The problem of domestic violence is attracting increasing attention of both social science and society. It is global in natureand is of the particular social issue even in developed Western countries. Violence exists in all social groups regardless of income level, education, social status, class, racial, cultural, religious, socio-economic aspects, i.e., the prevalence of different types and forms of violence in the family covers the entire population. Namely women and children are most often the victims of a sophisticated domestic violence. The problem of violence and child abuse in the family becomes more and more urgent every year. Therefore, there is a need to solve the arisen social problem in society, in order to reduce the growing threat to physical, mental and spiritual development in order, to create a safe environment for the life and development of children.
This acute issue is well disclosed in the novel of Dorothy Allison Bastard out of Carolina. The heroine of the novel -AnneyBoatwright-is weak-willed single mother with two daughters; she very much hopes to find happiness. She believes that Wade is her turn. She strongly believes in it that after marriage she prefers not to notice many negative events. Her husband Waddell cannot find a good job. Children are forced to starve and to collect bottles. Anneyhas to work and to borrow money from relatives. Waddell makes children call himself daddy and beat the older girl, who does not want to call him that. Why did he do it? Does he want to be a tyrant? Maybe, it is not so. He wants to support his family;he wants to make good money, to be a good husband and a loving father. However, he can do nothing of this. It significantly decreaseshis self-esteem, which is already extremely low (because of his father, who humiliated him since childhood). The only way to amuse vanity is to forceclose relatives to recognize his significance. For this he beats with belt foster daughter and even makes sexual violence. “Family is family, but even love can’t keep people from eating at each other” – Dorothy Allison writes in her novel (Allison 46).
Indeed, from the point of view of psychology and sociology, domestic violence is a repetitive cycle with increasing frequency of physical, sexual, verbal, psychological and economic abuse and pressure against close relatives for the purpose of gaining power and control over them. The essence of any violence is a desire to humiliate the victim as much as possible, because only in this way those who manifest violence, may temporarily feel “above” (Rothman et al 1181-1182).
According to various studies, contingent of persons who commit acts of violence, is not homogeneous, but they have common psychological traits such as aggressiveness and brutality, inability to empathize, increased anxiety and fear, the inability to control their actions and to restrain emotions, emotional coldness and insensitivity, and so on (Bonem et al. 210-213). It is basically rigid persons; they cannot overcome their internal problems. In most cases, prone to violence cruel people affect the people around them, but not try to adapt to them, while remaining within the framework of own “Self”, and in general, their adaptive capacities are low enough (Rothman et al. 1185-1187).
Domestic violence can be interpreted as an extreme case of social action when the individual is not guided by common rules and socio-cultural norms, but by specific moments of the situation and thus focuses not on social and group interests but on the personal selfish interests, motives and goals that will inevitably lead to dysfunction of the social system (Currie and Widom 111-112).
The intensity of life, lack of spirituality, stress, social dislocation, loss of orientation and family values – all of this to a large extent create fertile ground for the emergence of some form of violence. Psychological science identifies several models of domestic violence, which are predisposed by factors such as low self-esteem, alcohol and drugs abuse, communication problems, social exclusion, social, psychological and psychiatric problems, depression, lack of self-control, suicidal tendencies, aggressiveness, early mother’s pregnancy, loss of a child and children, physical and mental deficiencies. The external (social) factors of violence include poverty, low income, unemployment, social isolation and closeness of family, overcrowding in a community, low educational and cultural level (Bonem et al 210).
These factors we see in the novel of Dorothy Allison. Being afraid to stay again alone and faced with even more financial difficulties, Anney prefers not to notice how new husband abuses her eldest daughter.Itcanbesaidthatthisnovelis devoted to all the children-victims of domestic violence. In the novel we read: “The worst thing in the world was the way I felt when I wanted us to be like the families in the books in the library, when I just wanted Daddy Glen to love me like the father in Robinson Crusoe” (Allison209).
