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Domestic violence or family violence is a form of antisocial behavior and occurs when a family member, partner or ex-partner attempts to physically or psychologically dominate or harm the other. The term "intimate partner violence" (IPV) is often used synonymously, other terms have included "wife beating", "wife battering", "husband battering", "relationship violence", "domestic abuse", and spousal abuse with some legal jurisdictions having specific definitions.

Recent attention to domestic violence began in the women's movement as concern about wives being beaten by their husbands, and has remained a major focus of modern feminism, particularly in terms of "violence against women".

Popular emphasis has tended to be on women as the victims of domestic violence although with the rise of the men's movement, and particularly men's rights, there is now some advocacy for men as victims, although the statistics concerning the number of male victims given by them are strongly contested by many groups active in research on or working in the field of domestic violence and "violence against men". Thus the use of gender-specfic titles like the ones listed above and have come under increasing critcism as implying that domestic violence is always male-on-female and is seen as sexist.

Estimates are that only about a third of cases of domestic violence are actually reported in the US and UK. In other places where there has been less attention and less support, reported cases would be still lower.

Domestic violence occurs in all cultures, people of all races, ethnicities, and religions can be perpetrators of domestic violence. Domestic violence is perpetrated by, and on, both men and women, and occurs in same-sex and opposite-sex relationships.

Awareness and documentation of domestic violence differs from country to country. According to the Centers for Disease Control domestic violence is a serious, preventable public health problem affecting more than 32 million Americans, that is more than 10% of the U.S. population (Tjaden and Thoennes 2000).

Domestic violence has many forms, including physical violence, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, intimidation, economic deprivation or threats of violence. There are a number of dimensions:

  • mode - physical, psychological, sexual and/or social
  • frequency - one off, occasional, chronic
  • severity – in terms of both psychological or physical harm and the need for treatment – transitory or permanent injury – mild, moderate, severe up to homicide

The means used to measure domestic violence strongly influence the results found, for example, studies of reported domestic violence and extrapolations of those studies show women preponderantly as victims and men to be more violent, whereas the survey based Conflict Tactics Scale, tends to show men and women equally violent.

The majority of studies investigated male on female domestic violence, thus information on female-on-male (or same-sex) violence tends to be less available.

DefinitionsEdit

Domestic violence is physical, sexual, economic, or psychological abuse directed towards spouses, partners, or other family members within a household.

CAFCASS in the United Kingdom in its "Domestic Violence Policy" uses domestic violence to refer to a range of violent and abusive behaviours, defining it as:

Patterns of behaviour characterised by the misuse of power and control by one person over another who are or have been in an intimate relationship. It can occur in mixed gender relationships and same gender relationships and has profound consequences for the lives of children, individuals, families and communities. It may be physical, sexual, emotional and/or psychological. The latter may include intimidation, harassment, damage to property, threats and financial abuse.

The New York State Coalition defines domestic violence as "abusive behavior - emotional, psychological, physical, or sexual - that one person in an intimate relationship uses in order to control the other. It takes many different forms and includes behaviors such as threats, name-calling, preventing contact with family or friends, withholding money, actual or threatened physical harm and sexual assault. Stalking can also be a form of domestic violence."


A survey in July and August 2006 of 2500 adults, males and females, 18 years of age or older, in the continental United States produced finding as per below. This survey was conducted by Opinion Research Corporation and Ruder Finn and funded by Redbook Magazine and Liz Claiborne

"When asked to define what actions comprise domestic violence and abuse, 2 in 5 Americans (40%) did not even mention hitting, slapping and punching. Over 90% of Americans failed to define repeated emotional, verbal, sexual abuse and controlling behaviors as patterns of domestic violence and abuse."

The survey concluded: "When they can identify domestic abuse, Americans will act" Love is Not Abuse


Domestic violence can be:

  • Physical violence
  • Mental/emotional violence
    • Verbal threats of physical violence to the victim, the self, or others including children, ranging from explicit, detailed and impending to implicit and vague as to both content and time frame
    • Verbal violence, including threats, insults, put-downs, attacks
    • Nonverbal threats, including gestures, facial expressions, body postures
  • Economic/social abuse
    • Controlling victim's money and other economic resources, preventing victim from seeing friends and relatives, actively sabotaging victim's social relationships and isolating victim from social contacts.
  • Spiritual abuse

TypesEdit

Johnson (1995) suggests that:

  • Common couple violence (or "mutual battery"), arises out of a mutual argument, and both parties using physical force, it is not connected to a general pattern of control, and it usually occurs infrequently.
  • Intimate terrorism (or "patriarchal terrorism") where one partner uses violence along with emotional and psychological abuse to maintain control over the other.

Related are:

  • Violent resistance is used by both men and women against abusive partners. It may be one clue that a battered person is about to leave an abusive relationship.
  • Mutual violent control is when both partners are violent and controlling and they possibly battle for control in the relationship. As with intimate terrorism, violence is one form of control used by each abuser.

Physical violenceEdit

Physical violence is the intentional use of physical force with the potential for causing injury, harm, disability, or death, for example, hitting, shoving, biting, restraint, kicking, or use of a weapon.

Sexual violence and incestEdit

Sexual violence and incest are divided into three categories:

  1. use of physical force to compel a person to engage in a sexual act against their will, whether or not the act is completed;
  2. attempted or completed sex act involving a person who is unable to understand the nature or condition of the act, unable to decline participation, or unable to communicate unwillingness to engage in the sexual act, e.g., because of illness, disability, or the influence of alcohol or other drugs, or because of intimidation or pressure; and
  3. abusive sexual contact.

