Intimate Partner Violence is a term that refers to violence that takes place within the framework of marriages or intimate relationships between a man and a woman or people of the same sex relationships. What really is Intimate Partner Violence? It refers to the act of violence committed to a person’s mental, physical or emotional state. Violence can occur in any relationship and does not depend on the sexual orientation of the relationship. It is prevalent among both homosexuals and heterosexuals. Different people behave violently in relationships for different reasons.(CDC, n.d.)Feminist Approach to Criminology rose about the time when second wave of feminism hit around the year 1960s. Some of the Pioneers of Feminism Criminology are Frances Heidensohn, Dorie Klein, Carol Smart and Freda Adler. According to Feminist approach of Criminology, radical feminists believe that men who violate women do it for the sake of gaining power over women species. In order to understand why people behave violently, a brief analysis on the theoretical background of certain behaviours will be studied in the following sections. This will in turn help the readers to also find policy solutions to such behaviours or deal with root causes of such behavioural issues.
Social scientists have long made observations on what causes intimate partner violence’s. Alcohol, poverty, aggression or patriarchy there can be end number of reasons. Such a study is even more challenging than a medical practitioner studying the cause of a disease. Such cases are reported less and everything depends on the few sources reported. In this paper the causes of physical violence caused as a part of intimate partner violence is discussed.
Age, Social Demographic Features
One of the primary reasons can be age or other social demographical features age or ethnicity. In certain cases age can be associated with violence. However, age of partners in a marriage or any intimate relationship so far has not shown to be the reason for such violence’s. In societies where intimate partner relationship is scare more of such violence is witnessed in marriage relationships. Other social demographical characteristics like living in crowded places and sharing same space as in-laws all can be speculated to be such causes. Belonging to different ethnic group, income and education all can be causes of such violent acts.
Stress and Poverty
It is believed that one of the contributors to violence in intimate partners is stress arising out of poverty. Hence socio economical status plays a role in this.
Power, Sexual Identity and Poverty
Arguments are made whether masculine identification can be a cause of intimate partner violence (Jewkes, 2017) . The idea of manhood not being satisfied due to poor social living condition and not being able to match the expected status generates ego and shame which in turn increases level of aggression in humans.
Heavy consumption of alcohol in both men and women is often associated with aggressive behaviour in many intimate partner relationships.
Relationship of Different Theories with Intimate Partner Violence
As per the general strain theory, men and women who are participants of intimate partner violence like murders goes through a variety of emotions and stress for long years (Li and Paul, 2013). The resultant violence is a result of those stressful emotional strenuous experiences they go through with their partners. As per the strain theory causes of such violence are strenuous feelings like losing of control on the relationship, suspecting infidelity of the other partner, jealousy, separation or extreme rage. Researchers also are of the opinion that the residential neighbourhood environment has a role to play in this regard. Distress in the household economy or social surrounding all are inter related to the various influencing factors which makes individuals impatient and stressful. It is true that partners in a relationship that are financially well performing makes their social surroundings organized and live well. However the inherent structure of the society or community one lives can boost or hinder occurrences of crime in people in intimate relationships. These factors can be socio economic status of the community, residential stability, heterogeneity of ethnic factors, and deterioration in home, family disruptions, population and overcrowding. The feminist theory in such violence’s states that there occur the factors of gender and opposite sex relationship inequalities. There is the main focus believed which gives people a social message sanctioning use of violence in men more than in women and showcase aggression in life. It is a pre defined set of gender role stated dictating how both the genders will b behaving in stress full conditions in an intimate relationship. It is the approach of the society which divides women to be non violent and men the opposite.
Theory that Best Explains Intimate Partner Violence
After a thorough analysis of the various theories that lead to crime, it would be safe to mention the theory that best describes Intimate Partner violence is Feminist Approach Theory. Feminist theory is a body of ideas that is used to understand aspects of relationships between men and women in various areas such as politics, sexuality and power relationships. The feminist theory believes that different exposure and socialization patterns of men and women in our society have led to domestic violence in many homes. According to this theory, society is conditioned to think that men and women are different and must be seen or treated differently, which has led to the condoning of male chauvinism, sexism and male privilege of varying degrees. It is due to such belief system that society condones violence against women and regards it as normal. As a result of the patriarchal nature of the society, it is considered okay to exact subservience from women. Violence against women has been used for many years to keep women confined to their homes and intimidation is used as a technique to not seek help in the respective matter. However, modern Feminism has been key in creating awareness about violence against women and has provided a framework to understand and address the issue of intimate partner violence in the society. (Criminal Justice Research, n.d.)
