Dispelling The Myth of Domestic Violence
This paper focuses on dispelling the myth of domestic violence. It employees empirical research methodology to discern what are some of the myths surrounding the topic and what are the actual causes of domestic violence. The paper explores the myths used by offenders to excuse their violence and how these myths are tied to risk factors associated with domestic violence. In this paper, domestic violence is researched from different angles, for example, the role of cultural beliefs is related to domestic violence, and the role of gender in domestic violence by comparing both male and female studies to distinguish which gender is considered to be more prone to violence. The paper further discusses some of the underlying issues that were identified to be precursors of domestic violence and explores the role of different groups in curbing domestic violence. Furthermore, the paper provides some of the long term solutions to address the underlying issues to stop the cycle of domestic violence.
Dispelling The Myth of Domestic Violence.
When the topic of domestic violence is brought up, most people tend to think it is something that happens between men and women with the former being the aggressor while women and children are seen as victims (Graham, Bernards, Wilsnack, & Gmel, 2011). But statistical evidence indicates a different situation. According to recent data, women are equally likely to be the aggressors in a relationship. There have been many studies on the topic to link various aspects in society e.g. alcohol and drug abuse, the role of gender and others to domestic violence. Domestic violence exists in all levels of society. As such pinpointing, the exact cause has been a challenge to experts and researchers in the field. While some myths about domestic violence contain some truth or an aspect of the facts, these myths have been used by aggressors to defend their actions (GREEN HILLS WOMEN'S SHELTER, 2019). This goes to show that the topic of domestic violence is one that is plagued with misconceptions and myths. To better our understanding of the topic, it crucial to understand and separate facts from myths about the topic. The research question, in this case, is, what are the cause of domestic violence and some of the myths surrounding the topic? In this paper, the research aims to explore the evidence to discern what is a myth and what is fact. Through the use of empirical research methodology, this paper aims to examine the evidence to determine what is a myth and what causes of domestic violence.
While alcohol and drug abuse are a major contributory factor to domestic-related problems and in some cases of domestic violence (Gadd, et al., 2019), evidence suggests that there is an equal or higher number of a relationship experiencing domestic violence while the partners maintain they sobriety. According to research, although those involved in alcohol and drug abuse are more susceptible to domestic violence, alcohol, and drug abuse is not the cause of domestic violence. Further research indicated that while men are more likely to be violent toward their spouse while drinking, women perpetrate more severe violence that may end up with fatal results. Alcohol and drugs impair the useability to reason clearly and make an actionable decision, hence women are more vulnerable or likely to suffer in silence in abusive relationships when they are addicted or abuse drugs and alcohol (Felson & Paul-Philippe, 2005). This is because, while under the influence of drugs and alcohols when women are most vulnerable, they are unable to seek out safety away from abusive partners.
The role of gender in domestic violence has been a prominent topic in social studies. Some researchers argue that both genders are equally at risk of domestic violence, while others argue for or against women being the most vulnerable demographic, myths have emerged from the topic “which gender is most vulnerable to domestic violence?” The current myth circulating suggests that both men and women are equally at risk when it comes to domestic violence (Iverson, et al., 2013). While there may be some truth to the above statement, data indicate that women and children remain the most at-risk group of being victims of domestic violence. Men have also come forward to report the case of domestic violence. Under the law, both males and females have similar rights to protect against domestic and gender-based violence. According to researchers, women are more likely to report cases of domestic violence and seek to protect against the aggressor compared to men. Hence statistics are likely to show women being victims of domestic violence.
According to Dr. Henschel, the gender imbalance between men and women played a role in domestic violence. Her research further concluded that the lack of resources in rural areas where gender roles are more cemented into the communities has been a contributory factor to domestic violence that goes unreported (Handley, 2014).
Domestic violence is a result of moral degradation and a lack of proper education on problem-solving skills in our societies. Family finance is a big source of friction in man couples. As such, it is common for many people in society to believe domestic violence only exists in low-income families and low-income neighborhoods. This is a common myth in society. Research suggests that domestic violence is present in all levels of society whether rich or poor (Johnson, 2008). Although there is lesser data to indicate that domestic violence is equally prominent in high-income societies as it is in low-income societies, her research argued that, it is easier to hid cases of domestic violence in high-income societies by the use of private institution e.g. hospitals and clinic than it is in low incomes which only have access to public institutions.
In most cases, domestic violence is never a single episode. According to psychologists, offenders are likely to commit the act multiple times if the victim does not seek help to leave the relationships. Therefore, although a partner might not repeat an aggressive act, the aggressor may result in other tactics which may include, intimidation, threats, economic deprivation, isolation psychological abuse and sexual abuse to violent their partner. According to Psych central, domestic violence is a deep-seated issue in our society. According to social learning theory, children who are exposed to domestic violence at a young age are more likely to be offers themselves during adulthood (Toby, 2018).
