IntroductionThe National Coalition Against Domestic Violence definesdomestic violence as, “the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery,sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior perpetrated by an intimatepartner against another.”(NCADV 2015) While there have been studies of domesticviolence from a literary standpoint, domestic violence affects individuals inevery community, regardless of their age, race, religion, economic status, oreducational background.
Domestic violence, which is often accompanied byemotional abuse and/or controlling behavior, is part of an organized pattern ofdominance and control over the victim. There are many consequences associatedwith domestic violence including physical injury, psychological trauma, andsometimes, even death. It wasn’t only until recently that domestic violence wasfinally considered a violation of the law. Men have been bettering and abusingtheir wives or intimate partners for a long time, which historically was viewedas a “normal” act in marriages or intimate relationships.
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It wasn’t reallyuntil the end of the twentieth century, in the 1970’s, that domestic violencewas defined as a crime (Erez 2002). There are many different theories that canbe considered “the cause” of domestic violence, some of which include: Cultureof Violence Theory, Social Learning Theory and Patriarchal Theory. Along withthese specific theories there are other external factors in the offendersenvironment that can contribute to the abuse such as: stress, society demandsand drug and alcohol dependency. Abusers who commit domestic violence do so tocontrol their victims, and to maintain that control they threaten the victim’ssafety. Although there is no justification for their behavior, there aretheories in which can help us to understand exactly why and what reasons drivethese people to abuse the people they claim to “love.
” Cultureof Violence TheoryThe Culture of ViolenceTheory is the idea that in large societies, some subcultures have developed thenorm of physical violence. Meaning, family violence occurs more frequently infamilies that have a prior history or acceptance over those who do not have anyexperience with it. The normalness of violence in a culture or social group canbe encouraging to younger people. When a child gets beaten, or see their motherget beaten for not obeying orders, then that child will have it engraved intheir brain that when you or someone acts out they need to be beaten, itbecomes apart of life and the way you run a home. When a father comes home froma long day at work and wants his dinner and a cold beer handed to him and themother fails to comply, she gets beaten for her “disrespectful behavior.”Abusers have made stress a justification of why they abuse.
It could be stressfrom work, money problems, or the children, they try to glamorize the abuse byblaming it on stress and fail to take responsibility for hurting their victims.People who grow up in households where violence was a norm, tend to also usethat as a “get out” card. They blame their family history, or genetics as thereason for the abuse. The history of domestic violence stems from the idea thatmen had to maintain order in the households. They were expected to govern theirhomes, without remorse and uncontrolled force. This idea for some, continuedthroughout history, and was passed down from generation to generation likesomeone sort of trophy. Young boys who saw abuse, grew up to do the same totheir wives. Still today we have countries like Kenya and Pakistan that have nolaws against domestic violence.
In Pakistan women still face abuse daily, notonly from their husbands but also their mother-in-laws. Here in the U.S. wehave an incredible amount of domestic violence issues among famous athletes andstars.
Even with out strict laws, and so called women’s rights, we still tendturn the other cheek when we read story about a bettered women and her famousabuser. Domestic violence has become so normal that it is cultural. Social Learning TheorySocial learning theorystates that people learn from modeling and observational learning. Modeling,which basically means an individual learns by imitations of other individuals’behaviors and actions, and observational learning is when an individual learnsby observing the behaviors of those around them. When a child grows up in ahome where violence is practiced day-to-day then more often than not that childwill grow up to also be violent themselves or allow violence around them, overa child who grew up with little to no violence.
If a family deals with thestresses and frustrations of everyday life with anger and aggression then thatchild who has grown up in that environment, is at a greater risk to grow up anddo the same as an adult. Constantly witnessing domestic violence, especially asa child, can influence the child’s behavior and actions, along with increasingtheir tolerance for violence. Children can adapt to violence and violentbehaviors, and can eventually start to feel as if it were a normal thing.
Asthey grow older, they more often than not will start to display signs of anger,aggression and violence towards their partner. According to a 2013 UK Essay, fathers have thegreatest likelihood of perpetrating domestic violence. This occurs throughinflicting physical, sexual and psychological abuse to their children.
Consequently children create the mentality that confrontation and violence arethe modes of resolving conflict in their future relationships. Abuse andwitnessing parental violence augurs the possibility of not only the son’s violencebut also the daughters in their future relationships. (UK Essays 2013) Thefather, who is normally the head of a household, tends to use his masculinityand power to control and maintain order in the home.
