DV Hotline

AC Services

DV Resources

Domestic Violence Resource

For Victims

Traits of Batterers (View)

Common Traits of Batterers

Abused women are victims; they are NOT responsible for provoking - or correcting the behavior of their abusers.

Batterers are likely to be someone a woman knows and loves. Initially, the batterer may seem charming, attentive, and seductive. They are usually not crazy, but are people whose behavior is learned and socially reinforced. They look like average people and are not usually violent in the early stages of relationships.

Batterer Characteristics

Excessive Jealousy - Has jealous reactions to many things in your life, including casual, minor contacts with such people as store clerks or neighbors. Often very jealous of friends, family, children, and pets.

Verbal Abusiveness - Uses putdowns such as "You're stupid" or "You're not a good mother" to destroy your self-esteem. The abusive language may escalate into rage or physical attacks.

Controlling Behavior - Demands rigid accounts of your every move, and will often make follow-up calls to confirm your whereabouts. A batterer is unwilling to distinguish between caring and controlling behavior.

Attempts to Isolate You - Tries to destroy your relationships with your family and friends so that you can be broken and "molded" into an ideal victim. Isolation keeps you from getting reality checks or support from others beside the batterer.

Unwillingness to Control Anger - Has frequent violent outbursts such as ramming fists through walls; often gets into brawls, often with little warning. A batterer often throws things, kicks things, and goes into verbal rages.

Use of Violence - Uses force or intimidation to "win" arguments; destroys physical objects; may have a history of cruelty to children as well as animals; may use force during sex.

Alcohol and Drug Abuse - Abuses substances, particularly alcohol, but not all batterers are addicts or alcoholics. Drugs and alcohol may make a batterer more violent - but they do not explain the violence. Batterers continue to batter even after they quit using drugs and alcohol.

Rigid Gender Roles - Believes that women are possessions and that they should cater to and unquestioningly obey men. Often has uncompromising ideas about what women's and men's roles, rights, and "duties" are.

Former Victim Of or Witness To Domestic Violence - Of batterers who are currently battering, 73% grew up in an abusive household or witnessed domestic violence as a child. This does not excuse his behavior. It gives him the responsibility to learn to do something different from what he learned.

Lack of Sensitivity - Unwilling to appreciate other people's feelings. Batterers believe that people who think or feel differently than themselves are wrong. It is the batterer's way - or no way!

Insecurity and Low Self-Esteem - Has overwhelming feelings of inadequacy regarding several areas of his/her life. Batterers work hard to hide their feelings. As such, they often appear confident, charming, and in control.

Denial of Responsibility - Blames violent episodes on the victims. Common statements include, "She made me do it," and "If you hadn't done -----, I wouldn't have had to be violent." Batterers believe they should not have to face consequences for their behavior. They think there are acceptable excuses for the violence and give themselves permission to batter.

Lack of Communication - Refuses to take responsibility to share honest feelings and thoughts. Does not talk through conflicts to an equally negotiated resolution.

Lack of Intimacy - Typically thinks that sex = intimacy. Often does not show affection without sex. Batterers usually do not communicate about what would be equally pleasurable during sex.

Dependency - Wants to be taken care of without asking for it directly or sharing. Batterers think it is others' responsibility to make sure their needs are met and they are the victim if someone is not taking care of them.

Self-Centered - Believe that the only things that are important are the things that pertain to them. They think everything should happen the way they want and they have the right to push as hard as necessary to get things their way. Batterers do not respect boundaries or other people's opinions, thoughts, or feelings. They act as if they are the "Center of the Universe."

Effects on Children (View)

Effects on Children Who Witness Domestic Violence

The experience of witnessing domestic violence can have serious and long lasting effects on children, regardless of whether the children have been directly abused by a parent. The following is a summary of some of the effects that can result when a child witnesses violence between her/his parents.

Children will sometimes attempt to intervene, putting them at risk for physical harm. In one study, 63% of boys, ages 11-20, who committed homicide, murdered the man who was abusing their mother (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence). Children often feel guilty that they were not able to prevent the violence and sometimes feel they were somehow to blame for the violence.

