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Even for batterers who do drink, there is little evidence to suggest a clear pattern that relates the drinking to the abusive behavior.The majority (76 percent) of physically abusive incidents occur in the absence of alcohol use (Kantor & Straus, 1987), and there is no evidence to suggest that alcohol use or dependence is linked to the other forms of coercive behaviors that are part of the pattern of domestic violence.The experiences of battered women, however, challenge this view. Battered women report that even when their partners appear “uncontrollably drunk” during a physical assault, they routinely exhibit the ability to “sober up” remarkably quickly if there is an outside interruption, such as police intervention. The progressive nature of the violence is likened to the progressive nature of the disease of addiction, inviting the use of an addictions model for responding to the problem of battering. “Domestic Violence and Substance Abuse: A Cooperative Approach Toward Working with Dually Affected Families.” In Social Work Practice with Clients Who Have Alcohol Problems, ed.
Conversely, some batterers purposefully target their partners’ faces to compel isolation or to disfigure them so that “no one else will want them.” Batterers can articulate their personal limits regarding physical abuse, reporting, for example, that while they have slapped their partners with an open hand, they would never punch them with their fists. Similarly, little has been done to assist battered women with chemical dependency problems to meet their need for both safety and sobriety.Neither system currently is equipped to provide the range of services needed by battered women and batterers who are affected by chemical dependency.There is also an increased awareness that the societal tendency to blame domestic violence victims and excuse perpetrators is rooted in a history of cultural and legal traditions that have supported the domination and abuse of women by men in intimate relationships.Despite greater public awareness, however, myths and misconceptions about battered women’s experiences persist.