Research Proposal: UAE Abuse the United Arab Emirates' Successes

Pages: 15 (4444 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 30  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Family and Marriage  ·  Buy This Paper

UAE Abuse

The United Arab Emirates' Successes and Failures in Resolving Domestic Disputes: An Evaluation of the Performance of the UAE's Social Support Centers

Domestic violence, defined as both physical and/or emotional abuse taking place in the home between members of the same domestic unit or family, remains a large problem throughout the world. It is difficult to determine the true rates of domestic violence and partner abuse that occur each year due to the fact that many lack access to any means of reporting such incidents, let lone to services that might assist them in overcoming this violence and leaving or changing the abusive relationship in such a way that the abuser is left without the power or ability to continue their abuse. When domestic violence goes unreported, it often goes unnoticed, and is thus allowed to continue and potentially to spread.

Many abuse victims even amongst those that do have access to programs, agencies, or organizations that offer aid and legal reporting assistance choose not to make use of these resources. Commonly cited reasons for this refusal to seek assistance include a belief that the abusive partner will change their behavior -- that they didn't "mean" it and that they truly love the victim. Many victims blame themselves for engaging in behaviors that made their partners angry, convinced that the abuse would go away if only the could be a better partner to the abuser. On the other end of the spectrum, many victims of domestic violence do not seek assistance out of fear of retaliation; noting the abuse that they suffer at times when they are trying to make their partners happy, these victims are loathe to see what happens when they "truly" anger their partners.

There is reason behind this fear, too, and it is not simply borne out of the fear that victims live in on a daily basis. According to one study of statistics related to domestic violence, women are ten times more likely to be murdered by their abusive partners in the six months following a decision to leave them than they are at anytime during the relationship itself (Kiume 2007). Abusers rarely stop their behavior simply because their relationship with the victim ends; abuse and domestic violence, whether purely emotional or also physical in nature, are all about control, and ending the relationship does not end the desire for control on the part of the abuser (Goldsmith 2010). In fact, true challenges to this control such as a termination of the relationship can cause a sort of internal crisis for the abuser that manifests itself in very noticeable and extreme external ways (McNeely et al. 2001).

This demonstrates the deep psychological issues that are factors in the emergence and continuation of relationships that devolve into domestic violence and partner abuse. Many abusers were exposed to domestic violence either as victims or as witnesses during their childhood, and if left unchecked this has the potential to change their views of normative relationships as requiring this type of control of one partner through the abuse of another (McKinney et al. 2006). Other major childhood events and trends that create a feeling of lost control and/or of abandonment can lead to the development of a variety of different psychological issues that manifest in very similar ways as exposure to abuse and domestic violence might, with a perpetuation of the abuse cycle (McKinney et al. 2006; "School Drop Outs" 2010).

The psychological past of victims and their psychological development during and after an abusive relationship is no less profound than that of the abuser in a domestic violence situation. Individuals who remain in abusive relationships as adults were often subjected to some form of violence as children, again either as victims or witnesses, and this can cause them to develop in such a way that they actually seek out partners that exhibit the same characteristics as the abusers from their childhood (Unifem.org 2010). Just as abusers can perpetuate their behaviors through the next generation, victims can perpetuate their own victimhood and that of their offspring by unconsciously seeking out and then by remaining in abusive relationships (McKinney et al. 2006; McNeely et al. 2001). This is no way exonerates the abuser or even mitigates their guilt in domestic violence relationships, but it shows the psychological and personal complexities that go into domestic violence, and that are a result of domestic violence and abuse cycles (Outlaw 2009).

There is no nation or region of the world that is free from the specter of domestic violence; it has truly reached all inhabited corners of the globe and has in fact existed and persisted in every culture known to mankind. Domestic violence and partner abuse know no national or cultural boundaries, and no legal or religious doctrine has ended such violence even when these areas of moral and ethical control explicitly forbid the occurrence and continuation of such abusive relationships. The fact that domestic violence is a universal issue points to inherently human problems that lie at its root (Outlaw 2009; McNeely et al. 2001).

Dealing with domestic violence, then, requires both knowledge regarding the psychological underpinnings of identities as a victim and an abuser, as well as the ability to provide a means of protecting victims while addressing these generally deep-seated psychological issues. This can be very difficult to achieve and has in fact proven to be impossible to achieve on a consistently reliable basis (Unifem.org 2010; National Domestic Violence Hotline 2010). This does not mean that efforts are completely wasted, however, or that large-scale programs and organizations that attempt to address issues of domestic violence should not be continued; instead, efforts should continue to become more refined and thus more effective as knowledge regarding domestic violence and its effects on individuals and also on society at large continues to grow and becomes more refined.

It is with this in mind that the United Arab Emirates or UAE established its nationally sponsored Social Support Centers, or SSC. There was also a more pragmatic reason for the creation of these Centers; burdened with a great number of social ills, the law enforcement infrastructure in the UAE needed a way to divert certain cases to other department. The police department in Abu Dhabi now refers all cases involving domestic disputes, domestic violence, conjugal differences, missing persons, teenage problems, family financial problems, suicide attempts, severe accident victims, juvenile cases and other cases perceived to require conflict resolution techniques to the SCC, which has personnel trained to provide psychological and social support to clients using these and other counseling techniques.

The effectiveness of these centers in regards to halting and dealing with domestic violence is questionable for several reasons. First, the wide variety of individuals referred to the Centers splits the focus of this organization/department, despite the fact that sixty-percent of cases handled by the SSC in 2005 involved disputes between a husband and a wife, with a rise in the total number of disputes of over twenty percent when compared to the previous year. There is some evidence that the Centers have had some success in repairing spousal relationships, with the divorce rate in the UAE dropping from forty-six percent in 2005 to thirty-five percent in 2009, but this does not necessarily mean that the Center has shown promise in ending domestic violence, but merely in maintaining marriages (Khaleej Times 2010). With the majority of couples seen by the SSC having never received any marriage counseling before, and given the specific moral and religious standards of the country, it is not surprising that this definition of "success" has been achieved.

At the same time, the SSC has seen an increase in the number of marital conflicts cases between couples native to the UAE and in many immigrant couples that were drawn to work opportunities in the country. The majority of the inhabitants of Abu Dhabi, for example, are now expatriate workers from India, Pakistan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Philippines, and the United Kingdom (Abu Dhabi 2010). The growing number of expatriate residents has significantly increased the burden on the SSC not only in terms of the number of people it must serve, but also with the languages and cultures with which its personnel must become familiar (Abu Dhabi 2010).

Over ninety percent of the total population in the United Arab Emirates are now expatriates from other countries. The success of the Social Support Centers in dealing with issues of domestic violence is not only dependent on the expertise and knowledge of the psychological issues attendant to domestic violence, but also must take into consideration the great diversity of cultural, religious, linguistic, and social, customs, beliefs, morals, and values. This paper will attempt to identify the degree to which the efforts by the government of the UAE through the department of the SSC has been successful in meeting this challenge. Some evidence as to the successes and failures of the UAE and the SSC in this regard is found in… [END OF PREVIEW]

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