What are the predisposing factors that lead to domestic abuse?
Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

Discussion Prompt

What are the predisposing factors that lead to domestic abuse? What is the role of the public health nurse to prevent domestic abuse

As you begin to consider the factors that lead to domestic abuse and the PHN role in it, consider what domestic abuse is. Domestic abuse is also referred to as family violence or battery. Generally you will see a pattern of behavior that includes some type of violence in the domestic setting. So think about situations outside of the just the most obvious marital relationships… does it include child/parent? How about roommates? What else might it include? Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

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Causes and Consequences of Violence Against Women
Causes
A vital part of understanding a social problem, and a precursor to preventing it, is an understanding of what causes it. Research on the causes of violence against women has consisted of two lines of inquiry: examination of the characteristics that influence the behavior of offenders and consideration of whether some women have a heightened vulnerability to victimization. Research has sought causal factors at various levels of analysis, including individual, dyadic, institutional, and social. Studies of offending and victimization remain conceptually distinct except in sociocultural analysis in which joint consideration is often given to two complementary processes: those that influence men to be aggressive and channel their expressions of violence toward women and those that position women for receipt of violence and operate to silence them afterwards. Many theorists and researchers have sought to answer the question, “Why does this particular man batter or sexually assault?” by looking at single classes of influences. Among them have been biologic factors such as androgenic hormonal influences; evolutionary Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

Domestic violence involves men, women and children no matter what kind of relationship the person may be in whether heterosexual or homosexual. Domestic violence victims are both women and men, although most victims tend to be women. It does not matter what religion, social class or ethnic class the person may be from it affects everyone. Domestic violence is defined as one person using any means to control the other person (www.medicinenet.com). It can include emotional, psychological, physical or sexual abuse. Women are most of the time victims of abuse due to them being seen as second class citizens. They have been portrayed in pornographic videos, magazines and video games for years which are very degrading to women. Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay
Stress in a relationship can lead to abuse. The bread winner in the family may feel stressed that he/she is unable to provide for the family. He may take this guilt and stress out on the spouse or the child in the form of yelling or hitting. This is the reason that the rate of abuse is higher during the holidays. Another cause for abuse seems to be alcohol or drug abuse. The person that is addicted to drugs or alcohol may come home under the influence and beat, scream or sexually abuse the spouse or child. The abuser may not realize what he done while he was intoxicated then feel remorse when he is sober. Studies have found that abusive behaviors are learned through observation. If a child is abused as a child or has a father that abused the mother it is very likely he will be an abuser or in an abusive relationship as an adult (mchenrycountyturningpoint.org). Many women tend to stay in abusive relationships because they are either scared or believe that they deserve the treatment they are receiving. I know from personal experience that it is very difficult to leave an abusive relationship.Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

intrapsychic explanations focused on mental disorder or personality traits and profiles; social learning models that highlight the socialization experiences that shape individual men to be violent; social information processing theory concerning the cognitive processes that offenders engage in before, during, and after violence; sociocultural analyses aimed at understanding the structural features of society at the level of the dyad, family, peer group, school, religion, media, and state that encourage male violence and maintain women as a vulnerable class of potential victims; and feminist explanations stressing the gendered nature of violence against women and its roots in patriarchal social systems. Recently, researchers armed with multivariate statistical analysis have tested complex models of violence with multiple factors to explain battering (McKenry et al., 1995) and to model the common roots of verbal, physical, and sexual coercion toward women (Malamuth et al., 1995). Also new are integrative metatheories of intimate violence that consider the impact of historical, sociocultural, and social factors on people, including the processes whereby social influences are transmitted to and represented within individual psychological functioning, including cognition and motivation (White, in press).Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

Many of the theories about the causes of perpetrating violence against women are drawn from the literature on aggression and general violence. Both the research on general violence and that on violence against women suggest that violence arises from interactions among individual biological and psychosocial factors and social processes (e.g., Reiss and Roth, 1993), but it is not known how much overlap there is in the development of violent behavior against women and other violent behavior. Studies of male batterers have found that some batterers confine their violent behavior to their intimates but others are violent in general (Fagan et al., 1983; Cadsky and Crawford, 1988; Shields et al., 1988; Saunders, 1992; Holtzworth-Munroe and Stuart, 1994). The research suggests that, at least in some cases, there may be differences in the factors that cause violence against women Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

that cause other violent behavior. Much more work is needed in order to understand in what ways violence against women differs from other violent behavior. Such understanding will be particularly important for developing preventive interventions.

Although current understanding suggests that violent behavior is not caused by any single factor, much of the research has focused on single causes. Therefore, in the following sections several salient findings emerging from each single-factor domain are highlighted to illustrate how each contributes something to the causal nexus of perpetration of violence. They are followed by a brief review of efforts to build multifactor models.Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

Theories of Violent Offending
Individual Determinants
Evolution From an evolutionary perspective, the goal of sexual behavior is to maximize the likelihood of passing on one’s genes. This goal involves maximizing the chances that one will have offspring who themselves will survive to reproduce. In ancestral environments, optimum male and female strategies for successfully passing on one’s genes often did not coincide because the amount of parental investment required by males is smaller than that required by females. Males were best served by mating with as many fertile females as possible to increase their chance of impregnating one of them; females, who have the tasks of pregnancy and nurturing the young, are often better served by pair bonding. Sex differences in current human mating strategies may be explained as having been shaped by the strategies that created reproductive success among human ancestors. A number of studies have shown that young adult males are more interested in partner variety, less interested in committed long-term relationships, and more willing to engage in impersonal sex than are young adult females (Clark and Hatfield, 1989; Symons Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

It is theorized that males who have difficulty obtaining partners are more likely to resort to sexual coercion or rape. Extensive evidence of forced mating among animals has been documented (Ellis, 1989). Evolutionary theory also has been used to explain aspects of intimate partner violence. It is theorized that male sexual jealousy developed as a means of assuring the paternity of their offspring (Quinsey and Lalumière, 1995). Case histories from battered women often mention the extreme sexual jealousy displayed by their batterers (Walker, 1979; Browne, 1987), and extreme sexual jealousy is a common motive of men who kill their wives (Daly and Wilson, 1988).Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

There is much debate over how much influence evolutionary factors have on modern human beings. Even those who favor evolutionary explanations acknowledge that additional factors are necessary to explain sexual assault and intimate partner violence. For example, Quinsey and Lalumière (1995) suggest that rape and other sexual coercion may be explained by the evolutionary approach that is modified by specific attitudes toward women or by psychopathy, coupled with an erotic interest in coercive sexual behavior. Evolutionary explanations of rape are also criticized as not explaining the proportion of rapes lacking reproductive consequences because they involve oral or anal penetration or victims who are prepubescent or male.Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

Physiology and Neurophysiology The physiological or neurophysiological correlates of violence and aggression that have received particular attention are the functioning of steroid hormones such as testosterone; the functioning of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, acetylcholine, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA); neuroanatomical abnormalities; neurophysiological abnormalities; and brain dysfunctions that interfere with cognition or

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Suggested Citation:”3 Causes and Consequences of Violence Against Women.” National Research Council. 1996. Understanding Violence Against Women. Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay
language processing. This literature has been well reviewed in other sources (e.g., Fishbein, 1990; Reiss and Roth, 1993; Brain, 1994; Miczek et al., 1994a,b; Mirsky and Siegel, 1994); this section highlights the overall findings and notes studies that have specifically looked at violence against women. In considering this literature, it should be remembered that much of the evidence comes from animal studies and that generalizing from animals to humans is not straightforward. The evidence that comes from studies of human subjects only shows correlations, so any causal interpretations are tenuous. Furthermore, changes in hormonal, neurotransmitter, and neurophysiological processes may be consequences of violent behavior or victimization, as well as being causes of those behaviors (Reiss and Roth, 1993; van der Kolk, 1994).