Depression, impaired trust, and low self-esteem are common in children who witness domestic violence.

Witnessing violence in the home often leads to behavior problems in children; typically children will develop aggressive or submissive behaviors. Children may identify with the role of the victim or the abuser.

Effects may include emotional problems in children such as anxiety disorders, phobias, learning problems, delayed social development and developmental delays.

Because of the emotional and behavioral effects of domestic violence, children may also develop academic or behavioral problems at school, drug or alcohol abuse, or delinquent behavior.

Research points to a strong tendency for the cycle of violence to continue to the next generation. Children from violent homes are at higher risk of getting involved in violent relationships as teens or adults. One researcher found, for example, that men who had witnessed domestic violence were three times as likely to abuse their own spouses. Sons of the most violent families have a rate of spouse abuse one thousand times greater than sons from nonviolent homes (Straus, 1980).

The Children's Program at Artemis provides counseling, support groups, and advocacy for children and teens from violent homes.

For more information, call Artemis Center for Alternatives to Domestic Violence
(937) 222-SAFE (7233)

Artemis is a United Way Agency

Childrens respons to DV by age (View)

Under 2 years

  • Respond to loud stimuli with increased fear (crying)
  • Developmental delays (slower to walk, crawl, talk, etc.)
  • Nightmares

2 - 5 years

  • Regressive behavior (lose toileting skills, baby talk, more clingy, revert to use of bottle)
  • Somatic problems
  • Nightmares
  • Hyper vigilance
  • Repetitive play, acting out domestic violence
  • Increased sibling violence
  • Cruelty to animals
  • Developmental delays (slower to learn ABC's, read, etc.)
  • Decreased playfulness and spontaneity
  • Feel responsible for violence (believe if they behaved better, it would not occur)
  • Increased dependency on primary caretaker

6 - 12 years

  • Increased problems at school (misbehavior, grades drop)
  • Increased acting out, getting into trouble (may see lying, stealing, truancy, setting fires)
  • Often viewed by others as having attentional problems or learning disabilities
  • May withdraw and become reclusive rather than acting out
  • May take on role of "family hero" or caretaker
  • Increases anger directed at victim of violence (it is unsafe to direct anger at the perpetrator) batterer leaves anger escalates
  • Develop inflated sense of responsibility
  • Learn to disrespect the victim of violence because perpetrator models that behavior
  • Confuse love and violence (learn that people hit those they love)
  • Develop emotional problem such as depression

12 - 18 years

  • Aggressive behavior (violence to control others and solve problems)
  • Severe behavior and emotional problems (running away, theft, depression, anxiety)
  • Develop rigid sex roles - usually stereotypical
  • Increased incidence of dating violence
  • Self-destructive behavior (eating disorders, drug and alcohol)
  • Increase risk for early marriages and/or teen pregnancy (often as an escape from parents)
  • Increase risk for suicide and homicide
  • Develop poor boundary systems (either too rigid or too weak)
  • Develop distrust for most authority figures (or all adults)

For Professionals

Why Women Stay (View)

Why Victims of Partner Abuse Stay with Their Batterers:

People who don't know a lot about the dynamics of partner abuse may ask, "Why would someone stay in a violent relationship?". Some victims may ask themselves that same question. Here are some examples of things victims see as barriers to leaving their relationships. Though this list does not cover all victims' experiences, it provides a framework to better understand some dynamics of abusive relationships.

