Case Study of Abusive Relationships

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University of California, Santa Barbara
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Q1. Why Stacy keeps the abuse a secret

Most women in the situation of Stacy keep an abuse a secret and hide it from their families and friends because they do not wish to hear their close friends or relatives tell them that they should just leave their marriage. For instance, since her mother does not like Mike, if she was to tell her that Mike has been abusing her, she will be told to leave the relationship. Stacy and any other woman would feel invested in making the relationship work or sometimes, the women feel they would prove to the people against their relationship wrong. Like Stacy may want to prove to her mother that Mike is a good guy thus, keeping the abuse a secret (Cavaiola & Colford, 2010).

Q2. Why battered women stay in abusive relationships

According to Cavaiola and Colford (2010), there are various reasons why battered women stay in abusive relationships. They include.'

The victim loves the batterer too much, and the batterer is not always violent unless provoked by something just like in the case of Mike and Stacy.

Since some threats are often made against the women, they fear the batterer thinking they would be killed if they shared their abusive relationship to a relative or a friend. For instance, an abuser may threaten to murder the woman if the beatings are made known to anyone.

Some women who are not financially stable depend economically on the batterer. Not having a job skill that is marketable means that the victim has no realistic alternative than to keep the abuse secret to keep the financial support.

Socialization has been known to create a strong inertia in relationships, and individuals feel they must be in a relationship and are highly resistant to change as a means of solving a problem. Therefore, a woman would prefer staying than leaving a relationship.

Religious, cultural and social beliefs demand that a victim who is the woman to keep the facade of a healthy marriage or relationship.

In instances where the batterer is the only person that supports the woman psychologically, after having to destroy the victims other relationships systematically. Other people often feel uncomfortable around the violence and withdraw from it.

Another reason is that women after being battered for long, they become used to it. They develop the thinking that they are powerless and therefore, view their situation from that perspective.

In cases where children are involved, women do anything for their children. They develop the idea that their children need a father. Besides, there are some cases where the father threatens violence against the children if the woman leaves. The batterer may also threaten to take the children away from their mother. The woman will believe the batterers threats and choose to stay.

There is always the belief that the judicial system in some states does not take the matter of domestic violence seriously. Hence, the victim will believe even if they leave or stay, in case something happens to them the issue will not be taken seriously.

Other women rationalize the abuse. They think that they deserved it maybe for something they did and the punishment was warranted. Therefore, they stay believing that nothing wrong is happening to them.

Other batterers convince women that the beating will be the last. They ask for forgiveness, and the cycle continues as the woman continues to stay in the abusive relationship.

The background of the woman also matters. A woman may be coming from a home where one parent beat the other as they children watched. They may have the idea that beatings are regular for every couple and therefore, should just stay.

Q3. Interviewing both the abuser and the victim

Interviewing the abuser and the victim is not advisable. It is because; the victim is placed at a higher risk of being battered again. For instance, if the battered woman was to bring something up in the interview that may make the abuser angry, another battering incident may result once they get back home. Counseling the abuser and the victim is like couple counseling, and there are many implications associated with couple interview because most of the interview will be based on the relationship rather than the underlying issue. Besides that, other issues result from relying on the relationship that makes counseling the parties together not advisable (Aguilera, 1994). They include:

Paying attention to the relationship will assume that the parties contribute to the abusive character when the truth is that the abuser is solely responsible for the behavior.

Focusing on other things other than the abusive behavior will offer a platform the abuse to continue after the interview.

When the abusive behavior is identified, the victim may be asked the part they play in the violence. Or, the batterer may use comments and opinion of the counselor to justify their abusive character hence blaming the victim. For instance, a counselor may refer to an earlier mentioned thing like the victim refusing to open up. The victim will tend to think they are at fault as the counselor may be unwillingly encouraging it.

Most batterers objective is often to be in control. Involving a counselor in the presence of both parties will result in an increased controlled character as the counselor may unwillingly elicit information of introducing interventions that escalate continued the abuse.

