For many women in the USA, daily exposure to domestic violence (DV) is a traumatic experience. Many women are subjected to various forms of abuse by their spouses or intimate partners, and many have no idea what to do when they encounter this situation. Because of the trauma they endured due to their abuse, many women suffer from depression, PTSD, and addiction. The victim’s ability to rely on the crisis response counselor for sympathy and assistance will be determined by how the counselor reacts to the victim’s first contact. To help the victim recover, a crisis counselor must be well-versed in the services that are accessible to her. A crisis response counselor may use the available resources to design a treatment plan for each victim of domestic violence based on a thorough understanding of what constitutes domestic violence, the sorts of violence it encompasses, the repercussions it has, and the right evaluation methods to utilize. Many women’s lives may be transformed from tragedy to triumph if they get the right help.
In the USA, many women go through the trauma of experiencing domestic abuse daily. A woman is beaten on average once in nine seconds, and twenty people are usually beaten by their husbands or other intimate partners at any time. Regrettably, women are usually mistreated sexually, physically, and psychologically by their spouses or partners, the people from whom they are meant to place their confidence and from whom they are expected to get affection. The literature will discuss the concept of domestic violence with special attention to assessment and treatment options for domestic violence.
Definition of Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is an oppressive pattern of psychological, sexual, and physical sexual assault inside the same household. It can also be defined as a habit of abusive conduct in relationships used by one spouse to achieve or retain control and power over another current or former partner. Notably, it does not matter a woman’s age, color, educational background, or socioeconomic standing. Any woman may be affected by this condition. When domestic violence takes place, it often unfolds according to a cyclical pattern that consists of several steps, including the escalation of the abuser’s anxiety to the point where they will eventually lose control; domestic violence is committed, and the abuser thinks that the victim ought to be beaten or mistreated; the abuser feels guilt and will seek for the forgiveness of the victim, and this cycle continues until the woman either quits the relationship or is murdered (James, 2018). Women in distress need crisis counselors to help them understand the pattern of abuse and to let them realize they are not to blame. The abuser’s thirst for power is at the root of the victim’s suffering. therefore, crisis counselors must help these women understand this.
Types of Domestic Violence
When an abuser uses physical force to inflict pain or injury on their victim, they are committing an act of physical violence. Physical violence can also result in the victim’s death or permanent disability. This can include trying to hit with their fist or utilizing an object as a weapon, biting, pulling, or pushing hair, slapping, shoving, beating, using a weapon, strangling, kicking, or using an object weapon as a weapon. Five factors can influence how likely it is that the victim’s abuser will end up killing her: the abuser is constantly violent and jealous; the abuser rapes the victim; the abuser uses a weapon against the victim or threatens to use a rocket launcher against the victim; the abuser has ever tried to kill the victim; the abuser has ever threatened to assault or kill the victim; the abuser has ever tried to rape the victim, and the abusive partner has ever threatened to assault or kill the victim.
Without the victim’s permission, sexual violence happens when the abuser caresses the victim anywhere on their body, including their thighs, buttocks, anus, or breasts. This often entails using physical violence, resulting in a rape committed by coercion. Because sexual violence is often the kind of abuse that is the most difficult for the victim to communicate, the crisis counselor has to be sympathetic to the perpetrator’s needs and aid her in discussing the abuse while also assisting her in understanding that it was not her mistake.
In most cases, psychological abuse consists of isolating the victim from others, blaming victims, making verbal threats, using intimidation and controlling the victim’s daily tasks and finances, using the victim’s children to deceive the victim, and humiliating the victim in some way. Alongside other forms of abuse, such as physical assault, it may be used to intimidate or otherwise demean the victim.
Consequences of Domestic Violence
A victim of domestic violence is often subjected to many instances of abuse, which may continue over years until the victim flees the relationship or is murdered. The potential repercussions may be terrible, and they can last for a significant amount of time, leaving the sufferer with the impression that they will never be able to reclaim their happiness or sanity for the rest of their lives. Several potential outcomes may emerge in a victim.
Post-traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD, may develop, typically when there is a greater degree of frequency and intensity of physical abuse, sexual abuse, or psychological abuse. Additionally, it has been observed in females who have a record of being victims of some kind, either in their youth or adult lives (Khadra et al., 2015). A victim’s age when the abuse began, the intensity and kind of the abuse, and the complexity of the abuse are all additional variables that may contribute to the development of PTSD.
Women more likely to acquire post-traumatic stress disorder might also have had major depressive disorders, which may occur in more than half of women who are victims of domestic violence. Because of the risk of depression, crisis counselors are responsible for determining whether or not the client has considered taking their own life or exacting vengeance on their abuser. As a result of the fact that many abused women experience contradictory emotions, including rage, feeling helpless, guilt, and resentment, these feelings may lead to various physical and psychological disorders (Alizadeh et al., 2015).