Victims may stay in abusive relationships because:

  1. They feel safer with their batterers because they know what they are up to.
  2. They're scared of their abusers. Victims believe that if they leave the relationship, their abusers will act on threats they've made in the past. Batterers often tell their victims they will hurt or kill them or people close to them, report them for welfare fraud or to Children Services, call the police on them for domestic violence, or "out" them to their family, friends or coworkers.
  3. Batterers often don't get serious consequences for their abusive behavior.
  4. Involving the police can make the violence worse because batterers feel threatened. If arrested, batterers can be let out of jail in a few hours and go after their victims for reporting the abuse.
  5. Even if another person calls about the abuse or the state picks up charges against them, batterers often blame their victims. Victims know this and often deny the abuse to avoid being beaten.
  6. Community resources for victims may not be well known or easy to use. Victims may not know about their options.
  7. They may not receive help from the community because their abusers may be rich, well known or respected. Abusers are good at changing their personalities to hide abusive behavior in public.
  8. They may be used to focusing on the needs of their abusers and feel unsure about making decisions about their own safety and futures. When victims reach out for help, professionals often ask them to quickly decide their futures. Victims may feel uncomfortable with quick decision-making or big changes because they live in an environment where violent consequences discourage this.
  9. Victims often do not have the money to survive away from their abusers. Victims who leave with no money face homelessness.
  10. They may be afraid that if they report the violence, their batterers will lose their jobs or reputations.
  11. Societal values cause victims to feel ashamed or embarrassed about the abuse.
  12. Victims may believe that outsiders shouldn't be involved in family matters.
  13. Gender roles, cultural and religious beliefs may make victims feel like they have to pretend that nothing is wrong at home. Victims may also define their self-worth by their relationships.
  14. They may believe their children are better off in a two-parent household. Batterers also focus on kids as a way to keep victims from leaving by threatening to take them away from the victims or hurt them if they leave.
  15. Isolation from their family and friends decreases options for leaving relationships. Batterers are sometimes. The only people victims can go to for support. Because abusers feel threatened by their victims' relationships, they stop them from becoming close with others.
  16. Victims may only get limited support from their family and friends. Victims of partner abuse try to leave an average of four times before they succeed. People close to them may not understand that leaving an abusive relationship is a long process and think victims fail when they go back with their abusers. They may also tell victims that their abusers are good people, that the abuse is not as bad as they say, or to go back and try harder to make things work.
  17. They may believe their batterers' messages that the abuse is their fault, that it happens because of alcohol or drug use, that they just can't control their anger, or that no one else will ever want the victims. These messages attack victims' self-esteem and make them doubt the way they feel about the violence.
  18. Incidents of physical violence may occur in relatively short bursts. Afterward, their batterers may be gentle and loving, and promise to change, acts that are as manipulative as the physical violence. This is confusing to victims who may see their batterers as good, loving, people most of the time. Their batterers may convince them that they will change and their relationships will get better. Victims may not want the relationship to end, just the violence.
  19. They may have seen fighting in their homes while growing up and accept that violence in relationships is OK. Abusers also learn how to be violent from their families of origin. Growing up in violent homes may create a bond of common experience between abusers and victims.
  20. They may feel like their abusers need them and they can help them change.
  21. Victims may feel that if only they would change and stop making mistakes, then their abusers would stop hurting them.
  22. Victims may fear being alone or miss their abusers when they are separated. Victims may love their abusive partners and need the space to grieve the loss of their relationships.
  23. Victims may have a hard time knowing what abuse is. They may know their relationships are bad, but not see the abuse as the reason for this. Victims may feel that their batterers' substance abuse, money problems, or stress outside the relationships cause the turmoil, not their abusers' violence.
  24. Victims may not know that they have the right to be safe and live free from violence.

The Barriers Model (View)

The Barriers Model:
An Integrated Strategy for Intervention with Battered Women

BY: Nancy Grisby / Brenda Hartman

The Barriers Model was developed in response to the strong codependency movement of the late 1980's that pathologized battered women without recognizing or addressing the external and internal oppression that motivated their behaviors and symptoms. Battered women and their therapist recognized the pattern of these behaviors and began writing self-help books to address the needs of codependency issues. What these books failed to acknowledge is that these symptoms identified as codependency may not have been a disorder resulting in unhealthy patterns of intimacy, but instead, the very behaviors that allowed women to survive relationships with violent partners. (pg.485).It is probable that many of these women believe that the existing problems in their relationships are deeply rooted within themselves and thus changeable, (Again they are blaming themselves.) rather than acknowledging barriers that diminish their capacity to seek appropriate resources, i.e. legal, shelter,. Therapist may agree with the victims theory of codependency because most traditionally trained therapist have been taught to view all clients' struggles from an individualistic, not social, perspective.

