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Violence Against Women

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In this particular study I will focus on two articles namely Cognitive dissonance, how women justify staying with a controlling partner by Claire Murphy and Domestic Violence by Continuing Psychology Education. Cognitive dissonance, how women justify staying with a controlling partner by Claire Murphy In relation to the first article by Claire Murphy, the author expounds on the theory of cognitive dissonance, and how it affects women in marital relationships that are characterised with violence. The author strives to explain the reasons as to why women in such relationships find ways of reconciling the discrepancy between their thoughts and their actions. The author provides three prepositions that may explain why women choose to remain in such relationships basing his context on the theory of cognitive dissonance. Domestic violence by continuing psychology education

This document provides the social policies that may help in the mitigation of violence against women. The article expounds on the available intervention strategies that may be used to protect women against abusive spouses. The article also provides other theories that provide an insight regarding what causes violence against women. Introduction

According to Stark & Flitcraft, (2006), violence against women has received significant attention since the late 1960s and the early 1970s. Today the violence against women has taken a new dimension as it was in the earlier years, in which it relates to a variety of behaviours that go further than the simple physical violence. They include emotional, sexual, and physical assault, verbal abuse, humiliation, stalking, and sexual harassment by former and current intimate partners. According to the National Violence against Women Survey that was conducted by the National Institute of Justice indicated that violence between the intimate has risen in the United States. In their survey, they found that approximately 1.5 million women as well as 830,000 men are victims of intimate violence abuse each year (Continuing Psychology Education 2005).

According to Tjaden and Thoennes (2000) an estimated 1.5% of women who were surveyed in the study, reported incidences of physical violence as well as rape by their current or former intimate partner within their lifetimes. The report also indicated that 8% of women were also attacked during their lifetimes. Despite the fact that such studies regarding women have not bore fruit regarding the clear solutions to do away with the vice, nonetheless, such research has facilitated the development of theoretical explanations as well as causes that are aimed at prevention and intervention programs. Among the theoretical explanations, include the cognitive dissonance theory. Cognitive dissonance theory

The theory of cognitive dissonance was first developed in the 1950s. It was developed by a physiologist known as Leon Festinger. According to Murphy (2012), the cognitive dissonance is a distressing mental state in which individuals are compelled to doing things that are not in relation with what they know or rather have opinions that are not in line with other opinions they hold. In this case, women with such a mental state are trapped in an environment characterized by conflict and try to make sense of the experiences inflicted upon them, therefore, accepting violent behaviour against them. In other words, the theory of cognitive dissonance strives to explain why certain individual’s behaviours do not necessarily match with their attitudes and beliefs. According to Murphy (2012), human beings have a tendency of driving towards harmony in relation to their attitudes and behaviours. However, in some situations this is not the case as some particular individuals are unable to avoid dissonance and contradiction brought about by the tension between their attitudes, beliefs and behavior patterns. This is a scenario portrayed by women who cling to their abusive spouses.

The cognitive dissonance theory explains the reason as to why women in abusive relationships tend to adapt their beliefs and behaviours in such a way that there is no contradiction between the hardship experienced in relationships and their thoughts, attitudes and beliefs (Stark & Flitcraft, 2006). The theory explains why women may adopt beliefs and attitude that are in line with the existing situation, why women change their perceptions regarding the spouse’s abusive behavior as well why women change their behaviours in order to match their beliefs and attitudes. Changing the perception regarding their abusive and violent spouses A woman’s belief and attitude may change in order to accommodate matching between their beliefs and attitudes with their action. This is done by relying on the value of benefit that the now violent man was once a wonderful person. Many will rely on the assumption that no marriage is perfect and thus there will always have to be trade-offs. The fact that at one point in the relationship, there were good days gives the women hope that the situation may change. Women will also try to justify the violent behaviour based on disbelief that the husband may do this intentionally.

Many would argue that such behavior is because of rough upbringing and there to them this is a justifiable cause. Most women will stick in around in an abusive relationship based on the belief that their marriage still had potential and that the person they first knew would come back (Murphy, 2012). Change of perspective regarding the violent and abusive behavior The theory highlights a situation where the women would change their perceptions regarding the violent behavior. This is done by finding justifications to his behavior. Many women in abusive relationships have a tendency to justify the behaviours basing them on the troubles at work or the assumption of illness. According to (Continuing Psychology Education), women would insist that their abusive husbands have a physiological or mental disorder that has developed since their marriage. In addition, women may also put the blame on themselves, believing that she must be the problem. Most women would compare themselves with other women who do not have similar problems and blame themselves for their husband behavior (Murphy, 2012). Change of behavior to match beliefs and attitudes

Women would adopt new behavior patterns that would be in line with their beliefs and attitudes regarding the marriage. The women in a violent and abusive relationship believe that it is their responsibility or rather a woman’s responsibility to make the relationship work. Women have a tendency to associate their identity with their marriages. Therefore, most women would consider themselves worthless if she was to leave her husband. In addition, most women would convince themselves that marriage is a long-term commitment that should not be viewed as a matter of convenience. In this respect, the commitment must be nurtured, preserved, and protected at all costs. Women would also stick to an abusive relationship for the sake of the children. This is because if she were to leave she would be responsible for breaking up the family unit the children should not suffer for their parent’s misunderstandings (Murphy, 2012). Intervention strategies

Violence against women has very serious repercussions in relation to the welfare of the woman. According to Horsman, J. (2000), women who undergo such kind of abuse in their marriages will be plagued by low self-esteem, fear, isolation from support and anger. They will have trouble in making decisions due to their tendency to comply with gender related stereotypes. In this respect there is a need to put a stop to this violence. According to Continuing Psychology Education (2005), implementation of a safety plan may also come as a strategy to stop the vice. This discussion is normally directed towards the ready option that is available to the spouse. This is in term of finances, family, friends who are capable and willing to offer shelter, willingness to involve the authorities as well as willingness of violent spouse to get treatment. One of the ways that violence against women may be lessened is through initiation of support for women. Through such support the violent party should be prosecuted and held responsible for his violent action.

Women’s experiences should also be illuminated from their own frames of reference. In this way, the experiences of women would be awarded more attention and the attitude of them being inferior, distorted and invisible done away with. Another effective way of dealing with the vice of violence directed against women is by facilitating the woman’s acceptance towards the existence of the abuse. In this way, one is encouraged to stop the violence by removing herself from the picture or rather removing the violent spouse through legal measures. The individuals who are involved in violent relationships must be assisted to validate their sense of self-esteem as well as self-worth. In this way, they may be able to make decisions regarding their lives and thus their decisions should be converted to actions (Continuing Psychology Education, 2005).

Continuing Psychology Education. (2005). Domestic violence: 7 Continuing Education Hours, Retrieved from http://www.texcpe.com/html/pdf/tx/tx-domvio.pdf. Horsman, J. (2000). Too scared to learn: Women violence and education. Mahwah, N.J.: L.Erlbaum Associates. Murphy, C. (2012). Cognitive dissonance, how women justify staying with a controlling partner. Retrieved from http://speakoutloud.net/psychological-abuse/cognitive-dissonance-family-viole
nce. Stark, E., & Flitcraft, A. (2006). Women at risk: Domestic violence and women’s health. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Tjaden, P., & Thoennes, N. (2000). Stalking in America: Findings from the National Violence against Women Survey (NCJ 169592). Washington, DC: Department of Justice.

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