A recent comprehensive literature review (Archer, 1991) concluded that the majority of studies showed that high testosterone levels tend to covary with high probabilities of aggressive behaviors, dominance status, and pathological forms of aggression in nonhuman mammals, but that the picture for humans is not as clear. In humans, there appears to be a correlation between testosterone levels and aggression, but it is not clear whether testosterone levels influence aggressive behavior or vary as a result of aggressive behavior. Similarly, the results of human studies of neurotransmitters are not conclusive. For example, low levels of serotonin, the most heavily studied of the neurotransmitters, have been found to be correlated with aggressive behavior, impulsivity, and suicidal behavior (Asberg et al., 1976; Brown et al., 1979; Linnoila et al., 1983; Lidberg et al., 1985; Mann, 1987; Coccaro et al., 1989). More recent studies have found a complex interaction among serotonin, alcoholism, and monoamine metabolism and these behaviors (Linnoila et al., 1989; Virkkunen et al., 1989a,b). Further evidence of the role of neurotransmitters comes from the fact that drugs that act on serotonin receptors or on monoamine oxidase may reduce aggressiveness. Animal and human studies have found trauma Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

Suggested Citation:”3 Causes and Consequences of Violence Against Women.” National Research Council. 1996. Understanding Violence Against Women. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5127.×
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have effects on hormones, neurotransmitters, and brain function (e.g., van der Kolk, 1994).

Studies have also looked at brain abnormalities and violent behavior. Neuropsychological deficits in memory, attention, and language, which sometimes follow limbic system damage, have been found to be common in children who exhibit violent or aggressive behavior (e.g., Miller, 1987; Lewis et al., 1988; Mungas, 1988). Differences in peripheral measures of nervous system activity, such as heart rate or skin conductance, have been found between control subjects and samples of criminals, psychopaths, delinquents, and conduct-disordered children (Siddle et al., 1973; Wadsworth, 1976; Raine and Venables, 1988; Kagan, 1989; Raine et al., 1990). Langevin (1990:112) found a “link between temporal lobe impairment and sexually anomalous behaviors” that was independent of nonsexual criminality and not explained by learning disabilities or alcohol abuse. Reduced impulse control and personality changes following head injury may lead to an increased risk of battering (Detre et al., 1975; Lewis et al., 1986, 1988). Likewise, studies have found that batterers are more likely to have had head injuries than nonbatterers (Rosenbaum and Hoge, 1989; Rosenbaum et al., 1996).Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

There is increasing interest in the role played by biological factors in violent behavior; however, most researchers believe it is the interaction of biological, developmental, and environmental factors that is important (Fishbein, 1990). For example, Marshall and Barbaree (1990) speculate that biological factors may set the stage for learning, providing limits and possibilities rather than determining outcomes, and that developmental and environmental factors play the larger role. However, as suggested by a previous study (Reiss and Roth, 1993), preventing head injuries and environmental exposure to toxins, such as lead, that may damage brain functioning could be considered potential avenues for preventing violence.Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

Alcohol Every category of aggressive act (except throwing objects) has a higher prevalence among people who have been

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Suggested Citation:”3 Causes and Consequences of Violence Against Women.” National Research Council. 1996. Understanding Violence Against Women. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5127.×
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drinking (Pernanen, 1976). Alcohol use has been reported in between 25 percent and 85 percent of incidents of battering and up to 75 percent of acquaintance rapes (Kantor and Straus, 1987; Muehlenhard and Linton, 1987; Koss et al., 1988). It is far more prevalent for men than their female victims. Considerable research links drinking and alcohol abuse to physical aggression, although adult consumption patterns are likewise associated with other variables related to violence (such as witnessing physical violence in one’s home of origin; Kantor, 1993). The relationship of alcohol to intimate partner violence could be spurious, but the relationship of men’s drinking to intimate partner violence remains even after statistically controlling for sociodemographic variables, hostility, and marital satisfaction (Leonard and Blane, 1992; Leonard, 1993). Men’s drinking patterns, especially binge drinking, are associated with marital violence across all ethnic groups and social classes (Kantor, 1993).Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

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The relationship of alcohol to violence is a complex one, involving physiological, psychosocial, and sociocultural factors. The exact effects of alcohol on the central nervous system remain in question, but nonexperimental evidence indicates that alcohol may interact with neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, that have been associated with effects on aggression (Linnoila et al., 1983; Virkkunen et al., 1989a,b). Studies have found a genetic basis for alcohol abuse and alcoholism (Cloninger et al., 1978; Plomin, 1989) and for antisocial personality traits (Christiansen, 1977; Bohman et al., 1982; Mednick et al., 1984; Cloninger and Gottesman, 1987) that are often found among violent offenders. The fact that alcohol abuse and antisocial personality frequently occur together has led to the speculation of common genetic bases, but the evidence remains inconclusive (Reiss and Roth, 1993).

Alcohol may interfere with cognitive processes, in particular, social cognitions. Recent studies suggest that men under the influence of alcohol are more likely to misperceive ambiguous or neutral cues as suggestive of sexual interest and to ignore or misinterpret cues that a woman is unwilling Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

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Suggested Citation:”3 Causes and Consequences of Violence Against Women.” National Research Council. 1996. Understanding Violence Against Women. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5127.×
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(Abbey et al., 1995). The impact of alcohol on behavior has also been linked to a person’s expectations about alcohol’s effects. For example, Lang et al. (1975) found individuals became more aggressive in laboratory experiments after drinking what they were told was alcohol, even though it was not. Similarly, laboratory studies of penile responses to pornographic stimuli decrease with actual ingestion of alcohol, but increase when participants believe they have drunk alcohol when they have actually received a placebo drink (Richardson and Hammock, 1991). It has also been suggested that alcohol may be used to excuse violent behavior (Coleman and Straus, 1983; Collins, 1986). These deviance disavowal theories (“I wouldn’t have done it if I hadn’t been drunk”) have not been empirically tested, however (Kantor, 1993).Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