Psychological violenceEdit

Threats of physical, psychological or sexual, or social violence that use words, gestures, or weapons to communicate the intent to cause death, disability, injury, physical, or psychological harm.

Psychological/emotional violence involves violence to the victim caused by acts, threats of acts, or coercive tactics. Psychological/emotional abuse can include, but is not limited to, humiliating the victim, controlling what the victim can and cannot do, withholding information from the victim, deliberately doing something to make the victim feel diminished or embarrassed, isolating the victim from friends and family, and denying the victim access to money or other basic resources. It is considered psychological/emotional violence when there has been prior physical or sexual violence or prior threat of physical or sexual violence. Perpetrators of this form of domestic aggression can be both users and abusers... both female and male. "The abuser recruits friends, colleagues, mates, family members, the authorities, institutions, neighbours, the media, teachers in short, third parties to do his bidding. He uses them to cajole, coerce, threaten, stalk, offer, retreat, tempt, convince, harass, communicate and otherwise manipulate his target." Abuse By Proxy

Relational aggression is a form of psychological/social aggression that uses various forms of falsehood, secrecy and gossip to commit covert violence. It is often a spectacularly successful tactic because so few people know how to detect it. It is often used because it is covert, leaves no visible scars and can be done with a smile. It destroys or damages the target's reputation and ruins the target's relationships. "It is the outcome of fear. Fear of violence, fear of the unknown, fear of the unpredictable, the capricious, and the arbitrary. It is perpetrated by dropping subtle hints, by disorienting, by constant and unnecessary lying, by persistent doubting and demeaning, and by inspiring an air of unmitigated gloom and doom." Ambient Abuse

Parental alienation is another form of covert violence where children are used as a weapon of war by one parent to alienate the other parent. This covert form of domestic violence is used in high-conflict marriages. It is often devastating to the alienated spouse/parent and to the alienating/alienated children caught in the middle. Misdiagnoses of Parental Alienation can also be devastating -- this time to the parent accurately describing abuse and to the child that is placed with the abusive parent. In effect, it uses innocent, unwitting children to commit relational aggression by one parent against the other. "The abuser often recruits his children to do his bidding. He uses them to tempt, convince, communicate, threaten, and otherwise manipulate his target, the children's other parent or a devoted relative (e.g., grandparents). He controls his - often gullible and unsuspecting - offspring exactly as he plans to control his ultimate prey. He employs the same mechanisms and devices. And he dumps his props unceremoniously when the job is done - which causes tremendous (and, typically, irreversible) emotional hurt." Leveraging the Children

Economic abuseEdit

Economic abuse is when the abuser has complete control over the victim's money and other economic resources. Usually, this involves putting the victim on a strict 'allowance', withholding money at will and forcing the victim to beg for the money until the abuser gives them some money. It is common for the victim to receive less money as the abuse continues.

This also includes (but is not limited to) preventing the victim from finishing education or obtaining employment.

StalkingEdit

In addition, stalking is often included among the types of Intimate Partner Violence. Stalking generally refers to repeated behaviour that causes victims to feel a high level of fear (Tjaden & Thoennes, 2000). However, psychiatrist William Glasser states that fear and all other emotions are self-caused as evidenced by the wide range of emotions two different subjects might have in response to the same incident.

Spiritual AbuseEdit

Spiritual abuse includes:

  1. using the spouse’s or intimate partner’s religious or spiritual beliefs to manipulate them
  2. preventing the partner from practicing their religious or spiritual beliefs
  3. ridiculing the other person’s religious or spiritual beliefs

Violence against menEdit

Violence against men is the term know for violence that is committed against men by the man's intimate partner.

Very little is known about the actual number of men who are in a domestic relationship in which they are abused or treated violently by their male or female partners. Few incidents are reported to police, and data is limited. [1] However, the available data indicate that:

  • 3.2 million men experience "minor" abuse (such as "pushing, grabbing, shoving, slapping, and hitting") per year.[1]
  • In the United States, approximately 800,000 men per year (3.2%) are raped or physically assaulted by their partner.[1]
  • At least 371,000 men are stalked annually.[1]
  • 3% of nonfatal violence against men stems from domestic violence.[1]
  • In 2002, men comprised 24% of domestic violence homicide victims.[1]
  • Over 20 years, the instances of homicide from domestic violence against men decreased by approximately 67%.[1]
  • Approximately 22% of men have experienced physical, sexual, or psychological intimate partner violence during their life.[1]

There are many reasons why there isn't more information about domestic abuse and violence against men. A major reason is the reluctance of men to report incidents to the police, unless there are substantial injuries. Data indicate that although mutual violent behavior is quite common in intimate relationships, men are rarely seriously harmed.



Violence against childrenEdit

Main article: Effects of domestic violence on children

When it comes to domestic violence towards children involving physical abuse, research in the UK by the NSPCC indicated that "most violence occurred at home (78 per cent) 40- 60% of men and women who abuse other men or women also abuse their children.[(American Psychology Association. Violence and the Family: Report of the American Psychological Association Presidential Task Force on Violence and the Family. 1996)]. Girls whose father/mother batter their mothers/fathers are 6.5 times more likely to be sexually abused by their fathers/mothers than are girls from non-violent homes.(Bowker, L.H., Arbitell, M.,& Mcferron, J.R., “On the Relationship Between Wife Beating and Child Abuse.” In K. Yllo & M. Bograd, Feminist Perspectives on Wife Abuse, Sage, 1988)

World Health Organization Multi-country Study on Women's Health and Domestic Violence against Women 2005Edit

The World Conference on Human Rights, held in Vienna in 1993, and the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women in the same year, concluded that civil society and governments have acknowledged that violence against women is a public health and human rights concern. Work in this area has resulted in the establishment of international standards, but the task of documenting the magnitude of violence against women and producing reliable, comparative data to guide policy and monitor implementation has been exceedingly difficult. The World Health Organisation Multi-country Study on Women's Health and Domestic Violence against Women 2005is a response to this difficulty. Published in 2005 it is a groundbreaking study which analysed data from 10 countries and sheds new light on the prevalence of violence against women. It seeks to look at violence against women from a public health policy perspective. The findings will be used to inform a more effective response from government, including the health, justice and social service sectors, as a step towards fulfilling the state’s obligation to eliminate violence against women under international human rights laws.

