October 02, 2006

History causes spousal abuse?

Unraveling the source of domestic violence in Indian countryHistorically, when Indians were forced to settle on small reservations, the Indian male was stripped of his weapons which kept him from doing the jobs that made him a man: Feeding and supporting his family. While many Indian women found jobs with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Indian hospital, the schools or with the tribal government, most Indian males found themselves without jobs. Unemployment on many Indian reservations to this day exceeds 50 percent.

When an Indian male discovered that he could no longer assume his role as leader and provider for his family he felt totally emasculated. This loss of self-esteem and self-confidence caused many men to turn toward substances like alcohol and drugs to help them forget and to help them cope. Too often this culminated in the man striking out at the one object he loved, his spouse or girl friend. The hurt he felt within himself often manifested itself in violence against others, especially against someone near to him.


Anonymous said...

I have to comment on this one, Rob. I've worked with the victims--and the abusers--of domestic violence for more than 20 years.

Historical and cultural reasons aside, we all live in the here and now. It's unnacceptable to beat your wife/girlfriend/child. Period. To spend time analyzing the sociological reasons does nothing to solve what is going on in a home TODAY.

I've seen women so badly beaten that they are permanently blinded. I've heard men make excuses that they resort to violence because their woman "annoys" them.

I've seen clients at my agency die at the hands of their partner.

So, cut the excuses guys. Whatever happened to lead to the anger and frustration you're feeling doesn't make abusing your woman and kids any less traumatic and wrong.

Rob said...

I don't think Tim Giago was offering excuses. I think he was offering explanations, which is a different matter. It sounded to me like he firmly opposed domestic violence regardless of the cause--which is as it should be.

"To spend time analyzing the sociological reasons" may do nothing to solve what's going on in a particular home, but it may do something to solve what's going on in society. In other words, until we can knock on every door in the country, we'd better tackle the root causes of the problem. Because that's the only way we're going to eradicate it.

I trust you don't think abusers are born evil. If they aren't, then something causes them to turn evil. It's that something that we can and should deal with as a society.

This isn't an either/or situation. We can do both. We can intervene in individual homes where abuse is occurring and address the long-term problems that impel men to turn to abuse.