There are methodological weaknesses in the studies of the links between alcohol and violence, including lack of clear definitions of excessive alcohol use and a reliance on clinical samples with an absence of control samples. (For a more complete review of the research and methodological weaknesses see Leonard and Jacob, 1988; Leonard, 1993.) Nonetheless, research has consistently found that heavy drinking patterns are related to aggressive behavior, in general, and to intimate partner and sexual violence. However, exactly how alcohol is related to violence remains unclear. Obviously, many battering incidents and sexual assaults occur in the absence of alcohol, and many people drink without engaging in violent behavior (Kantor and Straus, 1990).Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

Psychopathology and Personality Traits A number of studies have found a high incidence of psychopathology and personality disorders, most frequently antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality organization, or posttraumatic stress syndrome, among men who assault their wives (Hamberger and Hastings, 1986, 1988, 1991; Hart et al., 1993; Dutton and Starzomski, 1993; Dutton, 1994, 1995; Dutton et al., 1994). A wide variety of psychiatric and personality disorders have also been diagnosed among sexual offenders, most

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Suggested Citation:”3 Causes and Consequences of Violence Against Women.” National Research Council. 1996. Understanding Violence Against Women. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5127.×
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frequently some type of antisocial personality disorder (Prentky, 1990).Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

Distinctive personality profiles have been reported for rapists and sexually aggressive men (Groth and Birnbaum, 1979; Abel et al., 1986), and batterers (Geffner and Rosenbaum, 1990). However, personality testing of rapists has found no significant differences between sexual offenders and those incarcerated for nonsexual offenses (Quinsey et al., 1980; Langevin, 1983). Studies of the personalities of incarcerated rapists and court-referred batterers are problematic, these men are typically poorly educated and from low-status occupations. Thus the differences may say more about who gets reported, arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced than it does about the personalities of violent men. Rape, for example, is one of the most underreported crimes (Bowker, 1979), and only a small proportion of reported rapes result in incarceration (Darke, 1990). Even within the restricted population found in studies of incarcerated sex offenders, most investigators have concluded that there is a great deal of heterogeneity among rapists and that sexual aggression is multiply determined (Prentky and Knight, 1991).Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

Batterers also seem to be a heterogeneous group (Gondolf, 1988; Saunders, 1992). Because of this heterogeneity, much of the research on incarcerated rapists and known batterers has included attempts to develop typologies to represent subgroups of them. Typologies of batterers have generally used one, or a combination, of three dimensions to distinguish between subgroups: frequency and severity of physical violence and related sexual or psychological abuse; generality of the violence (i.e., violence only in the family or violence in general); and psychopathology or personality disorder (Holtzworth-Munroe and Stuart, 1994). Rapists have been categorized by motivational factors (sexual or aggressive), impulse control factors, and social competence. (For a detailed description of sexual offender taxonomies, see Knight and Prentky, 1990.)Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

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Suggested Citation:”3 Causes and Consequences of Violence Against Women.” National Research Council. 1996. Understanding Violence Against Women. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5127.×
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Because incarcerated sexual offenders and batterers in treatment are probably not representative of all sex offenders or batterers, another avenue of research has focused on normal population samples, comparing those who self-report physically or sexually aggressive behavior and those who do not. Sexually aggressive men are said to differ from other men in antisocial tendencies (Malamuth, 1986), nonconformity (Rapaport and Burkhart, 1984), impulsivity (Calhoun, 1990), and hypermasculinity (Mosher and Anderson, 1986). Batterers have been found to show lower socialization and responsibility (Barnett and Hamberger, 1992). It is important to remember, however, that there are potential biases in self-report data, and it is difficult to verify their accuracy other than through consistency of responses. Men may be reluctant to acknowledge that they have engaged in sexually or physically violent behavior or the men who report this behavior may be different from those who have engaged in the behavior but do not report it. Yet, because both intimate partner violence and sexual assault usually take place in private, self-reports play a central role in their study. Self-report measures on sensitive topics, including violent behaviors, have been found to be quite reliable (Straus, 1979; Hindelang et al., 1981; Bridges and Weis, 1989).Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

Attitudes and Gender Schemas Cultural myths about violence, gender scripts and roles, sexual scripts and roles, and male entitlements are represented at the individual level as attitudes and gender schemas. These hypothetical entities are expectancies that give meaning to and may even bias interpretation of ongoing experience, as well as provide a structure for the range of possible responses. Acceptance of beliefs that have been shown to foster rape has been demonstrated among a variety of Americans, including typical citizens, police officers, and judges (Field, 1978; Burt, 1980; Mahoney et al., 1986). Once a violence-supportive schema about women has developed, men are more likely to misinterpret ambiguous evidence as confirming their beliefs (Abbey, 1991). Sexu-

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Suggested Citation:”3 Causes and Consequences of Violence Against Women.” National Research Council. 1996. Understanding Violence Against Women. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5127.×
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ally aggressive men more strongly endorse a set of attitudes that are supportive of rape than do nonaggressive men, including myths about rape and the use of interpersonal violence as a strategy for resolving conflict (e.g., Malamuth, 1986; Malamuth et al., 1991, 1995). Beliefs and myths about rape may serve as rationalizations for those who commit violent acts. For example, incarcerated rapists often rationalize that their victim either desired or deserved to experience forced sexual acts. Similarly, culturally sanctioned beliefs about the rights and privileges of husbands have historically legitimized a man’s domination over his wife and warranted his use of violence to control her. Men, in general, are more accepting of men abusing women, and the most culturally traditional men are the most accepting (Greenblatt, 1985). Batterers’ often excuse their violence by pointing to their wives’ ”unwifely” behavior as their justification (Dobash and Dobash, 1979; Adams, 1988; Ptacek, 1988).Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

Sex and Power Motives Violence against women is widely believed to be motivated by needs to dominate women. This view conjures the image of a powerful man who uses violence against women as a tool to maintain his superiority, but research suggests that the relationship is more complex. Power and control frequently underlie intimate partner violence, but the purpose of the violence may also be in response to a man’s feelings of powerlessness and inability to accept rejection (Browne and Dutton, 1990). It also has been argued that rape, in particular, represents fulfillment of sexual needs through violence (Ellis, 1989), but research has found that motives of power and anger are more prominent in the rationalizations for sexual aggression than sexual desires (Lisak and Roth, 1990; Lisak, 1994). Attempts to resolve the debate about sex versus power have involved laboratory studies of men’s sexual arousal to stimuli of depictions of pure violence, pure consensual sex, and nonconsensual sex plus violence. These studies have consistently shown that some “normal” males with no known history of rape may be aroused by rape stimuli involv-Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

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Suggested Citation:”3 Causes and Consequences of Violence Against Women.” National Research Council. 1996. Understanding Violence Against Women. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5127.×
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ing adult women, especially if the women are portrayed as enjoying the experience (Hall, 1990). However, sexually aggressive men appear to be more sexually arousable in general, either to consenting or rape stimuli (Rapaport and Posey, 1991), and rapists respond more than nonsexual offenders to rape cues than to consenting sex cues (Lalumière and Quinsey, 1994). Sexually aggressive men openly admit that their sexual fantasies are dominated by aggressive and sadistic material (Greendlinger and Byrne, 1987; Quinsey, 1984).Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