Allegations of domestic violenceEdit

Main article: Allegations of domestic violence

Many Men and Father's Rights advocates observe the use of false accusations of domestic violence in the context of divorce and child custody proceedings as re-inventing the type of hostile litigations and accusations that were intended to be eliminated by no fault divorce legislation. Thomas Kasper writes in the Illinois Bar Journal that domestic violence measures funded by VAWA readily “become part of the gamesmanship of divorce.” Phyllis Schalfly notes in her September 2006 column "Laughing at Restraining Orders" that the domestic violence injunction issued on David Letterman for sending subliminal messages to a woman 2000 miles away that he had never met, demonstrates the claim by Men's Rights advocates that many domestic violence injunctions do not even involve any actual physical violence, but are instead absurd exaggerations or fabrications.

On the other hand, not taking allegations seriously can lead to further violence, and can also be judicial misconduct. In Maryland, a judge was under investigation for his conduct in a domestic violence case. He retired and thus avoided punishment. Following his dismissal of a protective order, a woman's husband arrived at her place of work, doused her with gasoline, and set her on fire, causing serious burns. Yvette Cade Seeks Justice Against Judge Palumbo

Allegations of domestic violence are frequent in post-divorce/separation situations. Such allegations may often be third-party abuse, using third-parties such as courts to carry out untraceable abuse against a falsely-accused 'perpetrator' (see article in Nuance Journal of Family Studies). The consequences of such allegations can be serious for the alleged perpetrator since occupation of the home and custody of the children may be at stake. In Australia, mandated allocation of family resources in court-supervised separation shifts automatically from 50:50 to 80:20 in favour of the alleged victim if there is any allegation of abuse; anecdotal reports and other evidence indicate that such allegations are accepted only from women, and that the allegation itself is required to be taken as its own proof, without any checks or balances. It is sometimes claimed that "less than 2% of reported domestic violence allegations are proved false", but anecdotal and other evidence suggests that this claim, as with many supposed statistics in domestic-violence 'research', is based more on wishful thinking and circular reasoning than on fact. [How to reference and link to summary or text]

CausesEdit

There are many different theories as to the causes of domestic violence. As with many phenomena regarding human experience, no one approach appears to cover all cases.

Identified and proposed causes include a need for power and control, a form of bullying and social learning of abuse. Abusers' efforts to dominate their partners have been attributed to low self-esteem or feelings of inadequacy, unresolved childhood conflicts, the stress of poverty, hostility and resentment toward women (misogyny), hostility and resentment toward men (misandry), personality disorders, genetic tendencies and sociocultural influences, among other possible causative factors. Most authorities seem to agree that abusive personalities result from a combination of several factors, to varying degrees.

Factors associated with domestic violence also include substance abuse, mental illness, poverty and various political and legal characteristics, such as authoritarianism.

See also: Civil_liberties

Family conflictEdit

Main article: Family conflict

Poverty Edit

The degree to which abuse correlates with poverty, and the extent to which poverty causes abuse are ambiguous. To date, more data on abuse has been collected from low-income than middle and upper income families. This does not necessarily confirm that domestic violence is more prevalent among poor families than wealthier ones, only that the population most readily available for study is predominantly low-income.

Many experts, including Lundy Bancroft and Dr. Susan Weitzman, psychotherapist and author of "Not to People Like Us: Hidden Abuse in Upscale Marriages," contend that abuse in poor families is more likely to be reported to ER staff, police and social services by victims and bystanders. Also, low-income perpetrators are more likely to be arrested and serve time in jail than are their wealthier counterparts, who have the social and financial wherewithal to evade public exposure.

It seems premature to conclude that poverty is an important causative factor in domestic violence. Poverty increases the chances that low-income populations will be identified and studied, but this has resulted in a skewed, self-selected sample that does not reflect the incidence and demographics of abuse in the population as a whole.

Power and controlEdit

… power in a relationship is often a matter of perception. A person may perceive themselves to be put-upon when a less involved observer would disagree. [How to reference and link to summary or text]

A causalist view of domestic violence is that it is a strategy to gain or maintain power and control over the victim. This view is in alignment with Bancroft's "cost-benefit" theory that abuse rewards the perpetrator in ways other than, or in addition to, simply exercising power over his or her target(s). He cites evidence in support of his argument that, in most cases, abusers are quite capable of exercising control over themselves, but choose not to do so for various reasons.

An alternative view is that abuse arises from powerlessness and externalizing/projecting this and attempting to exercise control of the victim. It is an attempt to 'gain or maintain power and control over the victim' but even in achieving this it cannot resolve the powerlessness driving it. Such behaviours have addictive aspects leading to a cycle of abuse or violence. Mutual cycles develop when each party attempts to resolve their own powerlessness in attempting to assert control.

Questions of power and control are integral to the widely accepted Duluth Domestic Abuse Intervention Project. They developed "Power and Control Wheel" to illustrate this: it has power and control at the center, surrounded by spokes (techniques used), the titles of which include:

  • Coercion and threats
  • Intimidation
  • Emotional abuse
  • Isolation
  • Minimizing, denying and blaming
  • Using children
  • Economic abuse
  • Male privilege

The model attempts to address abuse by one-sidedly challenging the misuse of power by the 'perpetrator'.

