Examine the patterns of and reasons for domestic violence in society
Domestic violence occurs across society regardless of age, gender, race, sexuality, wealth or where you live. Domestic violence is a wide range of abuse from physical and sexual abuse to emotional and financial abuse e.g. the victim is controlled in some aspect of their lives through fear of violence, physical or verbal, or they may be deprived of food, sleep or money. Victims of domestic violence suffer on many levels and some lose the freedom to live their lives how they want without fear.
Dobash and Dobash (1979) interviewed female victims of domestic violence. Dobash and Dobash found that violent incidents could be set off by what a husband saw as a challenge to his authority such as his wife asking why he was late home for a meal. The women interviewed had left their abusive partners and had gone to a refuge. Dobash and Dobash argue that marriage legitimates violence against women by granting power and authority to husbands and dependency on wives. The findings from this research are that women do not report most incidents out of fear.
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Radical feminists interpret findings such as those from Dobash and Dobash as evidence of society being patriarchal and will only stop when women become more equal. Some men are victims of domestic violence from their wives, but these men are more unwilling to report attacks than women because of embarrassment and fear their reports will not be taken seriously. Radical feminists argue that domestic violence is part of a patriarchal system within society that maintains men’s power; this is a sociological explanation of domestic violence rather than a psychological explanation by linking patterns of domestic violence to social norms about marriage.
Some people used to see marriage as a transfer of property because the women were seen as their father’s property until a man was found and upon marriage, they then became their husband’s property and had to learn to love and obey him.
Violence against women is only part of the problem. It is sometimes the woman who is violent towards her man. This is known as the hidden side of domestic violence. For a man to be on the receiving end of abuse is often seen as him being weak, and sadly this adds to the reluctance men have to come forward and speak about it. But it happens all the same. The humiliation which accompanies abuse makes it just as hard for men to break free and seek help. Violence not only affects men and women, Mirrelees-Black found that other social groups at greater risk of domestic violence include: children and young people, those in the lowest social classes, those who live in rented accommodation, those on low incomes or in financial difficulties, those with high levels of alcohol consumption and users of illegal drugs.
These are common patterns found in sociological research to be causes of domestic violence. Those on low incomes or living in overcrowded accommodation are likely to experience higher levels of stress which reduces chances to have stable, caring relationships and increases the risk of conflict and violence e.g. worries about money, jobs and housing.
One of the patterns found from sociological research into domestic violence is that children witnessing violence in the home is considered to be psychologically damaging as it teaches aggressive behaviour as something that is normal, also children do not learn the skills for peaceful problem solving -but learn antisocial responses instead. They learn that the person, who loves you the most, hits you the most -and that it is ok to hit family members.
Another pattern found is in comparison to other types of assault those subjected to domestic violence, and women, in particular, are more likely to be upset and frightened by the incident, both in the shorter and longer term.
The victim of the abusive behaviour is a cohabitating or non-cohabitating intimate partner or spouse. Wives were originally considered to be the only victims of domestic violence. However, husbands, as well as same- or different-sex non-married partners, are considered to be victims as well (Cruz, 2003).
In conclusion, domestic violence is seen as a very negative type of behaviour that is normally hidden. It can affect anyone in a number of ways. Research into domestic violence has shown that there has been an increase in men reporting abuse in the modern-day as they no longer feel the fear of humiliation; however, it is still apparent that women are the majority of the victims. With the current British recession, domestic violence statistics could increase because of the financial worries and difficulties people are facing. The economic crisis is fuelling a rise in domestic abuse with men “taking their financial fears out on their partners”. (From the daily express February 17th, 2009). I think that domestic violence will stay at a constant rate for women but will increase in the future of men as they will gain more confidence. However, if the recession continues for a few years I think domestic violence statistics will rise.
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