The Barriers Model places battered women in the center of four concentric circles. Each one representing a cluster of barriers in the woman's experience that potentially impedes her safety. They may experience barriers in all layers or in some combination. There are four layers with subcategories: Barriers in the environment, family and social role expectations, psychological consequences of abuse and childhood abuse/Ng/. Therapist will have difficulty addressing concerns within the other three categories if the first one is not addressed and it could prove to be ineffective and could contribute to the victim's isolation and self-blame and thus the danger she is in.

Programs can Revictimize (View)

Some of the Ways Social Service Programs (and other helping systems ) Revictimize Battered Women

We don't believe her.
We don't recognize her strengths.
We fail to realize her manipulative tendencies are survival skills.
We question why she has stayed in the relationship or returns to it.
We question her inconsistency and react to her not following through with goals, etc....
We fault her parenting.
We "evaluate" her.
We only like "good victims" and enlightened victims.
We hold cultural biases: we are sexist, racist, and homophobic.
We take control.
We uphold unrealistic expectations.
We patronize her.
We don't allow her much or any privacy.
We question her need for shelter protection when she makes contact with her partner.
We buy into such labeling as: co-dependency, enabler, addicted to love, etc...."the women as defective" theory.
We blame her for failing to protect her children.
We assume that leaving an abusive partner will set her free without recognizing the social abuse and stigma that low income, single women, and women-headed families face.
We fail to recognize her religious beliefs about marriage and family.
We fail to validate and/or understand her positive, even loving feelings towards her partner.
We fail to advise her about realistic outcomes of counseling for her partner.
We fail to create bridges in the community.

-Author Unknown

For Employers

Workplace Safe (View)

Workplace Safe

If your employee is in an abusive relationship and trying to end it, the office may be the only place the batterer can find and harm the individual, putting coworkers at risk.

Domestic Violence can affect your work environment and impact your bottom line. Learn how employees who are battered at home could face many daily challenges at work:

  • Absenteeism - no shows, late to work, early departures
  • Lost Productivity - lack of concentration, fatigue, increased mistakes
  • Increased Health Care Costs - total health care costs for family violence equals hundreds of millions of dollars, the majority often paid by employer
  • Workplace Safety - harassment at work from batterer

Be Proactive

Dayton's Artemis Center, through its "Workplace Safe from Domestic Violence" program, offers training that helps employers better understand and respond to domestic violence victims who work for them.

You can minimize the chance a tragedy will occur at your business.

Enroll today in "Workplace Safe from Domestic Violence" training. Identify employees at risk, learn proper intervention, understand and implement effective security procedures, and recognize today's legal issues.

Call 937-461-5091 ext. 2010 to schedule a training for your company.

Reading List

Recommended Reading List (View)

Getting Free
by Ginny NiCarthy

The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals that Protect Us From Violence
by Gavin DeBecker

Next Time She'll Be Dead: Battering and How to Survive It
by Anne Jones

I Can't Get Over It: A Handbook for Trauma Survivors
by Aphrodite Matsakis

Surviving a Stalker: Everything You Need to Know to Keep Yourself Safe
by Linden Gross and Gavin DeBecker

Naming the Violence: Speaking Out About Lesbian Battering
by Kerry Lobel

I Never Called It Rape
by Robin Warshaw

Invisible Wounds: A Self-Help Guide for Women in Destructive Relationships
by Kay Douglas

Men Who Beat the Men Who Love Them: Battered Gay Men and Domestic Violence
by David Island and Patrick Letellier

To Be an Anchor in the Storm: A Guide for Families and Friends of Abused Women
by Susan Brewster

Chain Chain Change: For Black Women in Abusive Relationships
by Evelyn C. White

Mejor sola que mal acompaƱada: para la mujer golpeada
For the Latina in an Abusive Relationship

by Myrna M. Zambrano

Website List

Local and National Domestic Violence Websites (View)