Critics of this model suggest that the one-sided focus is problematic as resolution can only be achieved when all participants acknowledge their responsibilities, and identify and respect mutual purpose [1].

The power wheel model is not intended to assign personal responsibility, enhance respect for mutual purpose or assist victims and perpetrators in resolving their differences. It is an informational tool designed to help individuals understand the dynamics of power operating in abusive situations and identify various methods of abuse.

BullyingEdit

Domestic violence comes as a form of bullying, as a means to an end that is easier than other means. The heading on the UK National Website for Bullying in the Family states that 'Those Who Can, Do. Those Who Can't Bully.' It seems reasonable to add that those who won't prefer violence, too.

Sex and gender Edit

Modes of abuse are thought by some to be gendered, females tending to use more psychological and men more physical forms. [How to reference and link to summary or text] The visibility of these differs markedly. However, experts who work with victims of domestic violence have noted that physical abuse is almost invariably preceded by psychological abuse. Police and hospital admission records indicate that a higher percentage of females than males seek treatment and report such crimes.

Unless or until more men identify themselves and go on record as having been abused by female partners, and in a manner whereby the nature and extent of their injuries can be clinically assessed, men will continue to be identified as the most frequent perpetrators of physical and emotional violence.

See also the section "Gender Differences" in this article, and some of the statistics in the subsection "U.S." in the "Statistics" section.

The cycle of violenceEdit

Main article: Cycle of violence

Frequently, domestic violence is used to describe specific violent and overtly abusive incidents, and legal definitions will tend to take this perspective. However, when violent and abusive behaviours happen within a relationship, the effects of those behaviours continue after these overt incidents are over. Advocates and counsellors will refer to domestic violence as a pattern of behaviours, including those listed above.

Lenore Walker presented the model of a Cycle of Violence which consists of three basic phases:

Honeymoon Phase
Characterized by affection, apology, and apparent end of violence.
Tension Building Phase
Characterized by poor communication, tension, fear of causing outbursts,
Acting-out Phase
Characterized by outbursts of violent, abusive incidents.

Although it is easy to see the outbursts of the Acting-out Phase as abuse, even the more pleasant behaviours of the Honeymoon Phase serve to perpetuate the abuse. See also the cycle of abuse article.

Many domestic violence advocates believe that the cycle of violence is somewhat outdated and that it does not reflect the realities of many women experiencing domestic violence.

StatisticsEdit

Main article: Epidemiology of domestic violence

Domestic violence is a significant problem. Measures of the incidence of violence in intimate relationships can differ markedly in their findings depending on the measures used. Survey approaches tend to show parity in the use of violence by both men and women against partners than do approaches using data from reports of domestic violence that tends to show women experiencing violence from male partners as the majority of cases (over 80%). Further discussion of this occurs in the next section on gender differences.

Research based on the survey based Conflict Tactics Scale, a measure of intrafamily conflict and violence focusing on the adults in the family developed by Murray Straus (1979) has included national U.S. surveys on the prevalence of family violence in the and other countries. These include the two U.S. National Family Violence Surveys (Straus & Gelles, 1990), the National Violence Against Women Survey (Tjaden & Thoennes, 2000), this research has tended to show men and women equally violent.

Research based on reported domestic violence or on police records show men to be responsible for the majority of domestic violence and the high frequency of women as victims.

The problem of under-reporting is believed to be substantial.

EuropeEdit

A Council of Europe study (1992) found that 1 in 4 women experience domestic violence over their lifetimes and between 6-10% of women suffer domestic violence in a given year.

UKEdit

The British Crime Survey for the year 2001-2 reported, "There were an estimated 12.9 million incidents of domestic violence acts (nonsexual threats or force) against women [84%] and 2.5 million against men [16%] in England and Wales in the year prior to interview." The same report states, "Four per cent of women and two per cent of men were subject to domestic violence (non-sexual domestic threats or force) during the last year."

In the United Kingdom, the police estimate that around 35% of domestic violence against women is actually reported and a 2002 Women's Aid study found that 74% of separated women suffered from post-separation violence.

USEdit

It is estimated that every year in the United States, approximately 3 million women are assaulted by their partner. One in four women in the U.S. will be assaulted by their partner over their lifetimes.

In 1998 in the U.S.,of the approximately 1.5 million violent crimes committed between intimate partners, over 874,000 of the victims were women, and over 832,000 were men. Of the approximately 1,830 murders committed against intimate partners in 1998, 3 out of 4 of the victims were women. In 2001 according to the United States Census Bureau there were 691,710 non-fatal domestic violence acts committed and 1,247 fatal incidents. In homes where domestic violence occurs, children in the home are at a 300% greater risk of being abused.

