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

the home.


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

typically characterized?)


_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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