Medical treatment for victims of domestic violence comes at a significant financial expense. A significant number of women will struggle with poor health throughout their lives. During his research, Hassan (2014) discovered that pregnant women had a significantly increased risk of experiencing premature labor, vaginal bleeding, and the need for cesarean sections. Additionally, challenges such as physical issues, including numbness or tingling, difficulties sleeping, gastrointestinal problems, headaches, and spells of exhaustion, may be experienced by those who have been victims of domestic violence. According to Semahegn & Mengistie (2015), women who have experienced abuse are more likely to develop an addiction to substances, have a higher likelihood of being the victim of rape, have a higher prevalence of suicidal thoughts and attempts, have a higher risk of having a miscarriage, and undergo from a variety of other medical issues.
Assessment of Domestic Violence
A crisis intervention evaluation is essential when dealing with domestic violence victims. Many crisis first responders will be present at the site; these individuals are tasked with determining whether or not the victims are safe in their present circumstances. If they determine that the victim is not safe, they must devise a plan for the victim’s protection (Machisa et al., 2016). The first person to arrive on the scene should question the person being abused if they believe they are in imminent danger and should also inquire whether the household has any weapons the abuser may use against them. Additionally, by obtaining a record of the victim, to find out the duration of the abuse has been going on, whether or not it appears to be getting extra violent, whether or not the abuser has given signaled murder threats, and whether or not they have had another call or hospital admissions due to injuries, the record of the victim can be obtained. By asking specific questions like, “are they safe with their spouses?” it means that either one of the companions is using alcohol or drugs, and “is there a pattern of tension between the partners, which is followed by violence, and then apology on the part of the violent partner?” One can help determine whether or not a person is experiencing domestic violence (James, 2018). If it looks like the victim has been injured and requires medical treatment, the first responders should assist arrange the victim’s transfer to the hospital. They may accompany the ambulance to continue providing support for the sufferer.
Moreover, when a woman tries to escape an abusive relationship, the level of violence almost always increases, and the perpetrator’s abuser has a greater chance of causing her death. Before a woman is encouraged to leave, it is essential that first a comprehensive evaluation has been performed, and then a safety plan has been put into place for the victim and their children. Ensuring the victim knows the location of the local domestic violence shelter and the community resources list that details the essential organizations that may aid her is an important step. Calling the cops is an option that may be utilized if the victim wants to depart but does not have any means of transportation available to her. The police will be able to assist her with safe transportation in this case.
Semahegn & Mengistie (2015) provide a guide that may be utilized with domestic violence that details the aspects of a person’s life that might be changed when that person is experiencing a difficult situation. The following domains may be influenced by the abuse: the need for protection, and their; psychological requirements, such as the provision of crisis therapy for her emotional concerns produced by the abuse. In addition to the physical and emotional well-being, victims of abuse must also consider their psychological and spiritual well-being to recover from their trauma fully. By concentrating on all of the factors mentioned earlier, it will be possible to devise and carry out an effective treatment strategy for the care of the victims. Consequently, this could be done in stages so that she does not feel overburdened since there could be several victims who are shaken up due to the incident.
The Domestic Violence Survivor Assessment is a tool the first person to react to a crisis may utilize. It evaluates six personal and six relationship problems that a victim of domestic violence may be experiencing (Sprague et al., 2017). These issues include the individual’s capacity to receive assistance from their family, friends, and other organizations located outside of their sphere of influence; their personality; their self-efficacy concerning their sentiments and emotions concerning the abuse; their emotional health concerns, such as stress and post-traumatic stress disorder; and their physical health difficulties, such as PTSD and stress; and lastly, the individual’s capacity to seek both physical and mental treatment as necessary. Notably, the capacity to seek legal aid, the ability to understand their commitment to their relationship, the ability to identify the exacerbates of the abuse, the ability to control their abuser, the ability to see their alternatives, and the ability to enhance their norms and values are the six relational difficulties.
One of the instruments that the crisis response counselor might use to evaluate the spiritual state of the victim is the Brief RCOPE. It focuses on developing spiritual coping abilities. Arguably, one’s coping techniques may either be good, in which case they get closer to God and other people, or adverse, in which case they draw closer to themselves through their battles with God and other people, which is something that victims of traumatic events may feel. RCOPE evaluates performance in the following domains: seeking spiritual help; spiritual link; collective religious coping; the religious practice of forgiving and purifying; religious reconsideration; spiritual anguish; and an emphasis on religion (Kroeger & Beck, 2019). Consequently, after getting the RCOPE evaluation, the crisis counselor will better be able to evaluate the current situation of the victim and aid them in restoring the trust and closeness with God that they had previously lost as a result of the domestic violence committed by the spouse.
Treatment for Domestic Violence
When providing therapy to a victim of domestic violence, a crisis counselor should focus on achieving five critical objectives. These objectives include: eliminating all forms of emotional, physical, sexual, and verbal abuse in their relationship with the abuser; taking the legal steps necessary to ensure their safety and to take legal action against their abuser; to develop the coping skills necessary to maintain their emotional and physical well-being in this relationship and any future relationships; to return to the level of functioning they were at before the abuse occurred; and to transform into a resilient survivor rather than a hopeless victim (Jongsma, 2014).