  • 6-12% of women are abused in a given year
  • 20-30% of women receiving welfare are current victims of Domestic Violence
  • 30-65% of all homicides of women are related to Domestic Violence by their male partners

According to Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting (RADAR) report:

  • Women are just as likely as men to engage in partner aggression (Kelly 2003)
  • Men experience over one-third of DV-related injuries (Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 126, No. 5, pages 651-680)
  • Men are far less likely to report DV incidents than women (Stets and Straus 1990)
  • The myths about domestic violence are numerous (Gelles 1995)
  • Many of these myths are based on DV studies that use biased survey methods (Arriaga and Oskamp 1999)

According to Southern Connecticut State University: "In 95% of family violence cases the victims are women beaten by male partners. In 1% of the cases the reverse is true. There are an estimated 28 million battered women in the U.S., more than half of all married women in the country. In the U.S., one woman is beaten by her husband or partner every 9 seconds. Battering is the single major cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44 in the U.S.; more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined. 70% of the assault victims seen in the emergency room of Boston City Hospital are women who have been attacked in their own homes. 3 out of 5 women in the U.S. will be battered in their lifetime." Domestic Violence Facts

Eight-five percent of these orders are issued against men (Young, Independent Women’s Forum, 2005). Family judges often issue orders of protection or restraining orders in the absence of any direct threat of harm (Heleniak, Rutgers Law Review, Spring 2005). Often these orders are used as "part of the gamesmanship of divorce." (Kasper, Illinois Bar Journal, June 2005 and Kiernan, New Jersey Law Journal, April 1988)

New research published in the Journal of Family Psychology says that contrary to media and public opinion women commit more acts of violence than men in eleven categories: throw something, push, grab, shove, slap, kick, bite, hit or threaten a partner with a knife or gun. The study, which is based on interviews with 1,615 married or cohabiting couples and extrapolated nationally using census data, found that 21 percent of couples reported domestic violence. The Washington Times confirms study.

Dr. Gerald P. Koocher, American Psychology Association President, stated October 2006 that "psychological science is not politically correct." He adds, "Several studies of domestic violence have suggested that males and females in relationships have an equal likelihood of acting out physical aggression, although differing in tactics and potential for causing injury (e.g., women assailants will more likely throw something, slap, kick, bite, or punch their partner, or hit them with an object, while males will more likely beat up their partners, and choke or strangle them)."

AustraliaEdit

Recent findings - 2006 - from the * Australian Bureau of Statistics Personal Safety Surveyshow that overall, more males than females are victims of physical assault (10.8% vs 5.8%). However, women are most at risk of assault in the home and from men they know, while men are most at risk of assault in public spaces and from men they don’t know. Among the large numbers of men physically assaulted each year, close to 70 per cent were assaulted by strangers. Less than five per cent were assaulted by a female partner or ex-partner. In contrast, among the female victims of physical assault, 31 per cent were assaulted by a male partner or ex-partner (Table 16, p. 30). Thirty per cent of people who had experienced violence by a current partner since the age of 15 were male, while seventy per cent were female (Table 2, p.16).

Men's rights activists and others supporting male victims argue that there is a range of socialization related factors that would lead to very high levels of under-reporting by male victims. They also argue that until recently, very few studies asked about female-on-male (or female-on-female) domestic violence; so while these figures are appallingly high, the prevalence of violence against men is typically not included in the figures.

CostEdit

In the U.S., between 3 and 5 billion dollars are spent annually on medical expenses related to domestic violence. Also, approximately 100 million dollars is lost by businesses annually though lost productivity, sick leave and absenteeism due to domestic violence.

Gender differencesEdit

The discussion of domestic violence needs to include a discussion of the role of gender.

Erin Pizzey, the founder of an early women's shelter in Chiswick, London, has expressed her dismay at how the issue has become a gender-political football, and expressed an unpopular view in her book Prone to Violence that some women in the refuge system had a predisposition to seek abusive relationships. She also expressed the view that domestic violence can occur against any vulnerable intimates, regardless of their sex. Given the violence that she herself experienced in the UK for voicing her views, one might be suspicious of some of those who opposed her views, which remain very relevant. In the same book, Erin Pizzey stated that, of the first 100 women to enter the refuge, 62 were as violent, or more violent, than the men they were, allegedly, running away from.

There are women and men who seek to put forward the idea that abusive men are sexy. This can be shown in the media with the genre of bad boy romance novels. This promotes a culture of supporting abusive men, and of even seeing non abusive men as somehow missing something for not being abusive. [How to reference and link to summary or text]

See also the subsection "Sex and gender" in the "Causes" section of this article, and some of the statistics in the "US" subsection of the "Statistics" section.

Men or women as violentEdit

There continues to be discussion about whether men are more abusive than women, whether men's abuse of women is worse than women's abuse of men, and whether abused men should be provided resources similar to those available for abused women.

Some psychologists claim males tend to prefer physical aggression while women tend to prefer psychological aggression.

The statistics cited by Women's Aid and Ahimsa are that violence by women against men is a tiny proportion of all domestic violence is rejected by advocates for male victims of domestic violence. They hold that this finding is based in the situation that many studies report only male-on-female violence because that is all they ask about, those studies that do examine prevalence in both directions overwhelmingly find little difference by gender. This is particularly true when questions are specific: for example, men typically do not report being slapped if they are simply asked about "violence"; women do.

Martin S. Fiebert of the Department of Psychology at California State University, Long Beach, provides an analysis of 195 scholarly investigations: 152 empirical studies and 43 analyses, which demonstrate women are as physically aggressive, or more aggressive, than men. The aggregate sample size exceeds 175,700.

Studies have been carried out to explore these issues, and results have seemed somewhat contradictory. A problem in conducting such studies is the amount of silence, fear and shame that results from abuse within families and relationships. Another is that abusive patterns can tend to seem normal to those who have lived in them for a length of time. Similarly, subtle forms of abuse can be quite transparent even as they set the stage for further abuse seeming normal. Finally, inconsistent definition of what domestic violence is makes definite conclusions difficult to reach when compiling the available studies.

