EMANCIPATION OF BATTERED WOMEN: SCENARIOS OF EDUCATIONAL EMPOWERMENT
In the modern society the issue of battered women is one of the most severe contemporary problems that are relevant for countries of all cultures, religions. Battered women as victims of domestic violence is no longer only the problem of society health: globally it is valued as social and public security problem requiring complicated decisions and complex discussions (Mider, 2013, Sharma, 2013, Lester, 2007, Hanmer et al., 2006, Giddens, 2005, Oliveira et al., 2014, Kasnauskienė, Račkauskienė, 2008, Ali, Naylor, 2013, Kasturirangan, 2008, etc.).
Domestic violence is named as hidden phenomenon. Its great latency manifests when violence victims are liable to suppress experienced domestic violence and its harm. Battered women experience not only physical injuries; often psychological effects and the trauma, which negatively influence life quality and working capacity of a victim, are not estimated. Such women face particular difficulties in changing painstakingly and taking responsibility for their life. Thus comprehensive help and prevention must help women to refuse the position of ‘a victim’ or to avoid their becoming victims. In this sense woman’s emancipation becomes relevant; it should be treated as person’s emancipation from different restrictions caused by public and social environment. It is possible to achieve emancipation by different ways; one of them is help rendering.
Scientific literature (Berry, 2000, Jones, 2000, Gilligan, 2002, Dirsienė and Reikertienė, 2008, etc.) distinguishes the following ways of the help: social, legal, psychological, and educational. If the first three aspects are analyzed at length both in theoretical and practical attitudes, it is not enough attention paid to educational help, especially to woman’s educational empowerment in concrete phases, in which the decision-making ‘to live differently’ takes place; that leads to emancipational processes. Often, programs for battered women write mission statements that name ‘empowerment’ as a major goal of services. However, programs do not necessarily define what empowerment for battered woman entails. On the other hand, it is not disclosed how an educator has to act in the above-mentioned phases in order that woman’s empowerment ‘to live differently’ would occur. The article will pursue to answer these problematic questions. First of all, the article analyzes constructs of domestic violence and a battered woman; phases of woman’s emancipation process; possible scenarios of educational empowerment: ‘from the top to the bottom’, ‘from the bottom to the top’; essential elements of empowering educational programs. The article states that programs designed to empower should consider whether simply increasing a person’s sense of control over their lives is sufficient. For programs designed to address domestic violence, goals and actions should be grounded in the three pillars of empowerment: self-determination, distributive justice, and collaborative and democratic participation. In order to answer the research questions, the following theoretical constructs are used: empowerment (Freire, 2000, Foucault, 1979, Thorlakson, Murray, 1996, Douglas and Zimmerman, 1995), decision-making model (Cismaru, Lavack, 2010), three pillars of empowerment (Kasturirangan, 2008).