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Domestic violence: Social-cultural perspectives

1801 words (7 pages) Essay in Sociology

20/04/17 Sociology Reference this

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Domestic violence has been a serious social problem in many families, not only in the United States and United Kingdoms, but across the world. As per the 2003 surveys of the Centers for Disease Control, domestic problems or home violence had affected at least 32 million Americans (Bancroft, LT, & Jay, GS. 2003). Research studies have also shown that different countries have various ways of dealing with the family violence, its “public awareness, perception and documentation” are all prone to variations from State to State. Actually, the initial use of the concept “Domestic violence” can be traced back to 1977 when it was first identified as serious and growing phenomena, following a series of researches (Archer, J.2000, & Waits, K., 1985). These are a few manifestations that domestic violence has been a critical issue in many societies. It therefore deserved or still deserves to be given extra attention. This paper delves into the same, in attempt to find out, compile and discuss on issues surrounding domestic violence from different perspectives, and perhaps shed more light on the numerous cases of violence and social turbulences in homes and families.


The concept “Domestic violence” have also commonly been referred to as spousal abuse, domestic abuse, intimate partner violence, or child abuse depending on who is victimized or affected in a way by the violence at home (Johnson, M., 2000). Reading through the work of Bancroft and Jay, spousal, child or domestic abuse is the act or the behavior of violence against a child, or a spouse. It is a raging conflict that may exist within a relationship perceived as very intimate, the cases of violence in families, marriages, between friends, in dating and all the intimate relationships categorically enclosed (Bancroft, LT, & Jay, GS, 2003).

According to the “U.S Office on Violence against Women”, domestic violence had been defined as “a pattern of abusive conduct in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and authority over the other and control over an intimate partner” (Johnson, M., 2000).

In the year 2004, the Spanish “Measures of Integral Protection against gender Violence” contended that gender violence “is the violence directed at women from the very fact of being a woman”. This had been one of the most controversial and brutal sense of gender inequality ever witnessed in the history of domestic violence (Waits, K.1985).

Intimate partner violence (IPV) assumes many patterns of abuse. Among such things that research studies have categorized as behaviors of violence are assault, insults, beating in any form i.e. kicking, slapping or hitting with anything, shoving, sexual abuses, emotional and psychological torture, economic deprivation, maltreatments, slavery and many alike (Waits, K.1985).According to Robertson and his research counterparts, domestic violence have been attributed to a number of possible causes, ranging from alcoholism to mental illnesses (Robertson, KP, Murachver,TM., 2009).

Aim and Objective

The aim of this paper is to discuss at length issues of domestic violence from different social-cultural perspectives. The paper seeks to address the mushrooming challenges surrounding social demographics i.e. families and homes across the societal divides. Its objective is to give a succinct elaboration on what many researchers hold to be right or wrong about the domestic violence. It investigates into the previous research findings and methods that had been employed to establish whether the spousal, child or family abuses could be brought to a permanent end, or the society have to live with and appreciate the violence as part of life.

Literature Review

United States as a point of reference is the one State that researches have shown to contribute a greater magnitude of long lasting domestic violence. Prolonged account of legal precedents pertaining to spousal abuses and relationship conflicts were common trends in the United States (Waits, K.1985).Similar cases have continuously been observed in the rest of the societies of the world. This implies that domestic violence have been a worldwide socio-cultural fiasco, not narrowed to the United States alone (Waits, K.1985).

Many research studies have found that the most affected by the domestic violence are women. To begin with, the research conducted by Robertson and Murachver revealed that women were the first victims of all domestic chaos in every society. They emphasize many women were being battered, assaulted, insulted, sexually abused, emotionally and psychologically tortured by family affairs, and all manners of family violence (Robertson, KP, Murachver, TM. 2009).Backing up the claims of these researchers was Bancroft and his research colleagues. They too emphasized that even though domestic violence affected all the members of families, including children and the spouses, women were faced with the most staid domestic challenges resulting from the social conflicts and violence (Bancroft, LT, & Jay, GS, 2003).

The arguments and assertions of these researchers were however met by stern resistance from the National Institute of Justice whose research findings pointed out that both women and men were affected equally by domestic violence, and that to some extent or in some cases, men were faced with most challenges than could be compared to their wives and children (Waits, K., 1985, The Criminal Justice Response to Battering). The findings of the National Institute of Justice further contended men from a few families were also battered, assaulted and insulted by women, and so, justice had to prevail when handling domestic issues (Wait, K., 1985).

However, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) and the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) further refuted the findings of National Institute of Justice (NIJ), arguing that male and female spousal assaults could not be rated similarly as the research studies of the NIJ posited (Wait, K., 1985).The CDCP and BJS studies held there was more violence of men against women, men assaulting women, and not otherwise.

Debates surrounding domestic violence were becoming controversial and highly contested. Archer Jefferson and other conflict resolution researchers also had their own stand. They opposed the assumption of gender equity or gender neutrality in domestic violence as held by some research scholars and civil rights movements (Archer, J., 2000)

Pertinent to domestic violence characterized by controversial debates and arguments, there were also emerging gender movements whose major aims were to defend themselves against the claims on who between men and women violated the family peace accords the most. The first of such movements was a women’s movement that beginning in 1970s (Bancroft, LT, & Jay, GS, 2003).This movement was concerned with women’s rights which held that men were ruthlessly abusing their wives. This move was later to be countered by the masculine movements commencing from1990s. Modern attention given to domestic chaos put into consideration factors that could have led to commencement of the gender conflicts and domestic fiascos (Bancroft, LT, & Jay, GS, 2003).

Survey estimates have, too, indicated that in every 1000 females, approximately 240 were victims of domestic assaults as compared to only 76 in every 1000 men going through the same domestic traumas (Robertson, KP, Murachver, TM. 2009). Nevertheless, some anonymous reports released in 1997 revealed that a good number of men who suffer from the wraths and brutalities of women fail to say so, therefore living no substantial evidence that could be used to approve to what extent men suffer the domestic violence concomitant to women The reports, however, noted that there were no certified proves that men under-reported their cases than women or the vise versa (Robertson, KP, Murachver, TM. 2009).

The reports were though more categorical on the case of female reportage of domestic violence, admitting that a significant percentage of women were likely to accept they were being abused by their partners. This, according to reports, had been one of the challenges facing men, the fear to admit for safeguarding the perception of the masculine gender (Robertson, KP, Murachver, TM. 2009)

Research Methodologies

Among the most commonly used and criticized research methodology in investigating gender domestic violence was the use of Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS) survey tool. CTS was found in 1970 as a tool used in measuring the extent of domestic and gender conflicts through surveys and compilation of data. This research methodology was, however, met with stern criticisms and dissatisfaction by other research bodies like the U.S National Institute of Justice (NIJ), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) and the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) (Waits, K., 1985).

The above highlighted research organs commonly contended that the use of CTS in research was not effective in a number of ways. It did not measure critical domestic violence aspects such as coercion, control, sexual assaults by ex-partners or partners, factors contributing to the domestic and gender violence (Waits, K., 1985). For such concrete assertions against the use of CTS, other research methodologies have been preferred in investigating issues of domestic violence. Such methodologies as filling of questionnaires, field researches, desk research, and interviews have commonly been utilized.

Results and Findings

The major findings concerning domestic violence is that women are generally the most victimized, though a number of other researches claim otherwise. Like-wisely, a significant percentage of men have fallen victims of gender violence. Debates as to whether it is women or men that suffer the consequences of domestic violence the most is still unsettled, with both genders pointing accusing fingers on who should be accused of violating the family piece accords almost always.

Causes of domestic violence so highlighted indicate that alcoholism plays a significant role in instigating family violence, making the male gender to be the first culprit to be accused of the assaults and insults in the families. This follows the general notion that a better percentage of men are drunkards as compared to women. Other factors contributing towards the same are misunderstandings, mental illnesses, poverty, communication conflicts and cultural diversities (Robertson, KP., & Murchver ,TM., 2009, Attributes and attributions associated with female and male partner violence).

Discussions and Conclusion

The so called domestic violence has no boundaries or limits. It can possibly take place in any family at any time. This, as Robertson and Murachver confirms, is very true in the cases of psychological abuses. After all, the violence doesn’t need to go physical or get aggressive through attacks, and family skirmishes. Many psychological researchers have incessantly pointed out that the psychological kind of abuses in families present more severe consequences than could be compared to the equally consequential physical and aggressive domestic violence (Archer. 2000).Emotional abuses though minimal as the many surveys on domestic matters indicate, “they leave prolonged and long lasting tensions” (Robinson, KP, & Murachver,TM, 2009). In conclusion, domestic violence may be regarded as part and parcel of life that both men and women should learn how to manage, appreciate and live with.

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