17 Jan

Unemployment linked to domestic violence

first_imgThe increase in unemployment is a creating a higher risk for incidents of domestic violence, says United States (US) psychologist and author Dr Steven Stosny.He was speaking with Sunday Newsday during a break at a domestic violence conference held at the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel, Mucurapo.Stosny reported he has been informed that the domestic violence rate in Trinidad is high and observed that all over the world it gets higher as unemployment goes up.He pointed out that in the US when there is a quarter point tick up in the unemployment rate, there is a quarter point tick up in domestic violence and it is almost directly correlated.“It is mostly because males when they can’t protect their families start feeling bad about themselves and that’s when they are more likely to be abusive. So unemployment and underemployment in the males when they get jobs below their skill level or where they don’t make very much money there’s a higher risk of domestic violence,” he explained.In the past few months hundreds of workers have been sent home from companies such as steel companies ArcelorMittal, and Centrin, construction company OAS Construtora and oil company Respol and Labour Minister Jennifer Baptiste-Primus has described the trend as a period of “mass retrenchment”.Stosny said because of the oil collapse this country’s economy is worse and in Canada there is a similar problem because of the oil sands.He added that while that culture is very different from Trinidad and Tobago they are experiencing the same up tick in domestic violence because of the economic crisis.In his presentation, he spoke of the need to focus on the abuser as well as the victim.“Victims do need support but you are not going to change the problem of domestic violence unless you change the abuser because they are the ones doing it. So you’ve got to do both,” he said.He said a lot of the bravado that is seen in the Trinidad and Tobago population is people defending themselves “from thinking their life sucks”.He explained that one reason why the literature on domestic violence had not progressed was because the crime is defined by the victim and not the abuser.He said that in any case of abuse, whether between heterosexuals, between homosexuals, child abuse or elder abuse, the motivation is the same — power and control. He stressed that this was the symptom and abusers believe they are unlovable and inadequate and have to be manipulative, deceitful and possessive to earn affection.He pointed out that if someone tells an abuser that they love them they would not believe it but believe they want their money or something else.He explained that these “attachment abusers” try to change the reflection of themselves as powerless, inadequate and unlovable by manipulating the mirror of the attachment and their partners.“To devalue something you have to be in a devalued state yourself,” he said.He explained abusers lack skills and pro-social empowerment and use the fragile substitution of values for power.He said the anger makes them feel powerful but when this wears off they crash and become depressed and end up on a roller coaster of anger and depression.“A lot of abusive people are anger junkies,” he added.Stosny advised that abusers be taught pro-social empowerment to make them feel valued, instil in them the conviction that they can make their lives better and to get them in touch with their deeper values.He said they need to change their brains through focus and repetition of healthy behaviours.During his presentation, he spoke of the abuse he suffered from his father including a hole in his head he received when his father hit him with a shingle at age three.He noted, however, that the most vivid memories were when his parents would spend days without speaking each other. His mother eventually left his father and remarried. (Trinidad Newsday)last_img read more

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