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12.6C: Spousal Abuse

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    8324
  • Spousal abuse can be defined as a pattern of abusive behaviors by one or both partners in an intimate relationship.

     

    LEARNING OBJECTIVES

     

    Evaluate the gender differences in domestic violence against both men and women in heterosexual and homosexual relationships

     

    KEY TAKEAWAYS

    Key Points

     

    • 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, including feeling ashamed because their victimhood negates their masculinity.
    • Gender roles and expectations play a role in abusive situations.
    • Domestic violence also occurs in same-sex relationships.
    • Domestic violence also occurs in same-sex relationships.

     

    Key Terms

     

    • Violence against Women: Violence perpetrated against a female victim for reasons having to do with gender expectations.
    • Violence against Men: Violence perpetrated against a male victim for reasons having to do with gender expectations.

    The relationship between gender and domestic violence is a controversial topic. Debate revolves around the rates at which each gender is subjected to domestic violence and whether abused men should be provided the same resources and shelters that exist for female victims. Some studies suggest that men are less likely to report being victims of domestic violence due to social stigmas. Other sources argue that the rate of domestic violence against men is often inflated due to the practice of including self-defense as a form of domestic violence.

    A problem in conducting studies that seek to describe violence in terms of gender is the amount of silence, fear, and shame that results from abuse within families and relationships. Another problem 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 transparent even as they set the stage for normalizing further abuse. Finally, inconsistent definition of what constitutes domestic violence makes definite conclusions difficult to reach when compiling research.

     

    Violence Against Women

     

    Although the exact rates are widely disputed, especially within the United States, there is a large body of cross-cultural evidence that women are subjected to domestic violence significantly more often than men. In addition, there is broad consensus that women are more often subjected to severe forms of abuse and are more likely to be injured by an abusive partner. According to a report by the United States Department of Justice, a survey of 16,000 Americans showed 22.1 percent of women and 7.4 percent of men reported being physically assaulted by a current or former spouse, cohabiting partner, boyfriend, girlfriend, or date in their lifetime.

     

    Violence Against Men

     

    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. Another study has demonstrated a high degree of acceptance by women of aggression against men. Some researchers have found a relationship between the availability of domestic violence services, improved laws and enforcement regarding domestic violence, increased access to divorce, and higher earnings for women with declines in intimate partner homicide by women.

    Gender roles and expectations play a role in abusive situations, and exploring these roles and expectations can be helpful in addressing abusive situations. Likewise, it can be helpful to explore factors such as race, class, religion, sexuality, and philosophy. However, studies investigating whether sexist attitudes are correlated with domestic violence have shown conflicting results

     

    Same-Sex Relationships

     

    Domestic violence also occurs in same-sex relationships. Gay and lesbian relationships have been identified as a risk factor for abuse in certain populations. In an effort to be more inclusive, many organizations have made an effort to use gender-neutral terms when referring to the act of perpetrating and victimhood.

    Historically, little interest has been directed at domestic violence in same-sex relationships. As the gay rights movement has brought gay and lesbian issues into public attention, more research has been conducted on same-sex relationships. A 1999 analysis of 19 different studies of partner abuse concluded that “lesbians and gay men are just as likely to abuse their partners as heterosexual men,” although the study also noted the uncertain nature of much of the contemporary research.

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    Spousal Violence in Same-sex Relationships: Domestic violence also occurs in same-sex relationships.

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    Let’s Talk, Not Fight: Colin Henderson’s winning design were displayed on T-shirts and other items at the 2012 Domestic Violence Awareness Rally.

     

    LICENSES AND ATTRIBUTIONS

     

    CC LICENSED CONTENT, SHARED PREVIOUSLY

     

     

    CC LICENSED CONTENT, SPECIFIC ATTRIBUTION