Out of fear of being abused further, the abused may not open up about the abuse or some other issues in the presence of the batterer. Hence, giving a false impression that things are better and this hampers helpful intervention.

On the other hand, the victim may have a false sense of being safe. The victim will disclose all the information in the session with the belief that the therapist will keep her safe. However, this could be a significant risk as once they the perceived safety is no longer there; the abuser may retaliate with an even more severe abuse.

In couple counseling, there is no examination of violence. That is, with the presence of both individuals and honest disclosure is often undermined.

When the counselor focuses on both parties, it may be hard for the therapist to strongly pay attention and confront one of the parties as it may be viewed as favoring one side, hence failure to directly focus substantially contributes to being in denial.

Additionally, counseling the couple together can keep the abusive union longer as the woman will develop the false hope that things will get better with therapy.

Q4. Resources for victim counseling

Solution focused

It involves emphasizing on a solution talk rather than a problem speaks with the victim. Language is the medium of this resource, and through language, meanings are expressed and constructed. That is, language has the capability to allow people not only to explain and organize an experience but also to reframe their experience in a way that brings about an alternative and a more useful reality. The dialogue between the therapist and the victim involves asking questions that may help the client to think from a different perspective concerning their situation and participate in building the solution. The resource comprises the counselor using distinct issues to help the victim in coming up with a solution model that do not subject them to abuse and violence in intimate relationships (Roberts, 2005). The type of questions used may include;

Exception questions: These types of questions ask about times when the problem is either absent, less intense or dealt with in a way that is acceptable to the client. In victims of violence, these questions focus on the times when the victim is able and in a position to protect themselves and resist to avoid, run away or fight against violence. Some of the questions go like

When was the last you were hit and managed to escape?

How did you resolved to call the police instead of letting him continue hitting you?

Outcome questions: Are utilized to help victims to establish goals for themselves. They ask clients to state goals in a positive manner instead of the negative. That is the presence of something rather than nothing. It helps the client to thinks regarding observable and concrete characters so that they notice positive changes and make a difference (Roberts, 2005).

Cognitive behavioral therapy

CBT explains aggression especially in the context of intimate relationships. It involves pointing out thoughts and beliefs that cultivate violent character and challenging the ways that the abuser justifies the violence after the event. The objective is interrupting the chain of events that lead to physical abuse by changing the way that the abuser think about violence and the circumstances that resulted in the violence.

Q5. Lethality Assessment

In assessing the above case, it will involve the following indicators (Campbell et al., 2009):

Whether Mike has threatened to kill Stacy or himself. This is because threats of killing are a high factor that is connected to the homicide.

Whether Mike has expresses ideas, fantasies, and dreams about killing Stacy. It is because the risk is great if Mike has been specific about his plans or intended actions.

Whether Mike made more threats and whether they occur daily, monthly and the kind of threats he offers Stacy.

Whether there is availability or past use of crude weapons such as knives or guns. Easy access to guns or other crude weapons is an indication that homicide may occur.

Whether Mike has ever used hands or an object to choke, struggle or suffocate Stacy.

Whether the abuser has the tendency or arson or threats of arson.

Whether Mike expresses ownership of Stacy as it is a serious indication of serious assault as well as homicide.

Also, whether Mike is highly dependent on Stacy, idolize her, or he isolates from all other facets of a societal life. This could be an indication of severe assault or homicide.

Whether Mike has been stalking her or whether he has ever abducted her,

In case the number of positives to the assessment questions is high, then it is an indicator that there would be life threatening attack.



Aguilera, D. C. (1994). Crisis intervention: Theory and methodology. Cv Mosby.

Campbell, J. C., Webster, D. W., & Glass, N. (2009). The danger assessment validation of a lethality risk assessment instrument for intimate partner femicide. Journal of interpersonal violence, 24(4), 653-674.

Cavaiola, A., & Colford, J. E. (2010). Crisis intervention case book. Cengage Learning.

Roberts, A. R. (Ed.). (2005). Crisis intervention handbook: Assessment, treatment, and research. Oxford university press.

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