Psychological abuse is the “core” of the violence, its original form, on the basis of which the physical and sexual abuse may occur. Psychological violence is the most common form of family violence and includes various forms: threats, humiliation, insults, excessive demands, excessive criticism, lies, bans, negative assessment, the frustration of basic needs,and isolation. All of these forms of exposure onhuman havepronounced destructive character and lead to a loss of confidence to self and the world, worry, anxiety, sleep and appetitedisorders, depression, aggression, servility, low self-esteem. The tendency to solitudeis growing, suicidal tendencies formed and personality psychopathology of different etiology may arise – drug addiction, bulimia, anorexia, somatic and psychosomatic diseases such asstomach ulcers, allergies, obesity, nervous tics. Children and adolescents who have witnessed domestic violence, adopt gender-behavior model and reproduce it in the next generation, as we see on the example of Waddel in Bastard out of Carolina. There is a high risk of criminal behavior (80% are prone to crimes, 40% – to cruel crimes) (Currie and Widom 119). Namely in childhood each of us gets a model of behavior. Victims of sexual violence often become rapists and commit other violent crimes. In other words, this distress not only destroys the moral foundations of society but also becomes a force that threatens human security and the future of the country.
Family at all time was constantly in the focus of advanced social thought, progressive leaders and scholars. This is not surprising. The family is a system of social functioning of a person and is influenced by not only the socio-political conditions but also the internal processes of its development. The role of family in society cannot be compared in importance with any other social institutionsbecausenamely in the family man’ personality is formed and developed; there is a mastery of social roles necessary for the adaptation of the child in society. Family serves as the first educational institution, the link to which man feels throughout his life. Thus, the abuse may be the result of personal life experience of the individual or individuals that will continue to be acquired bydescendants and transmitted from generation to generation. The social danger of domestic violence is that it 1) Violates the rights and freedoms of the individual and destroys its social structure; 2) Being a long time latent, hidden from public attention, can grow out of control (like a snowball); 3) Therefore, it permanently increases the violence in society, closing its “circle” (Fang et al. 156).
Domestic violence as a social action – it is a dynamic process, in which both forms of violence (physical, emotional, psychological, sexual, economic) and its members areintertwined so that the victim himself/herself may eventually become the abuser. The peculiarity of its functioning is also in the fact violent actions are usually repeated over time incidents (“patterns”), which are deployed as phases and cycles. Eventually, all the participantsin one or anotherdegreebecomevictims of violence: the original “offender”, the original“victim” and “witnesses” of violence (e.g., younger children) (Fang et al 157-160). However, the origins, “first impulses” of this dynamics stem from strata of society, its socio-cultural (civilization), ethnic, economic and political problems (prerequisites and conditions).
Of particular difficulty is the fact that in the problem of domestic violence in complex manner the objective and subjective conditions and factorsintertwine, and because of it analyzing its causes, establishing the victims and perpetrators is extremely difficult. Law enforcement agencies are reluctant to take up the investigation into the family crimes, limited to only the most serious of them.
However, in a humane and democratic society there should be no violence. Intervention in the situation of society, awareness of domestic violence as a specific problem requiring a comprehensive system of preventive and corrective measures to solve it, are necessary. Educational and social policies in schools and other social institutions should aim, first and foremost, on the formation in the person of a sense of responsibility for himself and others. Only shaping and nurturing the human need and a desire for self-development, it is possible to approach the problem of domestic violence. It is necessary to educate people (since childhood) skills of self-development, self-organization and self-control. Thus, attention should be directed not only to the family but also to the individual, his personality. The work of the social worker is in the moral and psychological rehabilitation, information and counseling, legal and medical assistance. Preventive measures can include the pedagogical education of parents (through lectures, seminars, business games, classroom hours, etc.), as well as a social teacher can coordinate interagency organizations with the aim of preventive procedures effectiveness. Correction of domestic violence aims to create programs and projects to normalize psychological climate in the family, achievement of harmony in the parent-child relationship, and the reduction of the level of negative personality traits (aggressiveness, anxiety, impulsivity, etc.).