This behavior is oftentimes imitated by children, and when they reach adulthood they too abuse theirpartner. We tend to focus on young boys but the focus should also be on younggirls who also witness this behavior and grow up to expect and accept the abusefrom their male partners. Patriarchal TheoryThePatriarchal Theory is a belief that violence in the home is acceptable; where amore powerful individual controls other people through various forms of forceand abuse. From as long as we can remember, there has been a militaristicmindset, where we handle all foreign and domestic affairs with violence. Theidea of using some sort of force to achieve an end-goal has been imbedded intoour society for decades. Whether it be soldiers investing foreign lands and/orraping the women who inhabit it, or the senior on the football team, who useshis power and prestige to do and get away with whatever.
Violencecan be used as a means of control that occurs in patriarchal societies. Johnson(1997) states that, “what drives patriarchy as a system is a dynamicrelationship between control and fear” (p.26). Men who are usually expected tohold control and ensure violence, mainly over women, as a means to obtain andmaintain control. On of the main branches of this theory is power.
Power, whichplays a huge role, sets the main agenda for patriarchy. The desire for powerand control over a victim is a common denominator in most, if not all, domesticabuse intimate relationships. There are many common behaviors that an abuserwill exercise onto their victims to assure that they maintain power and controlover them. Some of which include: threats, emotional abuse, blaming the victimfor their problems, and financial abuse. These, along with many others arecommon behaviors the abuser will demonstrate to control their partner.
Physicalviolence which eventually, is often associated with “domestic terrorism:” whichis basically the emotional, psychological and financial abuse that occurs as asort of total package in controlling and making sure that the victim cannot andwill not leave them. It is a sort of insecure move on the abusers part, becausethe fact that they need to control their partner this much to ensure that theydo not leave them shows how they really are not happy with themselves, and heidea of the victim leaving them drives them nuts. After sometimes of thephysical abuse and domestic terrorism, the victim begins to feel helpless, haslost their independence and has a broken self-esteem. This becomes more infavor of the abuser, because at this point the victim has no where to gobecause all outside ties have been cut off, they have no source of financialincome, aside from whatever the abuser allows them to have and they have noconfidence or strength to do anything about it.
ImplicationsDomestic violence is so common among women, and the batterydue to it is the single most common injury to women. It beats: rapes, muggingsand automobile accidents combined. When someone is taken into the hospital forinjuries, they of course are not released until they are fully recovered.However, when it comes to domestic violence victims, a lot of times they arereleased without any arrangements made for their safety from the abuse andtheir abuser, that cause their injuries in the first place. We need to bebetter about safe housing these women who have been beaten and abused, ratherthan treating them and sending them back into the home that has been their ownpersonal torture chamber. Hundreds of women come through ER’s everyday, someare even brought in by their abusers, but I think health professionals need tobe educated more on the tell tale signs of domestic abuse so they can betterassist the victims and help to get out of a potentially deadly situation. Weneed to extend the treatment for domestic violence past just bandages and icepacks, there needs to be more of a safety net for those women who have thecourage to leave and rather than stitching them up and sending them back, weneed to develop a program that ensures safety of the victims for as long asthey may need. Another way I think we can help to lessen the cause ofdomestic violence is by taking children who are in abusive homes out andkeeping them in a safe place.
When a child grows up in a home where domesticviolence or any physical violence is present, then he/she has the potential togrow up with severe mental and emotional issues. There have been studies afterstudies that have proven the negative affects of abuse on a child’s mind, andhow it can be a huge risk in the way they develop emotional feelings. Childrenwho grow up in homes where there isn’t constants abuse, not just physical butemotional and verbal abuse, that child often times than not grows up to alsoabuse their partner. Young girls who grow up around violence, often grow up tobelieve that it is normal behavior and when a man puts their hands on them itis normal, its apart of the relationship, which is very sad.
Long-term effectsare also huge factors that come into play with domestic abuse. Depression,anger, aggression, poor school performance, anxiety and low self-esteem are alleffects of the presence of abuse in homes. As a community we need to be able tocome together and help the children who are in abusive homes, create plans andprograms to help them possibly grow up in a safe place and help them to avoidthe exposure of domestic violence. Domestic violence is a topic that affectseveryone; it doesn’t see race, gender, religion or educational background.Young or old, everyone is prone to be a victim and some even the abuser. Wemust continue to have this discussion, and encourage women suffering in thesetormented relationships to come forward and speak up; know that their voicesare important and will be heard.