Social Learning Social learning theory posits that humans learn social behavior by observing others’ behavior and the consequences of that behavior, forming ideas about what behaviors are appropriate, trying those behaviors, and continuing them if the results are positive (O’Leary, 1988). This theory does not view aggression as inevitable, but rather sees it as a social behavior that is learned and shaped by its consequences, continuing if it is reinforced (Lore and Schultz, 1993). From this perspective, male violence against women endures in human societies because it is modeled both in individual families and in the society more generally and has positive results: it releases tension, leaves the perpetrator feeling better, often achieves its ends by cutting off arguments, and is rarely associated with serious punishment for the perpetrator.Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

One of the mechanisms through which social learning occurs is social information processing—the decoding or interpreting of social interactions, making decisions about appropriate responses on the basis of the decoding, and carrying out a response to see if it has the intended effect. It has been hypothesized that violent men may be deficient in the skills necessary to accurately decode communications from women. For example, men’s judgments of videotapes of male-female interactions are more highly sexualized than women’s judgments (Abbey, 1991; Kowalski, 1992, 1993). Batterers appear to be more likely than nonviolent men to attribute negative intentions to their partners’ actions and to behave negatively,

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Suggested Citation:”3 Causes and Consequences of Violence Against Women.” National Research Council. 1996. Understanding Violence Against Women. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5127.×
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for example, with anger or contempt (Dutton and Browning, 1988; Margolin et al., 1988; Holtzworth-Munroe, 1992).

Dyadic Contexts
An individual man carries out violence against a woman in a dyadic context that includes features of the relationship, characteristics of the woman, and their communication. The stage of relationship between a man and woman may determine, in part, the probability of violence. Anecdotal evidence from battered women suggest that a man often refrains from physical violence until a women has made an emotional commitment to him, such as moving in together, getting engaged or married, or becoming pregnant (e.g., Walker, 1979; Giles-Sims, 1983; Browne, 1987). It is suggested that the emotional bond between the couple once formed, may contribute to the man’s sense of entitlement to control his partner’s behavior as well as diminish the facility with which the woman can leave the relationship without ambivalence. Some evidence suggests that women are willing to see the first violent incident as an anomaly, and so are willing to forgive it, although this response may actually reinforce the violent behavior (Giles-Sims, 1983).Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

Acquaintance or date rape may also be related to relationship stage, with different risk factors for rapes during first dates and rapes in on-going relationships (Shotland, 1992). For example, men who rape on first or second dates may be similar to stranger rapists, while men who rape early in a developing relationship may misperceive their partners’ intent (Shotland, 1992). Prior sexual intimacy between partners may increase a man’s belief that he has a right to such intimacy any time he desires it, and it may also support his false assumption that a forced sexual encounter in an experienced woman is harmless (Johnson and Jackson, 1988). Completed rapes have been found to be more likely in couples who know each other well than among persons who are acquaintances (Belnap, 1989). As noted in the section on social learning

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Suggested Citation:”3 Causes and Consequences of Violence Against Women.” National Research Council. 1996. Understanding Violence Against Women. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5127.×
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(above), physically and sexually aggressive men may misinterpret cues from females. It has been found, for example, that male batterers have poor communication skills (Ganley and Harris, 1978; Holtzworth-Monroe and Anglin, 1991).Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

Institutional Influences
Family, Schools, and Religion Families are where all socialization begins, including socialization for all types of violent behavior. Studies of violent criminals and violent sex offenders have found these men are more likely than other adults to have experienced poor parental childrearing, poor supervision, physical abuse, neglect, and separations from their parents (Langevin et al., 1985; Farrington, 1991). Increased risk of adult intimate partner violence is associated with exposure to violence between a person’s parents while growing up. One-third of children who have been abused or exposed to parental violence become violent adults (Widom, 1989). Sons of violent parents are more likely to abuse their intimate partners than boys from nonviolent homes (Straus et al., 1980). Men raised in patriarchal family structures in which traditional gender roles are encouraged are more likely to become violent adults, to rape women acquaintances, and to batter their intimate partners than men raised in more egalitarian homes (Straus et al., 1980; Gwartney-Gibbs et al., 1983; Fagot et al., 1988; Friedrich et al., 1988; Koss and Dinero, 1989; Riggs and O’Leary, 1989; Malamuth et al., 1991, 1995). Sexual abuse in childhood has been identified as a risk factor in males for sexual offending as an adult (Groth and Birnbaum, 1979; Briere, 1992). Experiences of sexual abuse in one’s family may lead to inaccurate notions about healthy sexuality, inappropriate justifications for violent behavior, failure to develop personal boundaries, and contribute to communication and coping styles that rely on denial, reinterpretation of experiences, and avoidance (Briere, 1992; Herman, 1992).Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

To the extent that schools reinforce sex role stereotypes and attitudes that condone the use of violence, they may

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Suggested Citation:”3 Causes and Consequences of Violence Against Women.” National Research Council. 1996. Understanding Violence Against Women. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5127.×
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contribute to socialization supportive of violent behavior. Other institutions that have been implicated in contributing to socialization that supports violence against women are organized religion (Fortune, 1983; Whipple, 1987), the workplace (Fitzgerald, 1993), the U.S. military (Russell, 1989), and the media (Linz et al., 1992).Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

Athletic teams also may socialize children to behavior that is supportive of violence. For example, male athletes may be spurred to greater aggressive efforts by coaches who deride them as “girls.” Participation in revenue-producing sports at the collegiate level was found to be a significant predictor of sexual aggression among college students (Koss and Gaines, 1993). It is possible that team sports, particularly revenue-producing sports, attract young men who are already aggressive. Whether team sports encourage aggressive behavior or simply reinforce already existing aggressive tendencies remains to be determined. In either case, it appears that participation in team sports is a risk factor for sexual aggression.Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

Media Many feminist writers (e.g., Brownmiller, 1975; Dworkin, 1991; Russell, 1993) have suggested that pornography encourages the objectification of women and endorses and condones sexual aggression toward women. Both laboratory research and studies of television lend support to this view. Exposure to pornography under laboratory conditions has been found to increase men’s aggression toward women, particularly when a male participant has been affronted, insulted, or provoked by a woman (Linz et al., 1992). Sexual arousal to depictions of rape is characteristic of sexual offenders (Hall, 1990). Even exposure to nonexplicit sexual scenes with graphic violence has been shown to decrease empathy for rape victims (Linz et al., 1988). It appears that it is the depiction of violence against women more than sexual explicitness that results in callousness toward female victims of violence and attitudes that are accepting of such violence (Donnerstein and Linz, 1994).Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