Both men and women have been arrested and convicted of assaulting their partners in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships. The bulk of these arrests have been men being arrested for assaulting women, but that has been shifting somewhat over time and clearly arrest records are not the whole story. Actual studies of behaviour show that whilst half of male/female intimate violence is best described as mutual brawling, a quarter is the male attacking the female and the remaining quarter being females attacking their male partner. Determining how many instances of domestic violence actually involve male victims is difficult. Male domestic violence victims may be reluctant to get help for a number of reasons (see this article) (Article checked August 8, 2004.) A man who calls for help may even risk being arrested as the "perpetrator" even though he was the victim.

The general consensus seems to be that male on female domestic violence is more likely to result in serious injury or death, whereas female on male (which, under the definition used by the UK Government if no others, includes preventing the father seeing the children), is more likely to result in male suicide. Men on average have more upper body strength and socialization that predisposes them to resort to violence more than women do, and that can give them a higher average lethality than women. However, women can and do use weapons to equalize whatever deficit in physical power which may be present, and can also use social constraints against men hitting women even in self-defence, to provide them with sufficient lethality to be dangerous in conflict situations. The US National Family Violence Survey has consistently indicated, in repeated surveys over more than 30 years, that women are more than twice as likely as men to initiate domestic assault, and more than twice as likely to use weapons. Other studies have demonstrated a high degree of acceptance by women of aggression against men. The oft-repeated claim that all violence by women is self-defence has similarly been proven to be based on circular reasoning. Women also are at least as well equipped to use psychological violence that forms a pattern of coercive and controlling behaviour (to use the Women's Aid definition given above). Women are also equally capable of using a proxy, which would further skew the results (since a proxy murder is not recorded as a case of domestic violence.)

In the United States, the bulk of the decrease in rates of intimate partner homicides is accounted for the dramatic decrease in women's murders of their male intimate partners. Murders of female intimate partners by men have dropped, but not nearly as dramatically. (See, for example, the report Violence by Intimates from the US Bureau of Justice Statistics.) Men kill their female intimate partners at about four times the rate that women kill their male intimate partners. Research by Jacquelyn Campbell, PhD RN FAAN has found that at least two thirds of women killed by their intimate partners were battered by those men prior to the murder. She also found that when males are killed by female intimates, the women in those relationships had been abused by their male partner about 75% of the time (see battered person syndrome and battered woman defence).

Some researchers have found a relationship between the availability of domestic violence services, improved laws and enforcement regarding domestic violence and increased access to divorce, and higher earnings for women with declines in intimate partner homicide. (Laura Dugan, Daniel S. Nagin, and Richard Rosenfeld. Explaining the Decline in Intimate Partner Homicide: The Effects of Changing Domesticity, Women's Status, and Domestic Violence Resources in Homicide Studies, Vol. 3, No. 3, 187-214, 1999)

Gender roles and expectations can and do play a role in abusive situations, and exploring these roles and expectations can be helpful in addressing abusive situations, as do factors like race, class, religion, sexuality and philosophy. None of these factors cause one to abuse or another to be abused.

Domestic violence in same-sex relationshipsEdit

Domestic violence occurs in 18% of lesbian couples in the US so it appears to be gender independent. In an effort to be more inclusive, many organizations have made an effort to use gender-neutral terms when referring to perpetratorship and victimhood.

Historically domestic violence has been seen as a family issue and little interest has been directed at violence in same-sex relationships. It has not been until recently, as the gay rights movement has brought the issues of gay and lesbian people into public attention, when research has been started to conduct on same-sex relationships. Several studies have indicated that partner abuse among same-sex couples (both female and male) is relatively similar in both prevalence and dynamics to that among opposite-sex couples [2] . Gays and lesbians, however, face special obstacles in dealing with the issues that some researchers have labelled "the double closet": not only do gay and lesbian people often feel that they are discriminated against and dismissed by police and social services, they are also often met with lack of support from their peers who would rather keep quiet about the problem in order not to attract negative attention toward the gay community. Also, the supportive services are mostly designed for the needs of heterosexual women and do not always meet the needs of other groups.

Response to domestic violenceEdit

The response to domestic violence is typically a combined effort between law enforcement agencies, the courts, social service agencies and corrections/probation agencies. The role of each has evolved as domestic violence has been brought more into public view. Historically, law enforcement agencies, the courts and corrections agencies treated domestic violence as a personal matter. For example, police officers were often reluctant to intervene by making an arrest, and often chose instead to simply counsel the couple and/or ask one of the parties to leave the residence for a period of time. The courts were reluctant to impose any significant sanctions on those convicted of domestic violence, largely because it was viewed as a misdemeanour offense. This mindset of treating family violence as a personal problem of minor consequence permeated the system's response, and potentially allowed the perpetrator to continue acting violently. Another response, while infrequent and ill regarded, is the homicide of the abuser by the abused, where the abused is usually a woman. The mindset of treating domestic violence as a family issue is brought into this aspect of domestic violence as well, ensuring that the women who kill their husbands/boyfriends/abusers are marginalized in society and usually thrown in prison for homicide or manslaughter.

Activism, initiated by victim advocacy groups and feminist groups, has led to a better understanding of the scope and effect of domestic violence on victims and families, and has brought about changes in the criminal justice system's response.

