The cognitive-behavioral model and pro-feminist approaches view violence as socially learned and self-reinforcing behavior. Violence is seen as functional behavior and batterers use it to systematically enhance their power in the relationship and control over their female partner. According to this model, a batterer’s use of violence against a woman is a choice. Batterers are motivated to continue their use of violence because it successfully serves their purpose of maintaining power and control (Caesar & Hamberger, 1989; Edleson & Tolman, 1992; Eisikovits & Edleson, 1989; Gondolf, 2002; Healey et al., 1998; Shepard & Pence, 1999; Vincent & Jouriles, 2000).
Research indicates that batterers hold rigid sex role stereotypes, or traditional, stereotypical views of masculine and feminine roles and male-female relationships (Saunders et al., 1987; Spence et al., 1973; Star, 1983). Mens’ sense of failure from attempting to achieve the excessively high, traditional masculine image contributes to their anger towards and need for control over women. Batterers repress and project their sense of inadequacy, failure and self-hatred onto their female partner (Gondolf & Hanneken, 1987; Neidig & Friedman, 1984; Saunders & Hanusa, 1986).
In this belief system, a man’s masculinity, or social status, as experienced by other men, is dependent upon the amount of control he has over “his woman.” Men who feel less masculine feel compelled to assert their masculinity more forcefully through abusive behavior to compensate for their sense of inadequacy (Edleson & Tolman, 1992; Gondolf & Hannekin, 1987; Healey et al., 1998). Sexist attitudes and beliefs underlie batterers’ perceptions that men have the right to control women and they provide a rationale for the use of violence to maintain this control (Briere, 1987; Burt, 1980; Malamuth, 1984; Spence & Helmreich, 1972). They reduce a man’s motivation toward the use of cooperative communication and other nonviolent behaviors with his female partner that he would use when choosing to remain nonviolent with others, including those more powerful than he, such as a boss or judge (Caesar & Hamberger, 1989; Healey et al., 1998).
Michele Cranwell Schmidt, Jane M. Kolodinsky, Gwyneth Carsten, Frederick E. Schmidt, Mark Larson, Cate MacLachlan. "Short Term Change in Attitude and Motivating Factors to Change Abusive Behavior of Male Batterers after Participating in a Group Intervention Program Based on the Pro-Feminist and Cognitive-Behavioral Approach." Journal on Family Violence (2007), Published online Feb. 10, 2007, (p. 2).
Men who engaged in domestic violence consistently overestimated how common such behavior is, and the more they overestimated it the more they engaged in abusing their partner in the previous 90 days, according to new research conducted at the University of Washington.
Those men overestimated by two to three times the actual rates of seven behaviors ranging from throwing something at a partner to rape, according Clayton Neighbors, lead author of a paper to be published in a spring issue of the journal Violence Against Women.
The research looked at 124 men who were enrolled in a larger treatment intervention study for domestic violence. The men, all of whom had participated in violence against a partner in the previous 90 days, were asked to estimate the percentage of men who had ever engaged in seven forms of abuse. These included throwing something at a partner that could hurt; pushing, grabbing or shoving a partner; slapping or hitting; choking; beating up a partner; threatening a partner with a gun; and forcing a partner to have sex when they did not want to.
Data on the percentage of men who actually engaged in these abusive behaviors were drawn from the National Violence Against Women Survey, funded by the National Institute of Justice and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In every case the men vastly overestimated the actual instances of abuse. For example, the participants on average thought 27.6 percent of men had thrown something with the intent of hurting a partner while the actual number is 11.9 percent. Similarly, they believed 23.6 percent of men had forced their partner to have sex involuntarily compared to 7.9 percent in reality.
"With sexual assault the more a man thought it was prevalent the more likely he was to engage in such behavior. If we can correct misperceptions about the prevalence of intimate partner violence, we have a chance to change men’s behavior. If you give them factual information it is harder for them to justify their behavior," [Clayton] Neighbors said.
University of Washington, "Male batterers consistently overestimate rates of violence toward partners, study finds." March 11, 2010.
Men who engaged in domestic violence consistently overestimated how common such behavior is by two or three times, and the more they overestimated it the more they engaged in abusing their partner…
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