Serving Victims of Crime

Symptoms of an Abused Female

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. Some examples follow:

  • the woman mentions not being able to use the telephone
  • she is forbidden from seeing friends unless he is along
  • 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 eye 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. These are stress related

Common Characteristics of Battered Women

She may:

  • have low self esteem
  • believe all the mythic about battering relationships
  • be a traditionalist about the home, may strongly believe in family unity and the prescribed feminine sex-role stereotype
  • accept responsibility for the batterer's actions
  • suffer from guilty, yet deny the terror and anger she feels
  • have severe stress reactions with psycho physiological complaints
  • use sex as a way to establish intimacy
  • believe that no one will be able to help her resolve her predicament

Similarities in Stories of Battered Women

  • initial surprise
  • unpredictability of acute battering incidents
  • overwhelming jealousy
  • unusual sexuality
  • lucid recall of the details of acute battering incidents
  • concealment
  • drinking
  • extreme psychological abuse
  • family threats
  • extraordinary terror through the use of guns and knives
  • omnipotence
  • awareness of death potential

Common Reactions of Women Being Beaten

  • Denial or minimization of the abuse: "It really wasn't that bad." or "He only hits me every few months."
  • Blames herself: He tells her "You make me mad!" Then if she can figure out how to make him happy, she can prevent the battering.
  • Seeks help: She goes to friends, relatives, clergy, shelters, or even to a motel.
  • Ambivalence: The woman who can work on her ambivalence will be more successful.
  • All of these can be going on at once, they are not necessarily single steps.

Symptoms of the Children