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Examine the patterns of, and reasons for, domestic violence in society.

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Introduction

Examine the patterns of, and reasons for, domestic violence in society. A definition of domestic violence is 'physical, psychological, sexual or financial violence that takes place within an intimate or family type relationship and forms a pattern of coercive and controlling behaviour. It may involve partners, ex-partners, household members or other relations' (Women's Aid Federation). A startling pattern within domestic violence is that more often than not it is the woman who is abused. Coleman (2007) found that women were more likely than men to have experienced 'intimate violence' across all four types of abuse -partner abuse, family abuse, sexual assault and stalking. Mirrlees-Black found that nearly one in four women has been assaulted by a partner at some time in her life, and one in eight repeatedly so whereas only one in seven men has been assaulted and one in twenty repeatedly so. ...read more.

Middle

Marxist feminists believe that women absorb anger that would otherwise be directed at capitalism. Fran Ansley (1972) describes wives as 'takers of shit' who soak up the frustration their husbands feel because of the exploitation and alienation they face when at work. For Marxist feminists this explains male domestic violence against women however yet again does not explain the fact that one in seven men have been assaulted by a partner and nor does it explain why most men are opposed to domestic violence. Domestic violence is quite common in our society. According to the BCS it accounts for almost a sixth of all violence and Mirrlees-Black estimated at approximately 6.6 million domestic assaults a year with half of those including physical violence. Whenever we are considering such statistics it would be wise to remember that the statistics are probably quite dramatically understated as victims may be unwilling to report domestic violence e.g. ...read more.

Conclusion

This tends to be down to the statistics which have suggested that those in the lowest social classes and those on low incomes or in financial difficulties are the most likely to be abused. Wilkinson (1996) offers an explanation of these statistics. He suggests that domestic violence is the result of stress on family members. This stress which could be caused by social inequality. Inequality means that some families have fewer resources than others such as income and housing. Those on low incomes or living in overcrowded accommodation are likely to experience higher levels of stress. This in turn reduces their chances of having stable, caring relationships and increases the risk of conflict and violence e.g. worries about money, jobs and housing may spill over into domestic violence if tempers flare up. Also lack of money and time restricts peoples social circle and reduces social support for those under stress. Although this theory explains why those in lower social classes are more likely to be abused Wilkinson does not explain why women rather than men are the main victims. ...read more.

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