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Sociological Effects

Exposure to violence within an individuals immediate social environment can

produce temporary or permanent changes in that individual's physical health and
emotional state (Adam, Glick, Shaprio, Umberson, 443).

For those women who have children, domestic violence can severely impair a
parent's ability to nurture the development of their children. Mothers who are
abused may be depressed or preoccupied with the violence. They may be
emotionally withdrawn or numb, irritable or have feelings of hopelessness. The
result can be a parent who is less emotionally available to their children or
unable to care for their children's basic needs. Battering fathers are less
affectionate, less available, and less rational in dealing with their children.
Studies even suggest that "battered women may use more punitive child-rearing
strategies or exhibit aggression toward their children." (Newton)

In nearly all cases of abuse, women report feelings of intense worthlessness and
inadequacy. These feelings, although a result of abuse, transcend to other areas
of a victim's life, affecting her sense of self-worth and her ability to manage her
day-to-day life. Such feelings of sheer worthlessness and helplessness often
prevent women from seeking help or from telling others about their experience.

Women who are abused may withdraw from social activities, friends, or family.
They may choose to no longer participate in racial, ethnic, religious, or
community activities. This isolation may be the result of threats and
manipulation by her abuser or from a desire to keep the abusive nature of her
relationship secret. It may also be the result of shame. Unfortunately, after
telling others of their abuse, some women have experienced ridicule. Their abuse
was minimized, condoned, or excused. This very often leaves women feeling
alone, without immediate resources and support, and believing they are
inherently flawed. If a woman has left an abusive relationship, she may avoid
activities and social situations that might bring her into contact with her former
abusive partner. She may also avoid situations in which there are likely to be
mutual friends who are unsupportive or neutral.

Women At Work
Do not assume the effects of domestic violence are not confined to the home;
domestic violence encroaches upon a victim's workplace when her abuser
attempts to stalk, harass, injure, or threaten her at work. These behaviors not

only endanger the victim, they also put her co-workers, clients, and members of
the general public at risk.

Domestic violence in the workplace is costly to both the victim and to her
employer. A victim may suffer lost work, lost wages, and poor performance
appraisals. Her abuser may threaten her via phone, mail, fax, or email, and such
disturbances affect employees' ability to fulfill the requirements of their jobs. The
risk of job loss because of an abuser's continual harassment is very often a
barrier to leaving an abusive relationship.

Other long-term effects of domestic violence on women who have been abused
may include:

dissociative states
drug and alcohol dependence
eating disorders
emotional "over-reactions" to stimuli
general emotional numbing
panic attacks
poor adherence to medical recommendations
self neglect
sexual dysfunction
somatization disorders
strained family relationships
suicide attempts

an inability to adequately respond to the needs of their children