The study, which will appear online in the journal Social Science and Medicine, examined between a half-hour and two hours of conversations between over a dozen men and their abused partners as the men waited in jail regarding domestic abuse charges.
Researchers found that the first conversations usually involved a rehashing on the argument that took place on the night of the incident and the abused party acting confident and strong. By the third conversation, alleged domestic abusers will attempt to minimize events and downplay what had happened. Finally, abusers manipulate their partners into feeling sympathy for their plight – the poor conditions of the jail, the seriousness of the charges, and even missing their partner. Soon, the victim is agreeing to recant her story.
What can we learn from this study? Domestic abuse is much more than physical violence. Many abusers use mind games and manipulation to continue their cycle of abuse and keep their partner under their control. Those in an abusive relationship should understand these harmful patterns of violence and sympathy and try to break the cycle.
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