Joyce is a 34-year-old woman who has been married 10 years. She has three children, all less than 10 years old: Sheena (age 9), Jack (age 6), and Beth (age 2). Her husband is a prominent attorney. They present an ideal picture of an upper-middle-class family. They live in a fashionable suburb. The husband has been successful to the extent that he has been made a full partner in a large law firm. The family is very active in church, the country club, and various other social organizations. Joyce is an active member of several charitable, civic, and social groups. Joyce’s initial call to the abuse center was vague and guarded. She expressed an interest in inquiring for “another woman” in regard to the purpose of the center. After she had received information and an invitation to call back, a number of weeks elapsed. Joyce’s second call occurred after receiving a severe beating from her husband.
Joyce tells the crisis worker in the phone:”Well, last night he beat me worse than ever. I thought he was really going to kill me this time. It had been building up for the past few weeks. His fuse was getting shorter and shorter, both with me and the kids. It’s his work, I guess. Finally he came home late last night. Dinner was cold. We were supposed to go out, and I guess it was my fault . . . I complained about his being late, and he blew up. Started yelling that he was gonna teach me a lesson. He started hitting me with his fists . . .knocked me down . . . and then started kicking me. I got up and ran into the bathroom. The kids were yelling for him to stop and he cuffed Sheena . . . God, it was horrible! (Wracked with sobs for more than a minute. CW waits.) I’m sorry, I just can’t seem to keep control.”
As the crisis worker:
1-What typical dynamics did you see occurring—denial, guilt, fear, rationalization, withdrawal, and so on—in the victim? How would you as the crisis worker handle them?