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October 11, 1981 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1981-10-11

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The Michigan Daily-Sunday, October 11, 1981-Page 5

Many battered women find help

I

(Continued from Page 1)
how he would swear he would never hit
her again, of how he would accuse her
of having affairs.
"At one point I used to take down the
mileage everywhere I went so I could
prove I wasn't seeing anyone else. He
accused me of it so much I started to
believe it.
"I was so in love with him when I met
hiri iThe first year-and-a-half we were
together was beautiful." Wood
#esitated for a moment, and added, "I
still love him."
- *
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE has no
boundaries. It cuts'across race, class
and. educational 'levels, according to
staff: members of the Domestic Violen-
ce Project, which sponsors SAFE
House and offers violence prevention
an.4. treatment services to families in
Southeastern Michigan.
Aecording to agency statistics, 35
percent of all assault cases in
W4shtenaw County in 1979 were related
tolomestic violence.
Qomestic violence may not be on the
rise, but it is coming out of the closet,
si4 Lew Okun, who counsels abusive
hubands at the Domestic Violence
Project. "Battered women's shelters
d4i't exist in the U.S. until 1974. There
wasn't much help for the person coming
outbefore that."
THE VIOLENT behavior that occurs
is the abuser's problem,, not the vic-
tim's, explained Susan McGee, ad-
vocacy supervisor of the Domestic
Violence Project. "There is no cause
and effect - she is the object of his
frustrations," McGee said.
These fiustrations,. counselors said,
mount from a variety of factors: among
them poor self-esteem, an inability to
cope with feelings and anger,
alcoholism and unemployment.
In addition, many abusive husbands
were battered as children or had
fathers that abused their mothers,
Okun said. The abusive behavior is

passed down through the generations,
he added.
Wife abuse also stems from the "old
law" that said it was legal to beat your
spouse, Okun said. The saying, "Rule of
Thumb" comes from a law that said a
man could beat his wife with a stick no
thicker than his thumb, he noted.
ABUSIVE HUSBANDS also tend to
blame the woman for their violent
behavior, maintaining that they were
provoked into beating her.
"This is one of the most destructive
myths, it puts the blame back on the
woman," McGee said. "We've done
studies, and many of these women
didn't know when they were going to be
beaten up. Many were woken up in the
,middle ,of the night and beaten. How
could they have provoked that?"
But some women do provoke their
husbands into beating them, said
Stephanie Vail, executive director of
the Domestic Violence Project. This
generally occurs during a time when
the tension between the couple is high
and the woman knows the man may ex-
plode at any time.
"SHE KNOWS it's coming and can't
stand the stress of trying to divert it any
longer," she said. The woman wants to
get it over with so the couple can move
onto a phase where they make up and
he promises her he'll never hit her
again, she explained.
The couple is locked into a symbiotic
relationship, Vail said. They both need

each other and are locked into a bat-
tering cycle. Neither likes the violence,
but they don't know how to end it, she
said.
Why doesn't the woman leave?
Mainly for economic reasons, ex-
plained University law student Chris
Brzezinski, coordinator of the Family
Law Project, a volunteer program that
handles indigent divorce cases for low
income families.
"The women have nowhere to go and
no money to get there," she said. "The
man has usually isolated her from
family and friends."
Many women realize that if they do
leave they may lose what possessions
they, have, Brzezinski said. "Some men
have killed their wives' pets and-ruined
all their possessions."
SHE ALSO said some women do not
want to break up their families,
believing that it is better for, their
children to grow up with an abusive
father than no father at all.
Some women, like Wood, eventually
do break off the relationship and file for
divorce.
"If it wasn't for SAFE House I never
could have left my husband," Wood
said. "They never told me to leave him,
but let me make the decision myself."
WOOD STAYED at the shelter for
three weeks, giving her time to find an
apartment for herself and her
daughter. The limit any family can stay
at the shelter is 30 days, but there are

extensive follow-up programs for as
long as an individual wants to use them.
The Domestic Violence Project offers
counseling services for battered
women, abusive husbands, couples
trying to reconcile and for children.
The program has a 24-hour hotline!
and two people on call 24 hours a day to,
pick up women and bring them to SAFE
House.
SAFE House staffers help women
find jobs, child care, apartments, fur-
niture and provide a support network of
caring people that the victims need at

this stage in their lives. "
Vail said children's programs are
very important. "We work with the
children and set role models for them -
male and female ones. We think it's im-
portant for them to see men and women
getting along.
"We teach -the mother parenting
skills," she said. "We stress how to con-
trol a child without the use of violence.
Hopefully wecan break the cycle here.
The children are so responsive, it's
rewarding for the staff," Vail said.

S~f'S
a
**
OCTOBER 16.17 - MICHIGAN THEATRE
Tickets available at the Michigan Theatre Box Office

Daily Classifieds Bring Results

Abuse poses problems

.f r

1 in 5 student couples

(Continued fom Page ')
JUDY PRICE, a counselor at the
Assault Crisis Center, said the center
repives calls on a regigtar basis from
fgale University students who have
beqn, abused by their boyfriends. She
said, however, that many cases go
unreported because "students discount
abuse a lot."
"I think students will be busy dealing
with other pressures of University life,
and they say this person has problems
azpd ignore the situation," Price said.
Dave Foulke, manager of security
services for the University's housing
didvision, said he receives one or two
reports each term of physical abuse in
University housing.
THIS TERM, Foulke said, a woman
coght in an abusive relationship
moved from off-campus housing to" a
dormitory because she felt she needed
safer housing.
The resident director of West Quad's
Chicago House, Mary Russman, said
physical abuse sometimes occurs in
4or.mitories, although the cases she has
been involved in are "usually an in-
stance or two, a flareuo."
SOCIOLOGIST James Makepeace, a
professor at the College of St. Benedict
in St. Joseph, Minn.,: who conducted
thq abuse study, said 49 percent of the
stgddents surveyed reported knowing
fejow students who were slapped by
toeir boyfriends or girlfriends.
Mgkepeace, who was then teaching at
1e5nidji State University in Minnesota,
when the survey was conducted, said an
additional 13 percent reported that they
Yl4 either delivered or received blows.
1agcepeace's study reflects similar
statistics in incidents of punching or
physical threats.
o ,'This is something that has been

going on a long time, although everyone
has swallowed almost wholly the notion
-of this premarital period as roman-
ticism," Makepeace said, describing
campus datingĀ° experiences as "real
relationships with real problems."
Makepeace, who said his results have
been confirmed in similar surveys
throughout the country, now feels that
the 20 percent figure for student abuse
may be a conservative estimate, and
more likely "at least one out of four
students" are involved.
University counselors said juggling

academic pressures with dating
presents unique problems to the
student, and often exacerbates abusive
tendencies.
Students have problems scheduling
academic and personal priorities, said
Jane Hessinger, a counselor at Student
Services Counseling Office.
"Problems come up when students
have unclear priorities," Hessinger
said. "Students feel pressured to spend
time with studies to the exclusion of
time spent forming a good relation-
ship."

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