Comparisons were made between strategies used on prisoners of war (POWs) and battered wives to determine whether battering tactics are gender specific and thus a result of sexism, or whether battering is a reflection of societal violence. Similarities found between strategies used by captors and batterers were (a) psychological abuse within the context of violence; (b) the use of emotional dependency based on intermittent reinforcement; and (c) isolation from the victim's support system resulting in validation of assailant's beliefs and behavior. Both captors and batterers were successful in destroying the individual's self-identity, as well as eliciting and controlling certain kinds of behavior, when the victim remained isolated from a democratic setting. Differences in the experiences of POWs and battered wives center around the type of a hierarchical structure. In the case of battered wives, a patriarchal family legitimates male domination over women; therefore, the violence occurs within a sexist context.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Gender Studies
- Social Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology