Alcohol, Drugs, and Domestic Violence Term Paper

Pages: 8 (2539 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Sports - Drugs

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] However, they conclude, animal studies "Have failed...to produce the anticipated clear-cut results." Why? The list of possible variables which may have been miscalculated is lengthy. But their research does show that when Siamese fighting fish (Betta splendens), when a low concentration of alcohol is placed in their tank, did indeed show an "aggressive response" in a rather bizarre experiment, beyond what they would normally show. As to the frog (amphibian) experiment, for the lay person, the results are problematical; to wit: "Since alcohol retards habituation of this visually elicited prey-catching response, the results may reflect an alcohol-induced disinhibition within the visuomotor mechanism (probably the optic tectum)" (Brain, p. 90). And as for alcohol and aggression in birds, the language is clearer: the studies "allow no general conclusions to be drawn" (Brain, p. 93).

Victim treatment, possible solutions and remedies

There are a multiplicity of programs and services for the victims of DV - which are, in an overwhelming number of cases, women - and for the assailants, as well. In Memphis (Brookoff, 1997), for example, a small crisis center has been built within the police department; victims are brought to the center and automatically referred to counseling and support services. Fees for obtaining an arrest warrant have been waived, and assault victims may now swear out arrest warrants at the scene of the violence, to try to get the aggressors off the street. And prosecutors, at arraignment, can and do order rehabilitation for drug and alcohol problems for assailants.

Another program which has shown success is court-mandated "batterers' treatment" (Roberts, 2002), which involves immediate clinical intervention for alcohol and drug issue, and psychological therapy. In a 3-year study of over 800 men - from Dallas, Denver, Pittsburgh and Houston - over two-thirds of the men did not re-assault their female partners for at least one year after entering the treatment program. While it seems unfair and even outrageous that these repeat offenders would be let back out on the street to get boozed up and return to their violent ways, courts are merely enforcing existing laws; and in any event, any progress is positive.

Sometimes, however, progress is elusive. In a Broward county, Florida, study, comparing 404 men who were ordered by the court into batterers' programs with men who were simply incarcerated (Roberts, 2002), "They found no difference in attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors regarding domestic violence."

Meantime, in addition to programs and solutions, a change in American attitudes towards DV is badly needed (Klein, et al., 1997) prior to any real change taking place. "...The vast majority of Americans hold covert attitudes that condone battering," Klein asserts (p. 89). This national attitude helps "create an environment in which inaction is the norm... [and this attitude is verified] by the November, 1995 Lieberman poll [which found that] almost half of the American public (46%) currently believes that men sometimes physically abuse women because they [men] are stressed out or drunk, not because they intend to hurt [women]." With this as a backdrop, Klein's editorial thrust is towards heavy-media spots run in a major market national public education campaign.

Meanwhile, others believe prevention of DV begins with health promotion activities to "reduce alcohol [and drug] consumption" (Jewkes, 2002). Also on the Jewkes' agenda: reducing the use of, and acceptance of violence, through parenting programs; legislation banning corporal punishment; empowering women and improving their status in society; among others.

Finally, in Sweden, a national anti-violence, alcohol-intervention campaign is underway which well could prove to be successful in the U.S. (Wallin, et al., 2003). Since "convincing evidence for the association between alcohol and aggression has been presented in the scientific literature... [and] the risk for aggressive behavior seems to increase with the level of intoxication," Wallin writes, Sweden has instituted a community mobilization program against violent crimes. It entails training in "responsible beverage service" for bartenders, enforcement of existing alcohol laws in bars, promotional posters in beverage retail stores, and a massive media campaign. Results show that between January 1994 and September 2000, violent crimes (including those against women) related to alcohol, decreased by 29% in the intervention area.

Conclusion

The problem of domestic violence - which has at its roots the abuse of alcohol and drugs - is not new, is not easy to grasp, and won't go away any time soon. Of all the solutions suggested, many of which are excellent, the two that would appear to make sense are public education about violence and alcohol abuse through television, radio, Internet and newspaper advertising, and the Swedish intervention project. However, besides the fact that the first suggestion been done already, this society is drenched in bloodshed and booze, from sea to shining sea. And with the clout the beer companies currently exhibit - watch ESPN, or any NFL, NBA, or MLB game for half an hour, and you'll witness several slick commercials aimed at young people - trying to prevent the abuse of alcohol is like trying to dam the Columbia River. But perhaps, with U.S. national political leadership stepping up to the plate, a campaign to strengthen families - matched with solid education and enforcement of existing laws - could be an effective starting point.

References

Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly (2003). Alcohol use may increase the likelihood of domestic violence. 15 p7.

Brain, Paul F. (1986). Alcohol and Aggression. London: Croom Helm.

Brookoff, Daniel, M.D., Ph.D. (1997). Drugs, Alcohol, and Domestic Violence

In Memphis: Research in Progress Seminar Series. U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice.

Collins, James J. Jr. (1981). Drinking and Crime: Perspectives on the Relationships between Alcohol Consumption and Criminal Behavior.

New York: The Guilford Press.

Klein, Ethel; Campbell, Jacquelyn; Soler, Esta; & Ghez, Marissa (1997).

Ending Domestic Violence: Changing Public Perceptions/Halting the Epidemic. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

Roberts, Albert R. (2002). Handbook of Domestic Violence Intervention

Strategies: Policies, Programs, and Legal Remedies. Oxford: Oxford

Rodriguez, Eunice; Lasch, Kathryn E.; Chandra, Pinky; Lee, Jennifer; & Rodriguez, Michael A. (2001). The relation of family violence, employment

Status, welfare benefits,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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