Young males who are exposed to gender-based violence against women are more likely to be violent toward women in their relationships. They view women as non-equals and deserving to be mistreated or objects to be dominated. According to psychiatrists, young women who witness domestic violence of victimized in their own families are more likely to seek out and stay in abusive relationships during adulthood. Research further suggests that women exposed to domestic violence at a young age are more likely to be aggressors (Faubion, 2019).
Family and traditions also play a role in domestic violence. It is the role of the family unit in society to shape a young mind; family norms and traditional practices that propagate a chauvinist ideology of the male sex being superior or dominator are likely to affect a young mind and result in misconceptions or complex issues e.g. the definition of masculinity and gender(Felson & Paul-Philippe, 2005). Furthermore, the limited definition of masculinity that ties it to aggressive behavior, violence and dominance also play a role in shaping a young mind's understanding of masculinity and what it entails. Although cultural beliefs and practices do not trump laws put in place to protect women, cultural traditions across the globe emphasis male superiority over the female gender. To establish "control" men who believe and practice such customs may result in domestic violence.
Research indicates social behavior is influenced by the media. With the rise of social media and other media services we use to communicate messages to one another, research data suggests that domestic violence is influenced and partially caused by how gender roles are portrayed in the media. It has become a normal occurrence to objectify women, portray them as objects and on some occasions, some media services go as far as to glorifying violence, non-consensual sex among others socially unacceptable behavior(ONS, 2016). This portrayal of women in a low capacity as compared to their male counterparts only serves to reinforce chauvinist ideologies and other theories that limit and intend to deem women in society. Furthermore, the definition of gender-specific roles where women are shown in media outlets as the weaker sex in compromising states further encourages violence and uncivil acts toward women.
The burden of proof lies on the complainant in a case regarding domestic violence. In cases where no physical harm was inflicted and only psychological harm was inflicted it is difficult for the plaintiff to prove a court of law that a relationship has been violent (Felson & Paul-Philippe, 2005). Those accused of being violent and no action has been taken against them may harbor ill intentions toward the complainant in the future. Peers of an aggressor who does not face any negative repercussions for their behavior may be emboldened to be aggressor themselves. According to research, impunity and social pressure are contributing factors toward domestic violence. The limited understanding of masculinity in a society which centers around dominating women is a risk factor toward domestic violence (Johnson, 2008). Moreover, aggressors are likely to blame the violent acts on some of the linked factors which include drugs and alcohol, stress among others to avoid punishment for their violence.
Although research indicated that domestic violence is present in all levels of society, it is more prominent in lower incomes societies. Low academic status is a common feature associated with low-income societies. According to research, low academic performers often struggle with a self-esteem issue. Psychiatrist argues that people suffering from low self-esteem are more likely to be victims or offenders in domestic violence cases (Johnson, 2008). The lack of achieving by poor academic performers results in low self-esteem and to distract others from their lack of achievements these individuals display aggressive behavior towards their spouses and family members. In the case of victims of domestic violence, low academic performance and lack of achievement may force the victims to stay in abusive relationships as they believe there cannot provide for themselves and their children.
According to Louise Howard a professor at King's Institute of psychiatry, exposure to domestic violence can lead to mental health problems and mental health disorders (Faubion, 2019). People living with mental health disorders are more likely to be victims of domestic violence of perpetrators of aggressive acts. Mental conditions such as schizophrenia, and bipolar disorders are such the patients may experience multiple personality traits depending on the symptoms, either manic or depressive states. Such a patient may be prone to domestic violence especially if the patient is not under medication. Therefore, he argues that the cycle of abuse is likely to continue unless action is taken to deal with mental health disorders in our society.
In conclusion, Domestic violence exists in all levels of society. As such pinpointing, the exact cause has been a challenge to experts and researchers in the field. While some myths about domestic violence contain some truth or an aspect of the facts, these myths have been used by aggressors to defend their actions. This goes to show that the topic of domestic violence is one that is plagued with misconceptions and myths. To better our understanding of the topic, it crucial to understand and separate facts from myths on the topic. Although there are numerous myths as to the cause and factors that are used to explain violent tendencies, research indicated that the following factors do not cause domestic violence and therefore they are myths. Provocation by spouse, alcohol and drug abuse, genetic factors, anger, poverty, stress, testosterone, and loss of control. On the other hand, the research established that the prominent causes of domestic violence were; low self-esteem, low academic levels, previous history of abuse, mental health, and cultural beliefs. Therefore, to break the wheel of domestic violence for good, our societies must change how we define gender roles through research and educating our societies on the different aspects of domestic violence. Social education is required to help educate both genders on a conflict resolution mechanism. Furthermore, social groups must push harder on gender equity among our societies if we are to truly represent an all-inclusive society.
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Felson, R., & Paul-Philippe, P. (2005). The Reporting of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault by Nonstrangers to the Police. Journal of Marriage and Family, 67, 597-610.
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