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Suggested Citation:”3 Causes and Consequences of Violence Against Women.” National Research Council. 1996. Understanding Violence Against Women. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5127.×
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It is not only pornography that depicts violence against women. Television and movies are filled with scenes of women being threatened, raped, beaten, tortured, and murdered. A number of studies of television point to the deleterious effects of viewing media portrayals of violence (e.g., Eron, 1982; National Institute of Mental Health, 1982; Huston et al., 1992). Eron (1982) found that children who watched many hours of violence on television during elementary school tended to exhibit more aggressive behavior as teenagers and were more likely to be arrested for criminal acts as adults. A meta-analysis of 188 studies found a strong positive association between exposure to television violence and antisocial and aggressive behavior (Comstock and Paik, 1990; Paik and Comstock, 1994). Those who are exposed to television and cinema violence may also become desensitized to real world violence, less sensitive to the pain and suffering of others, and begin to see the world as a mean and dangerous place (Murray, 1995). A recently released national study of violence on television found that context of the violence shown was important: television shows virtually no consequences of violent behavior; victims are not harmed and offenders are not punished (Mediascope, 1996). It seems that many television depictions of violence send the message that violence works.Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

None of the studies of television violence has focused specifically on violence against women. The National Television Violence Study (Mediascope, 1996) found that 75 percent of the targets of violence in television portrayals are males, while only 9 percent are females (the remainder are nonhuman characters). Research has not yet examined the type of violence directed at female victims on television, how it compares with that directed at male victims, and whether there are differential effects on viewers of violence against women and against men.Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

Societal Influences
For much of recorded Western European and American

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Suggested Citation:”3 Causes and Consequences of Violence Against Women.” National Research Council. 1996. Understanding Violence Against Women. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5127.×
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history, wives had no independent legal status; they were basically their husbands’ property. The right of a husband to physically chastise his wife was upheld by the Supreme Court of Mississippi in 1824 ( Bradley v. State 1 Miss. 157) and again by a court in North Carolina in 1868 (State v. Rhodes, 61 N.C. 453, 353; cited in Pleck, 1989). In 1871 a court ruling in Alabama (Fulgham v. State, 46 Ala. 146-147) made that state the first to rescind a husband’s right to beat his wife (Fagan and Browne, 1994). During the 1870s, coinciding with the rise of the child protective movement, there was increased concern that wife beating should be treated as a crime, although few men were ever punished (Pleck, 1989). In the 1890s social casework replaced criminal justice as the preferred system for dealing with family violence and general interest in wife beating waned until the 1960s (Fagan and Browne, 1994).Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

The status of women as property also can be seen in the development of laws concerning rape. Brownmiller (1975:8) contends that “rape entered the law … as a property crime of man against man. Woman, of course, was viewed as the property.” She notes that until the end of the thirteenth century, only unmarried virgins were considered blameless in their victimization; married women who were raped were punished along with their rapist. At that time, the Statutes of West-minister put forward by Edward I of England extended the same penalties to men who raped married women as to those who raped virgins. Rape within marriage, however, was, by definition, impossible. Marriage laws traditionally assumed implied consent to sexual relations by wives and allowed husbands to use force to gain compliance (Fagan and Browne, 1994). It has only been in recent years that laws have begun to recognize marital rape: today every state in the United States has modified or eliminated the marriage exclusion in its rape laws (personal communication, National Clearing-house on Marital and Date Rape, Berkeley, California).Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

Sexual Scripts Expectations about dating and intimate rela-

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Suggested Citation:”3 Causes and Consequences of Violence Against Women.” National Research Council. 1996. Understanding Violence Against Women. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5127.×
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tionships are conveyed by culturally transmitted scripts. Scripts support violence when they encourage men to feel superior, entitled, and licensed as sexual aggressors with women as their prey, while holding women responsible for controlling the extent of sexual involvement (White and Koss, 1993). Parents socialize daughters to resist sexual advances and sons to initiate sexual activity (Ross, 1977). By adolescence, both boys and girls have been found to endorse scripts about sexual interaction that delineate a justifiable rape. For example, approximately 25 percent of middle school, high school, and college students state that it is acceptable for a man to force sex on a woman if he spent money on her (Goodchilds and Zellman, 1984; Muehlenhard et al., 1985; Goodchilds et al., 1988).Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

Since Burt (1980) first defined “rape myths” and developed a scale to measure them, a large body of research has examined the role of attitudes and false beliefs about rape on perpetration of sexual assault and on society’s response to sexual assault. Typical rape myths include denial of rape’s existence (e.g., most rape claims are false, or women generally lie about rape), excusing the rape (e.g., she led him on, he couldn’t help himself, rape only happens to “bad” women), and minimizing the seriousness of rape (e.g., Hall et al., 1986; Briere et al., 1985). Despite psychometrically weak measurement instruments, the study of rape myths has provided important understandings about sexual aggression (Lonsway and Fitzgerald, 1994). Not surprisingly, men are more accepting of rape myths than women (e.g., Muehlenhard and Linton, 1987; Margolin et al., 1989; Dye and Roth, 1990). A number of studies have found a significant association between acceptance of rape myths and self-reported sexually aggressive behavior (Field 1978; Koss et al., 1985; Murphy et al., 1986; Muehlenhard and Linton, 1987; Reilly et al., 1992).Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

The early studies of rape myths were performed on college campuses and found that 25 percent to 35 percent of the students accepted a variety of them (Giacopassi and Dull, 1986; Gilmartin-Zena, 1987). Since the mid 1980s, many college

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Suggested Citation:”3 Causes and Consequences of Violence Against Women.” National Research Council. 1996. Understanding Violence Against Women. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5127.×
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campuses have instituted rape awareness and rape education programs. Recent research found fewer than 2 percent of students accepting of sexual aggression or coercion, but up to 36 percent expected that sexual aggression would occur under certain circumstances (Cook, 1995). Cook (1995) surmises that rape education has made it unacceptable to admit to believing rape myths, but that behavioral expectations are still consistent with acceptance of rape myths. It will be valuable for prevention efforts for research to continue to track any changes in rape myth acceptance and sexual script expectations among students, as well as the general public.Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

Cultural Mores Ethnographic and anthropologic studies determine the critical role that sociocultural mores play in defining and promoting violence against women. Anthropologists have found cultural differences in the amount of and acceptability of intimate partner violence in different societies. A review of 14 different societies (Counts et al., 1992) found that physical chastisement of wives was tolerated in all the societies and considered necessary in many societies, but the rates and severity of wife beating were found to range from almost nonexistent to very frequent. These differences seem to be related to negative sanctions for men who overstepped “acceptable” limits, sanctuaries for women to escape violence, and a sense of honor based on nonviolence or decent treatment of women (Campbell, 1992).Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

Two general types of rape have been identified. Transgressive or non-normative rape is uncondoned genital contact against the will of the woman and in violation of social norms; tolerated or normative rape is unwanted genital contact that is supported by social norms (Heise, 1993; Rozee, 1993). Normative rape is reported in nearly all societies (97 percent; Rozee, 1993), and all have mechanisms that “legitimate, obfuscate, deny, and thereby perpetuate violence” (Heise et al., 1994:1). Ethnographic studies have found rape in 42 percent to 90 percent of nonindustrial societies, depending on how it is defined and on the cultural and geographic representative-Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

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Suggested Citation:”3 Causes and Consequences of Violence Against Women.” National Research Council. 1996. Understanding Violence Against Women. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5127.×
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ness of the sample (Minturn et al., 1969; Bart et al., 1975; Broude and Green, 1976; Sanday, 1981; Levinson, 1989; Rozee, 1993; for a review see Koss et al., 1994). In preliterate societies, there were significantly greater frequencies of rape in those characterized by patrilocality, high degree of interpersonal violence, and an ideology of male toughness. Rape is also prevalent under conditions of marked social inequity and social disorganization, such as slavery and war (Quinsey, 1984).