Trainer and municipal court judge Richard Russell quoted in New Jersey Law Journal. April 24, 1995: "when you say to me, am I doing something wrong telling these judges they have to ignore the constitutional protections most people have, I don't think so. The Legislature described the problem and how to address it, [and] I am doing my job properly by teaching other judges to follow the legislative mandate.....Your job is not to become concerned about all the constitutional rights of the man that you're violating as you grant a restraining order. Throw him out on the street, give him the clothes on his back and tell him, 'See ya' around.' " Moreover, Russell says there is nothing wrong with the teaching approach. Abuse victims, he says, may apply and relinquish TROs repeatedly before they finally do something about breaking away. Once they do so, he says, the Legislature's prevention goal has been met. New Jersey Law Journal April 24, 1995

Several projects have aided in filling the voids in the justice system as it pertains to the protection of victims. One such initiative, The Hope Card Project, makes an attempt to remedy several problems through the issuance of an ID card to victims of abuse. The card is used to identify both parties in a domestic violence protection order and provides additional resources to the victim through a voucher program for services. "There is no photograph on a protection order, so a photograph is a bonus, not a necessity. There are several methods used to obtain the photograph. Some jurisdictions have a photograph taken of the offender during the first hearing while both parties are present. Another method is for officers to take a photograph in the field or retrieve a booking photograph from their local jail. In a lot of cases the victim brings a photograph and it is scanned. Lastly, the new online site has some state motor vehicle department photograph databases connected for that purpose. This is the ideal method." The Hope Card Project

The Duluth Domestic Abuse Intervention ProjectEdit

Main article: Duluth Domestic Abuse Intervention Project

In 1981, the Duluth Domestic Abuse Intervention Project became the first multi-disciplinary program designed to address the issue of domestic violence. This experiment, conducted in Duluth, MN, frequently referred to as the "Duluth Project."

It coordinated agencies dealing with domestic situations, drawing together diverse elements of the system, from police officers on the street, to shelters for battered women and probation officers supervising offenders.

This program has become a model for other jurisdictions seeking to deal more effectively with domestic violence. Corrections/probation agencies in many areas are supervising domestic violence offenders more closely, and are also paying closer attention to the victim's needs and safety issues.

There has been controversy as the Duluth framework depends on a strict "patriarchal violence" model and presumes that all violence in the home and elsewhere has a male perpetrator and female victim. Also evidence of success of the model is limited, with scholarly analysis and critique [2].

Treatment and supportEdit

Publicly available resources for dealing with domestic violence have tended to be almost exclusively geared towards supporting women and children who are in relationships with or who are leaving violent men, rather than for survivors of domestic violence per se. This has been due to the purported numeric preponderance of female victims and the perception that domestic violence only affected women. Resources to help men who have been using violence take responsibility for and stop their use of violence, such as Men's Behaviour Change Programs or anger management training, are available, though attendees are ordered to pay for their own course in order that they should remain accountable for their actions.

Men's organisations, such as ManKind in the UK, often see this approach as one-sided; as Report 191 by the British Home Office shows that men and women are equally culpable, they believe that there should be anger management courses for women also. They accuse organisations such as Women's Aid of bias in this respect saying that they spend millions of pounds on helping female victims of domestic violence and yet nothing on female perpetrators. These same men's organisations claim that before such help is given to female perpetrators, Women's Aid would have to admit that women are violent in the home. This they seem reluctant to do.

One of the challenges for lay observers, victims, perpetrators and treatment providers is demonstrated by the tendency to describe perpetrator treatment as men's "anger management" groups.

Comprehensive and accountable behaviour change programs are seen as far more appropriate and effective interventions in male violence in the home than anger management groups.

Inherent in anger management only approaches is the assumption that the violence is a result of a loss of control over one's anger. While there is little doubt that some domestic violence is about the loss of control, the choice of the target of that violence may be of greater significance. Anger management might be appropriate for the individual who lashes out indiscriminately when angry towards co-workers, supervisors or family. In most cases, however, the domestic violence perpetrator lashes out only at their intimate partner or relatively defenseless child, which suggests an element of choice or selection that, in turn, suggests a different or additional motivation beyond simple anger. Most experienced treatment providers have probably observed that for various reasons, many of which may be cultural, the perpetrator has a sense of entitlement, sometimes conscious, sometimes not, that leads directly to their choice of target.

Men's behaviour change programs, although differing throughout the world, tend to focus on the prevention of further violence within the family and the safety of women and children. Often they abide by various standards of practise that includes 'partner contact' where the participants female partner is contacted by the program and informed about the course, checked about her level of safety and support and offered support services for herself if she requires them. Many of these programs have both a male and female facilitator and follow a program designed to highlight the impact of his behaviour, examine the attitudes, values and behaviours that lead to his choice to use violence and aim to support and challenge the man to take responsibility for his use of violence.

PoliceEdit

From the perspective of the police, who are often the first to investigate domestic violence incidents, one of the problems is that the definitions of domestic violence include acts that are not themselves crimes. The London Metropolitan Police has nevertheless compiled a list of the crimes [3] which typically can occur when domestic violence occurs. They are:

The UK Crown Prosecution Service publishes guidance for prosecution in cases of alleged domestic violence. [4]

Bias against men in service provisionEdit

In the UK there are 440 refuges for women to run to and to take their children with them, and only two such refuges for men. Advocates of increased services for male victims argue that this is indicative of the "success" of women's groups, with some suggesting a conspiracy to deny domestic violence against men.


