Our culture would be infinitely poorer without them. And we should beware of politicians who would cripple or destroy these institutions while they exploit popular discomfort with mass entertainment. They must not be allowed to divert attention from the real issues facing America” (80).

I must give entertainment corporations credit for trying to do their part in cutting down the violence the children watch and listen to, the key responsibility lies with the parents of those children. The music industries now label certain albums that contain vulgar language with a label that states, “Parental advisory, explicit lyrics.” The big T.V. networks like ABC and CBS now tell their viewers that the particular show they are watching contains brief nudity, strong

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sexual content, and vulgar language in the beginning credits. A prime example of this is the hit T.V. show, N.Y.P.D. Blue .

Are the music, the movies, and the magazines that juveniles come into contact with really to blame for the violent acts they commit? Are the parents responsible for censoring what their children watch and listen to? Is the real issue the upbringing of the young people who commit the violent crimes? Whatever the correct answer is to all of these questions above, it’s time to stop the violence. The only way we will achieve this, is to strength the violent offenders crime laws and really enforce the gun restriction laws.

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Baker, Susan, Tipper Gore. “Some Reasons for Wilding,” Contemporary Culture. New York: Harcourt Brace College Publishers., 1995.

“Boys Sentenced in Child’s Death.” WashingtonTimes. [http://announce.com/cfa/watch.html#Nov20,1995] December 5, 1995.

Corie, Sue. “Jury selection begins.” The Daily Review. March 19, 1995, 1+.

Corie, Sue. “Double homicide case open.” The Daily Review. March 25, 1995, 1.

Carlson, B.E. .”Children’s Observations of Interparental Violence” in Edwards, A.R. (ed.). Battered Women and Their Families. New York: Springer. pp. 147-167. 1984 [http://www.igc.apc.org/fund/the_facts/children.html].

“Domestic Abusers and Firearms.” [http://gopher.usdoj.gov/crime/crm_brf.html].

Miller, G. “Violence By and Against America’s Children,” Journal of Juvenile Justice Digest, XVII (12) p.6. 1989. [http://www.igc.apc.org/fund/the_facts/children.html].

Peled, Inat, Jaffe, Peter G. & Edleson, Jeffery L. (Eds.). Ending the Cycle of Violence: Community Responses to Children of Battered Woman. Thousands Oaks, California: Sage Publications, 1995 [http://www.igc.apc.org/fund/the_facts/children.html].

Scanlan, Phila. Inquirer [http://garnet.berkeley.edu:3333/faststats/teengundeaths.html].

Stacy, W. and Shupe, A. The Family Secret Boston, MA. Beacon Press, 1983 [http://www.igc.apc.org/fund/the_facts/children.html].

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Straus, MA. & Gelles, R.J.(eds.). Physical Violence in American families. New Brunswick, NJ, Transaction Publishers, 1990 [http://www.igc.apc.org/fund/the_facts/children.html].

Straus, MA. & Gelles, R.J. & Steinmetz, S. Behind closed Doors. Doubleday, Anchor. 1980 [http://www.igc.apc.org/fund/the_facts/children.html].

“Three Charged in Stealing Baby From Mother’s Womb.” WashingtonTimes.[http://announce.com/cfa/watch.html#Dec5,1995] November 20, 1995

Turissini, Danille. “Kidnap attempt in Dushore.” The Daily Review. April 16, 1996, 1.

“Violence.” [http://curry.edschool.virginia.edu/ rkb3b/Hal/School/Violence.html].

YWCA Spouse Abuse Outreach Services of Southern Indian Volunteers Training Manual, 1985. [http://www.telalink.net/ police/abuse/index.html#Indicators].

Zuckerman, Martimer B. “Forrest Gump vs. Ice-T,” U.S. News, July 24 ‘95.

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