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DQ # 4 : “I Am Not a Batterer!”

Maria and Victor got married in their early 20s. According to Maria, shortly after their wedding Victor began to treat her as if she were his “servant.” For example, he expected her to do all the household chores and to have dinner ready within 30 minutes of his arrival home from work, even though she also had a full-time job. Within two years of their marriage, Maria got pregnant, but Victor’s demands did not decline. After their son was born, Maria felt that Victor was jealous of the attention she gave the baby. Although Maria was doing nearly all the child care, including getting up several times each night for feedings, Victor became increasingly critical of her housekeeping, her cooking, and her appearance. He began to go out with his friends after work, returning home late at night, often drunk. He told Maria he couldn’t stand having to listen to a crying baby, in a “dirty” house with a wife who “didn’t take care of herself anymore,” he deserved to have fun with his friends and to relax because he worked hard to support his family.

One weekend morning, when Victor returned home after having been out all night, Maria angrily confronted him about his behavior. Victor flew into a rage and pushed Maria into a kitchen cabinet, causing her to fall and hit her head. While she was on the floor, Victor kicked her repeatedly, while insulting her and calling her names. The noise awakened the baby, and Victor stormed off to their bedroom, yelling at Maria to “shut the baby up” so he could get some sleep. Maria went to get the baby, but while she was soothing him, she called the police and then her sister, Alicia. When the police arrived, they saw Maria’s injuries and took her report of what had happened; they arrested Victor. Alicia took Maria to the emergency room, where she was treated for two broken ribs, a cut on her head that required five stitches to close, and multiple contusions on her back and legs.

When they left the hospital, Alicia took Maria and the baby to her house and called the local crisis hotline, which put Maria in contact with a victim advocate. With the help of the advocate, Maria filed for and was granted an emergency protection order. Victor was subsequently convicted of misdemeanor assault and was mandated to a 52-week batterer intervention program (BIP). Although Victor complied with the court’s order, he stated in both individual and group sessions that it made him angry to attend the BIP. He insisted that his wife had “provoked” him into hitting her and that she had “put on an act” to convince the judge that she was a “battered woman.” But, Victor repeatedly insisted, “I am not a batterer!”

Q: What are some risk factors associated with intimate partner perpetrators? What risk factors did Victor display in this case?

Q What are some attitudes and beliefs, which support intimate partner violence? Did Victor display any attitudes and beliefs supportive of intimate partner violence? If so, which attitudes and beliefs did Victor display?

Q: Why are many intimate partner perpetrators sentenced to batterer intervention program (BIP) and not jail? Do you believe batterer intervention program (BIP) work? Do you believe Victor will commit another act of violence after completing the batterer intervention program (BIP)? Why or why not?