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Multifactor Models
It is generally accepted that multiple classes of influences—from the individual to the macrolevel—determine the expression of assaultive and sexually aggressive behavior in men (for recent reviews see Ellis, 1989; Sugarman and Hotaling, 1989; Craig, 1990; Hall, 1990; Malamuth and Dean, 1991; Berkowitz, 1992; Shotland, 1992; White and Koss, 1993; White, in press). Although it is possible to model at a general level the causal factors that explain the variance among the forms of violence against women, the heterogeneity of violent men precludes the delineation of a single set of causes that accurately classifies types of offenders. Therefore, researchers have turned to multivariate modeling of violence. Recent efforts include a biopsychosocial model of battering that examines the relative contribution of three domains of predictors including the physical (e.g., testosterone, prolactin, and alcohol), the social (e.g., negative life events, quality of relationships, family income, and social support), and psychiatric symptoms (McKenry et al., 1995). The results showed significant zero-order correlations within each class of predictors, but in multivariate analysis the social variables predicted violence better than the other variables.Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

Work by Malamuth and colleagues (1991, 1993, 1995) has generated and tested a model to explain both sexual and nonsexual aggression toward women. Their results suggest that

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Suggested Citation:”3 Causes and Consequences of Violence Against Women.” National Research Council. 1996. Understanding Violence Against Women. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5127.×
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there are common pathways to all forms of aggression, but different specific factors may influence the development of nonsexual versus sexual aggression toward women. Furthermore, some of the same factors that contribute to sexual aggression in early adulthood appear to lead to other conflictual behaviors with women in later life. Male sexual aggression was best predicted by a history of promiscuous-impersonal sex and distrust of women coupled with gratification from dominating them. Physical aggression was best predicted by relationship distress and verbal aggression. General hostility and defensiveness contributed to both types of aggression. This work supports the findings of other researchers (O’Leary and Arias, 1988; O’Leary et al., 1994) that psychological abuse may be a precursor to physical aggression. These findings point to the need for more work that looks at commonalities and differences among all forms of violence against women and general violence.Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

All this work is a marked improvement over earlier research that focused on single causes or theories. The field appears to be developing toward an integrative, metatheoretical model of violence that considers multiple variables operating at different times in a probabilistic fashion (Leonard, 1993; White, in press). Future work guided by these models can examine the relationship of one form of violence to another; make better connections between macrolevel societal variables and individual variables to establish how culture is expressed; address both structural and contextual causes of violence; use a life-span perspective capable of capturing the processes by which earlier experiences affect later ones; and focus on the gendered nature of violence against women that involves personality and cognitive factors embedded in a social structure that directs and defines the meaning of violence in gendered social relationships. An understanding of the multiple factors that lead to violent behavior in general and to specific forms of violent behavior directed at women is critical to developing effective prevention strategies.Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

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Suggested Citation:”3 Causes and Consequences of Violence Against Women.” National Research Council. 1996. Understanding Violence Against Women. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5127.×
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Risk Factors for Victimization
Although most research on the causes of violence focuses on why men use violence and the conditions that support and maintain that violence, some researchers have tried to ask why a particular woman is the target of violence. This line of research has a dismal record of success. A primary problem confronted in trying to identify women’s risk factors for violence is the confounding that occurs when traits and behaviors are assessed at some point postvictimization and assumed to represent the previctimization state. An interpretation of current findings is that they represent aftereffects of the violence itself or overly negative self-descriptions triggered by the trauma.Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

Factors that have been at one time or another linked to women’s likelihood of being raped or battered are passivity, hostility, low self-esteem, alcohol and drug use, violence in the family of origin, having more education or income than their intimate partners, and the use of violence toward children. However, based on a critical review of all 52 studies conducted in the prior 15 years that included comparison groups, Hotaling and Sugarman (1986) found that the only risk marker consistently associated with being the victim of physical abuse was having witnessed parental violence as a child. And this factor characterized not only the victimized women, but also their male assailants. Recent studies also found no specific personality and attitudinal characteristics that make certain women more vulnerable to battering (e.g., Pittman and Taylor, 1992). Although alcoholic women are more likely to report moderate to severe violence in their relationships than more moderate drinkers, the association disappears after controlling for alcohol problems in their partners (Miller, 1992, as cited in Leonard, 1993). On the basis of findings such as these, several writers have concluded that the major risk factor for battering is being a woman.

Personality traits and attitudes that could increase vulnerability to rape have also been explored. The earliest studies,Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

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Suggested Citation:”3 Causes and Consequences of Violence Against Women.” National Research Council. 1996. Understanding Violence Against Women. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5127.×
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and the only ones to implicate victim personality traits, used different recruitment techniques to obtain subjects: the rape victims were often found among those who had sought help at crisis centers; the nonvictims were college student volunteers (Selkin, 1978; Myers et al., 1984). These methodological differences bias the samples, especially on personality traits like dominance, femininity, and social presence—exactly the variables on which the groups were found to differ. When identical selection procedures were used to select victims and nonvictims, no differences were found in personality characteristics, assertiveness, or identification with feminine stereotyped behavior (Koss, 1985; Koss and Dinero, 1989).Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

One risk profile did emerge that characterized a small subset (10 percent) of women for whom the risk of rape was twice the rate for women without the profile. Those women were characterized by a background of childhood sexual abuse, liberal sexual attitudes, and higher than average alcohol use and larger number of sexual partners. Researchers presume that having a large number of sexual partners implies short-term relationships and therefore more dating partners, but neither frequency of dates nor number of dating partners has been directly tested as a risk factor. Koss and Dinero (1989) concluded that sexual assault was generally not predictable, but to the extent it could be, was accounted for by variables that represented the aftereffects of childhood sexual abuse, including influences on drinking, sexual values, and level of sexual activity. Recent prospective data support this assertion (Gidycz et al., 1995). Adolescent sexual victimization significantly predicted alcohol consumption at the onset of college, while alcohol consumption during college did not predict subsequent victimization. The link between childhood sexual abuse and adult victimization has been replicated many times across ethnic groups (Wyatt et al., 1992; Gidycz et al., 1993; Urquiza and Goodlin-Jones, 1994; Wyatt and Riederle, 1994). The other certain risk factor for rape (in addition to being female and having been abused previously) is being young: epidemiological data indicate that women Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

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Suggested Citation:”3 Causes and Consequences of Violence Against Women.” National Research Council. 1996. Understanding Violence Against Women. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5127.×
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between 16 and 24 years old have the highest rates of sexual assault and rape (Bastian, 1995).

