ABS 200 Introduction to Applied Behavioral Science
October 21, 2013
Poverty in America- Case Study “Dee” I will describe a case study based on Dee, and poverty in America. As I write this I will share Dee’s life, how and why she is in poverty. “I am too proud to complain,” (Seccombe, 2007) Dee in my case study will tell us. While most experience poverty as individuals, we on the outside looking in cannot fully grasp its causes and effects without an appreciation of the social environment in which poverty exists. Poverty is experienced both on a macro, societal level, and experience. To truly understand it requires us to connect both the micro- and macro-level experiences. Dee is hoping to avoid programs like welfare, and food stamps or Medicaid, but there are few options open to those in the cycle of poverty. Poverty is increasing in America. What are the reasons for poverty for those like Dee, how did they get there? Is the cause individualism, social structuralism, culture of poverty, or fatalism?
In the case study I am presenting about Dee, in this paper the focal point will be on poverty and how Dee ended up there. What events and factors took place for her to end up and remain in the cycle of poverty? This study is based on a client named Dee, who lives in poverty. I will share Dees background influences that led to her situation. The fact that she does not want to except help from the government in terms of welfare, food stamps, or nor does she accept that this is the way her life will always be. Dee is a 31-year-old woman with an 11 year old daughter. “She is happy to be alive, after years of submitting to physical and sexual abuse by her domineering husband, she is finally free.” (Seccombe, 2007). It took Dee a long time to get from that place to where she is now. She makes few apologies for herself, “I just didn’t know that I was worth more than that,” she says. (Seccombe, 2007). Dee grew up in a home that was also in poverty, it was impoverished economically, socially, and spiritually, so she married at age 18 to escape that environment. What she cares about most is her daughter, Clare. “Can she ever forgive me for making her live like that—for seeing her momma bleeding on the floor? For seeing her daddy leaning over me with a bat, laughing? For listening to us as we cursed each other?” (Seccombe, 2007). For her to finally get out of that situation, it took both police intervention and help from her church members to leave her abusive husband. Those church members that cared about her finally insisted after a brutal attack from her husband that she move to a safe place. They found temporary shelter at the home of a church member’s sibling. “For the first time in a long while, maybe forever, Dee said she felt safe.” (Seccombe, 2007). All of these factors combined leave Dee and Clare in the cycle of poverty. She wants to be on her own and self-sufficient. Why is life so hard for her?
This is what explains the uncertain situation of Dee, Clare, and the millions of others who have difficulty meeting basic needs for food, shelter, and clothing. Why are people poor? The video from James Li indicates the cycle of poverty and similarities in relation to my case study. This video explains the cycle of poverty for individuals such as “Virnie, with lack of education, low income jobs, absence of healthcare, nonexistent affordable housing, and many other things”, just as Dee has faced. Therefore government dependence is passed on from generation to generation without the ability for them to get out. (Li, James May 2007). There are many theories offered to explain the nature of poverty and why so many individuals are impoverished in the United States (Seccombe, 2011). Another case from the video, Tammy’s story shows the similarities to my case study. It features Tammy a mom of four children living on the