When providing therapy to a victim of abuse, the first thing that a counselor must consider is the victim’s means of dealing with the trauma they are experiencing due to the abuse. Notably, many victims have likely been abused when younger, leaving them with unresolved problems that might make it difficult for them to cope when assaulted again. Therefore, the counselor has to make it possible for the victim to tell their tale while demonstrating unconditional positive respect and being nonjudgmental. By asking questions about when the abuse began, what scenario was the trigger for the present abuse, and any past abuse that happened before this episode, one may get more information about the abuse (Jongsma, 2014).
The Behavioral Influence Stairway Concept is a model that may be used to provide counseling to victims of domestic violence. The establishment of a constructive connection with the victim, as well as the provision of aid to enable her to get treatment and, if necessary, to flee her abusive spouse, are the primary objectives of this initiative. The following procedures are used in the model: listening actively, in which the victim feels that they have been heard and acknowledged; empathy, in which one is able to see the abusive behavior through the eyes of the victim; mutual understanding, in which a relationship has been established, and therapeutic approach can commence; and influence, in which one assists the victim is beginning to change in a positive direction. The last step may be difficult since the victim may be afraid due to the threats their spouse may have made. This fear may make the final stage more difficult.
Christian Perspective Treatment
A significant number of abused people struggle with their connection to God as a result of their experiences. Their abuser could force them to quit the church, including using God as a tool to degrade them in some way. A crisis counselor needs to address the client’s spiritual needs and assist the individual in regaining an awareness that God values them and that He cannot abandon them (Kroeger & Beck, 2019). It is possible to assist people in developing a network of people to whom they may turn for aid when they feel alone by encouraging them to read about the love of God and to rejoin their church. The only way for them to recover from the wounds their abuse has left is to give those traumas to Jesus to bear. Christ sacrificed himself so that people may have a relationship with him and enjoy peace in our lives. Therefore, by giving them Bible passages that speak to the feelings they are experiencing and encouraging them to keep a notebook in which they record what God is telling them, you may help them realize how much they have grown and how much closer they are to God.
The first institution that God created between human beings was the institution of marriage. Both a man and a woman were made in His likeness as equal partners who would take on various responsibilities in the world. A man is expected to serve as his family’s leader or authority. Therefore, he needs to maintain the respect of the family and the people in his town. The Bible instructs men to love their spouses and not be harsh or disrespectful to them.
There is no place for violence in a relationship since it is neither love nor respect towards the other person; in fact, it destroys everything that love and respect are founded upon. In a domestic setting, violence is always about establishing control and authority over the person being abused. This control may manifest itself as physical violence, verbal abuse, mental abuse, or it may take the shape of financial abuse. God despises any of these manifestations of domestic violence and abuse because they contradict how He wants our human relationships to operate. It is necessary to provide victims of domestic abuse protection and relocate them to a secure location.
Therefore, a woman who her husband abuses should keep her distance from him while he is receiving therapy for the violent behavior that he has shown. If a woman abuses her husband, the husband has to cut all ties with his wife while the wife gets help for her violent behavior so that the husband can feel safe again (Kroeger & Beck, 2019). Nevertheless, If the marriage has children, they should also be withdrawn from the violent environment setting, even if the abusive partner has not physically harmed the children. Everyone in the family will need therapy, or at the very least, some support.
The abuser and the abusee face difficult and convoluted problems due to domestic violence. However, the process of recovery is not something that can be done in solitude. They should try their best to reconcile with one another and live in harmony while continuing marriage or family counseling if a Biblical Christian counselor determines that it is suitable and secure for the couple to reconnect, as well as any public authorities involved in the situation. However, the person who has been abused should be conscious that the person who has abused them may never really change. If this is the case, the person who has been abused must maintain a healthy distance from the person who has abused them.
Because many Christian women believe that marriage is meant to be for life and should be treated as a holy institution, they may have a tough time letting go of their husbands and marriages. According to Semahegn & Mengistie (2015), counselors must include some spiritual elements in the services they provide, and victims who are being abused may benefit from this. Pastors may be of assistance by providing an awareness of domestic violence in the context of their principles and by assisting in the instruction of appropriate family conduct and how abuse is not a component of Christian values (Semahegn & Mengistie, 2015).
Another challenge that victims may face is the expectation that they should forgive their offenders and attempt to mend their relationship with them. Their abuser might hold it against them and use it as a weapon to maintain the cycle of violence; yet, it would also enable the abuser to be held responsible for their harmful acts (Kroeger & Beck, 2019). The fact that God did not intend for women to be mistreated is something that has to be lovingly brought to the notice of the victim by counselors and pastors so that the cycle of violence may eventually be ended.
Conclusively, the literature discussed the crisis intervention point of view regarding coping with domestic abuse. The Christian and counseling community must know how to aid domestic abuse victims. Domestic violence is a widespread traumatic experience that many women go through daily. Education on what it entails, the short-term and long-term effects, the appropriate diagnostic tools, and ultimately the therapy crisis models that may allow the victim to recover are all necessary first steps in the process. God does not approve of the mistreatment of wives and girlfriends by their male partners. To stop the vicious cycle of domestic violence, each and every one of us must take a stance.
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