Alcoholism and domestic violence
RE: Alcoholism and domestic violence
Thank you so much to the writer who came forward with the following
testimony regarding the association between alcoholism and violence. I
very much appreciate your courage, and am grateful for your pointing out
the potential for underreporting.
In one of my earlier posts, I had remarked upon the same phenomenon: I
know two other families who experienced alcohol-related violence, who were
later able to overcome alcoholism--and no longer experienced violence in
I believe that there is a difference, however, between alcohol-related
violence and the phenomenon of domestic violence. (Yes, I anticipate
objections: I, too, have heard that alcoholics will not engage in
behaviors they would find unacceptable when not inebriated.) I would
appreciate corrections if I am mistaken, and leads to sources.
A larger issue raised here, however, is silence. I can think of nothing
more rational and prudent than protective silence, when one has resolved
difficult personal issues of such an unfortunately sensitive nature as
alcoholism or violence, either one. I would like to point out, though,
that the many studies which have been performed (without in any way
minimizing the need for much further research) should, if responsibly
performed, have considered and accounted for under- or over-reporting of
self-reported incidents of domestic violence in representative samples.
The articles I have read are all accompanied by notes on method, and do
address such issues.
Perhaps the real issue, as many others have suggested (thanks, you guy!),
is that of motivation: given sufficient motivation, then, is it possible
for violent individuals to change? That brings me 'round to my initial
question, once again.... (For those who didn't see that one: I was
taught, many years ago--1982, I think--that the only effective
intervention for violence was police action. Specifically listed among
the ineffective methods were self-help groups, etc. The implication, as
discussed in that class, was that the men themselves were not able to--
or, using modified wording as was suggested by another writer recently,
"did not"--cease their violent interactions, even when they had identified
themselves and sought out assistance. For the curious, it was a Univ of
Maryland class--I would be very interested to find the professor who
taught the course. And to be fair, I freely admit that I am relying
entirely on memory for this bit--yes, it's quite possible that I may have
misunderstood. It is also true that I spent a good bit of time discussing
the matter with my prof, and that we talked about it at length during
lecture. Help, anyone?)
I would like to mention some of the books I have read recently, and to ask
others for suggestions--particularly regarding articles of a recent
nature, and those which may address issues of resolution. I am more
concerned with issues of assistance and arbitration for the battered, but
would be *very* interested in learning of any reliable citations which
demonstrate cases where violent individuals were able to discontinue
violent behaviors altogether. (Again, I *do* know of families where
alcoholism precipitated violence, which did not recur following successful
ongoing treatment for alcoholism. Is this indeed, as I believe it to be,
different from the phenomenon of domestic violence as the latter is
_The Ecology of Aggression_, Arnold P. Goldstein
New York: Plenum Press, 1994
_Male Violence_, John Archer, ed.
New York: Routledge, 1994
_Violence Against Women_, Pauline B. Bart & Eileen Geil
Moran, eds. Newbury Park: Sage Publications, 1993.
_Family Abuse And Its Consequences_, Gerald T. Hotaling,
David Finkelhor, John T. Kirkpatrick, Murray A.
Straus, eds. Newbury Park: Sage Publications, 1988.
_Children In Crisis_, Robin Brown, ed.
New York: The H. W. Wilson Company, 1994.
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