Marital violence: study on stress coping strategies and styles
Violence has been part of the history of mankind. This phenomenon is as old as the first human instinct to dominate, to survive. At present, it has sought to conceptualize and problematize him due to the various conditions derived from it . In recent centuries, humanity has been violated at unprecedented scales. The hatching of different ideologies of hatred has stained the chronology of the human being with blood, however there is still more behind this dark panorama.
Conjugal violence: definition and context
The ghost of violence is becoming more tangible every day. It crawls through the streets, spreads through the media, gurgles at work centers, schools and homes. The number of investigations in this regard, typical of psychology professionals and experts in the field, has increased in recent decades due to the need to generate new knowledge of both their causes and their consequences. It is evident that it is no longer enough to reflect on the problem, we must create psychological and social theories that allow us to prevent and correct this illness that afflicts the whole society. For this, a greater understanding of reality, which is so complex today, must be achieved, directing efforts towards pertinent actions that not only prevent, but also lead to a reformulation of social paradigms around violence.
A study entitled "Unmasking conjugal violence: relationship between coping with stress and the prolongation or termination of a devastating idyll", analyzed the violence and its types according to the categorization established by the World Health Organization (WHO) in the private sphere and addressed 3 variants of violence: family violence, intimate partner violence and gender violence, focusing mainly on conjugal violence.
According to the WHO (2014), systematic abuse between two or more members of the family is called family or intrafamily violence ; conjugal violence refers to the behavior of the couple or ex-partner that causes physical, sexual or psychological damage and gender violence is that which emphasizes violence against women because of their female gender, although some of the latter differ specialists and which will be detailed later.
The consequences of conjugal violence
Now, what are the repercussions of the acts of violence on the subjects of study? Violence, in all its expressions (psychological, physical, economic, patrimonial, sexual and symbolic), has consequences that can be observed both socially and individually.
On an individual level they manifest physically and psychologically . The individual level has serious repercussions in the social aspect; where serious conditions are found in education, in the economy and in politics. Both individually and socially speaking, violence directly affects the quality of life. Psychologically speaking, the quality of life is modulated by different factors such as: anxiety, depression, expectations towards treatment, social support and stress in its different modalities.
The word stress has become so common today that its true effect has been neglected. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), stress is defined by Baum as "... [all] annoying emotional experience that comes accompanied by predictable biochemical, physiological and behavioral changes". When facing a stressful situation, individuals tend to resort to certain actions that allow them to regain control of the situation and reduce the level of stress; This is known as coping.
The coping is, then, any resource used by the affected person to cope or cope with the stressful event; these resources can be cognitive or behavioral. The coping resources are formed by thoughts, attitudes, omissions, reinterpretations, behaviors, etc., the individual in question can develop or adopt different types of coping, it is also necessary to mention that not all people react in the same way to certain situations.
The emergence of stress in conjugal violence: a study
The studies that allow us to know about coping with stress in both men and women who suffer from conjugal violence are limited. Studying coping and its styles will allow deciphering other methods that serve as prevention or guidance to cope with spousal violence. Because, The aforementioned study aimed to identify the frequency of stress coping strategies and styles used by men and women victims of conjugal violence. ; as well as the relationship that exists between these and the permanence or termination of the relationship.
Among the voices with no name and the invisible ones that are still present, there were 5 subjects that constituted the cases of study; 3 of the female sex and 2 of the male sex. Initially, there were more subjects who had already given their approval to be interviewed, but when faced with the questionnaire questions, they opted to abstain from participating. There were some who preferred not to participate but asked for a bit of time just to tell their story, which were not included in the study because the other instruments were not completed.
Matizando: women and men can suffer conjugal violence
It is also necessary to point out that although statistically the woman is the one who mostly suffers from violence in all its spheres, for this study the male was also included because of the importance that this represents for the search of greater gender equity in society. This is due to the fact that gender equality can not be talked about when attention is paid to one of the two sexes, leaving invisibility to violence against men only because of their masculine condition. Conjugal violence, whether man to woman, woman to man, man to man or woman to woman, is reprehensible and can not be accommodated within society.