Another line of research has compared the resistance strategies used by women who were raped to those of women whose attack was aborted without penetration. Studies of this type have consistently reported that active strategies such as screaming, fleeing, or physically struggling are associated with higher rates of rape avoidance (Javorek, 1979; Bart, 1981; Quinsey and Upfold, 1985; Levine-MacCombie and Koss, 1986; Siegel et al., 1989; Ullman and Knight, 1991, 1992). Although some of the studies found increased risk of injury among women who resisted, the studies that looked at the actual sequence of events (Quinsey and Upfold, 1985; Ullman and Knight, 1992) found the correlation between resistance and injury disappeared when the violence of the attacker was taken into account. Researchers have uniformly found that offender characteristics are more important than the victim behavior in predicting the outcome of an assault.

The role of alcohol use by victims has also been investigated. Trouble with alcohol and peer pressure to drink have been associated with adolescents’ risks of personal victimization, in general, and sexual victimization, in particular (Esbensen and Huizinga, 1991; Windle, 1994; Gidycz et al., 1995). About one-half of college student rape victims report that they were drinking at the time of their assault (Koss and Dinero, 1989), and estimated peak blood alcohol level during the prior 30 days was correlated with lifetime sexual victimization (Norris et al., 1996). Alcohol use is one of the variables that differentiated dates in which sexual aggression occurred from dates involving the same respondents without aggression (Muehlenhard and Linton, 1987).Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

These studies provide some evidence that the habitual use of alcohol is associated with sexual victimization, but they do not explain the causal pathways. The evidence suggests that alcohol abuse is an aftereffect of earlier victimization, but the effect that alcohol might have on future victimization is unclear. Alcohol may directly increase the risk of victimization

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Suggested Citation:”3 Causes and Consequences of Violence Against Women.” National Research Council. 1996. Understanding Violence Against Women. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5127.×
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through cognitive and motor impairment that prevents women from recognizing, escaping, or resisting sexual aggression (Nurius and Norris, 1996). Studies of the cognitive effects of alcohol on victims parallel efforts to examine the social information processing of offenders. Rape victims who were drinking report that their judgment was impaired at the time of assault (Frintner and Rubinson, 1993).

It is possible, however, that the effect of alcohol is less direct. Drinking may increase the likelihood of victimization by placing women in settings in which their chances of encountering a potential offender are higher than the average. Several studies have suggested that bar settings increased women’s vulnerability to violence independent of the increased vulnerability due to alcohol consumption. For example, exposure to obnoxious behavior, as well as sexual and physical violence, were predicted by the frequency of going to bars (Fillmore, 1985; Lasley, 1989). Alternatively, alcohol consumption by women may be misperceived and misinterpreted by the men they meet as a sexual availability cue. Although scientific evidence suggests that women become less physiologically aroused after drinking, men perceived them as more sexual, more likely to initiate sexual intercourse, and more aroused by erotica (Crowe and George, 1989; George et al., 1990, 1995; Corcoran and Thomas, 1991). In one study, 75 percent of college men admitted to getting a date drunk or high on drugs to try to have sex with her (Mosher and Anderson, 1986).Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

Consequences
The consequences of violence against women are far broader than the impact on the women victims. Their families and friends may be affected. In the case of intimate partner violence, there is increasing evidence of the negative impact on children of exposure to violence in the family. Society suffers economically, both in the use of resources and in the loss of productivity due to fear and injury. Understanding the

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Suggested Citation:”3 Causes and Consequences of Violence Against Women.” National Research Council. 1996. Understanding Violence Against Women. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5127.×
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consequences of violence is necessary for planning and implementing interventions to deal with those consequences. This section examines research findings about the consequences violence against women has on the individual victim, those closest to her, and on society as a whole.Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

Consequences to Victims
Research in recent years has brought an increased understanding of the impact of trauma, in general, and of violence against women, in particular. Both rape and intimate partner violence are associated with a host of short- and long-term problems, including physical injury and illness, psychological symptoms, economic costs, and death. It should be noted that part of what is known about the consequences of violence against women comes from studies of women who were seeking help, so it may not be representative of all victims. It is possible that these women suffered more severe trauma than women who do not seek help, and so represent the worst cases. The opposite is also possible: that women who come forward have suffered less fear and damage to their self-esteem, and therefore the worst cases remain hidden. Women who agree to participate in research may come from different social, ethnic, and economic backgrounds than those who do not participate. Finally, researchers do not always have the understanding or the resources to reach subgroups of victims who may either be at high risk for violence or face special challenges in recovery.Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

Virtually absent from the research are studies addressed specifically to the experiences of older women, disabled women, immigrant and refugee women, migrant farm worker women, rural women, Asian American women, American Indian women, homeless women, lesbian and bisexual women, drug-addicted women, and institutionalized women (Eaton, 1995; Gilfus, 1995). Whether or not these groups differ in the overall level of violence they experience, the evidence suggests that the descriptive characteristics of the as-

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Suggested Citation:”3 Causes and Consequences of Violence Against Women.” National Research Council. 1996. Understanding Violence Against Women. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5127.×
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saults are very similar (Torres, 1991; Wyatt, 1992). However, the same act can have very different meanings depending on many features that shape perceptions and behavior, including the age of the victim, her relationship with the perpetrator, culture, social class, sexual orientation, previous history of violence, perceived intent of the violence, and perceived causes and effects of the violence (Murphy and O’Leary, 1994). Victims from oppressed racial, ethnic, or cultural groups or who are lesbian or bisexual face additional challenges that may influence their strategies and resources for recovery (Brown and Root, 1990; Sue and Sue, 1990; Wyatt, 1992; Garnets and Kimmel, 1993; Schriver, 1995). Most studies of the consequences of violence look at impairments; only a few studies examine resilience and strengths as protectors against untoward outcomes or as alternative results to impairment (Gilfus, 1995).Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

Also missing in the literature is a developmentally oriented approach that follows the outcomes of exposure to violence into later stages of adult development. Little is known of the impact of trauma on social roles, life patterns, and timing of life transitions. A life-span perspective would look at differential effects on women’s lives when violence involves multiple types and perpetrators, is ongoing, cumulative, and becomes a chronic feature of the environment. Many social and public health consequences of violence are unstudied, including labor force participation, economic well-being, fertility decisions, divorce rates, and health status (Gilfus, 1995).

