Stop The Violence
We are all victims of the abuse and violence around us. We learn by example, since our society is violent, that means, we learn how to survive – violently. Our survival skills support our efforts to prevail in win-lose situations no matter what the cost. These survival skills are brought into our homes and perpetuate the intergenerational cycle of violence. In a “normal” relationship, each partner tries to control their immediate surroundings in order to make sure that they are the winner every time even when they feel compelled to outdo someone they love. When everyone is vying for control, the person with the most powerful weapons is usually the winner. One of the most powerful weapons in a relationship is emotion, and women are socialized to be better at using emotion. However, physical violence is the one thing that ends most arguments. When one of the antagonists is beaten into submission it is clear who the winner is and the battle can end – for now. In our socialization of men, it is very clear that they are to be the winner and that they will do what it takes to win, including using physical violence.

So where does it stop? Locking up an adult male and providing crisis intervention for the victim has not stopped the violence. One way to begin the healing process is to stop creating victims and stop being victims. When we can start taking responsibility for ourselves and learn how to create a win-win mentality, we will have taken a big step towards stopping violence. Currently domestic violence treatment consists of crisis intervention. Crisis intervention is short-term counseling with the purpose of returning the person to their previous (pre-crisis) state. We need long term change to really affect the violence around us. The Band-Aid of short term crisis intervention is important for the immediate crisis, but is only a stopgap and should be used only until we can begin the true process of healing. It is through long term change that we will finally end the violence in our homes and society.

Long term plan

  • Stop the immediate violence and provide safety for the victim and the perpetrator – separately.
  • Provide basic tools for nonviolent communication to victim and perpetrator – separately.
  • Assess the progress of each and determine the safety level for each.
  • Assist those who request it in deciding whether couples therapy is a viable option for them. Develop a therapeutic alliance and goal treatment plan for each partner separately (with own individual counselor).
  • Develop a therapeutic alliance and goal/treatment plan with counselors and partners for on going couples therapy. Concurrent individual sessions would be available when appropriate.

Become An Ally
Intervening with Batterers

John Crandall, M.A.
May 1997

. . . “‘treating’ the tiny minority of batterers that get ‘caught,’. . . and measuring their progress as an indication of success in ending violence against women, is foolish at best. At worst it is a genuine betrayal of the women being abused and the women who have struggled so hard to force the problem into public view.”

Batterers’ programs are here to stay and we need to pay them careful attention so that they don’t contribute to the danger to battered women. At the same time we need to see them as a small part of a comprehensive, coordinated community response to male violence. And we must not get so bogged down in developing that community response that we neglect the broader organizing, activism, education and prevention work that will truly stop the violence.

Excerpted from Where Do Batterer’s Intervention Programs Fit In,
by Paul Kivel

Speak Up

  • Get Help – Violence is not a solution; it is part of the problem!
  • Find other ways to deal with what’s bothering you
  • When you hit, you don’t take control, you give it away
  • Don’t do something you’ll be sorry for later
  • Ask For Help

The Witness
Speak Up

  • Children, Relatives, Friends
  • A Witness to violence is a victim of Violence
  • Nearly 4 Million children are kicked, bitten, or punched by a parent; 1 million have been threatened by a parent with a knife or a gun
  • Family Violence is not a private matter
  • Don’t let people hurt each other
  • You Can Make a difference

The Victim
Speak Up

  • You don’t deserve to be abused
  • You have a right to freedom from fear
  • You are not alone and help is available
  • Your confusion and fear are well founded as 1 million women seek help each year for injuries from being battered

Some Intervention Methods

  • First and foremost, in your own mind, separate the behavior from the person
  • You can make a difference
  • Approach as a peer – do not assume a one up or one down position
  • Emphasize that Violence is against the law
  • Use the basic skills that most counselors employ – Actively listen, empathize, reflect feelings, rephrase, summarize, clarify, and prioritize
  • Share your reality and validate the facts that violence is not a solution
  • There is no excuse for abuse
  • Nothing anyone can do can “cause” another to be violent
  • Share the characteristics of those who batter
  • After they have vented, begin to problem solve
  • Prioritize – a commitment to nonviolence is first
  • Devise a safety plan. Teach them the time out
  • Point out alternatives and consequences of returning to the situation
  • Bolster their self-worth – acknowledge that they are a valuable person.
  • Point out that it is their behavior that is unacceptable, not them as a person
  • Share the Cycle of Violence, pointing out that it only gets worse. A “wait and see” attitude is an invitation to repeat the cycle
  • Share the” Time out” as a way to “break the cycle”


  • Empower them to seek treatment and refer them to a qualified Batterer’s Treatment Program

Relating to Our Cultural Traditions

Boys in America and in other Countries grow up learning many things – how to be a “real” man, how to be sexual, how to relate to women. However there are differences. We all come from different classes, races, religions, and families. One of the most important influences on how we develop is our cultural and ethnic identity.

We may not all be the same, but our struggles to retain our dignity are not all that different. From personal histories and socio-cultural background, we forge our adult identities, visions and actions. We take our understanding about who men are from our unique background, then negotiate with the dominant culture about who we can be.

Growing up as a man in this society is a process of confronting our disappointments when we don’t measure up to the idealized man. As the realities of powerlessness begin to hit us, we see the limits to the rewards available to us and how few of us there are that reach the top. All men must face the reality of the limits on our lives. But this process differs depending on our racial and class backgrounds.

We all grow up fearing men in general and especially men from other social groups. We try to accumulate power and buy in to the “us-them, win-lose” mentality. These attitudes allow us to justify violence that is done to other people. Scapegoating is an integral part of male violence and protects perpetrators of violence.

We are all taught lies about ourselves and one another. It takes the slow, painful process of a lifetime to learn the truth. We are taught that differences are reasons to fear, put down, and target others for violence. Everyone is different. There is no normal, majority, mainstream, melted together American model. It is not easy to value our differences and let go of training that judges and devalues other people. But we can decide now not to pass on the pain of that learning.

Cultural-Societal Roots of Violence

  • Cultural Characteristics of Societal Conditions that Perpetuate Violence
  • Scapegoating another (group/individual)
  • Devaluing another (group/individual)
  • Strong respect for (or need to obey) authority
  • Monolithic vs. Pluralistic Cultures
  • History of aggression – normalizes violence

Causes of Youth Violence

  • Lack of Familial Structure and Guidance
  • Observation of Violence
  • Coercive Families
  • Self-Socialization – a self fulfilling prophecy
  • Negative view of children
  • Conceptions of maleness
  • Poverty, Prejudice, and Discrimination
  • Gangs as a fulfillment of a Developmental Need
  • Minority Cultures
  • Violence Cultures
  • Overcoming Violence
  • Challenge the devaluation of others and extend the boundaries of us
  • Strengthening the capacity of individuals to oppose Destructive Group Policies and Practices
  • Critical Loyalty
  • Parent Training
  • Caring Schools
  • Improve the condition of parent’s lives
  • Increase Awareness of individuals and groups of their role and potential power as bystanders
  • Alleviate cultural weaknesses that arise from past wounds inflicted on minority groups
  • Constructive Visions

(Staub 1996)