The study subjects were selected for availability in terms of sex, orientation, age and schooling. In terms of age, they were in a range between 25 and 55 years. All are currently working and their levels of schooling range from average to postgraduate. This allowed the fact that there is a diversity of factors that influence conjugal violence, including social and cultural factors, during the investigation.
It is also important to mention that when talking about violence, the mind tends to invoke or visualize it graphically with broken lips and violet eyelids, however, according to not only the results of this research but also based on the results published by INEGI in the 2011 ENDIREH, of the four types of violence the most representative is emotional or psychological because of its high incidence rates. It is due to the daily occurrence of psychological violence, which has naturalized, minimizing in turn the risks that it entails, which were mentioned above and that allow progress between the different phases of violence.
Within the ENDIREH questionnaire used for the interview, a section called opinion on gender roles was found, which mainly refers to the most common stereotypes related to the female and male sex. In the results of this section, 100% of the interviewees concluded that they disagreed that the woman must obey in everything that is ordered, in which the man must bear all the responsibility of the expenses in the home and in which it is the woman's obligation to have sexual relations with her partner. Also 100% of the subjects agreed that the care of the children should be shared as a couple and the ability of the woman to work and earn money. This allows us to see that absolutely all the interviewees sought a politically correct answer, avoiding providing an answer that was in accordance with their true opinion or reality. In this case, it is recommended that ENDIREH rethink the questions in this section. For the purposes of this research, it was not necessary to elaborate another instrument that would cover this section because these data were considered secondary and were not taken into consideration for the validation or refutation of the research premises since gender stereotypes they are not part of the objects of study.
Another important but alarming fact was found during the interview when the study subjects expressed their dissatisfaction with regard to the attention obtained at the time they requested help from the corresponding authorities and family members. Both men and women reported that when they requested support, they were denied or the process was extremely long.
In relation to strategies and coping styles, both sexes had almost similar proportions in terms of self-blame strategies, with only .2 points of difference between their means. The above means that Both men and women have a similar tendency to blame themselves for acts of violence against them. These types of strategies are very dangerous since to a certain extent they justify conjugal violence allowing the victim to stoically endure the abuse. At the other extreme are the acceptance and ventilation strategies, which have a difference of 3.4 and 3 points, respectively, with men using the most resources of these types.
Synthesizing, from the results obtained it can be concluded that the subjects, men and women, who are victims of conjugal violence usually use both coping styles focused on the problem and those focused on emotion, however there is a difference in the frequency of strategies employed between men and women, with a greater recurrence to the styles focused on the problem on the part of women as well as a greater incidence in styles focused on emotion on the part of men. The above means that women have a greater recurrence to confront conjugal violence actively, seeking to eliminate or diminish the effects of violence and violence itself; while the male confronts him in an inactive manner and with strategies more oriented towards the emotional and his interpretation of the problem.
The fact that men had more recurrence to employ coping styles focused on the problem suggests that the mediatization of stereotypes and the role of men lead them to cope with stress passively, compared to women, where day by day it is less accepted the mistreatment by his partner.
Regarding the results thrown on the coping styles used by the study subjects, it was observed that those individuals who decide to remain in a violent relationship have a greater repertoire of strategies that allow them to face the problem , compared to those who decided to terminate the relationship. It was also shown that of the subjects studied, those who used more resources within the style of coping with the problem were more likely to end their relationship as can be seen in the following table.
According to Díaz-Aguado, psychology has the faculty and the duty to be a protagonist as a substantial agent in the fight against violence. One of the essential factors is the representation of it, that is, "the representation that a person or a people has of violence and its possible victims, plays a decisive role in the risk of exercising it" (Díaz-Aguado, 1999 , p.415). That is why through this study we sought to show that conjugal violence is not inevitable. Uncovering the multiple faces of conjugal violence as well as the styles and coping strategies employed by the victims is an attempt to reconfigure the current representation of partner violence. For now we can only say that the road against violence is long and narrow, but each step is not a step in vain.