Domestic violence is any abusive behavior used to control a spouse, or partner. Women have been victims of such abuse for many years, and continue to be victimized not only physically, but psychologically. Often, abuse begins with a desire of feeling in control, or feeling in power of the victim. Next, another important cause as to why domestic violence begins, is substance abuse. “women at the highest risk for being the victim of domestic violence include those with male partners who abuse drugs (especially alcohol), are unemployed or underemployed, afflicted by poverty, or have not graduated from high school,” (Roxanne Dryden-Edwuards). Also, issues like poverty and homelessness emerge as a result of domestic violence. “Between 25%-50% of homeless families have lost their homes as a result of intimate partner violence.” (Roxanne Dryden-Edwuards). Also, women who experience domestic abuse might resort to drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism, ultimately becoming addicted to such substances. Victims also experience physiological damage, to the point of developing serious conditions like the Stockholm Syndrome. Although there are many causes, the effects of domestic abuse on women are quite detrimental to not only their psychological, but physical health as well.Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

First of all, domestic abuse begins as the partner wants to feel in control of the relationship, “Domestic abuse between spouses or intimate partners is when one person in a marital or intimate relationship tries to control the other person. The perpetrator uses fear and intimidation and may threaten to use or may actually use physical violence.” (Tina de Benedictis, Jaelline and Jeanne Segal). The abuser focuses on intimidating the other partner using verbal, nonverbal, or physical tactics to ultimately gain control over the other person. For the other person to comply with their desires, the abuser might also resort to using emotional abuse, “Emotional abuse includes verbal abuse such as yelling, name-calling, blaming, and shaming. Isolation, intimidation, and controlling behavior also fall under emotional abuse.” (Stop Violence Against Women). The perpetrator may isolate the victim from friends and family, or manipulate them into thinking they are to blame for the abusive behavior.Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

Next, another, yet equally important cause for domestic violence is substance abuse. “substance abuse occurs in conjunction with intimate partner violence anywhere from 40 to 60 percent of the time. Additionally, approximately 20 percent of abusive males admit to consuming some type of drug and/or alcoholic beverage before acting aggressively toward their partners.” (rehabcenter.net). Substance abuse and domestic violence most of the times go hand in hand. Whether it is one of the partners, or both that are having an excessive consumption of alcohol or drugs, such substance abuse leads to violent acts. This is because when being in an impaired state many people cannot find a way to suppress their anger, and ultimately take it out on their partners. “the risk for violent behavior increases with intoxication, but only among individuals who are prone to suppressing their feelings of anger while they are sober. Testing people who reported that they were prone to burying their angry feelings, researchers observed a 5 percent increase in violent behavior that followed a 10 percent increase in drinking to the point of getting drunk.” (americanaddictioncenters.org). This comes to show, that people who experience intolerance, or have anger issues are more likely to be violent when under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Accordingly, being in an abusive relationship can have serious effects on the person who is being abused. One of the main issues that emerge after dealing with an abusive partner is poverty or homelessness. “Approximately 50% of all women who are homeless report that domestic violence was the immediate cause of their homelessness.” (domesticshelters.org; endhomelessness.org). Many of the people being affected by an abusive partner, feel a desperate need to get away, and often times stay with the partner because they are afraid, or because they are given a financial stability. In the end, once they decide to run away from the abuser, since they cannot find the means to sustain themselves, they are faced with the harsh reality of poverty and homelessness. In the words of researchers, “recent statistics suggest that on a single night in January 2017 16 percent of the overall homeless population, 87,329 people, reported having experienced domestic violence at some point. Research from a study in New York City indicates that one in five families experienced domestic violence in the five years before entering shelter.” (endhomelessness.org). These numerical evidences come to show the reality of many people today, and the detrimental effects domestic violence can have on these victims.Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

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Moreover, contrary to popular belief, it is not only the aggressors who tends to use alcohol and drugs. Often times, drug usage begins because the perpetrator may make the victim forcefully consume such substances, “In some cases a partner may force the victim to abuse drink or drugs, either as a punishment or as a promise that by joining them in their habit they won’t inflict further violence.” (stepstorecovery.com). Therefore, when becoming used to consuming drugs, the victim may not want to leave the abuser as they feel afraid of confronting the authorities about their addiction, or many times because they are so addicted to the drugs their partner is providing, that they do not want to lose such supplies.

Drug abuse can also begin as a result of the prolonged hostility, victims tend to look for comfort in substances such as drug and alcohol. Drug abuse emerges as a result of feelings of depression and anxiety, as people try to cope with the psychological effects of domestic violence. “Victims of domestic abuse are more likely to use tobacco and marijuana, as well as engage in other compulsive behaviors, such as eating disorders. Compared to people who do not experience domestic violence, victims are 70 percent more likely to abuse alcohol.” (americanaddictioncenters.org). The presence of alcohol or drugs in the victim’s body is dangerous for a few reasons. First, being in an impaired state makes the victim more vulnerable and weaker to the point in which they cannot defend themselves from the abuse, making it easier for the abuser to take full control of the situation. Next, when the victim is under the influence of such substances, it becomes harder for them to assess the hostile situation they are in, thus remaining in it because of the damaging effects of drugs or alcohol.Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

Aside from the physical damage domestic abuse causes, there are emotional and psychological scars left during and after the abuse. Feelings of depression, low self-esteem, and questioning sense of self are some of the few emotional effects victims suffer. Abusers, tend to isolate the victim from their loved ones, set barriers as to what they can and cannot do, and bully them with harmful words to the point of stripping the victim of all that is theirs and damaging their psychological stability. These issues are damaging to the victim, to the point of developing psychological conditions such as the Stockholm Syndrome. “Stockholm Syndrome is also common in long-term abuse situations. In Stockholm Syndrome, the victim is so terrified of the abuser that the victim overly identifies and becomes bonded with the abuser in an attempt to stop the abuse. The victim will even defend their abuser and their emotionally abusive actions.” (Tracy).Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

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The danger in having this syndrome, is that the victim, after receiving such abuse for a prolonged period of time and finally leaving the relationship, might actually want to go back with the abuser. “Local law enforcement personnel have long recognized this syndrome with battered women who fail to press charges, bail their battering husband/boyfriend out of jail, and even physically attack police officers when they arrive to rescue them from a violent assault.” (Joseph M Carver). Partners who suffer from this syndrome, ultimately end up not pressing charges and staying in the harmful relationship, being unable to recognize they are being harmed and their partner is to blame for this hostile situation. This puts the person at risk of living in an abusive relationship once again, and worsening the situation as the abuser may want to take revenge on the victim for trying to leave the relationship.

All in all, the causes for domestic violence begin with one goal. This goal is set with the purpose of feeling power and control over the other individual. It is reached by setting boundaries, isolating the other partner from their friends, family, and all loved ones, and even financially control them. Domestic violence is not only physically harming the partner, but inflicting emotional pain as well. Psychological abuse is inflicted by the abuser when saying harmful words to the victim, taking away things that are theirs, and most importantly, not loving them as should be. The effects domestic abuse has on the victims are many. One of the effects, which is one of the biggest issues in America, is homelessness. Victims reach this point when trying to flee from an abusive home. Also, drug abuse is an outcome of domestic violence as when trying to cope with anger and pain, victims see a way out in drugs and alcohol, which is damaging to their health. Finally, this is a very delicate topic which brings many detrimental effects to many women all over the world, and each passing day it is affecting many more. Factors That Lead to Domestic Abuse Essay

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