Breaking the Silence of Family Violence

Apostle Ezreaonne Jackson is Breaking the Silence of the Church concerning Family Violence


Family Violence

Family violence also called domestic violence is a pattern of intentional violence or controlling behavior used by a person against a family member or intimate partner to gain or maintain power and control over the person (Compass Center for Women and Families, 2019).  The abusers can be a relative, parent, spouse, business partner or caregiver.  There are several forms by which the perpetrator uses to ascribe to the violence.  Types of violence include sexual, financial, emotional/psychological, and most pronounced is physical. 

Sexual Abuse

   Sexual violence includes “the employment, use, persuasion, inducement, enticement, or coercion of any child to engage in, or assist any other person to engage in, any sexually explicit conduct or simulation of such conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct.  The rape, and in cases of a caretaker or interfamilial relationships, statutory rape, molestation, prostitution, or other forms of sexual exploitation of children, or incest with children” (Gosselin, 2014, p. 98).  Indicators of these kinds of behavior have a wide sphere of descriptions which include the following and others not mentioned in this document:

  • Oral, anal, or genital penile penetration – digital or other penetration
  • Fondling of child’s breast and buttocks
  • Genital contact with no intrusion
  • Use of a child in prostitution, pornography, Internet crimes, or other sexually exploitative activities.
  • The voyeurism of the child by an adult
  • Intentional exposure of a child to exhibitionism
  • Exposure to pornography (Gosselin, 2014)

Financial Exploitation

Elderly Abuse

Financial Exploitation is defined as illegally taking, misuse, or concealment of funds, property, or assets of a vulnerable older adult.  It is the most evasion type of abuse because it is difficult to immediately ascertain the behavior for a definition or prove.  A partner may prevent a spouse from getting an education or working on a job; control and prohibit a spouse from gaining access to accounts or means of finances.  Family members may not reveal legal documents that empower another member financially or extract cash from accounts with no accountability to all persons involved.  Older people are targets to scams and family members who misappropriate their funds.  Misuse of “protective” legal instruments such as powers of attorney and trusts are modes in which some family members are exploited (Gosselin, 2014).

Emotional and Psychological Abuse

   “Psychological abuse involves a person’s attempts to frighten, control, or isolate and individual.  It’s in the abuser’s words and actions, as well as their persistence in these behaviors” (Pietrangelo, 2018). Some of the tactics of the abuser are:

  • Name-calling – You are fat, stupid, etc.
  • Yelling
  • Public Embarrassment
  • Sarcasm
  • Belittle your accomplishments
  • Direct Orders – “Get my dinner”, “stop wearing that dress” etc.
  • Lecturing – Long monologues
  • Financial Control
  • Demand Respect
  • Actively working to turn others against you (Pietrangelo, 2018).

    Emotional and psychological abuse may not leave physical marks, but the residue of these abuses leads to depression, anxiety, and addiction. Psychological abuse is described by distorting someone’s sense of reality whereas emotional abuse is the focus is to manipulate others by undermining their self-esteem or resorting to coercive behaviors (Origins Behavior Health Care, 2019).

Physical Abuse

Child Abuse and Neglect

   “Physical abuse is the use of force or threat of force that may result in bodily injury, physical pain, or impairment. The signs of physical abuse may be external, internal, or both” (Gosselin, 2014, p.47).  Several signs of physical abuse may be the result of healed bone fractures, broken bones, gunshot wounds, dislocations, and internal tissue and organ injuries. Other physical abuse indicators may be the following:

  • Human Bites
  • Marks (welts, bruises)
  • Burns
  • Bleeding
  • Blotched Hair
  • Tattered Clothing
  • Profusive crying,
  • Grimacing
  • Appear to be dazed

Effects of Long-Term Violence

Long-Term violence affects society in a plethora of ways.  Battered women are the single cause of women’s injury more significantly than auto accidents or muggings.  The emotional and psychological effects of battered women may be more costly than the injuries treated.  We can consider the medical cost for injuries and the long-term effects as women age such as arthritis, cardiovascular diseases, and hypertension that are the causation or aggravated by domestic violence earlier in their lives (Prosecuting Attorney, 2019).

Women lose earnings and jobs due to injuries that cause absenteeism from work.  Their financial prowess is compromised, and they find it difficult to support their family.  Depression becomes a major cause of withdrawal from social activities because they become embarrassed due to their situation.   Unfortunately, some religious organizations reject and abandoned those who have decided to leave an abusive situation.  Children are traumatized by experiencing violence on themselves or vicariously while watching it.  The effects are far-reaching causing children to become victims of substance abuse whereby creating intergenerational dysfunctional issues.  Boys who witness family violence more likely to be prone to commit intimate partner violence on their female partners when they are adults (Prosecuting Attorney, 2019).

Theories Related to Family Violence

Theory is the result of research. They produce ideas that provide a framework for investigating the cause-and-effect relationship of events (Gosselin, 2014).  Family violence is not just arbitrary; it is caused.  Theories try to answer why it happens.  “Family and systems theories focus on the interactions between family members and the shared responsibility for the events that occur within the family system” (Hyde-Nolan & Juliao, 2019).

The gender-role theory is based upon the early psychological enculturation of children as victims or perpetrators, according to their gender. “Girls are taught to be passive and yielding to the “stronger” male sex. Proponents of the gender-role theory suggest that society dictates the role of women in marriage, in child responsibilities, and toward family duties, all of which makes them vulnerable to abuse. Self-reliance and aggressiveness are male attributes that are unbecoming of women in the traditional sense” (Gosselin, 2014, p. 72).


Therapy Works

Gender-role theory and Family-role theory are so closely connected.  When there is a patriarchal foundation set in the psychological framework of a family’s construct can be intergenerational along with its behavior and practices.  Once the human services provider can assess and identify the possible theory that is an impetus to their client’s issue, they can proceed with gathering resources to assist the client.  Emergency resources such as shelters, and social services provisions can be set in place.  Individual and family therapy are essential tools to educate their client.  Children can benefit as early prevention of another generational family violence will be prevented.  


Compass Center for Women and Families. (2019). Retrieved from

Gosselin, D. K. (2014). Heavy Hands An Introduction to the Crimes of Family Violence. Pearson.

Hyde-Nolan, M. E., & Juliao, T. (2019). Jones & Bartlett Learning. Retrieved from

Izadi, E. ( 2014, September 8). Washington Post. Retrieved from

Origins Behavior Health Care. (2019, February 20). Retrieved from

Pietrangelo, A. (2018, July 2). Health Line. Retrieved from

Prosecuting Attorney. (2019). Retrieved from

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