Critical Explanation Between the Theory and the Offence
The claims that feminist theorists have made have been further explained by other schools of thought, especially Radical Feminism which states that for several years women have been the subject of marital violence in homes and the perpetrator has most often been men. The theory seeks to prove that violence is used to control the sexual and social freedom women enjoy. When women tend to gain equality in the professional realm, it is believed that expecting the same within the confines of the home becomes a matter of concern to men who then try to violate women in various ways such as marital rape, physical and mental abuse. Domestic Violence is also used to destroy the effort of women to gain equality and equal social status with men in their homes as well as in the society they live in. The fact that majority of the researches prove that the victim in most intimate partner violence are women and the perpetrator is men shows that the assumption of feminist theory is somewhat in line with what it claims. This claim has been established by many other researchers who believed that most of the crimes in domestic arenas had been committed by men and not women. There may be very few cases where men have been on the receiving end, however feminist theory does not deny that there are women, though rare, who use violence in their homes against men, but the motive for violence in a man and a woman differs in great degrees. (Criminal Justice Research, n.d.)
Compare with Two Other Theories and Explain the Superiority of Chosen Theory
There are two other theories apart from the Feminist Approach Theory that may be possible causes for domestic violence however Feminist Approach Theory is the most likely theory one can take as a reference point to understand such acts of violence in relationships. General Strain theory believes that the strain that a person goes through in their lives may cause them to act violently in their relationships. These situations may be events where the person is not treated as they would like to be treated or situations where individuals are forced to behave in a non- conformist manner etc; Strain refers to the day-to-day strain, strain related to financial situations, materials gains or status are all reasons that may cause a person to feel stressed and they may find ways to handle these issues. The problem to this theory in using it to understand Intimate Partner Violence is that, this theory does not explain why people may behave violently in their relationship. Just because they are strained in a particular area of their life does not mean they beat their spouse. There may be a very small percentage of people who may do that but not a majority. Now one can consider the premise of Self- Control theory, which states that some partners choose to behave in a certain way and only towards a certain people. For instance, they may not hit a police man or their bosses at office. These people may also choose to beat their spouse in a private place and not in front of anyone which shows that it is in their ability to control themselves from reacting in a violent manner depending on the place, however to believe that as a rule is not completely true because not all men think before they beat their spouses. Moreover, people who go through an abusive childhood are seldom in a position to control their frustration and anger that has been pent up over so many years. (HR Library, n.d.)
Responding to violence against women has gained much attention and there has been promising changes that have taken place in the social media premises regarding such issues. People have been more vocal about violence against them and have made attempts to punish such behavior. A number of actions on a national level have been taken in the UK with regard to victims of domestic violence.
- About 40 million pounds has been allocated to fund support services and national helpline services to help women
- The popular ‘This is Abuse’ campaign in partnership with Hollyoaks and MTV.
- Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme allows the police to disclose any past history of a person’s violent behaviour to the public so that people can make an informed decision regarding entering into a relationship with them
These are some of the approaches that the Government of UK has taken as a means of helping women as well as other victims of domestic violence. (Gov. UK, 2015).
- R. (2001). Building on the Foundation of General Strain Theory: Specifying The Types Of Strain Most Likely To Lead To Crime And Delinquency. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency. Sage Publications. Last Accessed 23rd May, 2017.
- (n.d.). Intimate Partner Violence. Available: Last Accessed 23rd May, 2017.
- Criminal Justice Research. (n.d.) Feminist Theory and Domestic Violence. Available: Last Accessed 23rd May, 2017.
- M. (2015). Theories of Intimate Partner Abuse. Linked in. Available: Last Accessed 23rd May, 2017.
- UK. (2015). 210-2015Government Policy: Violence against Women and Girls. Available: Last Accessed 23rd May, 2017.
- HR Library. (n.d.). Theories of Violence. Available: Last Accessed 23rd May, 2017.
- Jewkes, R. (2016). Intimate partner violence: causes and prevention. Available: Last accessed 26th May 2017.
- Li, E and Paul, M. (2013). A general strain theory of intimate partner homicide. Aggression and Violent Behavior. 4 (3), p1-20.
- (n.d.). Intimate Partner Violence. Pan America Health Organization. Last Accessed 23rd May, 2017.