What does reflection mean men cowards
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A break could perhaps defuse the situation: Violent men often strike out of a faint. Photo: Juanmonino (iSTock)
A man recently shot his wife and then himself at Zurich's Europaallee. In Stansstad, a pensioner killed his wife. And in Spreitenbach a grandfather killed his partner and grandson. It all happened within the first two months of this year.
In 2016, 10,040 people were victims of domestic violence in Switzerland. According to the figures from the police crime statistics (here as PDF), 76 percent of the accused were men and 73 percent of the victims were women. 45 percent of the rapes also occurred in the home. 19 people died in 2016 as a result of domestic violence, 95 percent women were the victims and 90 percent men were the perpetrators.
What's going wrong in these families? What is the matter with men who do this to their wives and children? And can we prevent such acts with the right education? I spoke to Martin Bachmann from the Zurich office. He has been advising men who have become violent or are afraid of becoming violent for almost 20 years.
Domestic violence numbers are incredibly high and keep getting higher. Why?
I don't think domestic violence has increased. Today, however, people are more aware than they used to be and react more quickly with a display or a message. And that's good. It is also the case that our changing role models and relationship expectations increase the need for communication. We have to negotiate more.
Still, the numbers are high. When do men become perpetrators and why?
Martin Bachmann from the Zurich office. Photo: PD
Fainting is more threatening for men than for women. In my work, I assume that behind the vast majority of cases of domestic violence there is powerlessness and excessive demands. The stupid images of stereotypical masculinity, of the real man who can somehow fix everything, still make men badly endure fear and stress. Many of these men have not learned how to deal with feelings such as anger and fear and how to express them in words. That is why it is so important for men to talk, talk and talk again - also about their failures and defeats.
And what about the recent extended suicide on Europaallee in Zurich?
This is an extreme example. There were certainly other factors too. Without knowing more details, I assume in this case that the murderer had an individual disposition to it, which was reinforced by various destabilizing factors such as job loss, poverty, social isolation, loss of face, and his own history of violence. Thank goodness such cases are rare.
Most acts of domestic violence occur in young families. Why?
The traditional trap often snaps shut for young families. Suddenly there is a rigid division of paid work and family work. Many men come under pressure to provide for a family income on their own. The sexuality in the relationship changes, lack of sleep stresses the nerves, the orientation towards the family of origin becomes more important, the mutual dependency increases enormously. This is a great challenge for everyone involved. That is why young fathers very often come to the man’s office. They are stressed, freak out when there is a conflict, beat the children, the woman, and throw things around. The men realize that they have to be helped.
How can you help a man who has a problem with violence?
In violence counseling, we always first make a well-founded assessment of the situation with him. Often after a short time it becomes apparent what the next step could be useful for the client and his environment. This can be, for example, an “emergency nest” with the parents, counseling for couples, refreshing old friendships and organizing more free time. The men and couples affected usually need more air: no more overtime, no more weekend work and regularly spending an evening with friends - or then consciously as a couple. In this way, the man can develop perspectives and find the first ways out of the powerlessness.
And that means that he no longer strikes?
Together with a client, we develop an emergency kit for times of crisis in a practical manner and on the basis of specific events. He learns to recognize internal warning lights and a possible escalation and to interpret them correctly. The man has to notice when he starts to threaten, has violent fantasies and his body sends out stress signals: high pulse, fast breathing, stomach ache or tense muscles are part of it. Feeling these warning lights is the basis for an emergency program, for practical alternative courses of action instead of violence. Instead of freaking out and slamming, ask him to go out, take a deep breath, and take a break of at least 30 minutes to relax. He should do something that is personally good for him, such as going for a walk, screaming in the forest, drinking tea, hitting a punching bag. So we strengthen men in their self-perception and ability to act in crises.
Do women become perpetrators too?
Domestic violence can be committed by women and men. Some studies convincingly show that "lighter" cases such as a slap in the face or being pushed away are almost equally committed by both.
What preventive measures can we parents do in bringing up their children?
Basically, I find it very important to sensitize boys and girls: for a variety of roles, for alternative courses of action instead of violence. Girls need to learn to say STOP confidently, not to engage with men who engage in violence. Boys need to learn to confidently seek help and express feelings.
Why role diversity?
Children who get to know a wide range of male and female roles are more likely to be more tolerant and feel less pressure to conform to an ideal. I also find it important to learn to talk to friends and acquaintances about stress in the relationship and how we cope with crises. Because violence grows in loneliness and hardship. Men have to talk to men about being a man. It takes education, sensitization, training and offers of help.
In addition to the mannebüro züri, men in couples 'crises and problems with violence are also available to the following offices: Victims advice in Zurich, the police's specialist offices on domestic violence, the parents' emergency number, couples and marriage advice centers and other independent advice centers on the subject of violence.
Affected women can contact the following locations: Women's emergency telephone, women's counseling, the BIF advice centeror Victim Counseling & Victim Support Zurich.
You can also read on the topic of the analysis «Deadly Narcissism», the post «Stay away from the children!» and "Hitting is forbidden", the guest contribution by a pediatrician.
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