Cultural and Religious TeachingsEdit

Human civilisations and religions produce teachings conducive to living honourably and harmoniously. These teachings detail motivations and conduct consistent with the good health of individuals and communities. A few examples are given below:

ChristianityEdit

The New Testament in places describes relationships characterized by romantic or passionate love:

"Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything. For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her ........... A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one. This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband." Ephesians 5:21-25

, 5:31-33


"Wives must accept the authority of your husbands...........In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered. Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. " 1Peter 3:1

, 3:7-8


"Older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to care for their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands." Titus 2:4-5



HinduismEdit

A key teaching of tantric Hinduism is Acceptance. Sexual Ecstasy requires acceptance of all that is good and evil while honouring duties and obligations:

"Eternal family traditions and codes of moral conduct are destroyed with the destruction of the family. And immorality prevails in the family due to the destruction of family traditions. The women of the family become corrupted. The everlasting qualities of social order are ruined by striving to slay our relatives because of greed for the pleasures of the kingdom."

|Bhagavad-Gita. As It Is. Translated by Dr. Ramanand Prasad. Chapter 1. Sections 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45

"She must surrender to her husband...........surrender means one has to become confident. The devotee reasons: Krsna will protect me and help me perform devotional service. This is called confidence."

|Bhagavad-Gita. The Nectar of Instruction. As interpreted by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Chapter 3

See also: Tantra
See also: Sati (practice)
See also: Dowry death
See also: Bride burning

IslamEdit

For the sake of running a smooth family system, Islam has put the major responsibility of earning over the man and made man one step dominant over his wife in the house, which should not be confused with women and men equality in Islamic society. Sheikh Muhammad Kamal Mustafa, imam of the mosque of the city of Fuengirola, Costa del Sol, Spain, in his book The Woman in Islam writes, of the status of violence against wives on the part of husbands in Islamic Sharia law, stating that it is permissible in some instances.

"The virtuous women is devoted, careful (in their husbands') absence, as God has cared for them. But those whose perverseness ye fear, admonish them and remove them into bed-chambers and beat them." |The Meaning Of The Glorious Quran by E.H. Palmer. Chapter 4. an-Nisa': Women. Section 38

Sheikh Yousef Qaradhawi, head of the European Council for Fatwa and Research, has advocated "non-painful" beating of wives: "it is permissible for [the husband] to beat her lightly with his hands, avoiding her face and other sensitive parts. In no case should he resort to using a stick or any other instrument that might cause pain and injury."

The wife-beating must never be in exaggerated, blind anger, in order to avoid serious harm [to the woman]." He adds, "It is forbidden to beat her on the sensitive parts of her body, such as the face, breast, abdomen, and head. Instead, she should be beaten on the arms and legs," using a "rod that must not be stiff, but slim and lightweight so that no wounds, scars, or bruises are caused." Similarly, "[the blows] must not be hard." [5] But at any point, if wife thinks that she is being abused, she can ask court of law for divorce on the basis of maltreatment.

Dr. Muhammad Al-Hajj, lecturer on Islamic faith at the University of Jordan (Amman) states:

Hard beatings are those that leave marks on the body or on the face. Thus, beating on the face is prohibited, because the face is a combination of the features of beauty, as it is said. It is forbidden to beat the face, it is forbidden to administer blows that leave fractures or wounds; this is what our sages have said in their books.

Mustafa noted in his book that the aim of the beating was to cause the woman to feel some emotional pain, without humiliating her or harming her physically. According to him, physical blows must be the last resort to which a husband turns in punishing his wife, and is, according to the Qur'an (Chapter 4, Verse 34), the husband's third step when the wife is rebellious: First, he must reprimand her, without anger. Next, he must distance her from the conjugal bed. Only if these two methods fail should the husband turn to beating. Also, understanding of this verse must be in the context of the rest of the Quran, which instructs that a man holds his wife (and all women) in reverance.

"The hypocrites, both men and women, proceed one from another. They enjoin the wrong, and they forbid the right, and they withhold their hands. They forget Allah, so He hath forgotten them." |The Meaning Of The Glorious Quran by Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall. Chapter 9. at-Taubah: Repentance. Section 67

While some Muslims interpret the Qur'an to allow the beating of wives, many other Muslims interpret Chapter 4, Verse 34 to say "leave" the wife, not beat her. [6]

"So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them." |The Meaning Of The Glorious Quran by Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall. Chapter 4. an-Nisa': Women. Section 34


See also: Rania al-Baz

Accepted behaviorEdit

In many rural areas in developing countries, beating is considered accepted behavior for a man, in order to "teach" his wife to be obedient. In many parts of Latin America, while wife beating is frowned upon, it is considered more or less acceptable for a husband to administer a beating to an unfaithful or disrespectful wife. Men who suspect their wives of adultery have often "executed" their wives by decapitation. An example of such a region is Iran, in which it is perfectly legal for a man to kill his wife if he finds her cheating. "Women are treated as second- class citizens and violence against women is the official policy of the Tehran’s fundamentalist regime. Therefore, Tehran’s regime should be referred to the United Nations Security Council not only for its nuclear weapons program but also for its gross violations of human rights and inflicting systemic violence against women." |Women Welcome Report to UN Security Council

The Zimbabwean government promoted a Domestic Violence Bill in 2006, after many years of campaigning by groups of women. The bill has been controversial, because it defines repeated insults, ridiculing or name-calling, and demonstrations of obsessive possessiveness and jealousy of a partner as domestic violence: critics have said that this definition is excessively vague. [3] The Bill also includes unreasonable denial of conjugal rights as constituting domestic violence.

One Zimbabwean MP, Timothy Mubhawu (MDC, Tafara-Mabvuku) made a strong attack on the "diabolic" Bill in Parliament, insisting that it was against God's principles for men and women to be equal. [4] As a result he was suspended from membership of the MDC. [5]


See alsoEdit

Footnotes Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 "Intimate Partner Violence: Fact Sheet", Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved 22 September, 2006.
  2. Prevalence of DV in Same-Sex Couples comparable to Heterosexual Couples (circa 1998)
  3. See, e.g., letter from "Murume chaiye" (Shona for 'real man') in the Sunday Mail, October 22, 2006.
  4. Violet Gonda, "Outrage over MP's sexist comments", newzimbabwe.com, October 9, 2006.
  5. "Comments on women earns MP suspension in Zimbabwe", ZWNews.com, October 17, 2006.

References and further readingEdit

External linksEdit

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